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Painting by Paul Gaugin

Student Learning Outcomes

Our degree programs are designed to produce graduates who can engage the world thoughtfully, critically, and creatively. Our hope is that the coursework we require will not only provide a solid base of anthropological or sociological knowledge and a set of skills to collect and evaluate information, but also that our assignments, readings, and classroom discussions will foster a sense of engagement as citizens committed to making the world more humane and liveable.

More specifically, each of our programs has articulated a set of learning outcomes for students. These outcomes are the basis for our on-going assessment of the effectiveness of our courses and our curricula.


Student Learning Outcomes in Sociology


By the time of graduation, sociology majors should be able to:


1. Students can explain the sociological perspective, broadly defined, use sociological theory to explain social problems and issues, make theoretically-informed recommendations to address current social problems, and demonstrate the utility of the sociological perspective for their lives.

2. Students can demonstrate the ability to interpret, locate, evaluate, generate and use sociologically relevant data to test hypotheses and draw evidence-based conclusions.

3. Students can integrate sociologically theory, research, and data in order to assess various explanations of social phenomena and to assess social policy.


Student Learning Outcomes in Anthropology


By the time of graduation, anthropology majors should be able to:


1. Describe the historical development of anthropology and be able to characterize how each subfield contributes to the unified discipline.

2. Compare past and present cultures, including ecological adaptations, social organization, and belief systems, using a holistic, cross-cultural, relativistic, and scientific approach.

3. Explain biological and biocultural evolution, describe the evidence for human origins and evolution, and evaluate both scientific debates and cultural controversies over genetic determinism, biological race, and evolution.

4. Describe the origin of language and importance of symbolic communications in the human condition, including the social context of linguistic change.

5. Explain quantitative and qualitative methods in the analysis of anthropological data and critically evaluate the logic of anthropological research.

6. Identify ethical principles used in anthropological research.

7. Apply anthropological research to contemporary environmental, social, or health issues worldwide.



News & Announcements


Donna Hughes, Carlson Professor of Gender and Women's Studies has accepted a joint appointment as Professor of Sociology. Professor Hughes is a leading international researcher on human trafficking. She has completed research on the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and Korea and also does research and writing on women's rights.


Dr. Pravin Patkar, a Fulbright Scholar from India will be in residence in Sociology and Anthropology during the 2015-16 academic year. The founder of Prerana, a center for women and children in Kamathipura - the largest red-light district in the world -- he written extensively on the topic of human trafficking. He has worked with victims of bonded labor (modern-day slavery) and prostitution and sex trafficking, and is an advocate for laws and policy that protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable. Dr. Patkar will be doing research and co-teaching courses with Professor Donna Hughes.


Julie Keller Julie C. Keller has joined the department as an Assistant Professor of Sociology. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to URI, Professor Keller was a Visiting Assistant Professor and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Oberlin College.


Rosaria Pisa has been appointed director of the Gender and Women's Studies program. Professor Pisa has conducted in-depth fieldwork in rural and urban Mexico since 1993. Her research has evolved from studying the impact of the privatization of communal land on community life to her current focus on the gender dynamics of local and organic farming.


URI Anthropology & History student, Morgan Breene, earns prestigious international award to continue her studies of underwater archaeological sites. For full article click here



For the second year in a row, an anthropologist has been awarded the University’s Early Career Research Award.

Associate Professor Holly Dunsworth received the 2014 award for her research comparing energy use in apes and other mammals with particular reference to how the energetics and metabolic parameters of pregnancy, fetal growth, infant growth, and lactation and how those determine the timing of birth in humans and other mammals. Kudos to Holly!!!

Department contacts

Department Chair
Leo Carroll,

Justice, Law & Society Minor Coordinator
Professor Leo Carroll,

Administrative Assistant
Theresa Nobile,