Skip to Content

College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Anthropology


The Department offers the MA and the Ph.D. in Anthropology. Our program offers instruction in the four traditional sub-fields of anthropology: archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. In this we are unusual. While students are asked to specialize in one of these fields, we particularly seek students who wish to cross the boundaries between fields and combine them in their graduate work. For example, we have strong offerings in visual anthropology and in medical anthropology. The shared foci of our department are comparative diasporic studies and social justice.

We are a small program, so each student is assured of receiving personal attention from our faculty members. We count 23 anthropologists with Ph.D.s at the main USC campus: 13 in the department, five at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA), and three anthropologists in Geography. We endeavor to give as many students as possible the opportunity to serve as teaching assistants in the department or as research assistants in associated units (SCIAA, McKissick Museum, etc). We also encourage students to take advantage of the excellent opportunities and resources offered throughout the university and the wider community of Columbia. For example, significant strengths exist in related fields on campus such as geology, geography (especially Geographic Information Systems) linguistics, public health, history, African Studies, African American Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Women and Gender Studies, the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment, and Development Studies. In addition, our location in the state's capital affords opportunities for research in government agencies.

Although we do provide training in relatively specialized fields, such as historical archaeology, the required courses provide all students with a thorough theoretical grounding, not only in anthropology as a whole, but also in the theory of their subfield.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Professor Morgan Maclachlan retired in June 2000; Professor Leland Ferguson retired in July 2002; Professor Karl Heider retired in June 2008; Professor Alice Bee Kasakoff retired in December 2008.  Retired faculty may teach occasionally and may be willing to consult with students, however, they are under no obligation to teach or mentor students.

Faculty Profiles