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What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of all cultures across time and space. Through comparative studies, anthropologists determine how people of the world are similar and different. They engage in issues such as health care, human rights, law, industry, development, global population and more. Anthropologists explore questions important to all parts of the human experience as they concern us and engage our imagination.

There are four ways that anthropologists study cultural variation among humans across time and space. The first is Archaeology, which studies past human cultures through the analysis of physical remains. Second, Biological Anthropology, which studies human and non-human primates both in the past and the present through a biological lens. Third, Cultural Anthropology, which studies living peoples’ ways of life. And fourth, Linguistic Anthropology, which studies languages and the nature of language.

What can I do with a degree in Anthropology?

You may be thinking about or already decided on a degree in Anthropology. At some point in time, you may ask yourself (or more likely your friends and family may ask you): What can I do with a degree in Anthropology? The most obvious answer is an advanced degree, conducting research and teaching, like your professors. Some do go on to do exactly that. However, academe isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, the possibilities for those with a degree in Anthropology are almost endless.

Most job applications will not require or even ask for a "degree in Anthropology,” but those holding a degree or degrees in Anthropology bring important skills to a large number of fields - education, health care, museums, social work, international development, government, organizational psychology, non-profit management, marketing, publishing, business and forensics – just to name a few.

Those degrees that require a graduate degree – law, medicine, public policy, education, etc. – require the critical reading, writing and thinking skills emphasized in your anthropology courses. Practicing and applied anthropologists who continue in academe to earn a masters or a Ph.D. may find careers outside of academe in fields of ecology, public health and Cultural Resource Management.

Employers may not be familiar with the qualifications Anthropologists bring, so you may want to target your specific skills to the qualifications they require. For example, applying to medical school? Be sure to emphasize your knowledge of the role culture plays in how people from various cultures access and understand health care. Do you want to work in business or marketing? You may want to emphasize your knowledge of various cultures and how you can easily fill the role of a "Culture Broker.”

If you find you are interested in both Anthropology and another field, you can always double-major or major-minor, so that your two chosen fields complement each other. Interested in pursuing a career Cultural Resource Management (CRM)? Majors in both Anthropology and in another field in science would prepare you for an advanced degree in Archaeology/CRM. No matter what path you choose, your academic advisor in the Anthropology Program is here to work with you to plan your chosen path.

--The American Anthropological Association

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In The News

Students in Dr. Judson Finley's Archeology Field Trip class
explore archaeological sites in Wyoming.

Wardell bison kill site with Dr. Finley (USU Faculty) and Sam Drucker
(President, Sublette County Wyoming Historical Society)


@ 2011, Utah State University Anthropology Program ~ Department of Sociology, Social Work & Anthropology ~ All Right Reserved.