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Department of Anthropology

Graduate students posing at a dig site.


Our small department size means you'll get personal attention from our faculty members as you embark on an interdisciplinary course of study. We also encourage you to take advantage of the expert faculty in other departments like geology, geography, linguistics, public health, history, African American studies, Latin American and Caribbean studies, and many more.

Our graduate study is flexible with multiple degrees, areas of study and several interdisciplinary certificate programs to choose from. Many of our students are also awarded a graduate assistantship after they apply to the program


What You'll Study

You'll choose a sub-field of anthropology to specialize in, but we encourage you to cross the boundaries of each sub-field and incorporate them into your graduate work. 

Four Sub-fields of Anthropology

Four archaeologists teach in the department.  Research areas include paleoethnobotany (Wagner) and eastern North America prehistoric and contact-era archaeology (Wagner), historical archaeology of the African Diaspora (Kelly: Africa, Caribbean; Weik: Caribbean, US), and African prehistoric archaeology and ethnoarchaeology (Casey). The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) also has several archaeologists working on prehistoric (King & White) and historic archaeology (DePratter, South) of the Southeast and a very large collection of materials from the state. Many of our archaeology faculty offer elective courses that complement other subfield offerings.

Five cultural anthropologists (Lewis, economic/cultural; Moskowitz, cultural; Reynolds, cultural/linguistic; D. Simmons, cultural; K. Simmons, cultural) and a political economist (Barker) teach in the department. Research areas in cultural anthropology include activist anthropology, globalization and development, identity construction, social justice, economic development, indigenous rights, sovereignty, anthropology of childhood, gender, class, racialization, social and political movements, migration, and popular cultures. 

Two linguistic anthropologists teach in the department. Reynolds conducts research on language ideology, language socialization, and social reproduction among indigenous Mayas in Guatemala and Latin American immigrants in the United States. Feliciano-Santos conducts research on the politics of language use, social activism, language and cultural revitalization, and racial and ethnic formations among Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico and the diaspora. Linguistic Anthropology is also one of the subfield areas of concentration within the Linguistics Program

There are two biological anthropologists in the department (de la Cova and DeWitte).  De la Cova’s work examines the impact race, culture, social inequality, and environment has on the skeletal health of African Americans and Euro-Americans though paleopathological and historical analyses. DeWitte’s research focuses on reconstructing population-level health and demographic patterns (paleoepidemiology and paleodemography) in various contexts, including historic plague epidemics (e.g. the Black Death).


Our Graduates

In general, about half of our graduates go on to Ph.D. programs. Some have continued at USC (Linguistics, Public Health, Sociology). Others have gone elsewhere to study Anthropology (Stanford, University of Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Yale, UCLA, McGill, UC Riverside, Kent State University, University of Pittsburgh, Purdue, UC Berkeley, Texas A & M, University of South Florida, Medical School, University of SC., UNC - Chapel Hill, UVA, SUNY Birmingham, Simon Fraser University).

Those who don't continue on to Ph.D. programs go on to fulfilling careers. 

Many of our students are now working in organizations like SCIAA, museums, state agencies, National Park Service and private archaeological research firms. 

You can find our graduates working in the Federal Government, in translation services for private companies and government agencies, teaching cultural awareness courses for businessmen, and teaching at community colleges. 

Many of these students continue in academic programs in biological sciences and public health and in professional schools, like dentistry, medicine and physical anthropology. Others are employed by public health research projects, cultural resource management firms, cemetery relocation projects and doing forensic death investigations. 

After getting my Ph.D., I'm continuing my work as an archaeologist focusing on issues of human-environment dynamics during the colonial period in the Caribbean, Southeast and West Africa.

Diane Wallman '14

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.