Appalachian State University’s Anthropology (BS) - Biological Anthropology degree is a great way to learn more about human and non-human primate biology from an evolutionary and biocultural perspective. Biological anthropology is a diverse field of study, encompassing primatology, human evolution, bioarchaeology, paleopathology, human biological variation, evolutionary medicine and forensic anthropology. Undergraduate research is an important part of the curriculum. Appalachian students have worked on a range of projects, from identifying human remains in bone fragments from the Donner Party campsite to reconstructing the history of stigma for people with leprosy in India based on bioarchaeological, mortuary and textual evidence.
In this program, you will have access to the Department of Anthropology’s human skeletal collection and fossil, pathological and primate cast collection. The department also houses a state-of-the-art 3D scanning and printing facility, microscopy facilities and a large vertebrate osteological comparative collection.
Class sizes in biological anthropology are small, with individualized attention and mentorship from professors who are strongly invested in building communication skills, competence in the lab and confidence. There are opportunities to serve as research or teaching assistants at the undergraduate level, including a paid internship as a lab instructor in the summer.
Lappan is a primatologist with research focused on the behavior, ecology and conservation of gibbons. Robbins Schug is a bioarchaeologist with research focused on climate and culture change and the evolution of infectious diseases in human populations living in South Asia in the latter half of the Holocene. Juengst is a bioarchaeologist who specializes in biocultural adaptations in prehistoric Bolivia.
Employment: After graduation or following the completion of graduate work, alumni have worked at Haun and Associates, N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Fayetteville Police Department, Rex Hospital, Carolina Healthcare System, Duke University, Horse Sense of the Carolinas, The School for Creative Studies and more. See more >>
Graduate School: Recent graduates from our program have gone on to graduate school in forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology at institutions worldwide, including Durham University, University College London, UNC Chapel Hill, SUNY Binghamton, University of Arkansas, Texas State San Marcos, Central Florida University and Michigan State University. Most students pursue graduate school for a degree in bioarchaeology or forensic anthropology. See more >>
Along with core anthropology classes, students take a survey of living primates, classes in human osteology, primatological field methods, human biological variation and quantitative methods in anthropology. Students must also complete at least three seminar courses and at least one senior capstone class in topics ranging from the skeleton as a source of evidence about the lives of past people (bioarchaeology, paleopathology, forensic anthropology, paleoanthropology of South Asia) to courses on primate and human evolutionary biology and behavioral ecology (primate behavioral ecology; primate conservation; human evolution; human reproduction in evolutionary perspective; and biology, technology and medicine).
A minor is not required but is recommended. Recommended minors include:
- Criminal Justice
- Communication Sciences and Disorders
- Exercise Science
- A foreign language
Engagement Outside the Classroom
Appalachian State University Anthropology Club - ASUAC works to cultivate and advance interest in anthropological ideas, research and the understanding of cross-cultural and multidisciplinary relationships. Biological anthropology majors regularly participate in community and public education outreach programs.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society.
The Department of Anthropology regularly offers field schools in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Wales, as well as areas of North America. A primatological field school is offered in alternate years.
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- Internship and employment opportunities are available through the department’s Forensic Anthropology Summer Camp held on campus for high school students interested in forensics.
- Departmental field trips include Duke University’s lemur facility.
- Department of Anthropology students are known for their ability to analyze complex cultural and social situations, and find employment in many fields, including marketing, research and development, community and international development, law and more.
- The department houses state-of-the-art lab equipment including a 3D scanner and metallurgical and stereo microscopes.
- The department houses large vertebrate and human osteological comparative collection as well as archaeological research collections from excavations of prehistoric and historic sites in western North Carolina and adjacent regions.
- Faculty members have received prestigious fellowships from the Fulbright Program, National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities and Princeton University to pursue their research.
- The department offers scholarships and awards.
- Students are given the opportunity to attend national, undergraduate conferences as well as attend professional conferences with faculty in the department.
Number of Students
Approximately 30, with more than 150 majors in the Department of Anthropology
Method of Delivery
On campus only
- Collections Manager
- College Professor
- Forensic Anthropologist
- Museum Curator/Technician
- Social Science Analyst
- Medical Anthropologist
- Public Health Educator
Dr. Timothy J. Smith