Studying Anthropology at GW

The Department of Anthropology

Like mathematics or music, anthropology is one of the few genuine vocations. One can discover it in oneself even when one is taught nothing about it.  — Claude Lévi-Strauss

Anthropology is a four-field discipline at GW, uniting Sociocultural Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology, and Linguistics

The department has three undergraduate major programs: Anthropology, Archaeology, and Biological Anthropology. Together, these place us in the top five at GW in the number of student majors.

We have M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Anthropology and an interdisciplinary M.S./Ph.D. program in Human Paleobiology.

The department actively takes advantage of the unique resources Washington has to offer. We are proud of the breadth and depth of our course offerings and of our 120-year-long relationship with the Smithsonian Institution.

The Discipline of Anthropology

Because of its attention to variation and complexity, anthropology is related to almost every academic discipline, and people majoring in those disciplines benefit from some acquaintance with anthropology.  For specific information, see Anthropology and the Disciplines.

How Anthropology Relates to Other Disciplines

Anthropology is the study of the forms and functions of human diversity in the present and the past.  It is an intellectually exciting discipline dealing with all aspects of human behavior — social and biological, past and present — a broad focus well suited to today's globally integrated world.  Students acquire a range of skills with broad applicability throughout life.  These include formulating and testing hypotheses, gathering extensive bodies of data, and analyzing these data in the light of theoretical models.

Read more about the discipline of anthropology.

How Anthropology Relates to Other Professions

Many people who majored in anthropology do not get jobs with the title “anthropologist.” Rather, they find that their anthropological training serves them well in a rapidly changing world of work. To see how anthropology relates to various professions, see “Anthropology and the Professions.

GW Anthropology Society

GW Anthropology Society

Members of the GW Anthropology Society are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge within their field. Through the diffusion of ideas, camaraderie, and interdependence between the four subfields of anthropology, members strive to promote a holistic approach to the study of the human condition, its history and biology.

The Anthropology Society sponsors our annual Halloween pumpkin-carving contest and holds other social and educational functions, such as the Darwin's Day Potlatch.

Visit the Anthropology Society webpage.

Ever Drop Your Cell Phone in the Toilet?

The George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution are doing a study in Washington, DC to understand the differences in how people use mobile phones (aka cell phones or hand-phones). We would highly appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to take a short questionnaire -- only the parts  that you feel comfortable answering. All information will be kept private and only used for research. Thank you for your cooperation.

Check out the questionnaire.