Anthropology is the study of humans — past and present — as diverse social, cultural, and biological beings in a varied and changing world. Using a multicultural approach, it emphasizes skills for understanding and interacting with all kinds of people.
Anthropology and Archaeology Pathway
Anthropologists study humans all around the world from four major perspectives:
- Cultural anthropologists examine beliefs and practices of living human groups.
- Archaeologists examine beliefs and practices of past human groups through the materials they left behind.
- Biological/physical anthropologists examine human origins and why some groups of people look different from other groups of people.
- Linguistic anthropologists examine human language and communication.
Visit the American Anthropological Association website to learn more about these subfields.
To explore cultural anthropology, archaeology, or biological anthropology as a major, meet with one of the Pierce College anthropology professors.
There are three core courses in anthropology, each an introduction to one of the subfields:
All anthropology majors will take those three courses as part of their transfer pathway. The anthropology program offers a variety of additional courses in these subfields. The other courses that anthropology majors take in their pathway will depend in part on their main subfield focus and other interests and in part on the requirements of the transfer institution. Anthropology majors need to work closely with their anthropology faculty advisor to develop their education plans.
While anyone working with people will benefit from a background in anthropology, anthropology majors have many career options. Some anthropologists engage in research and teaching to contribute to our understanding of humans as a whole; others work in applied fields using their skills and knowledge to make a positive difference in our world.
Anthropologists are everywhere! They work in a wide variety of places; they have careers in academic, nonprofit and community-based, corporate and business, and government sectors. Among the many career possibilities open to anthropologists:
- Cultural anthropologists study the beliefs, traditions, and everyday lives of peoples all over the world, work with government or NGO projects, advocate for human rights and social justice, or develop programs to help provide key services to isolated communities.
- Archaeologists excavate the sites of ancient societies, analyze archaeological materials in a laboratory, manage collections in a museum, or work with the government to make decisions about managing and preserving our nation’s historical and archaeological resources.
- Biological anthropologists investigate biological diversity among modern human populations, excavate and analyze fossils of early human ancestors, study the everyday lives of chimpanzees in the wild, or analyze human skeletal remains to help solve crimes.
These are just a small sampling of the many varied careers open to anthropologists. To learn more about careers in anthropology and archaeology, visit The Captivating and Curious Careers of Anthropology.
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