Anthropology Learning Opportunities

As an Anthropology major at MSUM, you’ll gain valuable real-world experience outside of the classroom by participating in and working closely with faculty on research projects in their respective areas of expertise while utilizing our state-of-the-art facilities. You will develop professional skills and gain advanced knowledge in a variety of exciting ways.

MSUM’s Archaeology Lab has been involved in cultural resource management projects (such as surveys and excavations) since the 1970s, and provides opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience assisting with building a cultural sequence for the region. The Lab has been involved in small- and large-scale projects in North Dakota and Minnesota involving federal agencies, such as the Corps of Engineers; state agencies, such as the Minnesota Department of Transportation; and municipal levels, such as the city of Moorhead.

Many classes incorporate archaeological site tours into their syllabi to give you a first-hand look at the archeological record and significance of important historic sites throughout the area and region.

The Center for Geospatial Studies is one of three faculty-driven interdisciplinary centers selected for development at MSUM. The Center is committed to showcasing GIS in inspiring events, engaging learners, helping others use and build GIS infrastructure and establishing dynamic collaborations. It seeks to educate people to think spatially; train them to perform technically using geospatial technologies; and customize and serve data and conduct spatial analyses to inform regional decision-making.

The Anthropology and Earth Science Department regularly offers study tours that provide unique, immersive educational experiences. Sometimes these might be offered in collaboration with other departments or universities. Recent course tours included Health, Education, and Environment in Tanzania Today to explore the challenges of healthcare and education in this diverse and rapidly developing nation. MSUM also recently partnered with Tri-College University to discover the archaeology of Neolithic Greece while working at the ancient acropolis of Halai as part of the Cornell Halai and East Lokris Project (CHELP). The goal is always to make these programs as affordable as possible while offering upper-level anthropology credits.

The Dragon Anthropological Association is an organization for students interested in anthropology or other cultures, past and present. Find the Dragon Anthropological Association.

The Ethnography Lab is the home to the Prairie Nations Research Group. The Lab has numerous resources for a variety of research projects types, such as ethnohistorical research, geospatial ethnography, kinship studies, and Siouan, Algonquian, and Caddoan language studies.

You have the opportunity to conduct faculty-mentored research or your own research in a variety of areas: human-environment interactions, ethnomusicology, ceramic analysis, science education, medical anthropology, geographic information systems, and much more!

A field school is a short-term program that gives you practical training of applying what you learned in the classroom into actual field work. These are typically intensive experiences that build strong relationships among peers and faculty mentors. Field school opportunities vary depending on current research interests of faculty or archaeological contracts. Recent field schools include Prairie and Woodland Native Nations, where students visited, researched and interacted with tribal administrators, members and elders from the Sauk Nation of Kansas and Nebraska, the Iowa Nation of Kansas and Nebraska, and the Meskwaki Nation of Iowa; and Meskwaki Ethnohistory Research Group to the Meskwaki Indian Settlement in East Central Iowa for cultural and linguistic presentations.

The Prairie Nations Research Group (PNRG) is a faculty-led year-round opportunity for undergraduates to undertake individual and group directed and independent study research. Research focuses on cultural and linguistic projects relating to the indigenous peoples of the Western Great Lakes and Prairie regions of the Upper Midwest. Student research and student-faculty collaborations have been presented at MSUM’s Student Academic Conference, the Plains Anthropological Society Conference, the Algonquian Conference, and the Central States Anthropological Conference among others.

You will have the opportunity to present research and/or attend professional conferences at the local, regional and national level. Every year, many students present at MSUM’s Student Academic Conference. Other opportunities may include the Geological Society of America, the Society for American Archaeology, the Plains Anthropological Society, the North Dakota Association for Women Geoscientists, the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference or the Council for Minnesota Archaeology among others.

MSUM is fortunate to be only 16 minutes from the Regional Science Center, approximately 400 acres of prairie, woods, and river communities, with an interpretive center and an observatory. The Science Center contains a unique setting of timber, water, stone and environmental habitats, where the Buffalo River met the expansive prairie of the Red River Valley, providing a focal point for native peoples of the region.