Anthropology is one of Iowa State University’s newest departments (established December 1990), previously being associated with the Department of Sociology. In spite of its recent official appearance on this campus, for the previous two decades it operated as a semi-autonomous unit within the larger department and has offered its own baccalaureate degree since 1971.

For the past two decades it has awarded a Masters of Arts in Anthropology. Today the Department of Anthropology has eight tenure-track positions, close to 100 undergraduate majors and 20 graduate students.The Department of Anthropology has four principle missions: teaching, research, service and the promotion of cross-cultural and international understanding.