A Handbook for Anthropology Undergraduates
Academic Year 2011-2012
The faculty of the Program in Anthropology are pleased that you have selected anthropology as your major, and we hereby welcome you to our academic community. This short handbook is designed to answer anticipated questions about the discipline of anthropology and to provide necessary information on the structure and requirements of the Anthropology major at UTA. In addition, it provides some information on resources available to you in both the Program and University. Useful web links are included for further resources. Although this document will serve as a handy guide to Program policies, you are encouraged in addition to dip into the Anthropology Program website on a regular basis; it is periodically revised and updated to reflect changes in Program and University regulations and new sources of information about further academic work and careers in anthropology.
Students are also strongly encouraged to read carefully the front matter in the UTA Undergraduate Catalog, which covers University policies and regulations. The material presented in this Handbook is intended to clarify and complement the information in the official catalog.
Finally--and most importantly--you are urged to develop a good working relationship with your faculty advisor in the Anthropology Program. This means meeting with him or her more than the requisite once per semester. The faculty are interested in your academic progress in all your courses, and would like to be kept apprised of your overall development as a student.
Suggestions for additions and revisions to this handbook are always welcome. Please address them to Dr. Shelley Smith, Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Director of the Anthropology Program.
ANTHROPOLOGY: THE DISCIPLINE AND THE PROFESSION
What is anthropology?
Anthropology is the study of human behavior and what it means to be human. As an academic discipline, it spans the biological sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Anthropologists are curious about what it means to be human, and about the underlying cultural currents across the globe and in human history. The exploration of human behavior and cultures includes the study of culture and social life; human biology, primatology and evolution; the origins and development of complex society; language and linguistic variation; music and dance; cultural symbolism and spiritual practices; art and architecture; education; and medical anthropology.
Within this broad range of possibilities one may study such fascinating questions as how peoples’ behavior changes over time, why and how people from various parts of the globe are different or similar, how the human species has evolved over millions of years, and how individuals comprehend and operate successfully within and/or between distinctly different cultural settings.
Contained within the field of Anthropology are four fields of study -- cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, archaeology, and anthropological linguistics. Each field teaches critical skills such as applying theories, employing research methodologies, formulating and testing hypotheses, and developing and analyzing extensive sets of data. The Anthropology Program at UTA currently offers courses in the first three of these fields.
Cultural anthropologists may specialize in a particular geographic region or a specific population within that region. Others may study cultural practices within a particular societal and/or governmental territory. Physical anthropologists observe and study biological behavior in an attempt to understand ongoing human evolution and physical adaptation to particular environments. Archaeologists discover, analyze, and interpret artifacts, organic remains, architecture, and written records of past cultures. Archaeological excavation projects often consist of multidisciplinary teams of specialists in such fields as paleobotany, archaeozoology and geomorphology. Although such persons are often brought in from other academic disciplines, they are just as likely to be anthropologists with specialized training in scientific and technical fields.
What can I do with a B.A. in anthropology?
Anthropology is a venerable academic discipline within the liberal arts. The Anthropology faculty feel strongly that the liberal arts provide the best, most challenging and intellectually stimulating education a student can obtain at the undergraduate level. As is the case with the other liberal arts disciplines at the baccalaureate level, your goal is education, not professional training for a specific career. Numerous employment opportunities exist for those who hold an undergraduate degree in anthropology, and if you exercise some resourcefulness, rewarding jobs which at first might seem unrelated to the discipline can be identified. The experience and exposure to the world acquired as a student of anthropology are applicable in many work settings. It is to your benefit to explore a career situation with an eye toward recognizing the possibilities for exerting your anthropological skills and to help others recognize that match of talent and skills. It is not enough to present yourself as an anthropologist; you must also be able to relate your skills and experiences to their particular field and to answer clearly the question, How will you enhance our work environment?–-i.e., What do you have to offer? You will want to learn how to adapt your language and how you present yourself so that you can be seen and heard by potential employers (the UTA Office of Counseling and Career Development can provide you with a number of resources toward this end).
As national, cultural and social boundaries blur and technology catapults us into not only a global market, but also a global family, and as our own culture becomes more complex and layered, the skills that we as anthropologists have to offer are increasingly and rightly being recognized as of value to industry, government, and community organizations of various kinds. The most recognized and useful abilities of anthropologists are our ability to work as members of a team, our disciplined use of a vast array of anthropological tools and skills, and our ability to synthesize and report our findings in the form of a lucid analysis in an accessible manner. Interpersonal networking is another traditional anthropological tool that can help one develop an invaluable source for brainstorming and accessing the varied employment arenas in which an anthropology degree can be a valuable asset.
What jobs are out there?
Employment possibilities for anthropologists in the public sector are expanding rather more quickly than are possibilities in academia. Corporations involved in domestic as well as international trade have become increasingly aware of the implicit value of anthropological training, not merely in cultural awareness and sensitivity, but also in research, analysis, and presentation of valuable resource information.
Employment opportunities are available in the private, public and non-profit sectors in many areas, among them:
• Internal research analysts/consultants
A Few Resources
• Web Sites. Comprehensive listings of employment opportunities can be accessed through the Anthropology Program web page at http://www.uta.edu/anthropology/careers.html . Most useful is the Career Guide of the American Anthropological Association. Whether or not you anticipate being on the market for a career in anthropology in the near future, you are encouraged to browse this site occasionally, since it is a good index to jobs and careers in the discipline.
• Book. You will find it very useful to read Careers in Anthropology (2nd ed., 2000) by John T. Omohundro (Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company). The author is a professor of anthropology and undergraduate advisor at SUNY Potsdam. The book is designed to answer both general questions and concerns about professional opportunities. It has useful information on both careers and graduate study. It begins with a chapter entitled "'You're studying Whaat?' How to explain Anthropology to Others."
You would do well to purchase this useful and very pertinent book, which contains workbook exercises. The program owns one copy, which is available for checkout from LaDorna McGee.
Graduate Programs in Anthropology
For many careers, specialized credentials in the form of graduate degrees are of great benefit. UTA Anthropology majors have proceeded upon graduation to pursue master's and doctoral degrees in Anthropology as well as other disciplines at UTA and other institutions. Should you be interested in graduate study in anthropology, you are encouraged to discuss your academic and professional aspirations with the faculty. They will be happy to assist you in identifying the best and most appropriate graduate programs nationwide based on your specific interests.
THE ANTHROPOLOGY PROGRAM AT UTA
Areas of Specialization
• Cultural Anthropology. Cultural anthropologists study contemporary human behavior around the world. They seek to understand the role of culture in human societies. Their research involves participant-observation methods of fieldwork.
• Physical Anthropology. Physical or biological anthropologists study humans as a biological species. Their research involves the human fossil record as well as modern human biological variation and adaptation, including such topics as varied as the growth and development of children and forensic anthropology.
• Archaeology. Archaeologists examine human cultures of the past–-how they adapted to their environments and evolved socially over time–-by excavating and analyzing the tools, settlements, art, documents and other material traces these cultures left behind.
A program of study in anthropology has as its objective the grounding of students in three main subfields of anthropology: cultural anthropology, archaeology, and physical anthropology. Our program prepares students both for graduate work in anthropology and for many careers in which anthropological perspectives and training are useful.
UTA FACULTY IN ANTHROPOLOGY
Karl M. Petruso (PhD, Indiana University), Professor.
Ritu G. Khanduri (PhD, University of Texas), Assistant Professor.
Shelley L. Smith (PhD, University of Michigan), Professor.
Christian Zlolniski (PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara), Associate Professor.
ADMISSION TO THE ANTHROPOLOGY MAJOR
Admission to major status in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology is effective upon completion of 30 hours from the UTA Core Curriculum with a grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 or higher. Transfer students with 30 hours from the core curriculum and 12 hours in residence with a GPA of 2.00 or higher may apply for major status. Students who seek to major in anthropology should have taken three hours of ANTH courses with a grade of C or better before enrolling in the major.
Requirements for a Minor in Anthropology
The Anthropology minor (6 courses/18 hours total) can be fulfilled by successfully completing two of the following three courses:
Plus any other four ANTH courses, at least two of which must be at the advanced level (3000 or above). Questions about the Anthropology minor may be directed to the undergraduate advisor, LaDorna McGee.
Oral Communication and Computer Competencies
Students majoring in sociology or anthropology are required to demonstrate computer use and oral communication competencies. Computer use proficiency can be demonstrated through successful completion of (a) CSE 1301 or INSY 2303; (b) ANTH 3341 or SOCI 3355; (c) other courses approved by the Undergraduate Assembly; or (d) the University computer use competency examination. Oral communication proficiency can be demonstrated through the successful completion of (a) COMS 1301, 2305, or 3302; (b) ANTH 3341 or SOCI 3355, or other designated, approved courses in Anthropology and Sociology; or (c) other courses approved by the Undergraduate Assembly. Students should discuss these options with their undergraduate advisor, who may also provide a list of other courses approved by the University to meet these requirements.
Undergraduate Degree Plan
Students desiring admission to the major should schedule an appointment with Ms. LaDorna McGee, the undergraduate advisor for the Anthropology Program. Prior to registration each semester, majors are required to meet with the advisor to review their degree plans and to be cleared for registration.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR ANTHROPOLOGY MAJORS AT UTA
The Anthropology Program participates in the Honors College. Qualified Anthropology majors can earn an Honors degree in Anthropology. Honors freshman candidates must either be ranked in the top 10% of their high school graduating class, or have a combined SAT score of 1200 (Critical Reading and Math), or a minimum composite ACT score of 27. Currently enrolled or transfer students must have at least 3.35 cumulative GPA.
Admission is competitive. Admission to the Honors College is not based solely on grades or standardized test scores. The Admissions Committee considers student statements of purpose and résumés in the selection of Honors candidates. For further information, contact the Honors College at 817-272-7211, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
McNair Scholars Program
The UTA McNair Scholars Program (named for Dr. Ronald E. McNair, who perished in the Challenger space shuttle tragedy in 1986) prepares undergraduates for future graduate study culminating in the PhD. The program offers participants educational seminars, a summer research project with a faculty mentor (and $3,000 stipend), GRE preparation, travel funding to conferences and prospective graduate schools, and guidance with the graduate school application process.
UTA's program is one of approximately 200 federal McNair programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education at public and private colleges and universities across the nation. The primary goal of the McNair program is to increase the number of students from first-generation/low-income or underrepresented backgrounds who become university professors.
Students must meet the following criteria to qualify as McNair scholars:
Each fall (beginning October 1) the McNair program recruits new participants. Eligible students may download applications from the McNair website (www.uta.edu/soar) or pick them up in the program office (122 Hammond Hall). Semi-finalists will be interviewed in mid-January and successful applicants will join the program in February. For more information, contact the McNair Scholars Program at email@example.com or at 817-272-3715.
The UTA campus hosts more than 200 student honorary, professional, service and social organizations, a listing of which may be found on the web at http://www.uta.edu/uta/studentorgs.html#special. Among the organizations that are particularly recommended to Anthropology students are the following:
• Anthropology Club. This organization sponsors lectures by visiting scholars, film screenings, and other academic activities and social events. All students interested in anthropology are invited to attend its monthly meetings during the academic year. The faculty advisor for the Anthropology Club can be contacted for further information.
• Lambda Alpha Honor Society. This is a dynamic national collegiate organization that nurtures and rewards the efforts of high-achieving students. The Alpha Chapter of Texas, chartered at the University of Texas at Arlington, is administered by a team of students under the guidance of a faculty advisor. The focus is academic and professional rather than social, and its members are dedicated to professional development in the field of anthropology. This organization offers a wide variety of experiences and assistance to undergraduates as well as graduate students. Prof. Khanduri is the faculty advisor for Lambda Alpha.
• Sigma Xi. Sigma Xi is the international honor society for scientific research. Membership is by invitation. Students who are contemplating graduate study and/or a career in research and are interested in Sigma Xi membership should contact Dr. Martha Mann, UTA Sigma Xi President, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Carter Tiernan at email@example.com for further information.
• Alpha Chi. Alpha Chi is a national honors society whose purpose is to promote academic excellence and exemplary character among college and university students and to honor those who achieve such distinction. Information on membership can be found on the Student Organizations page of the UTA web site.
• Liberal Arts Constituency Council. Anthropology students are encouraged to make their voices heard in the Liberal Arts Constituency Council (LACC), which is responsible for programs, publications, and policies within the College.
Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Dr. Shelley Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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