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Undergraduate Anthropology Program Overview

Anthropology is the study of historical and contemporary cultural and linguistic diversity throughout the world. It is a broad field that is divided into four areas: socio-cultural anthropology, the study of contemporary societies; archaeology, the study of the material remains of past societies; linguistics, the study of the structure and principles of language; and biological anthropology, the study of human evolution and human biological diversity.  At the University of Virginia, we specialize in the first three of these areas.

Department of Anthropology Faculty

There are currently 22 full time anthropology faculty members. Four faculty members are archaeologists, who specialize in North American prehistoric and historical archaeology, the ancient Middle East, and Africa. Five are linguists, with particular expertise in African, Native American, Middle Eastern, and Melanesian languages. The majority of the faculty consists of socio-cultural anthropologists, whose teaching and research interests span the globe and engage numerous theoretical and topical interests. Particular geographical concentrations include the cultures of South Asia, East Asia, Indonesia, Melanesia, the Caribbean, Native Central and South America, Europe, and North America.

Anthropology Majors and Minors

There are currently over 100 students majoring or minoring in anthropology. While this number represents a diverse group of students with a wide range of interests, it is small enough to maintain a high degree of faculty-student interaction. Many students have worked with faculty conducting ethnographic and linguistic research as well as archaeological field and laboratory work.

What Can You Do with an Anthropology Major?

Anthropology majors develop expertise in historical and contemporary cultural and linguistic diversity as well as skills in reading, research, and writing that give them excellent preparation for many professional careers.  Some students go on to graduate school to become professional anthropologists, archaeologists, and linguists and pursue careers in teaching, research, museum work, or applied anthropology and archaeology. Many go on to careers in law, medicine, social services, and other professions, where they find their work greatly aided and enhanced by their background in anthropology. In addition, many businesses are interested in hiring anthropologists, archaeologists, and linguists today, since our current era of globalization demands an appreciation of different cultural and linguistic perspectives.

Anthropology Careers? 


Have You Thought about Study Abroad?

Go to International Studies Office 
Education Abroad in Anthropology




For additional information contact Adria LaViolette, Director of the Undergraduate Program, at laviolette@virginia.edu or (434) 982-2631.