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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Anthropology

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Culture, Community and Collaboration



"Anthropology is the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities."      Alfred L. Kroeber

Anthropology studies physical and cultural differences among human beings across time and space. It helps students understand the nature of those differences, why they exist, and, most importantly, why they matter. 


  • Commitment: to an engaged, public anthropology
  • Tradition: one of the oldest anthropology programs west of the Mississippi River
  • Intimacy: small class sizes and hands-on learning
  • Attentiveness: thoughtful student advising and one-on-one mentoring
  • Opportunity: direct access to research material in our own Museum of Anthropology and active faculty field projects.
  • Networking: relationships with Denver's world-class museums and other cultural institutions


Anthropology students at DU specialize in one of three areas.


Archaeology is the study of humans through the material traces their activities leave behind. Through site survey, excavation, and non-invasive methods such as ground penetrating radar, archaeology helps us better understand variation in the ways people thought, organized themselves, and lived in the past. 

Archaeological Research at Amache Internment Camp

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropologists seek to lay bare the little known. People in groups behave in patterns and act on assumptions of which they, themselves, may not even be aware. Cultural anthropologists use intensive observation and structured interviewing to decode these shared behaviors and assumptions and distill unstated understandings from the merely idiosyncratic.  They may even seek participation in the lives of the people under study, domesticating and celebrating the benignly familiar as well as the entrancingly "exotic".

Museum and Heritage Studies

The Museum and Heritage Studies (MHS) concentration is designed to provide students with a solid background in the theoretical and academic, as well as the practical and professional aspects of museum anthropology and heritage studies. Students learn to be practicing anthropologists in museums and related cultural institutions.


Understanding the nature of culture gives anthropology students a head-start in careers that involve working with diverse groups of people. Our graduates go on to careers in fields such as:

  • museum work
  • archaeology
  • cultural heritage management
  • non-profit management
  • marketing
  • publishing
  • international business and development
  • foreign policy
  • education
  • health care

The critical reading, thinking, writing, and research skills emphasized in anthropology classes also prepares our students for graduate programs in law, public policy, medicine, counseling, education and beyond.