Why study anthropology?

Anthropology students immerse themselves in skills and methods that employ a holistic approach to understanding human cultures of the past and today. 

  • Anthropology builds a framework for careers in fields such as forensics, archaeology, medical anthropology, refugee resettlement, human relations and so many more. 
  • Study-abroad opportunities at Augustana take your anthropological experiences afield to places, such as India, Costa Rica, Spain and locations closer to home, like the American Southwest. 
  • Field school and internship opportunities provide hands-on experience to get you in the job market sooner.
AU Anthropology Class

Academics at AU

Course Descriptions

Major Map





Latest News

South Dakotans are trying to get the Fawcett (bison) Kill Site in Ree Heights nominated to the National Register of Historic Places on behalf of the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office. Augustana students recently accompanied volunteers from the South Dakota Historical Society and staff from Augustana’s Archaeology Lab in Western Hand County to conduct a field investigation of the prehistoric bison kill site that was first discovered in 2015, and revisited in 2017 by several universities in South Dakota and historical Society.

At Augustana, opportunities for student research are plentiful — from the Arthur Olsen Student Research Symposium and Ralph and Susie Wagoner Student-Faculty Research Award to the Augustana Research Institute (ARI) and Civitas Honors Program vocation projects. What sets AU apart from other universities, though, is the caliber of research performed by undergraduate students which often rivals graduate-level research.



Forensics at AU


Anthropologists have pursued careers as archaeologists, cultural resource managers, museum curators, researchers and in the fields of business and communications.

Hands-On Learning 

Internship opportunities include:

  • Augustana Archaeology Laboratory
  • Center for Western Studies (CWS)
  • Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center
  • Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village
  • Pettigrew House and Museum in Sioux Falls

Through independent projects, students can research historic farmsteads, early inhabitants of North America, the study of modern cultures and ancient lifeways — in the library, laboratory, museums and field. 

Student and faculty research has been published in major journals, including:

  • American Antiquity
  • Plains Anthropologist 
  • South Dakota Archeology, which is published at the Augustana Archaeology Laboratory

Anthropology students study away at:

  • Field school at the Lynch site — a Plains village in Nebraska with AU faculty
  • South Dakota’s Archeodome — a state-of-the-art research and teaching facility at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village
  • University of Exeter in England
  • United States Southwest Region

Courses & Organizations

The major integrates four subfields that divide anthropology: archaeology, cultural anthropology, physical anthropology and linguistics. Students study theory and practice from art, language, history, sociology, biology and chemistry.

Students can choose to study these tracks:

  • Archaeology
  • Cultural
  • Forensic 
  • Physical 

Anthropology students often participate in:

  • Anthropology Club
  • Classics Society
  • Augie Green