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Anthropology: The Study of Humanity

Anthropology is the scientific study of humans, our societies, and our cultures. Anthropologists examine the ways in which people adapt to their environments, create and transmit cultural knowledge, form social relationships, and interact with one another.

Studying anthropology cultivates a deep appreciation and understanding of the diverse cultures and societies that make up our world. As a holistic practice, anthropologists develop a global perspective on many issues including social justice, environmental sustainability, and human rights.

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4research laboratories
2Summer Field Schools
800animal skeletons in our zooarchaeological collection

What Will I Learn?

As an anthropology major, you will learn about issues in three of the subfields:

Archaeology asks questions about the past, and these questions can vary depending on the specific archaeological site, culture, or time period being studied.

Archaeologists ask questions such as:

  • What happened here?
  • When did it happen?
  • Who was involved?
  • How did they live?
  • What can we learn about this society, environment, and inter-society interactions?
  • What is the significance of cultural heritage?

Archaeological research contributes not only to our knowledge of history and prehistory but also to our understanding of human societies and the broader human story.

Cultural anthropologists ask a wide range of questions about various aspects of culture and social life.

Cultural anthropologists ask questions such as:

  • How do people communicate?
  • How is knowledge transmitted?
  • What are the norms and taboos?
  • What are the effects of globalization?
  • What is the relationship between culture and environment?
  • What are the ethical considerations in cultural research?

Cultural anthropologists use a variety of research methods, including participant observation, interviews, surveys, and ethnographic research, to answer these questions and gain a deeper understanding of the cultures they study.

Biological anthropologists ask a wide range of questions related to human biology and our place in the natural world.

Biological anthropologists ask questions such as:

  • How are humans related to other primates?
  • What can genetics tell us about human history?
  • What are the mechanisms of human growth and development?
  • What can ancient DNA tell us?
  • How do humans adapt to different environments?
  • What are the implications of human biological research?

Biological anthropology combines knowledge from various scientific disciplines, including genetics, paleontology, archaeology, anatomy, and ecology, to answer these questions and contributes to our understanding of human evolution, biology, and adaptation, with implications for fields such as medicine, genetics, and public health.

You can earn course credit for internships, whether you organize it yourself or find one through us. Students have had internships at Camp Shelby, law enforcement agencies, and our labs. We encourage students to explore other possibilities tailored to specific career interests and will provide valuable experience for employment after graduation.

Our research labs also provide numerous opportunities for research in archaeology, biological anthropology, forensic anthropology, and applied anthropology. 

Meet Our Faculty

We are a small program that prides itself on working closely with students. In the labs, the classroom, summer field schools, independent research, and internships we always make time to help you prepare for your future.

Research Labs and Field Schools

Embark on a scholarly journey through our research labs and field schools, where archaeology, bioarchaeology, ethnography, and human evolution converge. Guided by esteemed faculty, each lab unveils unique aspects of our shared history, from lifeways of Mississippians to decoding skeletal narratives and conducting cutting-edge biological research. Complementing these labs are immersive summer field schools, providing hands-on experience in archaeological and ethnographic methodologies.

The archaeology lab houses archaeological collections from around the state to reconstruct lifeways and political organization of Mississippians over 800 years ago.

  • Address: 304 N. 37th Ave., Hattiesburg, MS, 39401
  • Contact: Dr.%20Daniel%20LaDu for more information on our archaeological collection.

In our bioarchaeology lab, learn how skeletal remains can tell life stories concerning diet, disease, and trauma of those who lived in the past, especially concerning the effects of Spanish colonialism on the Maya.

  • Address: 104 Charles Ln Dr, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, WSB Rm. 151
  • Contact: Dr.%20Marie%20Danforth for more information on our bioarchaeological collection.

The Ethnography and Qualitative Analysis Lab (EQuAL) is the only ethnography lab currently in the state of Mississippi. It is available for use to conduct or analyze ethnographic data and there is equipment available for checkout to conduct research.

  • Address: 1999 Pearl St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401, LAB 4th Floor
  • Contact: Dr.%20Sharon%20Young for more information on the services offered at our ethnography lab.

The Human Evolution and Reproduction Lab (HER) explores cutting-edge research focused on human evolution and reproductive health. 

  • Address: 104 Charles Ln Dr, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, WSB Rm. 151
  • Contact Dr.%20Sharon%20Young for more information on our biological research lab.

Our summer field schools in archaeology and applied cultural anthropology will give you additional hands-on experience and training.

Archaeology Field School
at Natchez, MS with Dr. Daniel LaDu

The archaeology field school takes place every odd summer at the Mazique Indian Mounds in Natchez, MS. This field school gives students the opportunity to earn credit while gaining experience in archaeological field methods including excavation, recording and documentation, surveying, and more!

Ethnographic Field School
with Dr. Allison Formanack

The ethnographic field school takes place every even summer. Ethnographic projects ranging from community involvement to user experience provide students the opportunity to earn credit while gaining experience in ethnographic methods including participant observation, data analysis, conducting interviews, and more!




Degree Plan Availability
Anthropology BAHattiesburg
Anthropology Minor

Contact Us

School of Social Science and Global Studies

456 Liberal Arts Building (LAB)

118 College Drive #5108
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

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  • Cultural Resource Management
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • User Experience (UX) Researcher
  • Crime Scene Analyst (forensic anthropologist)
  • Museum or Zoo Curator
  • Archaeologist
  • Jennifer Clark, 2001
    Event Planner, Emerge Events
  • Haley Streuding, 2007
    Archaeologist and Project Manager, Coastal Environments, Inc.
  • Julie Castillo, 2008
    Investigator at U.S. Department of Labor
  • Steven Kidd, 1997
    Cultural Resource Specialist/Archaeologist at National Park Service
  • Heide McKenzie, 2004
    Archaeologist and Environmental Specialist, Geographic Information Systems, Camp Shelby
  • Barbara McClendon, 2012
    Exhibits Curator at Mississippi Department of Archives and History