College of Behavioral & Social Sciences

BA in Anthropology


There is perhaps no single field of study that can better prepare students to cope with the challenges of the 21st century than anthropology. Confronted with increasing global population, rapid technological change, rising tides of nationalism, and economic globalization, many look to the future with uncertainty. Anthropology provides understanding and answers based on a century of exploring the development of human nature, society, and culture. It is the only social science that seeks to understand both human biological and cultural variation in the past and in the present. Encompassing a wide range of subjects spanning cultural and linguistic anthropology, physical anthropology, archaeology and museum studies, Anthropology is unique among the many fields that study humanity.


The mission of the Department of Anthropology at California State University, Chico, is to provide a holistic foundation to the study of anthropology through the four major subfields that include cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistics, and a fifth area, museum studies. This is achieved through a rigorous but balanced curriculum that encompasses the current theoretical perspectives and methodologies of the discipline. We emphasize good communication skills, critical thinking, and reflection, and integrate these into ethical and moral deliberations about what it means to be human. The department is committed to the highest standards of teaching, research, and mentoring for both undergraduate and graduate students. We believe that faculty research should be integrated into our teaching so that we can engage our students to fully appreciate the richness and diversity of the discipline of anthropology and at the same time enrich the student educational experience at CSU, Chico. We offer a variety of educational opportunities that include academic study as well as practical hands-on learning activities through a variety of educational programs, field projects, and internships. Ultimately, our collective goal is to share and disseminate information and knowledge about the complexities of the human condition, both past and present.

Goals & Objectives

  • Understand from an anthropological perspective the phenomenon of culture as it differentiates human life from other life forms. Understand the roles of human biology and cultural processes in human behavior and evolution.
  • Develop an ability to critically address ethical and moral issues of diversity, power, equality, and survival from an anthropological perspective.
  • Know substantive data and theoretical perspectives in the subdisciplines of anthropology. Know the history of anthropological theory and be conversant in major issues in each area.
  • Be familiar with the forms of anthropological literature and basic data sources. Know how to access interpret, evaluate, and apply such information, using a range of sources and information technologies.
  • Grasp the methodologies of the subdisciplines of anthropology. Be able to apply appropriate methods when conducting anthropological research.
  • Be able to present and communicate the results of anthropological research.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Document, interpret, and analyze human cultural and biological diversity.
  2. Reason intelligently about ethical issues in human societies and in the practice of anthropology.
  3. Integrate anthropological reasoning and historical perspectives into basic scholarly research.
  4. Demonstrate methodological skills in at least one of these subdisciplines of anthropology: archaeology; social and cultural anthropology; museum studies; and physical anthropology.
  5. Effectively communicate anthropological issues and research. Write clear expository essays on anthropological topics.