Through topics spanning the globe – from the indigenous people of the Americas to precolonial Africa and modern Japan, to name a few – you'll gain insights, conduct research in the field and apply knowledge to make sense of the human experience. In studying Anthropology, students discover and question the similarities, differences, changes and continuities in human culture, society, language and physical characteristics. You'll graduate able to: 

  • Recognize and understand human cultural diversity.
  • Comprehend evolutionary, biological, cultural, and social characteristics common to all humanity as a single species.
  • Conduct ethnographic fieldwork and integrate it into anthropological analysis.
  • Recognize how human cultural knowledge relates to human social behavior, including perceptions of race, class, and ethnicity.
  • Connect global and local sociocultural processes, including how these scales are interconnected.
  • Examine and understand the conditions and effects of inequalities in power, wealth and privilege.
  • Apply anthropological knowledge to issues in our society that demand social justice.
  • Articulate, verbally and in writing, information drawn from anthropological texts.
  • Study how human societies and cultural knowledge change over time.

Student SpotlightJoey Tello Galicia '25

majors: anthropology, history
minors: italian, critical museum studies 

"The Anthropology department is filled with wonderful professors, especially Associate Professor of Anthropology Chris Annear. He sparked an interest in anthropology I didn't know I had. Courses provide me the ability to understand and study different cultures, their interactions, their members and others around them, and how this relates to a greater sense of belonging. All of these make me look forward to my time each day in the Anthropology department at HWS." 




And Research

Anthropology majors are encouraged to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom. Starting as early as the introductory courses, students are exposed to fieldwork using anthropological research methods. The opportunity to participate in the Geneva Collaborative Internship program is popular with Anthropology students, giving them real-world experience. The capstone project is flexible and many students choose to draw on their personal life experiences for research ideas.

Past examples of Honors projects include:

  • Emma Katherine Falkenstein '21: Real or Realized? How Ideas of Community Development Manifest into Reality in Geneva, NY
    Christopher Annear, Adviser
  • Whitney Swanson '20: Exploring Animal Frontiers: Space, Place, and Culture
    Brenda Maiale, Adviser
  • Sara DeVault-Feldman '17: Crafting and Creating Community in Geneva, New York: An Investigation of the Local Foods Movement and Farm to Table Restaurants
    Brenda Maiale, Adviser
  • Sophia Richards '17: Rape and Reform: The Politics of Protection and Complacency
    Jason Rodriguez, Adviser

Experiential EducationWorking to Improve

Work with the city of Geneva to improve disability access in public spaces or research the needs of non-binary residents with the LGBTQ+ Resource Center.

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.


Amplify your Anthropology degree with the skills, knowledge and ethical foundation needed to be a leader in the 21st century. In partnership with the Centennial Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, our department offers the opportunity to engage in leadership development that culminates in a degree with leadership distinction and provides a competitive edge when applying to internships, jobs and graduate or professional school.

To graduate with leadership distinction, you will complete a series of foundational, action-oriented and reflective milestones within the Anthropology and Leadership curriculum. We encourage you to begin your leadership journey as early as your second semester on campus.


No Borders:Global Education

Study pre-colonial cultures in Argentina or the impacts of the digital infrastructure in South Korea. Almost all Anthropology students participate in study abroad and all programs are applicable to the major.

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.


Belonging, Diversity and Equity

In exploring, questioning and analyzing human connections and cultures, belonging, equity and diversity are inseparable from the field of Anthropology. You’ll learn to interact with people, cultures and backgrounds you might not otherwise, and develop the skills to humanely engage with other human beings.



Explore all the ways culture impacts humans and humans impact culture.

ANTH 110 introduction to cultural anthropology 

Explore the anthropological understanding of human society through ethnographic case studies of particular societies where the interrelations of kinship, economics, politics and religion are stressed. 


Explore the experiences and sociocultural systems of past and present indigenous American peoples north of Mexico. Study relationships between ecological factors, subsistence patterns, modes of social organization, language, architecture, art, gender relations, ways of knowing, and religious beliefs.


Unravel the meanings behind food and explore the anthropological approaches to the study of food and cuisine.

ANTH 330 The anthropology of Creativity 

Survey various anthropological perspectives on the power of individuality, interpretation, resistance and imagination in the aesthetic process of creation.

ANTH 260 medical anthropology

Explore the interconnected cultural, social, political, historical and economic dimensions of illness, health and healing in diverse human contexts

anth 218 it belongs in a museum

This course surveys several controversies and crimes in recent and contemporary anthropological and historical collecting. 

If you like the focus of Anthropology and want to add insights from Sociology, consider majoring in Anthropology and Sociology. You’ll get a chance to take courses in both fields and leave with an even stronger holistic understanding of human culture and society.

Critical Museum Studies

Investigate the histories of practices of museums from a decolonial perspective while building the skills necessary to work in the industry through the Critical Museum Studies minor. You'll get to follow tracks like history museums and art museums and galleries that will allow you to focus on the issues and practices most relevant to the type of cultural space that most interests you. Students in all tracks gain experience with installation techniques, designing, cataloging, collections management, and writing exhibit labels. You'll leave prepared to work in and think critically about a variety of fields.


Alum ImpactBuilding Leadership Knowledge

gabriela martinez ’22, MSM '23
majors: Anthropology, education 

"Through the courses and fieldwork that I completed at HWS, I learned that a leader consists of multiple things but mainly a great leader values peoples’ weaknesses and strengths and encourages them to grow and helps them reach their goals."


  • Buffalo Bills
  • Eastman Kodak Company
  • IBM
  • Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Microsoft
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • National Park Service
  • New York Magazine
  • Yale University


  • Boston College of Social Work
  • Case Western University School of Law
  • Columbia University
  • Northeastern University Law School 
  • Pace University Law School
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  • Simmons College
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  • University College Lond 
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