University of Hawaiʻi — West Oʻahu



Anthropology provides a comprehensive picture of the human experience through the study of the interaction between human biology and the environment, ancient and historical societies, as well as conditions in today’s globalized world.

As part of the UH West Oʻahu Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, with a concentration in Anthropology, this program has an applied focus with special emphasis on workforce development. Applied anthropology uses the discipline’s widely recognized cross-cultural knowledge and methods to identify and apply solutions to real life problems. Courses are offered in-class and through distance learning instruction.

Interested students may also pursue UH West Oʻahu’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 a concentration in Anthropology, the Applied Forensic Anthropology certificate offers students additional career opportunities and an advanced education in forensic anthropology and forensic science.

Learn more about the Anthropology program at UH West O‘ahu in E Kamakani Hou.


Anthropology provides global information and holistic thinking skills critical to success in the 21st century. This concentration not only prepares students for graduate school, it also provides students with a widely-recognized anthropological skillset, while facilitating relationships with community groups and potential employers through service learning and internship opportunities. Students can put their knowledge into practice, both in and out of the classroom, by identifying a variety of opportunities such as careers in cultural resource management, forensics, museum curation, business, development, environmental projects, education, law, health, the non-profit sector, the federal government, and consulting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the middle 50 percent of anthropologists and archaeologists earn $61,220 nationally and $65,140 in Hawai‘i per year.


ANTH 381 Archaeology Field Techniques – Historic Archaeology
This class features a multi-disciplinary approach to investigating and interpreting historic archaeological sites, focusing on sites dating from the late 19th century to the present. It includes fieldtrips; guest lectures; field and artifact photography; application of historic archival and photographic materials; training in the use of GPS, instrument mapping, metal detecting, and some excavating; and historic sites recording and historic preservation.

ANTH 389 Cultural Resource Management
This course serves as an undergraduate level course covering historic preservation issues and laws on the Federal, State, and local level that regulate the protection and treatment of historic properties. 

ANTH 415 Human Ecological Adaptation
This course investigates the relationship of humans and the natural environment. Emphasis is placed on an understanding of human ecological adaptation that is evolutionary and holistic. It will investigate human variation in response to conditions of heat, cold, altitude, diet, and disease. In particular, it will focus on subsistence practices, and especially how past human societies and cultures adapted to the environment and changed over time. The complexity of how human societies both exploit and are limited by their environment will be stressed. 

ANTH 480 Land, Culture, and Social Justice
Due to displacement from the land, the plundering of its resources and the resulting climate change, indigenous peoples worldwide suffer from socio-economic instability, cultural loss, and poor health. This course will examine how social justice movements protect sacred land and its attached cultural practices. Course material will be comprised of several case examples, with a significant portion of the course addressing what is happening here in Hawai‘i.

ANTH 481 Applied Anthropology
Applied anthropology uses the discipline’s methods to identify and apply solutions to real life problems. Students will learn about its history, theories, methods, ethical issues, and applications. The course will focus on how students can put their knowledge into practice by identifying different employment opportunities, ranging from the corporate world to non-profit organizations, in and outside of academia. 


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

  • O‘ahu Intertribal Council
  • World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
  • State Historic Preservation Office (State of Hawai‘i)
  • Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Central Identification Lab
  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs
  • U.S. National Park Service
  • Bishop Museum
  • City and County of Honolulu, Dept. of the Medical Examiner
  • Iolani Palace
  • Hawaii Center for Food Safety
  • Ho‘olo Na Pua
  • International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc
  • Keala Pono Archaeological Consulting


Dr. William Belcher, Assistant Professor of Historic Archaeology
(808) 689-2495

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Dr. Bill Belcher Dr. William R. Belcher is an Assistant Professor in Archaeology, with a primary focus in historical archaeology. He received his PhD in 1998 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; his dissertation focused on the ethnoarchaeology of South Asian fisheries and fish utilization during the Indus Valley and Baluchistan Traditions of South Asia during the third millennium BC. His research interests include battlefield archaeology, faunal analysis (with an emphasis on fish remains and butchery), ethnoarchaeology, South Asian (India/Pakistan) archaeology. Additionally, Dr. Belcher is a board-certified forensic anthropologist (Diplomate No. 66 of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, Inc. Prior to joining the faculty at UHWO in 2015, Dr. Belcher served as the Deputy Director of the Department of Defense's Central Identification Laboratory and the Director of the DoD's Forensic Science Academy. He has conducted academic excavations and MIA recovery operations in North America (Washington, Oregon, California, Maine, the Midwest, New Brunswick), various islands in the Pacific, Southeast Asia, China, North Korea, Iraq, England, Germany, France, Pakistan, and India.


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

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Dr. Jennifer Byrnes Dr. Jennifer Byrnes completed her graduate training at the University at Buffalo in physical anthropology, and joined UHWO in 2014. She is the faculty advisor for the Certificate in Applied Forensic Anthropology. Her training has primarily been in bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology. Research interests include disability (social theory) and bioarchaeology, paleopathology, trauma, skeletal biology, and the bioarchaeology of institutes.


Dr. Christina Mello, Assistant Professor of Applied Cultural Anthropology
(808) 689-2494

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Dr. Christy Mello Dr. Christy Mello is an applied cultural anthropologist. She completed her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. Her scholarship is community led and based as evidenced by her consulting role with different grassroots organizations. Research interests include community health issues, food and environmental justice, social movements, ethnographic film methods, public anthropology, political economy, and studies of power.