Applied Anthropology, Anthropology, BA

Applied Anthropology faculty and students ANTHROPOLOGISTS CHANGE THE WORLD Since 2012, Applied Anthropology students have participated in the Appalachian Teaching Project. Working with Professors Abigail Adams and Amanda Poole, these students have studied issues of opioid addiction, COVID-19, rural food security and poverty, sustainable and asset-based development, and community gardens in the communities surrounding IUP. The students conduct original research, present that research in Washington, DC each year, help their community, and have a good time doing it.

Choose Your Own Focus in the Applied Anthropology Track

Applied Anthropology combines qualitative research with quantitative data to promote positive change in communities at home and across the globe. The objective of the Applied Anthropology Track is to provide students with a background in anthropological method and theory, a cross-cultural perspective, and an avenue to translate this knowledge into action through internships and research.

In consultation with their advisor, each student will focus on a specific topical area. Recent examples include students who have researched and gained hands-on experience applying anthropology to immigration issues, environmental policy and sustainability, poverty alleviation, and issues in global and public health. Flexibility in curriculum, together with internships and research, provides a wide variety of post-graduation opportunities. Some graduates go on to graduate school, while others have taken jobs in healthcare, government, nonprofits, and many other fields.

Garden - Lisa McCann amid flowers

PROFESSORS PLANT SEEDS An assignment for Professor Amanda Poole's applied anthropology class grew into a staff position at the Indiana Community Garden for Lisa McCann. Now the garden's official photographer and blogger, McCann aims to build a career working with sustainability and multicultural understanding. "I absolutely love my classes, and the professors are an inspiration to me," she says. (Kay Snyder photo)

Why Applied Anthropology?

Anthropologists seek to understand humanity: how we came to be the way we are, in which ways we differ, and how we are all the same. We do this by studying our evolution, the societies we developed throughout our history, and the diversity of cultural patterns we have developed across the world.

Aside from the unique worldview that anthropologists gain from studying humanity in this way, the skillsets we develop in our professional training are in high demand for a wide range of careers. Applied anthropologists work in a variety of cultural settings where they use the methods of ethnography to solve contemporary social problems. From refugee camps in the horn of Africa, to a women's reproductive health clinic in Albuquerque, to substance recovery among immigrant populations in the urban Philly, applied anthropologists collaborate with communities to identify needs and institute change. With our Applied Anthropology BA, you'll have the chance to gain expertise on a wide range of techniques and topics to be an agent of social change and bridge the gap between theories of cultural behavior and the policies that affect contemporary cultures.

Anthropology students

WATER RESOURCES ANALYZED Students observe the operations at a water treatment facility during an ethnographic field school with professors Anastasia Hudgins and Amanda Poole.

Courses in the Department of Anthropology at IUP are designed to provide you with the needed information and experience to put your Applied Anthropology BA to use in a professional career upon finishing your BA. Some examples of the career paths of our recent graduates include work in international development, health, human rights, business and marketing, the environment, education, and as advocates for marginalized communities. Other potential career paths that the Applied Anthropology BA will prepare you for include international business, documentary film maker, and museum curator.

Customize your Degree Through a Minor, Double Major, or Internship

The Applied Anthropology BA is also good choice if there is a specific topic or area of expertise that you would like to customize through a minor or a double major, or through an internship at a specific institution.

A unique aspect of this degree is experiential learning. This can be an internship, ethnographic field school, independent study, guided research, or another experience that lets you really immerse yourself in a topic. This experience will give you valuable experience when applying for a job or graduate school and help you better understand a topic that you are passionate about.

Free electives offered by this major are especially useful since they give you the opportunity to explore another field by adding a minor. Some of the minors offered by IUP include global health, LGBTQ studies, sustainability studies, women's studies, criminology, business administration, sociology/applied social research, educational psychology, international studies, political science, nutrition, Asian studies, journalism, dance, theater, and digital history.

Continuing on to Grad School or Looking for a Job After Graduation?

Either way, the Applied Anthropology BA sets you up for success.

The Applied Anthropology BA also provides an excellent foundation on the most important concepts in the four fields of anthropology for those looking to continue their education into graduate school.

You will also learn real-world applied skills that are in increased demand in this time of global business, politics, and culture. Applied anthropology majors have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to effectively relate across cultural differences and in increasingly diverse environments at home and abroad—skills that employers know they need.

If you are still unsure, feel free to come talk to us, we are located at McElhaney Hall G1. Ask for Professor Ben Ford,

Courses for the Applied Anthropology, BA

Required Courses

  • ANTH 211 Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 222 Biological Anthropology
  • ANTH 233 Language and Culture
  • ANTH 244 Basic Archaeology
  • ANTH 456 Ethnographic Research Methods
  • ANTH 457 Applied Anthropology
  • ANTH 480 Anthropology Seminar

Controlled Electives

  • ANTH 493 Internship in Anthropology, ANTH 460 Ethnographic Field School, or a pragmatic skill course
  • One courses in topical area ethnography, such as ANTH 271, 272, 273, 274, 314, 370
  • One additional ANTH elective (300 or 400 level)
  • One additional ANTH elective (any level)

If you want to see how these classes fit into a degree at IUP, this suggested degree plan will help.

Resources for current students