Anthropology Major

Career Paths

Anthropology Major
An anthropology major studying a human skull. Gerard Fritz / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

About This Major

Why do human beings behave, interact, speak, look and live the way we do? Ask anyone who is studying, or has studied, anthropology. He or she will tell you that the answer to these questions lies in the culture, diversity, history, biology, evolution and linguistics of our species. An anthropology major spends his or her time in college exploring these topics in order to understand the human condition.

This field is broken up into four major areas: archaeology and cultural, linguistic and physical anthropology. Many describe anthropology as a bridge between the social and physical sciences and the humanities.

Students can earn associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in this major. Generally, those who earn associate degrees transfer to bachelor degree programs. Many who earn bachelor's degrees go on to graduate school where they continue their studies in anthropology and earn master's or PhD degrees. This will allow them to become practicing anthropologists or teach at the college and university level. Others use the skills and knowledge they acquired in school to pursue other careers that may or may not require earning a graduate degree in a different field.

Sample of Courses You Can Expect to Take

Associate Degree Courses

  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Introduction to Physical Anthropology
  • Exploring Archaeology
  • Western Civilization
  • Anthropology of Religion
  • Introduction to Language and Culture

Bachelor's Degree Courses

  • Introduction to Anthropology
  • Introduction to Archaeology
  • Human Biology, Behavior and Evolution
  • History of Ethnological Theory
  • Language and Culture
  • The Native Americans
  • African Cultures
  • Eastern Asian Societies and Cultures
  • Muslim Societies
  • The Anthropology of Religion and Society
  • Linguistics
  • Verbal Art and Cultural Performance
  • Archaeology and Colonialism
  • Anthropology of the Body
  • Fieldwork Methods
  • History of Anthropological Theory
  • Introduction to Environmental Anthropology

Graduate Degree (Master's and Doctorate) Courses

  • Designing Anthropological Research
  • Readings in Cognitive Culture
  • Readings and Research in Urban Anthropology
  • The Biological and Historical Past
  • Ethnography and the History of Social Theory in Anthropology
  • Dental Anthropology
  • Human Osteology
  • Art and Society
  • Experimental Archaeology
  • Paleoanthropology
  • Kinship in Nature and Culture
  • Sexuality in a Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • Analysis of State Systems
  • Culture and Capitalism

Career Options With Your Degree*

  • Associate Degree: Museum Technician
  • Bachelor's Degree: Research Assistant, Archaeological Field Crew Member, User Experience Researcher, Market Research Analyst, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Political Analyst, Assistant Archaeologist, Social Media Specialist, Park Ranger, CIA Leadership Analyst
  • Master's Degree: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Political Analyst, CIA Leadership Analyst
  • Doctoral Degree: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Professor, Forensic Anthropologist, Museum Curator
    *This list was compiled by searching job sites for openings that require a degree in anthropology. It includes options for those who graduate with a degree in anthropology only. It does not include any jobs that require earning an additional degree.

    Typical Work Settings

    As evidenced by the wide array of jobs listed above, there aren't typical work settings for those who have degrees in anthropology. They may work in a variety of fields and industries.

    How High School Students Can Prepare for This Major

    High school students who are thinking about majoring in anthropology in college should take history, science, math, English and world language classes.

    What Else You Need to Know

    • An anthropology major, depending on the institution, may choose a concentration in archaeology or cultural, physical or linguistic anthropology.
    • Anthropology is considered a social science but it crosses over into the physical sciences and the humanities.
    • It typically takes two years to earn a master's degree and at least five to earn a PhD. Both involve doing field research and writing a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation.
    • If you know the career you aspire to requires a PhD, for example college professor, apply directly to doctoral programs instead of to Master's degree programs. Most doctoral programs do not require a master's degree for admission.
    • One does not necessarily need an undergraduate degree in anthropology to be admitted to a graduate program. Check with the individual programs in which you are interested.

    Professional Organizations and Other Resources

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