• Learning about people and cultures, past and present

    Unearthing the past

    Explaining cultural diversity

    Get started today

    Apply now for our next intake. More...


  • The Anthropology department at Capilano University is part of the Social Sciences Faculty, and is housed on the fourth floor of the Fir Building.  The department offers a wide range of university courses that will prepare students for their third and fourth years at university.  All the department’s instructors are committed to providing an excellent education in the discipline.  As a former student, Michelle Poulsen, comments,

    The anthropology instructors at Capilano are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their work, and are able to infuse their students with that same enthusiasm.  I had taken anthropology and archaeology classes before at other colleges, but it was the instruction I received at Capilano that made me decide I wanted to make the study of human culture, and specifically First Nations culture, the focus of my academic studies. The foundation in anthropology I received at Capilano prepared me for further studies at the university level, and I am now working on my MA in anthropology at UBC. Capilano is a great place to begin an education in the social sciences.

    The Anthropological Discipline

    Anthropology is an exciting and relevant subject for anyone interested in the world, culture, and our knowledge of who we are as humans.  It is described as the study of humans and human culture through time and in every context. This is a discipline of enormous breadth, but equally fascinating detail, that has further refined itself into four sub-fields – Biological Anthropology, Archaeology, Social Anthropology, and Applied Anthropology. All of the excitement, relevancy, breadth and detail are available in courses offered by the Anthropology department at Capilano University. 


    Archaeology is the study of humans through the remains of their physical activities. This includes the identification, collection, analysis, interpretation, and management of those remains, usually classified as artefacts or sites.  The time period of interest for archaeologists begins with the earliest known evidence of tool-making more than two million years ago and continues through the study of contemporary material culture.

    Biological Anthropology

    Biological Anthropology, also known as physical anthropology, focuses on human biology, past and present. Interest ranges from human origins and biological development to contemporary biological diversity. Biological anthropologists are also often interested in the relationship between human biology and culture and many biological anthropologists study non-human primates in order to better understand the behaviour of our primate ancestors.

    Social Anthropology

    Social Anthropology, once called comparative sociology, is distinguished by its use of fieldwork as the methodology for discovering the complex relationship between people, culture and society in any part of the world in the recent past and present.  Fieldwork in Social Anthropology is a period of time living and working with the community you are trying to understand, and this experience is central to the teaching of the instructors in the Department.  You will get first hand accounts of the practise of Social Anthropology and learn about the world’s cultural diversity.  This sub-field offers both intellectual and practical skills that will enable you to understand kinship, marriage practices, political organization, subsistence strategies, religion, and social organization, in your own and any other culture.

    Applied Anthropology

    Applied Anthropology draws upon all the knowledge generated by the other three sub-fields of Anthropology and uses it for practical purposes.  It can be thought of as taking an academic discipline and turning it into a tool to enable communities to deal with change, housing, healthcare, political and economic issues that are faced throughout the world.  It is in this realm that Anthropology as a degree that can facilitate careers in overseas development agencies, non-profit organizations, and local community-based initiatives. Many Anthropology courses at Capilano University draw attention to this practical aspect of the discipline.