The Department of Anthropology is one of the country's leading graduate and undergraduate centers for cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology—the four principal subfields studied in the undergraduate curriculum. The department considers its greatest assets to be the various individual areas of faculty expertise: archaeological specialties such as medieval archaeology and European, Near Eastern, and South Asian prehistory; biological anthropology areas such as molecular primatology, primate behavioral ecology, and paleoanthropology; linguistic anthropology foci such as discourse analysis and language socialization; and sociocultural anthropology specialties such as the ethnography of North America, Africa, India, China, the Near and Middle East, Russia and the former Soviet Union, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Australia, and the South Pacific. Major theoretical emphasis is on the systems of thought and symbolic representation of the self and society; the relation between female and male domains of interaction; changing patterns of social organization and hierarchy within small-scale societies, urban settings, and bureaucratic institutions; medical anthropology; evolutionary approaches to the study of primate and human origins; religion; art; science studies; race and ethnicity; and the problem of ethnographic representation in film and other media.
Departmental resources include an extensive film and video collection as well as teaching and research labs for archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology, which can be used for research by advanced undergraduates. A departmental colloquium series and an undergraduate student association welcome undergraduate participation. The department participates in the University's Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, the Institute for French Studies, the Center for Religion and Media, the Center for the Study of Human Origins, the Institute for Study of the Ancient World, the Program in Museum Studies, and the Center for Media, Culture, and History.
Formal and informal cooperative arrangements with museums, zoos, and other academic institutions in the greater New York area place at students' disposal a group of anthropological scholars, materials, and resources unparalleled in the country.
Linguistics is the science of human language. It seeks to determine that which is necessary in human language, that which is possible, and that which is impossible. While linguists work to determine the unique qualities of individual languages, they are constantly searching for linguistic universals—properties whose explanatory power reaches across languages. The discipline of linguistics is organized around syntax (the principles by which sentences are organized), morphology (the principles by which words are constructed), semantics (the study of meaning), phonetics (the study of speech sounds), phonology (the sound patterns of language), historical linguistics (the ways in which languages change over time), sociolinguistics (the interaction of language with society), psycholinguistics, and neurolinguistics (the representation of language in the brain). Current research by faculty members extends across the field, including topics in the interaction of syntax and semantics, phonetics and phonology, languages in contact, pidgin and creole languages, urban sociolinguistics, and computer analogies of syntactic processes.
For the requirements of joint honors in anthropology and linguistics, students should consult Professor Renée Blake.
New York University's Office of Undergraduate Admissions supports the application process for all undergraduate programs at NYU. For additional information about undergraduate admissions, including application requirements, see How to Apply.