Anthropology

Anthropology is the study of humankind's origins and interactions. Learn about undergraduate and graduate degree, employment prospects, job duties and salary information to make an informed career decision.

Is Anthropology for Me?

Career Overview

Anthropology is the study of human beings through their behaviors, cultures, biology, evolution, linguistics and traditions. According to the American Anthropological Association (AAA), most anthropologists in the U.S. receive advanced training in one of four specialties, including archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology and sociocultural anthropology (www.aaanet.org). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), anthropologists explore social issues such as warfare, poverty and overpopulation, which may involve traveling to locations around the globe exploring the people, learning languages and becoming familiar with their customs (www.bls.gov).

Salaries and Employment Outlook

An anthropology degree can lead to a wide range of career options. For instance, those with doctorates can find work in academia as instructors or researchers. With an undergraduate degree, you could work as a research assistant. The BLS projects that between 2012 and 2022, the demand should increase by 19% for both anthropologists and university professors. As of May 2013, the median annual salary for anthropologists was $58,360 and for anthropology professors it was $75,930.

How Can I Work in Anthropology?

Undergraduate Education

Although most positions for anthropologists require at least a graduate degree, a bachelor's degree in anthropology is an important first step. The undergraduate degree program in anthropology consists of extensive coursework in anthropology, including classes in linguistics, world history, politics, religion, evolution, genetics, human civilization and folklore. These courses can familiarize you with human beings, so you can learn how anthropology is useful today.

With a bachelor's degree, you may conduct low-level research and gain practical field experience. This can lead to working as a research assistant, in public relations, for social service agencies or different branches of government. However, to enroll in a master's degree in anthropology, most schools require that you have at least some credits in anthropology, which you must obtain from an undergraduate degree in anthropology or from a related field, such as archeology.

Graduate Studies

At the master's degree level, you can specialize in the area of anthropology that best matches your research interests. You may study the way different cultures view gender responsibilities, explore archaeological research sites and learn about more obscure aspects of anthropology, such as the modern Internet culture. Doctoral-level studies in anthropology can provide the opportunity for you to engage in research and social action while exploring race, gender, archeology and cultural anthropology. You can explore the areas that interest you the most through specializations, engage in research, complete practical experiences in the field and complete advanced courses in the field.

With a master's degree in anthropology, you can begin anthropological work in research or work in museums. You could also work in community colleges, teaching anthropology, history or culture courses. You must have graduate-level credits in anthropology, field experience and speak at least two languages for acceptance into a doctoral degree program in anthropology. According to the AAA, anthropologists can find employment in government agencies, museums or cultural resources management. Graduates may also be able to offer a critique of modern culture and the people in it.

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