About our Department

The Anthropology department is a place of research, new ideas, and public engagement.  Our faculty and students are making new discoveries about how we have evolved as a species and the behavior of our closest primate relatives. Others are examining language diversity, the legacies of colonialism, health and disease in cross-cultural perspectives, how communities create sustainable economies, the changing forms of activism, and kinship and family life in a global world. We know that what we discover about the diversity of human behavior and social institutions of the past and present will help us understand and respond to our present challenges.   Students are encouraged to challenge conventional thinking, design their education, and offer new perspectives on how we approach the world and each other.

The Department of Anthropology is committed to respectful engagement with communities past and present, and fostering innovative forms of community-based research.  Our Department and the University as a whole is committed to meeting its legal, moral and ethical obligations to consult with tribes across the United States and return all human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony that tribes wish to repatriate. The University recognizes the importance of respecting the beliefs, cultural practices and history of this country's Indigenous peoples and their rights to repatriate their ancestors and objects. UMass Amherst is committed to building respectful and lasting relationships with Native American tribes. The University has developed a policy on our mission, compliance standards and protocols regarding the The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).  Read the policy here.

We offer undergraduate and graduate programs offer:

Experiential learning

Our undergraduate and graduate students get their hands dirty—whether its learning how to build a Native American birch bark canoe, excavating an historic site, or collaborating with community organizations for social justice across the Pioneer Valley and beyond. We’re passionate about hands-on experience, and students have numerous opportunities to work and study in the field. Our small class sizes give students personalized attention so they can fine-tune the skills they’ll take to the workforce and beyond.

Flexibility

Our flexible program allows students to design their own focus. We offer a wide range of courses in all of the sub-specialties of anthropology:  archaeology, bio-archaeology, socio-cultural, linguistic, and biological anthropology. We encourage students to combine coursework from these different fields to explore topics from multiple angles. See our special interdisciplinary tracks in Health and the Body; Native American and Indigenous Studies; and Inequality, Race and Social Justice.

Renowned faculty

UMass Anthropology faculty are nationally known leaders in developing community-based and participatory research methods that seek to make a positive impact on communities and issues of public concern.

We are actively involved in innovative research in many different settings all over the world: from the study of primates in Madagascar, ancient Neanderthals in Europe, the nutritional challenges in the highlands of Peru, caring for the elderly in Thailand, the urban garden movement of Lisbon, or reclaiming the heritage of the former slave plantations of the Caribbean, and much more.

Learn more about faculty members’ research, grants and publications.

Strong alumni network

As an UMass graduate, you’re connected to a robust and engaged alumni network. You’ll benefit from peer support, career connections, and mentoring opportunities. Across the country and the globe, our graduates are engaged in groundbreaking work that changes how we understand our world.

Learn more about our undergraduate and graduate programs.