"Anthropology is both the most scientific of the humanities and the most humanistic of the sciences."    - Eric Wolf (1964).
Anthropology uses the tools of the natural sciences and the tools of the humanities in order to understand all aspects of human life.  The four main fields of anthropology approach the study of humanity from four related perspectives.
  • Cultural Anthropology studies human culture, the beliefs, practices, values, technologies, and economies of people past and present.
  • Physical Anthropology studies human evolution and biology.
  • Linguistic Anthropology studies the nature of  human language, including the historical connections among languages, and the many links between language and culture.
  • Archaeological Anthropology studies the material objects and environments of past and present humans in order to learn about their cultures.
  • Together, these fields make up the holistic study of anthropology.

Anthropology is also an applied science and the anthropologists at Rutgers-Newark have a particular strength in the anthropology of peace and conflict.  Members of the department work closely with the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights and the International Institute for Peace in seeking to understand the causes of violence and conditions for peace worldwide.  Our relationship with these centers also provides opportunities for students to do research and applied work.

The anthropology major provides students with an understanding of human life in the widest historical and comparative framework.  This major provides a rounded education that prepares students for advanced degree work and for careers in education, research, government service, and many other kinds of employment—such as sales, NGO work, or executive office work—where knowledge of human relations is important.