The Department of Anthropology, located in the Academic Wing of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, houses MA and PhD programs as well as offering an undergraduate major and minor and participating in joint degree programs with other departments and schools. The department includes more than 50 undergraduate majors, more than 70 graduate students, and 17 full-time faculty as well as affiliated faculty, adjunct faculty, and visiting scholars. The University first offered classes in anthropology in 1886, awarded its first PhD in Anthropology in 1909, and formally established an academic department of anthropology in 1912-1913. For many years, degree requirements were designed around the traditional four-fields approach (archaeology, biological and physical anthropology, cultural or social anthropology, and linguistic anthropology), but more recently the department recognized "medical anthropology and global health" and “environmental anthropology” as curricular concentrations. Currently, the department defines its teaching and research of anthropology as a scientifically rooted and actively engaged social science that seeks to understand “1) the historical trajectories that give rise to the different cultural and social forms of the modern world; 2) the logics of biological change, diversity, and health; and 3) the rubrics of social, economic, and political interaction that shape contemporary life worldwide.”
Selection of print and digital materials for anthropological research and learning is not governed solely by needs within the Department of Anthropology's faculty and students. A number of other academic departments, programs, centers, and graduate groups at the University of Pennsylvania support faculty and students whose research involve anthropology and archaeology as well, in particular, the departments of Africana Studies, Classical Studies, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, History of Art, Linguistics, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, South Asia Studies, the graduate group in Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, Center for Ancient Studies, Center for East Asian Studies, Center for Urban Ethnography, and Latin American and Latino Studies.
In addition, staff in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, known more commonly as the Penn Museum, are frequently involved with education and research in these fields at the University. Curators and Associate Curators often hold faculty appointments with teaching responsibilities. As a joint endeavor between the Penn Museum and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences (SAS), the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) offers a range of courses ranging from introductory to advanced for undergraduate and graduate students on the application of scientific techniques to the study of archaeology and biological anthropology. Together with faculty in the Department of Anthropology, the CAAM Faculty Steering Committee and CAAM staff supervise undergraduate students who seek a minor in archaeological sciences and mentor students who are carrying out research-oriented independent studies, honors theses, and graduate work.