The graduate programs of the anthropology department seek to furnish a balanced view of anthropological inquiry by means of intensive training in the literature, methods, techniques, and skills required for research in anthropology.
The MA curriculum builds upon the inherent strengths of small and medium-sized departments: the ability to provide necessary background through small lecture courses and specialized training through the tutorial format of seminars and individually directed research projects. In short, the MA program provides the student with a scholarly comprehension of the discipline, practical experience in anthropological research situations, and the initial competency required of a professional anthropologist.
The PhD curriculum builds on the strengths of the master’s program by concentrating in two areas:
- The Archaeology of Complex Societies, pertaining to the emergence and spread of early civilizations in the Americas; and
- Biocultural Medical Anthropology, the study of the influence of social relations and culture on psychological and biological adaptation.
The doctoral program is designed to prepare graduates with the skills needed to move easily into either academic or non-academic positions. Anthropology is a holistic discipline, and although this is the discipline’s greatest strength, especially today, the majority of departments across the country have abrogated our heritage of holism and have become narrowly focused.
In very few archaeology or medical anthropology programs are students expected or required to take courses in all four fields. The University of Alabama is rare in that its faculty has expertise in all the primary fields, and graduate students receive instruction across the full range of anthropological fields. This broad holistic foundation is vital given the cross-disciplinary nature of the two emphases in which we specialize.