We offer the best possible undergraduate experience available in anthropology under the guidance of a professionally active faculty who value excellent teaching. Our program of instruction has several components and goals:

  • We include the academic transmission of key ideas and knowledge of human life in all four anthropology subfields: archaeology, biocultural/forensic anthropology, linguistic anthropology and sociocultural anthropology.
  • We strive for students to develop key skills such as ability to think critically, mastery of oral and written presentations and a professional attitude.
  • We provide hands-on experiences in research dynamics, including experimental archaeology, collections management, forensic analysis, and documentary projects.
  • We promote cross-cultural experience through studying abroad and internships that enhance academic learning through practical experience.
  • We maintain the integrity of the anthropology program while supporting to the best of our ability the larger mission and programs of the college, especially related to interdisciplinary and multicultural developments as well as the environment and sustainability issues. Accomplishing this will enable students to become broadly educated, specifically informed, conversant in their discipline, employable and well prepared to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Majors and Programs

We offer a bachelor of arts in Anthropology as well as minors in Anthropology and Biocultural Anthropology. Our classes also provide an extensive set of offerings that meet General Education requirements and provide core and elective courses for Cognitive Science, Linguistics and Women's Studies majors, and the Native American Studies minor.

The Anthropology major provides students with a thorough grounding in the four subfields that define the discipline. The seven core courses provide broad coverage of all four subfields as well as methods of data acquisition, analysis and interpretation. The capstone course integrates history, theory and method to provide students with a comprehensive view of the development of anthropology as a unique discipline, its accomplishments and current research foci in each component field -- and challenges students with a variety of short methods projects and culminates with a comprehensive examination reviewed by the entire faculty.

The minor in Anthropology requires students take all but one of major's core courses and a more limited, but still broad, set of electives. The core of the Biocultural minor is more specialized and includes courses on disease and human behavior, forensic anthropology and human sociobiology. Electives include courses in anthropology, biology and zoology.

Student Opportunities

Our students are prepared to pursue independent research through a program of instruction that combines diverse laboratory and other hands-on activities with close faculty supervision. We assist student in finding summer research opportunities (such as archaeological field schools) and work closely to tailor programs to students' specific interests (e.g., combining work in anthropology with allied subjects and by participation in interdisciplinary programs). Students distinguish themselves academically have opportunities to serve as teaching assistants. Every spring we induct our very best students with upper-class standing into Lambda Alpha, the national anthropology honor society.

Our active Anthropology Club sponsors activities including movie nights, talks by guest speakers, highly successful bake sales, a trip to the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and the Museum of Archeology and History in Montreal. Recently, nine members and with two recent graduates traveled to the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Philadelphia, also visiting the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and the Mutter Museum.


All faculty are committed to high-quality teaching and are active in research. They work closely with our students in all facets of their education, whether in the classroom, laboratory, or research projects conducted on or off campus.

  • Kathleen Blake, Visiting Assistant Professor, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh 2011

Bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology, growth and development, human variation, sexual dimorphism, trauma and violence, muscle stress markers.

  • Jing Lei, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany 2007

    Sociolinguistics, second language acquisition, pragmatics, language and cognition, Asian American studies, China, East Asia, North America.

  • Douglas J. Pippin, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Syracuse University 2010,  Advisement Coordinator

Historical archaeology, culture contact, frontier economy, colonialism, Eastern North America, Canada, Caribbean.

  • Stephen Saraydar, Professor and Department Chair, Ph.D., Cornell University 1976

Experimental archaeology, archaeology of North America, Native American studies, comparative religion.

  • Paul E. Voninski, Distinguished Service Professor, Ph.D., Syracuse University 1975

Biological anthropology, computer organization, human behavior, China.

  • Kevin White, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2007

Native American studies, American studies. Haudenosauness (Iroquois) studies, ethnography, oral history, myth, cosmology.

  • Beth Messana, Department Secretary

After Oswego

Our alumni have gone on to graduate study, joined archaeological digs and pursued careers in many other fields. One recent graduate is now an archaeologist in Ireland, while another has been working for a firm that specializes in cultural resource management prior to applying to graduate programs in museum studies. Several work in the public health field, with one is pursuing a master's degree in that area. Another recent graduate with a special interest in biological anthropology has been working in a medical laboratory and serves as an assistant to a forensic anthropologist.