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  • College of Arts & Sciences

    • Social Sciences Division
    • Kapelski Learning Center, Room 231
    • tel: 610-499-4365
    • fax: 610-499-4603
  • Dr. Bretton Alvare

    • Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology
    • Kapelski Learning Center, Room 335
    • tel: 610-499-4287


Experiential Learning, Anthropology

Program Highlight

Students in marsh watching person with stick.

Students Travel to Trinidad

Students from Dr. Bretton Alvaré's Rum, Rasta and Revolution class and Dr. Nadine McHenry's Cross-Cultural Research class went to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago during Spring Break to examine Trinidadian culture and education. See Flickr gallery from this unique study abroad opportunity.

Students who major in anthropology at Widener dig in and experience the material both in and out of the classroom.

Employers today are looking for employees with critical thinking skills and demonstrated experience in real-world settings. From your first course to your capstone senior research project, anthropology majors begin cultivating these skills in the classroom and out in the real world. 

Local Projects and Research

Students can apply what they are learning in the classroom by participating in a number of local projects. In ANTH 105, students participate in a real-world ethnography project, in which they immerse themselves in a cultural scene that is unfamiliar to them (e.g., a mosque, entertainment venues, Philadelphia neighborhoods, police departments, and so on) and practice ethnographic methods of understanding the people engaged in these scenes.

In senior year, students can choose from a wide range of local research projects. Students have previously analyzed a homeless shelter, an immigrant training center, a historic house museum, physical therapy practices, the skeletal remains of an ancient battle, and more.

International Travel

Our students have many opportunities to expand their view of the world through travel.

Dr. Alvaré accompanies students to Trinidad over spring break to explore the two disparate cultures of the island: the north shore dominated by wealthy tourists and the poor slaves in the south struggling for their rights and freedom. 

In collaboration with other departments, trips to Mexico and Costa Rica allow students to explore the role of village women, their family life, and their contributions to the village economy. 

Students may also spend a semester abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and Switzerland, earning credits toward their anthropology degree and general education requirements.


Through internships, students experience different careers in the field and make connections that can lead to a job offer upon graduation. Alumnae Becky McCabe and Christine Sheekey worked at the Philadelphia Medical Examiners and then went on to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for training in forensic science. Other students pursued internships at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Ethnography and Archaeology. While there, they learned how museum artifacts are cataloged and preserved and spent time with curators and exhibit planners.

Service Learning

In keeping with Widener's mission, students carry out a wide variety of service-learning activities in the Chester community and beyond. Working together with various community partner organizations, Widener anthropology students have developed service projects related to food security, eldercare, youth education and training, computer literacy, sports and recreation, and historical preservation. The goal is to produce valuable learning experiences for students that leave a positive, lasting impact on the community in which Widener students live and study.