University of Hawaiʻi — West Oʻahu
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Anthropology is the study of people from ancient to modern times, around the world. It involves the study of cultures, languages, archaeology, and human biology. By studying anthropology, students gain in-depth understanding of a variety of lifestyles through a cross-cultural, comparative perspective.

As part of the UH West O‘ahu Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, with a concentration in Anthropology program, special emphasis is given to cultures of the Pacific Islands, including Hawai‘i. Firsthand experiences investigating cultural diversity are strongly encouraged. Courses are offered in-class and through distance learning instruction.

Interested students may also pursue UH West O‘ahu’s certificate in Applied Forensic Anthropology. This certificate program provides a solid foundation in forensic anthropology and an introduction to the wider field of forensic science. When combined with an Anthropology bachelor’s degree, the Applied Forensic Anthropology certificate offers students additional career opportunities and an advanced education in forensic anthropology and forensic science.


Anthropology provides global information and holistic thinking skills critical to success in the 21st century. It prepares students for graduate education in Anthropology and a wide variety of other related fields. It also offers an excellent educational background for careers in contract archaeology, forensics, museum curation, social work, cross-cultural counseling, corporate analysis, government and global analysis, Social Studies and English as a Second Language teaching, translation, and law. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the middle 50 percent of anthropologists and archaeologists earn $55,490 nationally and $64,610 in Hawai‘i per year.


ANTH 310 Human Origins
An examination of the history and principal assumptions of modern evolutionary theory as a tool to understanding human origins. It will trace continuities and changes in the anatomy and behavior of primates and humans in the fossil record. Theories of how human origins were derived and why some of these theories are no longer accepted will also be examined.

ANTH 351 Culture, Thought and Behavior
Included in this course will be a cross-cultural investigation of concepts of self; the socialization process; personality development; interpersonal relations; world views; and the various forms of personal and cultural expressions.

ANTH 356 Culture and Communication
Language is the principal means by which humans communicate. This course explores the nature of language, the unique biological characteristics of humans that make language possible, the complex elements of language, and the significance of language for human culture. Students will apply anthropological techniques developed to analyze languages around the world including the study of their own speech community.

ANTH 358 Myth, Symbol, and Ritual
Myths play an important role in a people’s understanding of the world and their place in it. Rituals are used to bring persons into contact with the realm of the sacred. They are performed because it is believed that they can bring about profound changes in individuals and can even transform the world. When experienced by those who believe in them, rituals can cure sickness, cause death, secure salvation and life everlasting, bring ancestors to life, and transform weak boys and lazy girls into strong and productive men and women. Myths and rituals derive their power from symbols — objects, actions, words, and relationships that convey meaning. This course looks at the power of symbols, rituals, and myths.

ANTH 380 Field Archaeology
Students will learn the techniques of archaeological survey, excavation, mapping, and photography. Hands-on experience will be gained through fieldwork investigations of sites.


UH West O‘ahu Anthropology graduates have interned or obtained jobs at a number of prestigious companies and organizations including:

  • Archaeology research firms
  • USS Arizona Memorial
  • Historic Preservation offices (Hawai‘i and Micronesia)
  • Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command, Central    Identification Lab at Hickam Air Force Base
  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs
  • U.S. National Park Service
  • Bishop Museum
  • English as a Second Language programs
  • U.S. National Park Service


Dr. Jennifer Byrnes, Assistant Professor
(808) 689-2394