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Offerings: Bachelor | Minor

Course Description

Anthropology is the study of humans and what they think and do. Anthropology embraces a holistic perspective—the big picture—when examining human phenomena, seeking to understand human ideas and behavior as they are influenced by biological, ecological, economic, social, political, cultural, and religious factors and realities.

The Anthropology major at California State University San Marcos is an applied, collaborative, and interdisciplinary course of study that engages students directly with the interests and efforts of local communities. The Anthropology major takes into primary consideration the special role of Cal State San Marcos in the north San Diego county region and the opportunities for community-based research and fieldwork. CSUSM anthropology students gain hands-on field research experience through participation in long-term and on-going anthropological and archeological research among some of San Diego County’s diverse communities.

The Anthropology major has two areas of concentration—Medical Anthropology and Indigenous Anthropology—that interrelate and complement each other as well as articulate with regional community interests. After a core curriculum of anthropological and archeological concepts and methods, anthropology students work collaboratively with local communities and agencies, including farm workers, local Native American Bands, migrants and immigrants, local health service providers, state and county Departments of Health, indigenous Mexicans and Oaxaqueños, historical and and archeological foundations, and other communities. Through an engaged and innovative curriculum that responds to state and regional needs, the anthropology program trains students in qualitative and quantitative research methods that include ethnography, participant observation, ethnographic film, social documentation, ethnomedicine, ethnobotany, survey, and applied archaeology.

The Anthropology major distinguishes itself through long-term collaborative research projects that enhance student learning experiences, promote the interests of local communities, and practice complementary exchange between the University and the community. The interdisciplinary curriculum draws upon existing faculty expertise and incorporates courses from the biological sciences, film studies, ethnic studies, border and regional studies, history, geography, linguistics, mass media, Native American studies, nursing, philosophy, political science, sociology, and visual and performing arts.

The two areas of concentration that have distinct yet related areas of focus are Medical Anthropology and Indigenous Anthropology. Medical Anthropology—focuses on the study of medical systems, health disciplines, community health, access to and utilization of health care, medicinal concepts and practices, and forms of diagnosis, prognosis, illness causation, and disease etiologies. Advanced students conduct field research and internships in diverse health care settings. Indigenous Anthropology—focuses on working collaboratively with regional indigenous communities on long-term research and documentation projects that include but are not limited to: ethnobotany, cultural revitalization, social documentation, and issues surrounding cultural survival. Advanced students conduct field and laboratory research in collaboration with community-driven social documentation projects.

The Anthropology Minor at California State University San Marcos provides students with opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary and integrated studies of human nature, society, and culture. Employing the comparative, holistic, and evolutionary frameworks that are the hallmark of the anthropological perspective, the minor aims to provide students with theoretical and methodological perspectives that enable integrated understanding of human cultural achievements such as medicine, religion, mythology, migration, environmental adaptation, and technology. Rather than duplicating anthropology programs offered at other regional institutions that emphasize the four traditional subfields of anthropology—social/cultural anthropology, archeology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology— the Anthropology Minor at Cal State San Marcos is unique in that it draws upon areas of specialization, such as medical anthropology, cultural ecology, Latin American Studies, women’s studies, art, ethnic studies, and border studies, that reflect the strengths of Cal State San Marcos scholars. Emphasis is placed on achieving an understanding of human behavior as influenced by the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts in which it occurs. A fundamental goal of the minor is to provide students with opportunities to engage in active, community-based ethnographic research that stimulates self-reflection and critical analysis of their own world view assumptions and cultural belief systems. The minor prepares students for careers that require multicultural and culture-sensitive perspectives such as social services, health and medical services, education, and civil services, and provides a balanced foundation in anthropological concepts for students wishing to attend graduate school. The minor requires completion of twenty-one (21) units of credit, eighteen (18) of which must be at the upper-division level. Twelve (12) units must be completed at Cal State San Marcos, three (3) of which must be at the 400 level. Each course counted toward the minor must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better.

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology Areas of Concentration:
Medical Anthropology
Indigenous Anthropology

College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences (CHABSS)


  • Museum
  • Museum curator
  • Paralegal
  • Public policy analyst


  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Archeology
  • Art
  • Education
  • Paralegal
  • Travel


Archaeology, Archeology, Assessment, Biology, Cultural, Culture, Evaluation, Heritage, History, Human, Humans, Man, People, Society, Traditions