Anthropology as an academic discipline studies the bases and the forms of human diversity.
Anthropology as a practice seeks to apply this knowledge to the solution of human problems.
Anthropology is the study of humankind everywhere, throughout time. Anthropology involves the study of people, their origins, their biological variations and characteristics, their languages and cultural patterns, their social structures and institutions, and their adaptation to their environment. As stated on the American Anthropological Association website: “Anthropological study provides training particularly well suited to the 21st century. The economy will be increasingly international; workforces and markets, increasingly diverse; participatory management and decision making, increasingly important; communication skills, increasingly in demand. Anthropology is the only contemporary discipline that approaches human questions from historical, biological, linguistic, and cultural perspectives. The intellectual excitement and relevance of the wide range of information presented in anthropology assures that students are engaged and challenged. Moreover, it complements other scientific and liberal arts courses by helping students understand the interconnectivity of knowledge about people and their cultures.” Anthropology cultivates skills and dispositions that include qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, careful record-keeping and focus on context, attention to details, strong skills in oral and written expression, social ease in unfamiliar situations, and the ability to apply various explanatory models and adopt a broad perspective. All in all, these result in sharp thinking skills and occupational flexibility.
Anthropology at Northridge
Our faculty brings into the classroom a diverse set of interests and extraordinary amount of professional experience. Their collective fieldwork experience spans the world and among the locations where students and faculty are currently conducting or participating in field programs are the Channel Islands, Southern California, New Mexico, Baja California, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, Belgium, France, Senegal, Botswana, and Yap. The Department offers a Major, a Minor in (general) Anthropology and a Minor in Applied Anthropology, an Optional Major Program and a Master’s program with two options. The major is designed to contribute to a student’s liberal education and to prepare the student for graduate work, teaching or other professional pursuits. The minors are designed to complement a wide variety of other majors by exposing students to key issues in multiculturalism, human diversity and anthropological methodology. Anthropological methodology in turn complements methodologies in a wide range of fields: business, health, education and allied fields in the social sciences.