Department of Anthropology

Tassie Hirschfeld, Diane Warren, Co-Chairs
Paul G. Spicer, Graduate Liaison
521 Dale Hall Tower
Norman, OK 73019-2005
Phone: (405) 325-3261
FAX: (405) 325-7386

General Information

Faculty Roster

Professors Harris, Pitblado, Spicer, Vehik, Wyckoff; Associate Professors Anderson, Dowell, Hirschfeld, Jervis, Klein, Lewis, Linn, Livingood, O’Neill, Palmer, Rambo, Rankin-Hill, Sturn, Swan, Warren; Assistant Professors Bessire, Levine, Lewis, Marshall, Randall, Warinner, Yamada; Instructors Armer, N. Billy, R. Billy, Drowning Bear, Feeling, C. Foster, Mauldin, McCarty, D. Poolaw, M. Poolaw, Sealy, Tsatoke.

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Arts in Applied Linguistic Anthropology
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Information on both undergraduate and graduate programs is included. Please refer to the Graduate College section of this catalog for general information on graduate programs. 

General Information

Anthropology is the holistic study of human beings, including the biological and cultural aspects of people in all times and all places. The four parts of anthropology are biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and sociocultural anthropology. The Department of Anthropology focuses on the archaeology and biological anthropology, linguistics, and sociocultural anthropology of Native America, but we also have strengths in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. We are the only anthropology department in the state system of higher education. 

An undergraduate degree in anthropology at the University of Oklahoma requires at least two courses in each of the four subfields, as well as course requirements in research methods, resulting in a well-rounded understanding of people in this country and around the world, both past and present. The department sponsors fieldwork opportunities and is active in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and the Honors College, so that undergraduates who so desire can obtain actual experience in anthropology. We maintain close ties with the Oklahoma Archeological Survey and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, and we encourage international study to augment these opportunities. 

undergraduate Study

Undergraduate Study

A major in anthropology provides a broad understanding of human beings and a central part of a liberal arts education. It also is the basis for obtaining certain kinds of jobs in archaeology, museums, or the human resources sector, as well as for graduate study in anthropology or other social science fields. 

A total of 120 hours is required for the Bachelor of Arts. The undergraduate major requires a minimum of 36 hours of coursework in anthropology, 15 hours of Anthropology core courses and 21 hours of Anthropology electives.


Students who are majoring in other subjects may complete a minor in anthropology. An anthropology minor consists of 15 hours of coursework including ANTH1113, General Anthropology. At least nine hours must be in upper-division courses.

Graduate Study

Graduate Study

The Department of Anthropology offers both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology, and an M.A. in applied linguistic anthropology. The department’s geographical area of emphasis is the Americas. 

Because of its location in a state with 38 federally recognized tribes, important archaeological sites and museum collections, and many nationally prominent anthropological research facilities, graduate study at the University of Oklahoma offers unique educational opportunities. The department has a concentration of specialists in Native America. The department recognizes the historical relationship of anthropology to other areas of the world and to other peoples, and we also have faculty with such research interests. Paralleling our focus on Native America are those of faculty in the departments, colleges, and programs of art history, English, geography, health sciences, history, linguistics, and Native American Studies. Faculty in the department have helped Oklahoma tribes design and implement studies that include health care, native language education, ethnomedicine, federal recognition, genealogy, historical anthropology, politics, sociolinguistics, oral history, tribal histories and archives, and tribal cultural studies programs. We offer language courses in Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek/Seminole, and Kiowa, with native speakers as instructors. The department and the affiliated Oklahoma Archeological Survey support several on-going archaeological research projects in Oklahoma and Kansas, the North American Southwest and Southeast, and northern Mexico. The projects include the earliest settlers in the New World, Paleoindian, Archaic, formative village agriculturalists, hierarchical societies, and historic peoples.


  • Museum collections at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, the Fred Jones Museum of Art, and the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. 
  • The Oklahoma Archeological Survey, a state agency housed at the University of Oklahoma, conducts archaeological research in the state of Oklahoma and offers field and laboratory opportunities for research. 
  • Archival collections at OU’s Western History Collection, the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the Regional Federal Archives. 


Students interested in the graduate program in anthropology can obtain information on the department by sending an e-mail to the Graduate Liaison or from the department’s Web page. Applications materials should be received by February 15. In addition to Graduate College requirements, the Department of Anthropology requires a short (1-2 page) statement of goals, results of the Graduate Record Examination, and two letters of recommendation. Students applying to the Ph.D. program who have written an M.A. thesis may be requested to send a copy to the Graduate Liaison. 

Students with a 3.00 or greater (on a 4.00 scale) grade point average in their last 60 hours of undergraduate work can be considered for full admission to the program. Special financial incentives may be available for students with excellent potential.


Students interested in admission to the graduate program in anthropology should demonstrate a serious interest in anthropology. Degree holders with a major or minor in anthropology are most likely to be best prepared for graduate study. Those with a degree in another discipline should discuss any background preparation for graduate study in anthropology in their statement of purpose.


The master’s program provides a broad, generalized knowledge of anthropology, along with specialization in one of the four fields. A master’s student will take courses in each of the four fields and will concentrate the elective coursework in any one of those fields. 

See College of Arts & Sciences Master's Programs degree requirement checksheets for current specific requirements. Additional detailed information may also be obtained from the Graduate Liaison.


The Master of Applied Linguistic Anthropology degree is devoted to the preservation of the world’s endangered languages, with the hope that careful documentation — coupled with community-based educational programs — will one day reverse the devastating effects of language loss throughout much of the world today. It is imperative that we train a new generation of scholars to continue the documentation of endangered languages throughout the world. Yet, because the future of a language ultimately rests with its speakers, it is equally important that we prepare our students to promote community-based educational programs aimed at revitalizing native languages at the community level. 

In addition to writing a thesis, a student in this degree program will enroll in core courses and must earn a grade of B or higher in each course. Students will also complete graduate linguistic anthropology courses and guided electives selected in consultation with his/her adviser and committee. Detailed information may be obtained from the Graduate Liaison.


There are three tracks in the Ph.D. Program in Anthropology: Archaeology, Health and Human Biology, and Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology.  There are specific additional required courses within each track. Beyond the 30 credits required for the M.A., these tracks generally require an additional 30 hours of coursework and 30 hours of dissertation research for a total of 90 credit hours.

The Ph.D. student’s advisory committee will determine which courses, including core courses, may be used toward the 90 hours and will define the plan of study. Each doctoral student will complete a General Examination and dissertation defense. 

Detailed information is available from the Graduate Liaison.