So you want to study anthropology in college? Many people will ask you what is anthropology? Before making a decision to choose anthropology as a major, you may ask yourself, are anthropological skills relevant to today's job market? Answers to these questions are important. Anthropology is the study of human behavior, both ancient and contemporary, in their evolutionary, cultural, and linguistic context from prehistoric times to the present. There are many reasons why studying anthropology should be considered as a career path. Anthropologists explore a wide range of critical questions about humans. It considers how peoples' behavior changes over time, why and how people and their cultures across the globe are different and the same, how the human species evolved over millions of years, and how individuals understand and operate successfully in distinct cultural settings. Students will find a corpus of material that is intellectually exciting and practical.
The discipline includes five broad fields -- cultural anthropology, forensic anthropology, anthropological linguistics, medical anthropology and archaeology. Each field teaches distinctive, but overlapping skills, such as applying theories, employing research methodologies, formulating and testing hypotheses, and developing expensive sets of data toward answering questions about the human condition. Anthropologists frame their answers to these questions using a range of methods to forge a holistic understanding toward solving problems.
A course of study in anthropology is well suited for 21st century employment opportunities. Anthropological training cultivates skills in critical thinking, oral and written expression, but most important, the ability to negotiate within culturally diverse environments. The economy is increasingly international with diverse workforces and markets. Those diverse work places require someone with skills to collect, manage, evaluate, and interpret data about human behavior. Anthropological training cultivates the type of global, holistic knowledge, management and decision making skills that are increasing in demand in cross-cultural environments. Anthropological study, at all levels of academic training, prepares students for career paths in business, research, teaching, advocacy, and public service. Anthropology also provides a successful pathway for further graduate or professional study in anthropology, law, medicine, public health, and other sciences. The careers below illustrate the wide range of choices that an anthropology major might pursue after graduation.
Private and Non-profit Organizations
Cultural Resource Management Firms
Department of Public Health
Environmental Assessment Firms
International Health Organizations
Non-Profit Research Firms
Bureau of Land Management
Department of Defense
Department of State Lands
State Department of Transportation
State Historical Preservation Office
U.S. Forest Service
- American Anthropological Association
- Montana Archaeological Society
- Montana Anthropology Students Association
- Society for American Archaeology
- American Association of Physical Anthropology
- Linguistics Society of America
- Society for Medical Anthropology
- The American Board of Forensic Anthropology
For additional career information, see the Occupational Outlook Handbook