Optional Undergraduate Tracks

The department offers five optional undergraduate tracks. Four can be earned along with either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree: gender and culture, cultural resource and heritage managementenvironmental anthropology, and medical anthropology. A fifth, anthropology for the health professions, can be earned in association with the Bachelor of Science degree.  Students majoring in anthropology may use a track to provide a particular focus in their study plan.

Each track reflects broad issues bridging subfields in and outside of anthropology. Completion of a track indicates the achievement of considerable expertise, and is noted on the student's transcript.

Each optional track requires five courses (15 s.h.). With careful course selection, students majoring in anthropology can complete a track without adding to the semester hours required for graduation.

ANTHROPOLOGY FOR THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS TRACK

Health professionals are increasingly called upon to recognize how sociocultural and biological factors intersect to produce experiences of health, sickness, and healing. Completing a B.S. degree in anthropology and the specialized anthropology for the health professions track enables students to better understand cultural and biological variation in health and sickness, as well as to examine how and why particular therapeutic interventions may be more or less effective when translated into different cultural settings and disease ecologies.

By completing this undergraduate track, students entering the health professions receive a more comprehensive education in both the biological and social basis for human health that is oriented by anthropology’s holistic approach to understanding the human condition in all its aspects. Doing so enables students to distinguish themselves from peers who are also applying to graduate and professional programs, by demonstrating an exceptionally advanced knowledge of both the scientific and sociopolitical aspects of human health and behavior.  In medicine, for example, in 2015 the medical college admissions test (MCAT) began including a new section on psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior. A second new section, critical analysis and reasoning skills, will also ask students to analyze excerpts from readings in the social science and humanities. Students with interests not only in medicine but also in dentistry, chiropractic, occupational therapy, physical therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant, podiatry, and related fields will benefit from this breadth and depth of understanding of human health experiences. See sample schedules for fulfilling pre-professional requirements along with a B.S. in Anthropology with Anthropology for the Health Professions track: Pre-medical and Pre-Physical Therapy (pre-pharmacy coming soon).

This track requires students to select 15 s.h. of their course work for the B.S. in anthropology from the lists of courses available here. Multiple courses in this list fulfill B.S. degree requirements for upper-division sociocultural/linguistic and biological/archaeological courses, as well as elective courses. Either ANTH 3111 Health in Mexico or ANTH 2182 African Health & Society can also be used to fulfill the area studies requirement for the B.S.  (Students interested in health who are earning a B.A. can complete a track in Medical Anthropology, see below.)

GENDER AND CULTURE TRACK

Anthropological research regarding gender and sexuality has grown dramatically in recent years, enhancing and drawing from other theoretical and methodological approaches within the discipline. Such studies contribute a cross-cultural perspective to the discussion surrounding these fundamental aspects of human experience, both in academia and in public life.

The gender and culture track requires five courses (15 s.h.) chosen from the list available here. Each course provides an integrated overview of essential theoretical and topical issues in the field.

CULTURAL RESOURCE AND HERITAGE MANAGEMENT TRACK

In North America and throughout much of the rest of the world, modern land use continually threatens evidence of past land use. Most archaeological excavations are conducted as cultural resource management (CRM), so it is essential that all researchers who work with archaeological data and individuals committed to site preservation have a basic understanding of CRM. Students who choose this track learn about the field and about how to address related ethical issues as well as technical and theoretical challenges.

The cultural resource and heritage management track requires five courses (15 s.h.) as shown here: a fundamental overview course, two area electives, a technical/practical elective, and a field school course. Students may use some of these courses to satisfy requirements for the major, such as the upper-division course in archaeology and upper-division electives.

ENVIRONMENTAL ANTHROPOLOGY TRACK

The interaction between humans and the environments they inhabit has long been a central issue in anthropology, and environmental degradation is a worldwide concern today. Pollution, loss of biodiversity, and global warming recognize no political boundaries, but attitudes and behaviors involving the natural environment vary widely from culture to culture. Understanding and incorporation of these varied perspectives will be vital to the development and successful use of workable solutions.

The environmental anthropology track requires five courses (15 s.h.) as shown here: two theory courses, which deal primarily with human-environmental interactions; and three area or topical electives, which deal in part with environment, ecology, and subsistence technologies.

MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY TRACK

Human experiences of sickness and suffering are universal yet profoundly shaped by cultural and historical contexts. Medical anthropology explores cultural and biological diversity in sickness, health, and healing through approaches that include examining individual experiences of disrupted well-being, considering how biological and cultural factors interact to promote health or produce sickness, analyzing political-economic causes of health inequalities, and applying research to improve health research and services in an increasingly global world. Course work in medical anthropology helps students prepare for a range of health professions and social services careers and for work in diverse settings that increasingly include nongovernmental organizations devoted to improving health.

The medical anthropology track requires five courses (15 s.h.) as shown here: one overview course and four electives that focus on particular topics. Either ANTH 3111 Health in Mexico or ANTH 2182 African Health & Society can also be used to fulfill the area studies requirement for the B.A. or B.S. (Students earning a B.S. who have interests in health can complete either the Medical Anthropology track, or the Anthropology for the Health Professions track—see above.)