Anthropology—the study of humankind and human communities—is both an art and a science. It strives to answer the basic question of how we've come to be the way we are as human beings and how we do and can live together on this earth. The study of anthropology at Pacific University is part of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work. Our department shares common philosophical, theoretical and methodological perspectives as well as general goals for student experiences. Study focuses on current societies throughout the world, paying particular attention to the concept of culture. Overseas study and field work experiences are addressed in each anthropology course. Students are encouraged to take advantage of Pacific's short and semester long overseas study.

Program Highlights

  • Opportunities to exercise anthropological imagination, observing the relationship between individuals and historical, cultural and social forces
  • Learning the basic scientific methods of the discipline, both quantitative and qualitative
  • An emphasis on hands-on, real-world field experience and study abroad opportunities
  • Building understanding and cultural competence for work in a global society
  • Opportunities to engage in coursework with students from around the world in real time via advanced video conferencing technology
  • Students will complete an original thesis based upon their own field work


Course work in anthropology introduces students to the lives of other peoples around the world. The central concept in our courses is culture, which, as used in anthropology, refers to primarily symbolic systems as well as material culture. Comparative religions, world music, culinary practices, myth and ritual are among the many subjects offered in courses as well as opportunities to combine service learning, field work and independent study.

Students who have graduated with a degree in anthropology or sociology usually work in business and corporate life, as well as in the fields of education, research and in non-profit organizations, such as the Peace Corps. Others attend graduate school, such as medical or applied anthropology, throughout the world.

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Angelica Rockquemore, found Japanese gardens to be not only beautiful physical places, but also a representation of "a connection people have to their selves and their countries.

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