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Majoring in Anthropology

Are you interested in traveling to see how other people live, looking at National Geo-graphic, or visiting a King Tut exhibit?

 If so, majoring in Anthropology might be just up your alley.

Anthropology is the study of people, their evolution, culture and social relations, material products, languages, music, art and architecture. It includes four branches: cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, linguistics, and archaeology. Students take introductory classes in each of the four branches and then usually focus on an area of interest. Courses might include such offerings as Personality and Culture, Religion and Society, Language and Culture, Primate Behavior, and Archaeology of the New World. Many anthropologists specialize in one or more geographic are-as of the world and may focus on particular populations in a locale or region.

If this seems about as practical as studying basket weaving, think again. Courses in anthropology teach skills that transfer to a wide range of occupations and settings. Graduates can think critically and express themselves effectively, both orally and in writing. They’re able to formulate and test hypotheses, apply theories, and employ research methods. Careful record keeping, attention to details, analytical reading, and clear thinking are also taught by anthropology courses. Perhaps even more importantly, students of anthropology develop cultural sensitivity and respect for diversity, both of which are in high demand in our global society.

Even if you have no desire to spend your life in the Savannah of Africa or curating a museum, anthropology can be an extremely useful course of study. The increasing globalization of business, science, medicine, agriculture and public policy increases the demand for professionals who can generate and manage data effectively, think critically, and work with diverse populations, while demonstrating cultural fluency. The future marketplace requires the type of global, holistic knowledge that an anthropological perspective brings.About half of Ph.D. anthropologists accept academic positions, and the job market for academic anthropologists is relatively stable. But more interestingly, since 1985 the demand for non-academic anthropologists has increased. State and local governmental organizations use anthropologists in planning, research and managerial capacities. Non-governmental organizations, such as international health organizations and development banks, employ anthropologists to help design and implement a wide variety of programs, worldwide and nationwide. Many corporations look explicitly for anthropologists, recognizing the utility of their perspective on a corporate team.

Anthropologists secure jobs as teachers, professors, government analysts, medical researchers, museum curators, park rangers, Peace Corps workers, and translators. To learn more about the field of anthropology and career options, visit www.aaanet.org/resources/students/Anthrodegree.cfm.

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