Photo of students studying together

Sociology and Anthropology

The disciplines of sociology and anthropology, combined, offer a holistic approach to the study of humankind. The program offers both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree options with four possible emphases: sociology, anthropology, criminology, and American Indian studies. The region’s long and varied human traditions, dating from the prehistoric past of 10,000 years ago with Clovis and Folsom cultures to the 21st century mixed-culture traditions, provide an excellent natural laboratory for socio-cultural studies. The program emphasizes student participation in field and campus laboratory experiences, practicum, and computer competence in analysis of data. Small classes provide an enriched educational environment for both students and faculty.

At the graduate level, Highlands offers a Master of Arts in Southwest Studies – Anthropology Concentration and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Cultural Resource Management.

Within the anthropology program our courses are attractive to those interested in obtaining state and federal government employment, to educators wanting to learn more about the region’s multicultural and diverse background, to individuals preparing for graduate school, to those involved in fields related to cultural and biological anthropology, and to individuals interested in CRM. Our program specializes in socio-cultural, biological anthropology and archaeology. The program focuses on the Greater Southwest and offers classes in socio-cultural anthropology, archaeology, forensics, indigenous peoples, immigration, and cultural resource management.

New Mexico Highlands University is located at the southern base of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Las Vegas, New Mexico, less than an hour’s drive from Santa Fe. For those interested in Southwestern cultural anthropology and archaeology NMHU’s location is an ideal place to study and experience the region’s cultural and historic diversity.

Gender and Women’s Studies
We offer a minor in Gender and Women’s studies.

Master of Arts in Criminology

Master of Arts in Public Affairs – Applied Sociology

Online Professional Master’s Degree in Cultural Resource Management

Our Programs

Undergraduate course catalog: Sociology and Anthropology

The New Mexico Highlands undergraduate catalog outlines your options and the steps you need to take to complete degree requirements for your chosen major. To ensure the seamless completion of your degree, consult often with your academic adviser and use Highlands’ Degree Audit tool to keep track of your academic progress.

Graduate Course Catalog

Southwest Studies

Master’s Degree in Public Affairs, Applied Sociology

Master’s Degree in Cultural Resource Management

Master’s Degree in Criminology

Graduate students are assigned to a faculty adviser within their area of study. The faculty adviser will help the student complete a program of study to satisfy the specific course requirements within their area, outlined in the Graduate Catalog.  The courses listed must satisfy the course requirements prescribed in the catalog of record. The academic adviser will provide guidance in completing your program of study.

The New Mexico Highlands University Anthropology Laboratory is part of the Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice Department. The Anthropology Laboratory serves three main purposes: as a repository for a substantial archaeological collection, as a research institution, and as a learning institution. The primary goal of the laboratory is to house the artifacts in a fashion that promotes conservation.

There are thousands of artifacts stored in the repository including prehistoric and historic ceramics, lithics, groundstone, human remains (including NAGPRA collections), faunal remains, botanical remains, soil samples, historic glass, historic metal, and comparative collections. The anthropology laboratory creates an organized system in which students and researchers can safely and easily examine artifacts in a structured environment.

There are many valuable artifacts available for students to research to complete their coursework and for researchers from outside of the university to investigate while pursuing their own projects. The Anthropology Laboratory also serves to educate both the student and community population about the role of archaeology in our lives and history. Major time periods represented in the collections include Paleoindian, Ancestral Pueblo and historic New Mexico. These collections were accrued as early as the 1930s to the present day.

Our Mission

The mission of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice is to contribute to meeting the educational and research needs in sociology, anthropology, criminal justice and the related fields; contribute to meeting the career needs in social services and social sciences, tribal, state, and federal career requirements, as well as contribute to training for careers in education, law, public service, and other social science fields; contribute to meeting the need for secondary school teacher certification in sociology and/or anthropology; and to provide sociocultural service and expertise for the region, as well as the greater global community.

Faculty and Staff

Gloria Y. Gadsden, Ph.D.


P: 505-454-3209
F: 505-454-3331

Rebecca Álvarez, Ph.D.


P: 505-454-3504
F: 505-454-3331

Kimberly Munro, Ph.D.


P: 505-454-3343
F: 505-454-3331

Tom Ward, Ph.D.