Anthropology Video: Career Options for a Degree in Anthropology

Anthropology Video: Career Options for a Degree in Anthropology Transcript

Are you interested in how human beings evolved and societies developed? If you're curious about life's great questions, a career in anthropology may be right for you. Professionals in this field utilize sociology, cultural anthropology, archaeology and other investigative studies to understand how we have come this point in history. They also work to apply this knowledge to some of the most important questions of our day.


Anthropology is the study of human beings, including behavior, customs, clothing, language and religion. The scope of anthropology includes the entirety of human history, from societies existing thousands of years ago to cultures of the present day. The field is divided into four primary disciplines. Sociocultural anthropology entails ethnographic studies based on observation and interviews with people from different cultures or subcultures. Linguistic anthropology examines the evolution and structure of languages from around the world and throughout history. Archeology is the study of artifacts (such as pictographs, stone tools and earthenware) from past civilizations. Biological anthropology focuses on our physical evolutionary development. While these pursuits differ in significant ways, the shared purpose is greater understanding of what it means to be human.

Job Skills and Duties

Anthropologists may have a wide range of duties requiring significantly different skills. One universal requirement, however, is remarkable curiosity about the world around us. Research and analytical skills are also very important in the work of these professionals. Their comparative studies often require high-level mathematical concepts and statistical analysis. Many anthropologists also regularly report on their findings, making it necessary for them to have excellent writing ability. Oral communication skills can also be vital, especially in field settings where interaction with people is crucial toward gathering data. Additional personal attributes helpful in this work include creativity, objectivity, open-mindedness and diligence in work habits.

Training Required

Anthropology programs can vary somewhat depending on the specific discipline a student wishes to pursue. Those concentrating on sociocultural anthropology, for example, take intensive courses on topics like history, language, law, media studies, politics, racial identity and gender studies. Those interested in biological anthropology, on the other hand, study evolution, genetics and morphology of humans and nonhuman primates. Among the important general requirements, though, are studies in mathematics, statistics and quantitative research. Many anthropology majors also benefit from internships or field experience through museums, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and student exchanges.

Well Known Jobs Within This Field of Expertise

While the impression of anthropologists is often that of traveling to all corners of the earth, many of these professionals actually conduct most of their research in local libraries, museums and other institutions. Positions in the field can be quite competitive. Many jobs require at least a master's degree, with a doctorate being necessary for top research and administrative positions. For this reason, many students pursue graduate degrees. An anthropology degree also prepares many students for careers in social work, international affairs, research, writing, law, marketing, public health and related professions.


Anthropology careers are great for those who are intellectually curious about the world in which we live. Many of the best positions in academia can be quite competitive, however, graduates find rewarding work in a variety of public and private settings. If you often find yourself marveling at the diversity of our earth, anthropology may be right for you.


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