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Anthropology (A.A.)

Anthropology offers concepts and analytical practice that will lead you to understand the deeply held values and assumed social structures that characterize each culture. As an anthropology student, you will find the basis for becoming conversant with a continuously broadening world.

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Contact Information

Katie Nelson
Anthropology Instructor

Admissions Team
College Center

In our culturally diverse society, developing an awareness of difference as well as human commonality is pertinent to any profession you choose. The A.A. in Anthropology builds a broad, insightful foundation in your pursuit of a four-year degree. A minor or second major in anthropology deserves consideration. Having an anthropological eye will enhance your experience during foreign study and travel while giving you firmer footing in international and cultural relations.


A.A. with Emphasis, Anthropology – 60 credits

Anthropology is the study of humanity. This comprehensive field typically is divided into several subfields, including archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology and linguistics. Connecting these various subfields is a series of approaches that encourage the individual to be comparative in scope, evolutionary in depth and holistic in perspective.

Note: To earn the A.A. with Emphasis in Anthropology, you need to complete all requirements for a general A.A. degree, incorporating the specific requirements of your chosen emphasis. Careful planning with an academic counselor or advisor and a faculty member in the Anthropology department is strongly advised to tailor the emphasis to meet the requirements of your chosen four-year college or university. Honors within the anthropology emphasis is an option.

Program Planning Guide

Anthropology Curriculum

Course Number Title Credits
Incorporate the following anthropology coursework into the requirements of an A.A. degree as part of the MnTC or within the elective category.
ANTH 1110 Cultural Anthropology
(MnTC Goals 5, 8)
3 cr
ANTH 1130 Introduction to Biological Anthropology
(MnTC Goals 3, 10)
3 cr
Choose two additional anthropology courses from:
ANTH 1101 Introduction to American Culture
(MnTC Goals 7, 8)
3 cr
ANTH 1120 Introduction to Archaeology
(MnTC Goals 5, 7)
3 cr
ANTH 1150 Introduction to American Indian Culture
(MnTC Goals 7, 10)
3 cr
ANTH 2100 Visual Anthropology 3 cr
ANTH 2130 Introduction to Medical Anthropology
(MnTC Goals 8, 9)
3 cr
Courses outside of the emphasis program:
ANTH 1100 Introduction to Anthropology 1
(MnTC Goals 5, 8)
3 cr
ANTH 2120 Field Experience in Anthropology
(MnTC Goals 5, 7)
3 cr
1 Note: ANTH 1100 Introduction to Anthropology is recommended as a first course when pursuing any interest in Anthropology, but it is not required as part of the emphasis.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) – 40 credits

Courses from the Anthropology curriculum may be applied to the MnTC requirements. The specific requirements for the MnTC are outlined as part of the Associate of Arts degree. To learn more about the requirements, visit Associate of Arts or contact an Inver Hills counselor or advisor.

Electives – 18 credits

You can take courses from any department numbered 1000 or higher. Courses from the Anthropology emphasis not applied to the MnTC should be incorporated into the elective category.

Health/Physical Education – 2 credits

You can learn about the specific requirements for Health/Physical Education by visiting Associate of Arts or contacting an Inver Hills counselor or advisor.

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Course Descriptions

ANTH 1100  Introduction to Anthropology   3.0 cr

Introduces students to the four subfields of anthropology: archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and language. Anthropology, is the study of humanity. Within each subfield are various, practical applications which are collectively termed applied anthropology. Students will learn to identify and apply anthropological study methods. Included within this knowledge will be the application of holistic, comparative, and evolutionary avenues of anthropological inquiry into the issues and institutions that affect our complex, modern lives.

ANTH 1101  Introduction to American Culture   3.0 cr

Explores the cultural variety that comprises the current American population and the issues that drive Americans today. This course provides an introduction to American culture with emphasis on those who have arrived in the past 200 years including their transitions, mobility, and interchange. Classroom discussions, lectures and activities will focus on the effects of each succeeding immigrant group on American culture through the operation of American Dominant Culture, worldview, and institutions; with focus primarily on the role of the individual and consumerism within American society.

ANTH 1110  Cultural Anthropology   3.0 cr

Introduces students to the anthropological subfield focused on human culture. Culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by individuals as a member of society. Examines the tension between the claim that culture can be both universal as well as particular. This class offers a broad survey allowing for this comparison of universals and particulars around the world, including larger concepts of identity, cultural manifestation, operation of institutions, and issues of inequality and globalization.

ANTH 1120  Introduction to Archaeology   3.0 cr

Introduces students to the archaeological field and profession. Archaeology, one of the four sub-fields within anthropology, is the study of human material culture and is typically done by examining objects and locations left behind by various groups throughout human history. Students will examine the history, methods, and basic theories of archaeology. Additionally, students will learn how the archaeological profession is conducted today and apply this to highlighting issues of community development and expression, subsistence, status, consumption, gender, and other contemporary issues.

ANTH 1130  Introduction to Biological Anthropology   3.0 cr

Introduces the biological anthropology field, one of the four sub-fields within anthropology. Sometimes called physical anthropology, biological anthropology is the study of our collective human origins. Students will accomplish this through three main areas: study of biological evolution, including the forces of evolution and cellular biology; comparing primate and human physical and behavioral practices; and by examining hominid evolution from groups beginning four to five million years ago through today as they are shaped by environmental and cultural stimuli. Study will be done through a variety of in class discussions and lectures as well as simulated or dry lab activities. Additionally, students will learn how modern cultural implications impact our evolution and environment today.

ANTH 1150  Introduction to American Indian Cultures   3.0 cr

Introduces students to American Indian cultures from an anthropological perspective. This is accomplished through three primary avenues: a broad survey of cultures prior to European colonization; the historical-cultural experiences that contributed to present day Native American communities; and finally issues in modern American Indian communities and their relationships with anthropologists. Specific North American culture areas from the Midwest and Great Plains, through the Southeast and Southwest will be surveyed.

ANTH 2100  Visual Anthropology   3.0 cr

Introduces students to the exceptional cultural diversity of expression in the world today. Visual anthropology is a subfield of cultural anthropology that is concerned with the study and production of art, photography, film, and new media; including areas such as performance, museums, and mass media. Students examine the purposes of visual, cultural representations; from conformity and conflict, to personal perception and propaganda. Extending from cave paintings and sand paintings to hieroglyphics and modern media outlets, and on to tattoos and texting; students will examine their own and other's ethical concepts in a variety of institutional settings throughout the modern world. Prerequisites: Recommended ANTH 1100 or 1110.

ANTH 2120  Field Experience in Archaeology   3.0 cr

Introduces students to the archaeological field and the American Cultural Resource Management (CRM) profession. Archaeology, one of the four sub-fields within anthropology, is the study of human material culture and is typically done by examining objects and locations left behind by various groups throughout human history. This course gives students the opportunity to more closely examine how archaeology is applied primarily through implementation of the National Historic Preservation Act and the resulting creation of CRM as the mainstay of employment within archaeology today. Students will spend approximately half of their time in the classroom with the remainder in the field; observing and experiencing various archaeological sites, museums, historical societies, etc. Students will learn how the archaeological profession highlights issues of community engagement, development, and expressions. Prerequisites: Recommended ANTH 1120.

ANTH 2130  Introduction to Medical Anthropology   3.0 cr

Growing specialization within anthropology, medical anthropology draws upon socio-cultural, linguistic and biological anthropology to understand those factors that affect human health and illness. This course introduces students to this field of study and the cross-cultural, political and ethical considerations involved in solving real-world problems related to human health and illness. Through the examination of case studies students will learn ways to apply principles of medical anthropology to solve contemporary issues facing our communities. Prerequisites: None, but ANTH 1110 or ANTH 1130 recommended, but not required.

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Transfer Information

The A.A. with an Emphasis in Anthropology at Inver Hills has an articulation agreement with the following four-year institutions:

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Meet the Faculty

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Clubs & Organizations

Student Clubs

Anthropology Club
Purpose: To explore the vast field of anthropology and garner student interest.

To learn more, contact:

Katie Nelson
Anthropology Instructor
Anthropology Club Faculty Advisor
Office: TBD

Professional organizations

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Employment Information

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of anthropologists and archaeologists is expected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, or 8 percent faster than average for all occupations. Anthropologists in the U.S. earned an average annual salary of nearly $60,000 in 2012.

Earning a degree in anthropology opens doors to numerous career opportunities. Trained anthropologists follow successful careers in education, business, government and nonprofits. The unique knowledge set, research capability, analytical skills and diverse perspective anthropologists gain through rigorous study offers a strong advantage in an increasingly competitive global economy.

Career areas for anthropology majors

  • Administration and management
  • Archaeology
  • Business
  • Community development
  • Cultural Resource Management (CRM)
  • Education and outreach
  • Environment and natural resources
  • Ethnography and cultural anthropology
  • Evaluation and assessment
  • Healthcare management, services and delivery
  • Historic preservation
  • Human and social services
  • Humanitarian efforts
  • Human rights and social justice advocacy
  • International and public health
  • International development and affairs
  • Management consulting and organizational development
  • Market research
  • Mass communication
  • Museum and curation and project design
  • Social impact assessment
  • Tourism and heritage

Anthropological specialties

  • Sociocultural anthropologists examine social patterns and practices across cultures.
  • Archaeologists investigate the material remains of bygone peoples and cultures.
  • Physical anthropologists work to determine the biological nature of humankind.
  • Linguistic anthropologists study how language reflects and influences social life.
  • Medical anthropologists research factors that affect human health and well being.
  • Forensic anthropologists analyze human remains in crime detection.
  • Business anthropologists apply theories and methods to solve business problems.
  • Visual anthropologists employ imagery to describe, analyze and interpret behavior.
  • Environmental anthropologists evaluate how people relate to changes in their environment.
  • Museum anthropologists explore museum history and the roles of museums in society.

Below are just a few examples of possible career paths that can start with earning an A.A. with an Emphasis in Anthropology at Inver Hills.

Additional resources

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Why Inver Hills?

Completing your A.A. with Emphasis in Anthropology degree obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:

  1. You will receive an excellent education with one-on-one interactions with anthropology faculty
  2. You will get firsthand experience working on real-world anthropology problems
  3. You will save money and continue your academic and professional careers with less student debt *

* On a national scale, student loan debt has mushroomed to $1.2 trillion, which is greater than credit card debt and auto loan debt combined. In Minnesota, the average debt for four-year grads tops $30,000; 70 percent carry a student debt load.

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs a little less than $5,300. Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a for-profit college, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education firsthand from Ph.D. instructors and then transfer to a four-year as a junior all while saving thousands of dollars. It's a no-brainer.

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