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Exploring What Connects Us

A Lens for Viewing & Changing the World.

What makes us human? The Anthropology program at Whitman College can help you examine this universal question. Bridging science and the humanities, the Anthropology major explores how people relate to each other and to the environment. It’s an expansive and comparative study of how people talk, work, pray and play—in other words, how we live. Among colleges with Anthropology majors, Whitman stands out for its rich academic opportunities and accessible faculty who will support you as you explore humankind, gain new perspectives, and apply your learning to real-world problems.

3 Reasons to Study Anthropology at Whitman

Uncover a World of Academic Opportunities

Whitman’s Anthropology curriculum offers a fascinating and thorough survey of world customs and histories, anthropological theories and research methods used in the field. Hands-on internships, a senior project with professors and the option to pursue our combined Anthropology-Environmental Studies major all await you here.

Find Community and Connection

Tight knit—that’s the phrase students and faculty use to describe our Anthropology program. At Whitman, you’ll be part of a close cohort of students, who are as curious about the world as you are, on a shared journey to understand the things that unite us as humans.

Explore Globally & Locally

Anthropology explores how communities all over the world are shaped. So it only makes sense for you to seek that knowledge near and far. From online research to campus jobs and internships in Walla Walla or Seattle to anthropology field schools abroad, you choose where your education takes you.

Interested in Anthropology?

We’d love to send you information, including more on academic majors and student life at our beautiful campus in Walla Walla, Washington.

Sara L., Anthropology-Environmental Studies

“After one class in the Anthropology department, I ended up taking more and more and completely fell in love with the subject, as well as the incredibly supportive and tight-knit faculty.”

Our Whitman Student Voices Blog

Courses in Anthropology

See just a few of the fascinating courses you might take.

Stonehenge statues.
ANTH 101

Becoming Human: An Introduction to Anthropology

Why study Anthropology? This introductory course is the best way to get an overview of just how interesting this major can be. Using fascinating case studies, you will learn how anthropologists explore and think about diverse ways of life over time and across the globe.

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ANTH 153

Religion and Native America

This popular course examines Native American religion as both a concept and a practice. And it considers how indigenous religion has engaged with both Christianity and the U.S. legal system. This course also offers a unique focus on the people of the Pacific Northwest.

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Mural of older individual with a younger individual walking past it while on the phone.
ANTH 201

The Strange Familiar: Fundamentals of Cultural Anthropology

Discover cultural anthropology through its most common written genre: ethnography (accounts of specific cultures). We’ll read classic and contemporary ethnographies, learn key concepts in cultural anthropology, and discuss topics like social and political structures, kinship, race, gender and sexuality, medicine, migration and more. 

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Medical expert disclosing informations with patient.
ANTH 228

Medical Anthropology

Explore how our distinct social, political and cultural environment affects how we experience illness, disease, health and healing. From classic practices of sorcery, divination and shamanism to modern scientific thinking and technologies, this captivating course examines the many ways in which biology and culture intersect.

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ANTH 325

The Anthropology of Digital Media

When is a meme not just a meme? This course examines how people use new media to interact, play with language and construct various identities. With your classmates, you will use an anthropological framework to compare popular and scholarly discussions of media to each other and to your own observations of how real people behave in the digital world.

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ANTH 345

The Cultural Worlds of Mountains

Explore the many ways mountains have shaped and been shaped by human imagination. In this unique course, you’ll blend the disciplines of Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Literature, Film and Philosophy to seek answers about our unique relationship to mountains—culminating in the crafting of your own “mountain essay” using ethnographic and creative nonfiction writing approaches.

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Learn More About the Field Course: Land, Water, Justice

People talking outdoors.

Amazing Experiences You Can Pursue

Off-campus classroom. Your journey in Anthropology at Whitman takes experiential learning seriously and makes it easy to do. From on-site research to summer field schools and study abroad, the Anthropology major invites you to explore your world. 

Summer research to senior capstone. As an Anthropology major, your research might take you to China or Costa Rica with professors—or into cyberspace to collect and analyze oral histories. Wherever your interests lie, you’ll have the chance to create a substantial original research project in your senior year.

Work experiences that resonate. Culture is everywhere, so the everyday tends to take on extra insight and meaning for Anthropology majors. Recent students who had jobs writing for the Whitman newspaper, working in the sustainability office or assisting in art facilities say their positions uniquely supported their learning.

Your Questions Answered

An Anthropology degree can prepare you to work in a number of exciting fields—from education to the environment to museums to human-centered design. And Anthropology’s unique worldview and cross-cultural understanding can make you extremely valuable in other professions too. Anthropology majors have gone on to have successful careers in law, journalism and nonprofit work.

In the Anthropology program, you’ll master the research and communication skills necessary to advance in environmental, cultural, or linguistic anthropology, as well as linguistic and medical anthropology. If you are graduate school-bound, your education will prepare you with plenty of hands-on work, research and collaboration experiences. And you’ll have many opportunities to work alongside your professors, who are experts in the field.

Absolutely! Your skills as a doctor will only be enhanced by starting with a deep understanding of diverse cultural beliefs, practices and ideas of health and well-being. Your education will ground you in the research skills doctors need. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from Anthropology professors who research and teach on topics specifically related to disease and dying.

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