Anthropology is the holistic study of humans in the past and present, both biologically and culturally, throughout the world. It has been called the most humanistic science and most scientific study of humanity. The four subfields are biological (physical) anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology. Anthropology provides unique methodologies and theoretical perspectives in systematically examining and understanding the human condition and experience. Applied anthropology provides robust approaches to solving human problems in all of the subfields. As an interdisciplinary pursuit, anthropology incorporates and draws upon diverse fields and areas of research such as human anatomy, folklore, genetics, geography, geology, history, primatology, psychology, and zoology.

Anthropologists study peoples' physical makeup, culturally-conditioned personality, political and economic organizations, ideologies and religious beliefs, languages, and material culture. Cultural anthropologists once focused almost entirely on non-western, tribal traditions. Today anthropologists study the global transformations of modern industrial states and interactions with local-level, indigenous communities and displaced human groups. Biological and archaeological anthropologists study the evolution of humanity over millions of years, including the earliest evidence for Homo sapiens in Africa, the beginnings of food production, and development of complex societies and civilizations. The subject matter of anthropology is global and timeless.

The anthropology curriculum at UL Lafayette offers a wide array of courses representing the four subfields of anthropology. In order to obtain a degree in anthropology, students must take 30 credit hours in anthropology and must also earn an 18 credit hour minor concentration in another field relevant to anthropology or the student's career interests. The five required courses are Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 201), Physical Anthropology (ANTH 202), Archaeology (ANTH 303), Linguistic Anthropology (ANTH 390) OR Introduction to Linguistics (ENGL 351), and Anthropological Theory (ANTH 470). The additional 15 credit hours of anthropology courses can be selected based on the student’s anthropological interests, with guidance from the student’s advisor.