Academic Catalog 2021-2022


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College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Anthropology

Program Description

The Department of Anthropology offers undergraduate students course work in the five anthropological subdisciplines: ethnology, archaeology, biological anthropology, applied anthropology and anthropological linguistics. In addition, courses focus on contemporary disciplinary research, area studies and societal applications of anthropological knowledge.

By majoring or minoring in Anthropology, a student gains a better understanding of people’s behavior within cultural settings. Anthropology studies the varied nature of human experience in American society and in the cultures of the world. Through this study of people, their lifestyles and how they adapt to cultural change, both present and past, a student is better prepared to comprehend human behavior. What distinguishes anthropology from other disciplines concerned with people is its holistic perspective or encompassing view, and its central concern with the concept of culture.

The Department of Anthropology, in the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, offers a major and minor in the discipline. Majors may choose between the General Anthropology concentration, Biological Anthropology concentration, Applied concentration, or the Archaeology concentration. With additional applied work in Cultural Resource Management, the student will be awarded a certificate.

Comparative and evolutionary, scientific and humanistic, Anthropology provides a unique opportunity for broadening and integrating one’s view of human existence. Goals of the major concentration in General Anthropology include an understanding of cultural heritage along with a general overview of the significance of cultural change, whether that change be ongoing, from the past, or anticipated in the future. Acquainting students with the cross-cultural perspective and cultural pluralism also are major goals of the General Anthropology concentration.

The major concentration in Archaeology is designed to provide the undergraduate student with a strong background in general anthropology, archaeology and cultural preservation. It stresses anthropological theory, archaeological methodology, field research, data collection, area studies and applications of the field to cultural resource management. In the face of rapid population expansion and increased development, public concern has grown to protect the quickly diminishing cultural resources related to our ancestral and traditional heritage. In addition to the concentration, the department offers a certificate in Cultural Resource Management to those students who complete the program and demonstrate competence in applied aspects of the field.

The major concentration in Biological Anthropology is designed to provide the undergraduate student with a strong background in general anthropology, biological anthropology, archaeology and research methods. It stresses biological anthropology research methodology, field research, data collection and statistical methodology.

The major concentration in Applied Anthropology is designed to provide the undergraduate student with a strong background in general anthropology, applied anthropology and research methods. It stresses applied anthropology research methodology, field research, data collection, statistical methodology and service learning. One of the pillars of an applied anthropology focus is to stress community engagement and application of anthropological theoretical framework to the field.

The Minor in Anthropology complements a major in other disciplines and professional programs such as biology, health sciences, art, communications, history, philosophy and the other behavioral sciences. Students have the opportunity to develop a focused minor in consultation with an advisor in specialized areas such as medical anthropology, New World cultures, physical anthropology, cognitive anthropology, etc.


A current description of research projects and other activities is available at The Robert J. Franklin Anthropology Laboratory is equipped for student study of archaeological collections. Several comparative collections have been developed for analysis of artifactual materials from Southern California archaeological sites. A variety of computers and technical equipment is available that can be used to measure, analyze and compile data applicable to archaeological research. In addition, the laboratory possesses anthropometric and photographic equipment, and specimens for the study of comparative primate anatomy.

Students are provided the directed opportunity to experience archaeological and ethnographic fieldwork in the context of course work and extracurricular research activities.  Learning and research opportunities often are arranged in local communities as part of on-going faculty research.  Internships with local museums, research organizations and in corporate settings are often arranged through the CSUDH center for Services learning, Internships, and Civic Engagement.

Field studies in archaeology are often offered in the spring semester, making use of sites at the Rancho Dominguez, Baja California, and other localities in the vicinity of the university. Students are instructed in field and laboratory research procedures.

The Archaeology Concentration and Cultural Resource Management Certificate Program is the only undergraduate program of its kind in the Los Angeles Basin.

Academic Advisement

Students will be assigned a faculty advisor whose experience and expertise most closely reflects their own interests and career plans. An advisor will provide educational and professional guidance during the undergraduate curriculum. Advisors are familiar with disciplinary opportunities and current directions and can assist with career planning. In addition, the academic advisor can recommend or refer students to other campus services such as skills assessment, development and enhancement. Advisors will assist in verifying that each student completes university and departmental requirements.


Students will find classes in the following areas useful to the appreciation of anthropological course work: history, ancient civilizations, art history, biology, geography, earth science, foreign languages and social studies.

Transfer students with previous course work in anthropology should consult with an advisor to determine which courses are transferable for lower and upper division units towards completion of the major or minor.

Graduation with Honors

Undergraduate students may be candidates for graduation with Honors in Anthropology if they meet the following criteria:

  1. A minimum of 36 units in residence at CSU Dominguez Hills.
  2. A minimum grade point average of 3.5 in all courses used to satisfy the upper division requirements for the Anthropology major.
  3. Recommendation by the faculty of the Department of Anthropology.