Writing Requirements

Man at desk with notebook open

"Writing is one of the most crucial skills you can learn while in college!"

The Anthropology Department sees writing not merely as a means of communicating with a professor, or demonstrating to her what you are learning. Writing is a crucial part of the learning experience and it is one of the most important professional skills you can acquire no matter what your goals are.

Anthropology Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

The Anthropology Department believes writing is so important it offers five writing awards—with cash prizes! Funded by the Carol Kist Fund and the Ronald and Judith Spielbauer Memorial Fund, students earn $250 for each of the following:

  • Carl Jantzen Award for the Best Paper or Creative Work in Cultural Anthropology.
  • Award for the Best Paper in Physical or Biological Anthropology.
  • Ronald and Judith Spielbauer Award for the Best Paper in Archaeology and Material Culture.
  • Award for the Best Paper Expressing a Holistic Approach in Anthropology.
  • Award for the Best Paper in Linguistic Anthropology (awarded occasionally)

Why does anthropology put good writing at the center of its curriculum? Here are a few of our reasons:

As they enter their professional careers, no skill is more important to college graduates than being a good writer.

Whether they go into business, law, teaching, fine arts (try to make a living without writing grants!), communications, medicine (human or vet) or scientific research, our graduates will spend a great deal of their time writing.

Anthropology is a particularly useful discipline in which to learn to write better, because of its inherently interdisciplinary nature.

Cross trained in the “four-field” approach (archaeology, biological, cultural, and linguistic anthropology), anthropologists write across a wide array of genres, from abstracts, literature reviews, and grant proposals to research papers, field reports, exhibit labels, analytical papers and ethnographies, as well as posters and multimedia genres.

We expect students to experience a wider variety of writing skills and styles than can be taught in any single course.

This is why the Anthropology Department has implemented a “writing across the curriculum” approach.  Every successful anthropology graduate will learn to write effectively in several different professional genres—from fieldnotes to analytical papers, from grants to research reports, you will have many opportunities to learn these crucial skills.

For more information