Anthropology is the study of humans, past and present. To understand the full sweep and complexity of cultures across all of human history, Anthropology draws upon knowledge from the social and biological sciences as well as the humanities and physical sciences.
Historically, in the US, anthropologists usually have been trained in one of four areas, socio-cultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics.
Often, however, anthropologists integrate the perspectives of several of these areas into their work.
Areas of anthropological study include:
Archaeology - Retrieves artifacts from the past and
places them in context to understand our history and its relevance for today.
Biological/Physical Anthropology - Traces our biological origins, evolutionary development, and genetic diversity.
Cultural Anthropology - Seeks to understand the internal logic of societies through ethnography.
Forensic Anthropology - Seeks to identify skeletal, or otherwise decomposed, human remains.
Because there are many subfields of anthropology, each with its own unique skills, a person will obtain skills based upon their desired subfield focus:
- Careful record-keeping
- Attention to details
- Analytical reading
- Clear thinking
- Social ease in strange situations
- Critical thinking
- Strong skills in oral and written expression
Learn to supplement statistical findings with descriptive data gathered through participant observation, interviewing, and ethnographic study.
Trained observer who knows the importance of collecting data, in listening and watching what others are doing, in reflecting on what has actually as well as apparently
Uses a repertoire of methods in order to forge a deeper understanding of situations. This holism characterizes the best anthropology and imparts the perspective for which
the profession is valued.
Anthropology offers many opportunities to use anthropological perspectives and skills. Jobs filled by anthropology majors include researchers, evaluators, and administrators.
Cultural anthropologists have the range of careers filled by other social scientists; biological and medical anthropologists have other skills which are useful in the growing sector of health related occupations. Many archaeologists are employed in American cultural
resource management projects which are required by federal and state laws before major building ventures.
Core Anthropology Courses that may be helpful in pursuing the major**:
- General Anthropology
- Archaeology and the Prehistoric World
- Cultural Anthropology
- Introduction to Physical Anthropology
**Specific anthropology requirements will vary depending on the baccalaureate granting institution.
Looking for more information? Check out these resources.
- WISCareers – “Wisconsin’s career exploration and planning website.” Contact Student Affairs for access to this website.
- Transfer Information System (TIS) – Access a transfer planning guide for specific majors and UW institutions.
- Course Schedule – Search for courses available at UWFox
- Education advisors – An excellent resource for all your academic and career questions.