Anthropology: studying people and culture; applying knowledge to real world issues

Anthropology is the study of humankind. Anthropologists employ prehistoric, historic, and contemporary perspectives to explore the culture, evolution, behavior, beliefs and social organization of peoples around the world. The discipline offers a comparative understanding of lifeways around the planet and seeks strategies for improving humans' quality of life in a global context.

The University of Memphis offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Anthropology. Students with diverse interests will find anthropology to be a stimulating major or minor. Anthropology courses also provide the perfect elective for students in other fields, such as international business, economics, sociology, communication, history, or education.

Special programs available to undergraduate and graduate students include anthropological activities at the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa; opportunities to participate in faculty research in archaeology, urban communities, museum studies, and healthcare in the Mid-South; and internship experience in local museums and urban and medical agencies. The department also participates in the Honors Program, which challenges and recognizes exceptional undergraduate students.

For the latest from our dynamic department, visit our News and Events page.  

Support the Department

Alumni and community members support the work of the department through their generous gifts. See what a donation can do, and how you can contribute to either the general Department fund or to the Tim Bolding Award, which honors Tim's lifetime of helping students and our community.

Mission, Vision, and Values


We, the faculty and students of the University of Memphis Department of Anthropology, are committed to applying our discipline to the understanding and potential redress of local, national, and international problems rooted in a lack of awareness of and/or respect for cultural difference. Faculty members draw from their publicly-engaged research to provide quality instruction and other forms of support for students seeking to effect positive change through anthropologically-informed careers.


To be among the leading applied anthropology programs in the country, preparing undergraduate and graduate students for career success in local, national, and global job markets.

To apply anthropological theory and methods within individually-run and collaborative research projects geared toward understanding and potentially solving the complex social problems besetting the region, nation, and world.

To ensure that students, through comprehensive study and application of anthropological theory, understand and value human diversity.

To expand anthropological theory through insights from our applied work.


Character and integrity. Acting with honesty and respect towards others.

Scholarship. A commitment to academic rigor, critical inquiry, and interdisciplinary outreach in research and writing.

Open, fair-mindedness. Celebrating our common humanity but also the many forms of human diversity. Defending the right to diversity through taking action against social injustice.

Community engagement and service. Applying knowledge towards improving life on the local, national, and international level; working collaboratively with others to problem-solve.

Education. Encouraging critical inquiry, lifelong learning, and civic engagement in our students. Sharing our skills and values not only with students but also the broader community.