A Degree in Anthropology

Students earning a degree in anthropology possess a unique combination of STEM and humanities-based skills. Anthropology degree holders are trained to: 

  • Work in global, multicultural contexts.
  • Address real world problems by overcoming pre-conceived cultural assumptions, and incorporate local knowledge and community input into solutions.
  • Discern trends, themes, and patterns from complex data sets
  • Gain field science techniques related to archeological excavations and ethnographic studies and surveys. 
  • Closely analyze texts and sources.
  • Excel in argumentation, writing, and critical thinking.

The broad nature of an anthropological education makes it well suited for the professional demands of today’s world, which values culturally savvy, adaptable workers. The ability of anthropologists to see problems through a fresh “outsider’s” vantage point is particularly valued by students who go on to work in business, consulting and other administrative fields. Anthropology is a popular and relevant subject for pre-med students, because it combines medicine with cross-cultural experience. It is advantageous as a pre-law major because it combines an emphasis on writing and argumentation with global awareness.  

 

Transferable Skills

An anthropology degree offers skills in:

  • Scientific research and analysis
  • Laboratory techniques, forensic analysis
  • Creating archeological surveys, object analysis, cataloging and classification of objects
  • Design survey, questionnaires, interviews; implement, code and analyze interviews
  • Critical thinking and communication
  • Awareness of the role of culture in shaping the reactions and perceptions of others
  • Use of reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of differing conclusions, arguments and approaches to problems
  • Create original arguments and assertions based on evidence; critically evaluate evidence based-claims made by others.

 

Some Careers in Anthropology

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of anthropologists is expected to grow 19% between 2012 and 2022. Professionals with degrees in anthropology earn an average salary of $61,220.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics and American Anthropological Association, despite the perception that anthropology is an “academic” field, the majority (7,700) work in non-academic professional contexts compared to the estimated 600 who are employed by educational institutions.

CareerMedian SalaryMarket Growth
Federal government, excluding postal service$74,860  
Engineering services$61,070 
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services$58,510 
State and local government, excluding education and hospitals$56,650  
Research and development in the social sciences and humanities$54,390  


Source: O*NET Online, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration

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Graduate Study

This degree also provides a solid foundation for graduate study in:

  • Economics
  • Public Health
  • Political Science

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Notable People With an Anthropology Major

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