Undergraduate Program

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Dia de los Muertos dance performance in Mesilla

Anthropology is the study of humankind, a multidisciplinary endeavor involving the social sciences, the humanities, and the natural sciences. Anthropologists study the human species and the human condition in all its diversity. Anthropologists ask questions such as: “Who are we?” “Where did we come from?” “How did we get here?” “Why are we different from each other?” And, “How can we better understand each other?”

Studies in anthropology might focus, for example, on our distant human ancestors from the African plains, modern workers in a high-tech factory, historic military forts in the Mesilla Valley, Native American languages, or prehistoric or contemporary cultures of the American Southwest and Mesoamerica.
Undergraduate education at New Mexico State University covers all four subdisciplines of the field:

  • Biological Anthropology – the study of human origins, primate relatives, and human biological diversity
  • Archaeology – the study of the origin and change of the human past in both historic and prehistoric times, using material remains
  • Cultural Anthropology – the study of beliefs, values, shared understandings, and customs of peoples from around the world
  • Linguistic Anthropology – the study of human language, linguistic diversity, and speech

Resources and Special Programs

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Student mapping 

The anthropology department offers a regular colloquium series with lectures by local and visiting experts on a variety of  anthropological topics. Students also benefit from exposure to NMSU anthropologists who are developing and using state-of-the-art techniques and technology. Laboratories, a film library, excellent computer facilities, and study collections of artifacts and skeletal materials are among the special resources available to students.

Anthropologists at NMSU are committed to supporting programs for highly motivated students. The Crimson Scholar Program provides employment for undergraduates under the supervision of researchers and faculty. In addition, anthropology faculty offer small, seminar-style classes on various topics through the Honors Program. Students also can become involved in Museum Studies through the Anthropology department. Practical experience in museum work and museum studies courses is also available.

Anthropology Careers

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Archaeological Field School, Summer 2015

The field of anthropology provides a broadly based education in the social and biological sciences. Undergraduate anthropology majors develop an understanding of human organizations that will benefit them in a wide variety of careers. They have particular advantage in positions that require contact with different cultures and ethnic groups or with large organizations that provide human services.

Students intending to become professional anthropologists usually plan to go on for an advanced degree. They can pursue careers in teaching, archaeological research, museums, public and private cultural resource management, international development and business, human services and health care, forensic sciences, urban planning, agricultural development, and administration. While anthropology is a traditional academic discipline, it also has become an applied profession.

Today, many anthropologists hold important positions in government, business, public policy organizations, and health professions. Anthropology’s broad perspective on human diversity and intercultural relations provides students with valuable professional skills. NMSU anthropologists are committed to teaching practical knowledge and useful skills that will contribute to students’ career goals and to their intellectual development.

Financial Aid

Numerous university and college scholarships are available. The scholarship and other financial aid deadlines (usually March 1 or earlier) are listed in the NMSU financial aid guide along with information on grants and student loans. For more information, see the NMSU Financial Aid page.