Photo of students at a poster presentation


Discover what it means to be human in an interconnected world.


Anthropologists study humanity to make connections and help address global problems.

There are multiple ways of being human. As the world becomes increasingly complex and diverse, anthropology equips you to understand what makes humans, and non-human primates, different from each other.

Our interdisciplinary field covers a broad range of subjects, from refugees and migration to global health and environmental issues, from human rights to human origins, and from museum studies to the study of development. Rather than skimming the surface, you will have many opportunities to dive deeply into topics that you care about. Our faculty members’ diverse interests are reflected in their research and teaching, and we welcome who you are, and what you bring, into all of our classes.

Why study anthropology at Macalester?

We learn anthropology by doing it. Our seminar-style classes develop your confidence in presenting information and leading discussions. Our methods-focused curriculum teaches you skills like ethnographic interviewing, participant observation, and research design. Then you take what you learn in the classroom into the world to conduct your own research in the field, on the ground, or in the lab. Along the way, you’ll learn valuable skills such as team-based leadership, theory-based critical thinking, collaborating and partnering with others, and writing descriptive and captivating prose. Macalester anthropology students regularly win national awards for their writing and research.

A study away component—in the U.S. or abroad—is built into our major, for those students who are able to do so. You will learn research methods before you leave, so that you can conduct original research while you are away. Those students who wish to extend their study away research experience may apply to be considered for a Spradley Summer Research Fellowship.

Life after Macalester

Anthropology in the cities

Students conduct research at local museums, grocery stores, hospices, bookstores, nursing homes, nonprofits—often located just minutes from campus.

Partnerships with institutions like the University of Minnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota offer additional research opportunities for students.


Internship sites are within 8 miles of campus, including the Minnesota Historical Society, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Como Zoo & Conservatory, Planned Parenthood, and Minnesota Department of Health.

Join our community

Lounge a little. Our cozy Anthropology Lounge and computer lab offers complimentary tea and coffee and is a great place to lounge, study, and chat with classmates and anyone interested in anthropology.

Anthropology Tuesday. We typically offer four to five events per semester, with lunch provided. Events may include a guest speaker, presentations by classmates about their current research, or chats with alumni about their careers.

Wear the coolest T-shirt on campus. Each year, we have a contest to design our departmental T-shirt. Students also receive special departmental swag once they declare their major.

Anthropology Club. This student-run organization connects current and past students for conversations about anthropology and archaeology, and opportunities after graduation.

McCurdy Distinguished Lecture. This annual lecture brings to campus leading scholars in all areas of anthropology, honoring Professor Emeritus David W. McCurdy, our department’s founder.