Major: Anthropology

What colleges offer a Major in Anthropology?

How are people alike? How are they different? How have these differences come to be? As an anthropology major, you’ll explore all kinds of mysteries about people and primates.

You might, for example, look at how one group of people communicates without the help of modern technology -- or you might study the effects of cell phones on another society. You might study how ancient societies protected their people against disease -- or how public-health policy affects modern city dwellers. As an undergrad, you might specialize, focusing on culture, biology, archaeology, or language.

Anthropology is the study of humans and other primates (such as chimps). As an anthropology major, you'll study how groups live with each other and how their bodies and cultures have changed over time.

“It's kind of interesting, when you work with other people, to try and look at things from their perspective, to put your own worldview aside for a little while and use theirs.”Liz, junior, anthropology and psychology, Williams College

Are You Ready To...?

  • Organize large amounts of data and research to write papers
  • Be open-minded about new and different ideas and lifestyles
  • Get out in the field and study a culture unlike your own

It Helps To Be...

Good at research, writing, and observing. This is a great major if you're curious about different peoples, places, and cultures. 

College Checklist

  • Is there an anthropology department, or is the major made up of classes from other areas of study?
  • Does the department stress a particular area of anthropology, such as cultural anthropology?
  • Will you have the chance to choose an area of concentration, such as paleoanthropology?
  • Do professors have field experience in their specialties?
  • Will you have the chance to do fieldwork?

Did You Know?

Forensic anthropologists work in crime labs. They analyze skeletons to find out the sex, age, and identity of the dead.

Course Spotlight

Most students start off with courses that introduce them to physical and cultural anthropology. In physical anthropology, you'll learn how the bodies of humans have changed throughout the ages. You may even study ancient bones, tools, and other artifacts, as well as zoo primates. These science courses involve lab work in addition to reading and writing. 

In cultural anthropology, you'll study the way cultures throughout the world develop, creating their own laws, religion, and art. You'll read about different cultures and learn how to analyze them.