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Anthropology at VCU
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AnthroFacultyStanding with South African Ambassador to the U.S., Ibrahim Rasool (third from left), are, from left to right: VCU Anthropology professors Edward Abse, Amy Rector Verrelli, Christopher Brooks, Christopher Stevenson, and Noel Boaz.

Welcome | Courses | Degree Requirements | Academic Advising | Faculty | Resources

Welcome to the School of World Studies Anthropology website!

The primary goal of the Anthropology faculty is to provide encouragement and support for students to actively engage in learning about the world around them. Whether students choose to concentrate their studies in anthropology, or take anthropology courses as a complement to a major in another subject, they will find that this commitment shapes their studies. The faculty takes as its point of departure that each student has an active, critical interest in partaking in the learning process, and that each student brings unique life experiences to the classroom, which can enrich the production of knowledge that takes place in the context of the course. The anthropology faculty practices a student-centered learning approach, encouraging and supporting our students to be actively involved in their own learning processes. The knowledge, skills, and unique perspectives of our discipline cannot be taught. Anthropology students' independent, analytical, and critical thinking is formed by their interest in the discipline and active work while attaining knowledge of the discipline. We are committed to making our insights and experiences available to our students in order to help each one define and reach individual educational goals. Students in our program for one course, or for many, find that we put an emphasis on student-centered learning. We continuously encourage students to critically assess the information and knowledge with which they are presented by us and by others. Students in anthropology classes tackle difficult readings, make oral presentations, and write a variety of journals and papers. They work in small groups, collaborate on projects, and at times even teach their classmates. Many courses require active professional experience outside of the classroom, computer competency, and research skills.

After graduation, anthropology students may choose to go directly into applied work in anthropology, draw from the discipline to enhance opportunities in another profession, or pursue graduate training in anthropology.  Regardless, our students find that the mastery of oral and written presentation skills is a decisive factor in their ability to independently establish and achieve goals.  We have crafted a program to provide each student with the very best tools for meeting such challenges in their future.

We encourage anthropology majors and minors to take courses with as many different professors in our program as possible.  While we are committed to a general teaching philosophy, we each bring a unique perspective to the discipline, which will enrich students’ educational experiences.  All faculty teach differently and, like all the different people and organizations students will encounter, we have our individual preferences when it comes to writing styles, presentation formats, and classroom participation.

On this web site, you will find general introductions to critical thinking, writing and oral presentation skills, as well as a discussion of the anthropology program’s grading standards.  These discussions are in no way exhaustive.  If you need additional assistance, we strongly suggest and recommend that you consult one of the available handbooks in the library or bookstore, and that you ask the faculty about these important matters.  We strongly stress that we do not demand one particular writing or presentation style.  However, when it comes to details, for instance, on how to write references or cite material, these suggestions are supported by disciplinary practices in anthropological journals and books; therefore, these things should be viewed as part of your professional development.

Regardless of the general format used, there are always two golden rules for any written or oral presentation: that you consistently implement the format you choose, and that the format helps the listener/reader to acquire and understand the knowledge and arguments you present. The easier it is to follow your presentation, the more weight your arguments carry.

Studying Anthropology

Anthropology is the systematic study of humans, their practices, and the myriad ways they experience these practices. Anthropologists study humanity in its diverse cultural, social, physical, and linguistic forms. The anthropology program at Virginia Commonwealth University seeks to ensure that each student develops a solid foundation in the basic principles, theories, and techniques of analysis within the discipline through an interdisciplinary approach to studies.

The Curriculum

Since students majoring in anthropology vary in their interests and career goals, the curriculum allows for flexibility in developing individual courses of study. The program provides opportunities for involvement in faculty research through its course offerings, which include independent study, internships, and honors research.

The Student Experience

The anthropology program at VCU provides students with a rigorous foundation in the field of anthropology, including its focus on past and present cultures, human development, and tolerance of different worldviews. Anthropology classes stress the exchange of ideas and build students’ strengths in critical thinking, communication, and intellectual exploration. Students are asked to engage in guided and independent studies in which they explore their own communities and venture into new academic and social settings and situations. The faculty are experts in various areas and bring to the classroom a commitment to making the results of scholarship relevant and useful.

Career Opportunities

The demand for graduates with degrees in anthropology is high. Anthropology graduates find employment in the many fields in which research on humans and their behavior is needed, including private corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Anthropology majors commonly find employment in state and federal governments, nongovernmental and other international aid organizations, education, business, human resources, social work, and, increasingly, health care.

The Setting

With two main campuses in the heart of Richmond, the state capital of Virginia, VCU is ideally located to provide a dynamic and diverse urban environment for studies. VCU is nationally ranked by the Carnegie Foundation as a top research university and enrolls nearly 30,000 students in 181 programs in the arts, sciences, and humanities within 15 schools and the core College of Humanities and Sciences.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Virginia Commonwealth University
College of Humanities and Sciences
School of World Studies
312 North Shafer Street
P.O. Box 842021
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2021
Phone: (804) 827-1111
E-mail: info-sws@vcu.edu
worldstudies.vcu.edu/anth

Program Foci

The anthropology program at Virginia Commonwealth University provides students with a rigorous foundation in the field of Anthropology, including its foci on cultures past and present, human development, and tolerance of different worldviews. Anthropology classes stress the exchange of ideas and build students’ strengths in critical thinking, communication, and intellectual exploration. The anthropology faculty consists of active scholars in various areas of expertise, and it brings to the classroom a commitment to making the results of its scholarship relevant and useful. Students are asked to engage in guided, independent studies in which they explore their own communities and venture into new academic and social situations. Anthropology is, by its nature, interdisciplinary and international in both theory and practice. The anthropology program at VCU offers students from many diverse backgrounds the opportunity to thoroughly and creatively explore the world and the peoples around them.

The anthropology faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University takes as its primary task the encouragement and support of our students in becoming actively involved in the learning process. Student-centered engagement in learning is essential to the discipline of anthropology. The faculty is committed to making its insights and experiences available to its students and to helping them set and reach individual goals for their education. We encourage our students to critically assess the information and acquired knowledge as an integral part of their education.

The Bachelor of Science curriculum in anthropology seeks to ensure that each student develops a solid foundation in the basic principles, theories, and techniques of analysis within the discipline. Since students majoring in anthropology vary in their interests and career goals, the curriculum allows for flexibility in developing individual courses of study. The program provides opportunities for involvement in faculty research through its course offerings, which include independent study, internships, and honors research.