If you’re fascinated by how human societies and cultures develop, then a Temple University Anthropology degree is your path for turning that passion into a career. Undergraduate anthropology majors learn the discipline’s four subfields and conduct field research around the globe. Want to study Anthropology without majoring in it? Our minor or certificate programs might be right for you. Apply today and let our advising team help you craft an academic curricular plan that’s right for your interests and needs.

Anthropology Major

Anthropology majors at Temple gain a foundation in all of the four subfields associated with the discipline’s comprehensive study of humans and human cultures—archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology and sociocultural anthropology. Laboratory facilities, internships, fieldwork and experiential learning courses provide our students with practical experiences in all areas of anthropology.

The Four Subfields of Anthropology

The word “anthropology” comes from the Greek “Anthropos” (meaning “human”) and logia (meaning “study”). Anthropology is the only discipline that claims to study humans in all their dimensions, from the beginning of human existence to the present day.

Archaeologists study the remains left by people and cultures who lived in the past by analyzing material remains such as artifacts, human remains, architecture, and modified landscapes and environments. Archaeologists use this evidence to study such topics as how social groups were formed, how systems such as religion and government emerged, how/why humans develop agriculture and other subsistence patterns, and how/why human societies thrive or decline.

Biological Anthropology
Biological anthropologists study human evolutionary origins and the evolution of the unique biological features that characterize all humans. They also study the biological variation that exists among contemporary populations, as well as how biological variation existed in past populations. They consider how the environment, genes and culture have interacted to shape human biology in the past and present. Finally, they study the characteristics and behaviors of living and extinct nonhuman primates.

Linguistic Anthropology
Linguistic anthropologists study the unique human capacity for complex communication and how human language works. This subfield explores how linguistic and communicative practices shape the ways humans speak to each other, patterns of social interaction, categories of identity and group membership.

Sociocultural Anthropology
Sociocultural anthropologists study contemporary human groups across the world to understand and compare how they create meaning about themselves and others. Sociocultural anthropologists attempt to identify social patterns and practices, as well as how human communities change and adapt as they encounter shifting access to resources, changing political regimes and climate change. To gain an “insider” understanding of how a particular community understands itself, sociocultural (and linguistic) anthropologists spend months or years living in the community conducting fieldwork.

Choose Between Two Themes

In order to encourage students to think across the subfields of anthropology, anthropology majors at Temple focus on one of two themes: mobility and global inequality, which draws mainly on cultural and linguistic subfields, or evolution and human environments, which emphasizes biological and archaeological approaches. Each theme seeks to incorporate material from across all four subfields.

Mobility and Global Inequality (MGI)
The MGI theme begins with the mobility and global inequality introductory course and ends with the MGI capstone course. This theme emphasizes how humans have moved and changed over time, and continue to migrate across the world as they seek to escape poverty, political oppression, or other contexts of insecurity and marginalization. Though it focuses on the contemporary world and how such processes as globalization and climate change continue to remake human life and organization of human societies, it seeks to embed this examination in broader historical processes such as the emergence of nationalism, colonialism, the slave trade and rapid technological change, especially with regard to manufacturing, banking, transportation and mass media.

Evolution and Human Environments (EHE)
The EHE theme begins with the evolution and human environments introductory course and ends with the EHE capstone course. This theme uses the evolutionary and ecological sciences to understand the human condition. It brings together courses that emphasize dynamic systems in human biology and the human-environment interface. Students learn how evolutionary and ecological processes influence the development and sustainability of ancient and modern populations. Courses related to this theme emphasize understanding the socio-environmental factors that contribute to human migration, to the emergence of complex societies and to the ways that human cultures adapt to their environment. We also explore how human societies past and present influence, alter and rebuild their environments, as well as the effect that human-caused environmental change has on human health and disease.

Degree Offerings

Certificate in Language and Cross-cultural Communication

The certificate in language and cross-cultural communication provides you with the sociolinguistic and cultural knowledge you need to solve language-related limitations in both everyday and institutional communication. The program lines up well with the current institutional mission of Temple University—we prepare students to work and thrive in an increasingly globalized world where language-related expertise, particularly cross-linguistic and cross-cultural knowledge, is a highly desirable skill. The curriculum for the certificate consists of linguistic anthropology courses that cover language and how language is used to understand culture, how languages are distributed across the world, and their contemporary and historical relationships.

Certificate Offerings

Academic Advising and Professional Development

Take full advantage of the College of Liberal Arts’ flexible curriculum with the help of our award-winning advisors. We help you select a major or a minor and graduate on time. Beyond academics, our advisors ensure that you have a rich experience at Temple by complementing your academic work with internships, study abroad programs and other experiential learning opportunities.

Fly in 4

Take charge of your future and limit your debt. The Fly in 4 partnership allows you to complete your degree on time—or Temple will pay for your remaining coursework. Graduating on time means your path to success starts sooner. We provide you with the resources you need to graduate in four years, like academic advising and classes offered when you need them. You commit to doing what it takes to blaze your career path in four years.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

At Temple, we believe that students from all walks of life should have access to an outstanding college education. If you need help paying for your education, you aren’t alone. Most students receive some form of financial aid to fund their education. About 69% of first-year Temple students receive need-based financial aid, and the average first-year financial aid package is about $15,000. Eligible students receive financial assistance from federal, state, private and university sources. Explore your financial aid options and apply early to make your college education an affordable experience.

Undergraduate Tuition

No Added Tuition Costs. That’s the promise the College of Liberal Arts makes (and keeps) to all of our incoming students. We know deciding to attend college is a big one, both in life and financially, so we're committed to keeping costs down. We're one of only three schools/colleges at Temple University that do not charge a tuition differential, so what you see is what you pay. Our priority is helping you graduate with less student debt. 

We understand that, at this phase, you are weighing all your options, and you should be! It's crucial to find the right fit for YOU and YOUR PASSIONS.

For more information, visit Temple's costs, aid and scholarships page and Temple’s tuition calculator. To see tuition rates for all Temple schools and colleges, visit Temple’s 2023–2024 tuition rates page.