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Overview

Anthropology is the broad study of humans and human cultures throughout the world and throughout history and prehistory. It's 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, Native 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 all over the world.

A degree in Anthropology can prepare you for graduate work (of course) and a number of professional activities in the fields of international affairs, medicine, environmental protection, social service, education, and historic preservation.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Anthropology of Religion

  • Biological Anthropology

  • Cultural Anthropology

  • Evolution of the Human Species

  • History of Anthropological Theory

  • Human Biology

  • Human Origins

  • Human Skeletal Anatomy

  • Indians of North America

  • Introduction to Anthropology

  • Linguistics

  • Modern Human Physical Variation

  • Origins of Civilization

  • Peoples and Cultures of the Arctic

  • Principles of Archaeology


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

If you are lucky enough to go to a high school that offers a course in Anthropology, you should obviously take it. If not, geography and history-oriented courses are just as good, if not better, preparation for an Anthropology major. Any advanced courses you can take in the social sciences, natural sciences, or humanities will be helpful as well. As with any liberal arts major, it's a virtual certainty that you'll be required to take several foreign language courses in college. Plan accordingly.