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B.A. in Anthropology

Anthropology is the holistic study of human cultures/societies through time and space, as well as our primate relatives. Anthropologists study the full range of the human experience, from human origins to language to material culture to social organization. Each of its five fields – archaeology, cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, linguistics and applied anthropology – has a different focus but they share methods, theories and foundational concepts such as culture and cultural relativism. Anthropology students at SUNY Potsdam are trained in all five fields, with a particular focus on the practical application of anthropological knowledge.


Students will be able to:

  • demonstrate fundamental anthropological knowledge.
  • access anthropological data and information.
  • apply anthropological knowledge.
  • disseminate anthropological knowledge.

Career Outlook

Employment of anthropologists and archaeologists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031.

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Students and faculty participate in an annual Atlatl Battle. The atlatl team continues to offer a fun way for our students to bond and learn more about ancient forms of technology.

Dr. Tim Messner talks about the value of the HEARTH (Hand-crafted, Experiential, Archaeological Research and Teaching Hub), a brand-new applied learning center at SUNY Potsdam.

“Anthropology is studying what it is that makes us human. It’s really fascinating to me to be looking back in time, hundreds of thousands of years ago, at these people and the struggles they went through. We’re not just looking at them as bones in the desert or a cave, we’re trying to piece together what their lifestyle was like.”


Charlie Sarkioglu Anthropology Major
“A Once-In-A-Lifetime Opportunity”

A lifelong curiosity about the inner workings of humankind brought Alexandra Sveshnikova ‘25 to the SUNY Potsdam Department of Anthropology. The fire of that curiosity will be fueled by a research trip this summer to Kenya, where she will be part of a cutting-edge examination of our origins and the history that preceded human tenure on earth, as she joins Associate Professor of Biological Anthropology Nasser Malit and more than 20 researchers and experts from around the globe.

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Hands Across Cultures

Bringing years of research experience from remote regions of Latin America into the classroom, Dr. Sergio López and Dr. Lydia Rodríguez have continued to share their passion for anthropology with their students, while creating unique applied learning opportunities for them along the way. Since 2016, they have worked with their students to organize the annual AIBR International Conference of Anthropology, which unites 600 professionals and students from around the globe—a formative, even life changing experience for students studying anthropology or Spanish at SUNY Potsdam

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A Creative Mind

Tasked with writing a fractured fairytale in one of his first English classes out of high school, Parker Atlas Yaw ’24 had no way of knowing that he would be a published author just a few years later. Now, a junior at SUNY Potsdam, he has turned those initial pages into a fully formed 300-page novel that will soon be on the digital shelves of Amazon in paperback and eBook. Yaw has excelled academically while pursuing a double major in anthropology and English literature/writing. He plans to teach English at the high school level after graduation, and also pursue a doctorate in linguistics.

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Fertile Ground for Exploration

A double major in anthropology and international studies, Simisola Macaulay ’23 has taken on leadership roles as the president of the anthropology club, a student ambassador for Admissions and Advancement, and a peer study abroad counselor in the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning. Whether giving a TEDx Talk on gender expression within the Yoruba community in Nigeria, or conducting research on maternal practices of women in the Maasai tribe in Tanzania, she has continued to personalize her educational experiences by connecting them to her family and African heritage.

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Examining Humanity Through an Anthropological Lens

From nightly performances on a Royal Caribbean cruise line, to acting gigs all over the world, CharlieSarkioglu ’22 has had a fruitful career embracing his passion for the arts. Now he’s shifting gears as he completes his undergraduate degree in anthropology at SUNY Potsdam—something that he believes will positively impact his future theatrical projects.

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SUNY Potsdam Faculty Member Documents Greenland Visit in ‘Virtual Field Trip’

Visiting Professor of Anthropology Dr. Kathryn Grow Allen is documenting her research and travels in Greenland for the benefit of her SUNY Potsdam students, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Nuuk.

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