Anthropology Degree Program Information
Anthropology is the study of human culture, society and evolution. There are several areas of focus within the field, including physical anthropology, forensic anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, ethnography and visual anthropology. Students in undergraduate anthropology programs pursue a general course of study in anthropology, while graduate students typically focus on a specific area of the field.
Associate Degree in Anthropology
An associate degree program in anthropology provides students with a broad introduction to the discipline's theories and practices. The degree most commonly awarded is the Associate of Arts, though some programs may award the Associate of Science. An associate degree in anthropology serves as a good foundation for entry into a bachelor's degree program.
Qualifications for entry into an anthropology associate degree program include a high school diploma or equivalent credential like the GED. Some programs may have grade point average requirements, while others may not.
Because this program takes only two years to complete, coursework is generally limited to basics of anthropology and general education, such as English composition, history, science and math. Anthropology curriculum includes:
- Cultural anthropology
- Human development and evolution
- Behavioral science
- Statistical analysis
Popular Career Options
Though many anthropology jobs require a bachelor's degree or higher, a wide range of job opportunities are available to graduates of an anthropology associate degree program. Graduates can find work as:
- Assistant social workers
- Human resources managers
- Museum employees
- Market researchers
Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology
A bachelor's degree program in anthropology generally takes four years to complete and provides students with a strong foundation for continued education in the field. Skills and concepts taught in these programs may include a survey of early anthropological writing, modern anthropological practice and cultural research methods like data gathering and observation of cultures through fieldwork. Though some bachelor's-level anthropology programs may award the Bachelor of Science to graduates, the Bachelor of Arts is the most commonly awarded degree in the field.
Most anthropology bachelor's degree programs have minimum admissions requirements that include a high school diploma or equivalent and specific GPA and SAT minimums. Students are generally not required to apply directly to the anthropology program for admission to the college or university of their choice. However, many anthropology departments require students to take classes in history, a foreign language or introductory social sciences, before being accepted as anthropology majors.
Curricula for anthropology bachelor's degree programs generally focus on a combination of anthropology basics and topics related to a student's own area of interest. Some topics students may choose from include:
- Forensic anthropology
- Biological anthropology
- Anthropological linguistics
- History of anthropology
- Anthropological research
Popular Career Options
Students in anthropology bachelor's degree programs gain skills in research, analysis and writing that are useful in many career settings. Anthropology majors can find work in academics, business, government and the non-profit sector. The following are some examples of potential jobs for graduates of a bachelor's degree program in anthropology:
- Assistant museum curator
- Anthropology research assistant
- Archaeological field worker
- Policy analyst
Master's Degree in Anthropology
The Master of Arts is generally awarded at this level, and only in rare cases is the Master of Science available. Some anthropology departments do not offer terminal master's degree programs and award the master's degree as part of the process of earning a doctoral degree.
Standard admissions requirements for entry to master's degree programs in anthropology include the receipt of a bachelor's degree. Other requirements, such as GPA performance and specific coursework, vary by program. Some programs do not require students to have majored in anthropology but do require students to have taken a certain amount of anthropology and social science coursework during undergraduate study.
Students in master's degree programs in anthropology are usually expected to take some core courses, but spend the majority of their time pursuing coursework that relates to their area of interest. Some common course topics include:
- Economic anthropology
- Contemporary anthropological theory
- Forensic pathology
- Museum studies
Popular Career Options
Graduates of an anthropology master's degree program have skills and knowledge that qualify them to hold many jobs. The focus of a student's anthropological studies while earning their master's degree may impact their future career track, which might include work in:
- Nonprofit management
- Museum curation and management
- Social services consulting
- High school and community college teaching
- Forensic investigation
Ph.D. in Anthropology
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the terminal academic qualification in the field of anthropology. Students are expected to complete a dissertation or research project that involves intensive anthropological study, sometimes including fieldwork and other hands-on research techniques. Anthropology students wishing to work as anthropology professors should plan to earn a Ph.D.
A master's degree in anthropology is the standard minimum academic credential required for admission to an anthropology doctoral program, though some programs award a master's degree as part of the process of earning the Ph.D. Other qualifications may include the applicant's area of focus, which must generally align with the academic interests of departmental faculty.
Curricular requirements for anthropology Ph.D. students include more elective than required courses. Students choose electives to assist them in completing their dissertation or can take courses to round out their knowledge and skills. Potential class topics include:
- Gender in contemporary cultures
- Primate behavior and biology
- Artifact conservation
- Ethnographic analysis
Popular Career Options
As with other anthropology degrees, earning a Ph.D. is good preparation for work in a variety of sectors. Doctoral graduates can work in museums, government agencies, the non-profit sector, businesses and academic institutions. Possible career tracks for anthropology Ph.D. graduates include:
- Think tank residency
- Academic research and writing
- College and university teaching
- Archaeological fieldwork
- Cultural commentary and critique
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