Delving Into the Anthropology Major
Whether carrying out experiments in modern biological labs or conducting research in a small village, Anthropologists are tasked with exploring human behavior and complexities. Anthropology undergraduates will be expected to grasp the core concepts of biological anthropology, anthropological archeology, sociocultural anthropology, and anthropological thought. You will develop an understanding of anthropological theory, methodology, and analysis.
Anthropological courses are designed to encourage critical abilities in analysis of historical artifacts. Reading materials will include scholarly articles, journals, and monographs. The ultimate goal of the Anthropology major is to learn about the world around us. Students will be asked to learn and understand the structure and evolution of modern societies. You will analyze cultural diversity, utilizing anthropological concepts. Upper level courses require students to formulate concise written and oral arguments about anthropological concepts. Some courses challenge students to discuss and debate techniques among themselves.
In tradition classrooms, students may find themselves giving presentations or teaming up with others for group projects. These are all geared towards honing their analytical and research skills. Many of the learning goals will be accomplished through research, fieldwork, and participation in anthropological internships and service learning. Students will immerse themselves in the process and graduate with a thorough grasp of anthropological concepts. You will be able to analyze and convey these concepts in public debates.
The Associate of Arts degree in anthropology lays the foundation of arts and humanities, with courses in English, history, political science, sociology, philosophy and literature. This academic level equips students with a strong foundation and sets them on the path toward a bachelor’s degree in anthropology or related fields.
The associate degree entails the first two years of coursework, preparing students for transfer to an institution that grants baccalaureate degrees. This degree level empowers students with a broad background of liberal arts courses focusing on the cultural and biological diversity of the human species.
The Associate of Arts in Anthropology curriculum is designed to prepare students for a bachelor’s degree concentrating in sub-topics such as: socio-cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and archaeology. Anthropologists may work for colleges and universities, museums, marketing, and non-profit management.
The Bachelor of Science in Anthropology provides students with a thorough grounding in anthropological knowledge. This degree level spans the breadth and depth of anthropology. Majors learn about the various concepts of culture, social organization, and the numerous theories that attempt to explain human complexity. Some courses go further and examine the link between anthropology and other social sciences.
The Bachelor of Science curriculum also deals with the vast range of methods employed in anthropological analysis. Students may find themselves developing an affinity toward one area of anthropology and taking most of their electives from faculty whose work is on human biology or contemporary. These concentrations can lead students to more specialized graduate work. Anthropology majors at this level will learn how to decode artifacts to unlock the secrets of human history.
The Master of Science in Anthropology is a specialized degree in a particular subfield or subfields of anthropology. This degree level is designed for those students who seek advanced training in the study of people and culture. It is ideal for students whose primary career may lie outside anthropology, but who wish to add an anthropological element to their work.
Typical M.S. candidates are medical doctors, psychiatrists, and other practitioners hoping to expand their knowledge base and employment opportunities. Masters students may focus their graduate studies in Cultural Anthropology or in Archaeology. Concentrations at this level combine theoretical work and experiential field-based learning activities tailored to each student’s career plans. Anthropology majors who graduate with a master’s degree may work in health care, forensics, and community organizations.
Many people who study anthropology at the undergraduate level go on to pursue a doctorate in anthropology or related field. Doctorate degree holders work as professors teaching in a University and conducting their research. If working in an academia is your dream job, then a doctorate is the way to go. The Ph.D. in Anthropology provides opportunities for critical analysis of emergent societies. Many doctorate students take courses that lead to careers in education, while others serve as consultants to agencies.
Students learn the application of anthropological methods to issues connected to globalization, social conditions, public health, and much more. The principal goal of the graduate curriculum is always to provide well-informed examinations of core issues in anthropology. Ultimately, the Ph.D. program offers direction to candidates preparing for research and teaching positions in a wide variety of capacities of anthropological practice.
Supplementing Your Anthropology Major
Anthropology is a versatile field. The knowledge gained in this field can be utilized exclusively or paired with a related field. Since its focus is on human behavior, it’s not unusual to find people pairing anthropology with medicine, psychology or other fields. The versatility of this major enhances the knowledge of students and opens the floodgates of employment in various fields. Some popular concentrations include: sociocultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology.
Sociocultural anthropologists study social patterns with a special interest in how people live, organize, and govern in their environment. Biological anthropologists examine the methods and processes through which people adapt to particular places. Anthropological archaeologists excavate and analyze the history of past cultures. Linguistic anthropologists seek to understand the ways in which language influences social life.
All these specialized concentrations are available to anthropology majors. Some students prefer to pair anthropology with other topics. If you are interested in both anthropology and a specific career path, you might consider a double-major or a minor in either subject. You may also prefer to take anthropology courses related to your desired career field. For example, if you are interested in working in public health, you should consider a double major in anthropology and biology, and take classes in medical anthropology. Always consult the counsel of an academic advisor in your program when deciding which classes you take.
Learn More About the Anthropology Major
- The Princeton Review
- MIT Open Courseware: Anthropology
- Cambridge Journals – Social Anthropology title
The Anthropology Major in the Job Market
If you’re seeking a graduate degree in anthropology, you’re probably wondering, “What type of jobs can you get with that degree?” It’s a legitimate question. After all, job listings never actually specify “anthropologist” in the job title. In reality, there are plenty of employment opportunities in this field. A large number of anthropologists go on to work in government, public health, ecology, organizational psychology, international development, forensics, management, marketing, and museums.
Throughout the course of their training, anthropologists acquire the writing, research and analytical skills necessary to thrive in the work environment. Many anthropology majors prefer to delve into research and teaching after graduation. While it is true that most anthropology graduates pursue jobs in the field of education, an anthropology degree can take you beyond a career in academia.
Anthropologists can also go on to do scientific and technical consulting work. They manage construction sites to make sure that sensitive areas are not harmed. Your training as an anthropologist makes you a unique contributor to the workplace. When interviewing for a job, make sure you emphasize how your training in anthropology applies to the position in question. Some employers may not be as familiar about the application of anthropological knowledge as they are with other social sciences.
Anthropology majors have an advantage that they can highlight in to prospective employers in their job interview. For example, those seeking employment in healthcare can point out how the understanding the role of culture makes them adequately prepared for good patient-caregiver relationships. Those working in international business can emphasize how a thorough grasp of anthropological ethnography makes them well-prepared for cross-continental partnerships.
The job outlook for anthropologists is bright. Anthropology made it on a list of 20 jobs with the highest salary growth, according to data from Careerbuilder.com in conjunction with CBSalary.com and SalaryExpert.com. Candidates who hold a master’s or Ph.D. degree in a social science will have the best employment prospects and advancement opportunities. Employment opportunities some entry-level positions are available to those with a bachelor’s degree. The median annual salary for anthropologists was $53,910 in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.