About us

About us

Anthropologists ask the big questions about human nature, society and culture. Anthropology is distinguished from other fields by a commitment to field research. We study people where they live and on their own terms to better understand different ways of life.

The Department of Anthropology concentrates on social and cultural anthropology with broad applications in government, development, education, and business.

Welcome message from Head of Department

Like many of our students, I first fell in love with anthropology out of raw curiosity about human diversity, about distant places, and people who seemed so different to what I could see close at hand. Anthropology offered a panoramic view of diverse peoples, how they lived, and a set of tools to understand our myriad ways of life. 

Macquarie University has one of the best anthropology programs in Australia, providing a vibrant community of researchers and teachers from around the world doing cutting edge work. Our department concentrates on social and cultural anthropology, and we are best able to support research in these areas, with broad applications in government, development, education, business, and a range of fields.

We offer a comprehensive set of courses for both undergraduates and graduate students. Our undergraduate courses feature award-winning lecturers and an innovative curriculum. We have some of the most popular units in the Faculty of Arts - consider checking us out with a People or Planet unit, or an elective to full out your study program, but don't be surprised if you want to take a follow-on course or two. Students appreciate anthropology's ability to explain the strange and make the familiar suddenly seem odd. But students also appreciate our department's focus on gaining skills that will be useful later, in a host of professions.

Although we have a broad base of expertise, we've developed an especially strong profile in medical and psychological anthropology, and studies of religion, public health, and development. We maintain a creative and open-minded environment with an exceptional record of supporting Masters and Doctoral students doing original theses, in projects that they design.

Ultimately, anthropology never grows old because humans never cease to be fascinated by each other. Our variety and ingenuity, the ways that our worldviews shape our worlds, and the inevitability these will change mean that there will always be new phenomena to study. Globalisation, migration, industrialisation, technological innovation, travel - although some pessimists predicted these forces threaten human variety, on closer look, we find that they create a hothouse for cultural innovation, new ways of being human, and new horizons for anthropologists to chase.

Welcome to anthropology!

Associate Professor Greg Downey

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