ANTHROPOLOGY is the broad study of humans and human cultures throughout the world and through history and prehistory. It is part natural science, part social science, and part humanistic study. If you major in Anthropology, you'll compare and contrast biological, social, and cultural similarities and differences among humans and human societies. The topics you'll encounter are pretty much infinite. In one semester, you may study Neanderthals, politics in tribal New Guinea, chimpanzee language, American pottery, or kinship and religion in Sub-Saharan Africa, or poverty in the large urban centers of the United States.
The field of Anthropology is conventionally divided into four sub-fields: (1) archaeology, (2) biological anthropology, (3) linguistic anthropology, and (4) cultural anthropology. Archaeology deals primarily with the prehistoric origins of humankind. Biological anthropology includes the study of human and primate evolution as well as skeletal biology and genetics. Linguistic anthropology concentrates on the history of language and its relation to culture. Cultural anthropology deals with the functions of human societies over the world.
A degree in Anthropology can prepare you for graduate work (or course) and a number of professional activities in the fields of international affairs, medicine, environmental protection, social service, education, and historic preservation.
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES: An estimated 7,500 person’s work in the field of anthropology. About eighty percent of them work in colleges and universities, where they teach and do research and consulting work. Of the less than 1,500 anthropologists who do not teach: the Federal Government employs several hundred. Primarily the government hires some who work in community development planning, health planning, archaeological research and historical preservation; museums employ some as administrators; private consulting firms employ some to conduct research and prepare proposals for government agencies, community organizations, citizens group and business firms. Students who want to work as anthropologist are advised to obtain a Ph.D. degree. A master’s degree, plus field experience, is sufficient for many beginning professional positions, but promotions to top positions generally are reserved for individuals who have a Ph.D. Some anthropology students broaden their employment opportunities by pursuing courses or degrees in other areas such as law, medicine, public administration and education. Colleges and universities require a Ph.D. for permanent teaching positions. Students with a master’s or a bachelor’s degree in anthropology may qualify for research and administrative positions in government and private firms; the number of occupations is expected to have a faster than average growth rate through 2018. Overall specialties offering the best employment prospects include archaeology and physical, medical, applied and urban anthropology.
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