Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Anthropology Degrees

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Anthropology Degrees

The best anthropology liberal arts colleges are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best anthropology degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding anthropology faculty. By focusing on the concentration of influential faculty within departments, our research shows that smaller schools can truly compete with the large ones — with the ultimate goal of helping you choose where you may receive the most personal attention and gain the best educational experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Anthropology Bachelor’s Degrees

Earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology can open numerous professionals doors. In addition to fields such as archaeology and museum curation, the research, critical thinking, and communication skills learned in this major can apply in a wide range of educational, scientific, and social services work settings. The best schools for anthropology will put you in a position to become an innovator and a leader in this exciting field.

Today, top influencers in anthropology are bringing new light to topics like military uses of anthropology, cultural influences on economies, human organ trafficking, and much more.

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Anthropology studies human behaviors and characteristics with less focus on social influences than sociology. There are a lot of similarities, especially between cultural anthropology and sociology, but the focus is different. Anthropology focuses on the people - their behaviors, physical characteristics, and their responses to social structures, ie, their culture. Sociology focuses more on group behaviors and relations with social structures and institutions. Sociology uses qualitative and quantitative methods to study the causes and effect of social structures. Anthropologists more often utilize qualitative research methods like ethnography to study the changes that occur in people given their circumstances.

In an interview with us, Princeton Univerity Sociologist, Vivian Zelizer noted their similarities and common difference with psycholgy, [T]here are a lot of parallels between both fields in the sense that they’re both trying to understand social life, and in that sense, a contrast with psychology, which of course they’re interested in social life, but the focus is on the individual. Individual development, individual cognition, and both sociologists and anthropologists are more interested in the social relations, even though there are many splendid scholars in both of those fields that may specialise in cognitive aspects of social relationships. And I would say that in the past, the boundaries between sociology and anthropology were stronger in the sense that anthropologists would study primitive communities and other kinds of groups and less contemporary capitalist societies. But in the past years, anthropologists have done splendid ethnographies and studies of contemporary societies.

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Anthropology is an excellent interdisciplinary major. The degree is typically composed of numerous distinct but related subject areas from history and linguistics to studies on world religion and race, alongside science-driven subjects such as evolutionary biology, archaeology, and forensics. As an anthropology major, you’ll get the chance to flex both your scientific muscles and sharpen your skills of critical analysis.

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Once you’ve declared your major in anthropology, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in a number of related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized anthropology electives, there are a several common courses that most anthropology majors will be required to take, including:

  • Gender, Sexuality and Society
  • Race and Science
  • Conducting Ethnographies
  • Identity and Difference
  • Anthropology of Biology
  • Documenting Culture
  • Environmental Conflict
  • The Anthropology of Politics in the U.S.
  • Social Theory and Analysis

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Anthropology is often divided into four distinct subdisciplines:

  • Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans or human-environmental adaptation.
  • Forensic anthropology falls under biological and physical anthropology as an application of the anatomical science of anthropology that assists in the identification of deceased individuals.
  • Cultural anthropology studies patterns of behavior and development of culture among societies.
  • The study of how language is formulated, how communication is used, and how language influences social life is known as linguistic anthropology.
  • Perhaps the most familiar application of anthropology is archaeology, which is the study of the past civilizations through the examination of artifacts.

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To answer this, we looked at internet search queries within the Education category on Google Trends. Biological anthropology (also sometimes called physical anthropology) is currently the most-searched field in anthropology, followed by medical anthropology, cultural anthropology, forensic anthropology, and linguistic anthropology (also known as ethnolinguistics).

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Anthropology is a highly specialized field. Those who will ultimately practice anthropology or archaeology will typically have earned a master’s degree. This will qualify you for a wide range of opportunities doing fieldwork, consultation, or education as an anthropologist, archeologist, or historian. But anthropology is also a versatile degree program. In addition to preparing you to enter into an advanced degree program in anthropology, a bachelor’s degree in anthropology could lead to a wide range of opportunities in forensics, education, biology, and much more. If you do choose to pursue anthropology as a career, your major can lead to these top jobs:

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Anthropology Degree Programs

If you think a research university may be a better fit for you, see our ranking of the best research universities for a bachelor’s in anthropology.

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Anthropology Degrees

  1. #1

    Williams College

    Williamstown , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    15%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

  2. #2

    Wesleyan University

    Middletown , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    4K

    Wesleyan Univeristy Anthropology Major Concentrations

    • Difference, Inequality, and Social Justice
    • Local Distinctions, Global Connections
    • Producing, Consuming, and Performing Culture

    Source

  3. #3

    Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

    Swarthmore College Anthropology Major Concentrations

    • Medical Anthropology

    Source

  4. #4

    Pomona College

    Claremont , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

  5. #5

    Amherst College

    Amherst , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    12%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

  6. #6

    Wellesley College

    Wellesley , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

  7. #7

    Middlebury College

    Middlebury , VT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    22%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/33

    Middlebury College Anthropology Major Tracks

    • Sociology/Anthropology
    • Anthropology general

    Source

  8. #8

    Bowdoin College

    Brunswick , ME
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    Bowdoin BA Anthropology Major:

    Resources and Opportunities:

    • International and Field Experiences
    • Museums and Collections
    • Media and Technology
    • Local Communities and Landscapes

    Source

  9. #9

    Davidson College

    Davidson , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1397/31

    Davidson College Anthropology Majors Sub-Disciplines

    • Sociocultural
    • Biocultural
    • Archaeological Anthropology

    Source

  10. #10

    Colgate University

    Hamilton , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    27%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

  11. #11

    Barnard College

    New York , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/32

    Barnard College Anthropology Major Concentrations

    • Anthropology general
    • Archaeology
    • Medical Anthropology
    • Political Ecology

    Source

  12. #13

    Reed College

    Portland , OR
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    42%

    Graduation

    77%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1422/32

    Reed College Anthropology Major Concentrations

    • Linguistic Anthropology
    • Science, Environment, and Technology Studies

    Reed College Anthropology Major Interdisiplinary Concentrations

    • Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies

    Source

  13. #14

    Kenyon College

    Gambier , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1365/31

    Kenyon College Anthropology Majors Sub-Disciplines

    • Biological Anthropology
    • Archaeology
    • Cultural Anthropology

    Source

  14. #15

    Haverford College

    Haverford , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

  15. #18

    Vassar College

    Poughkeepsie , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $63K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

  16. #19

    Carleton College

    Northfield , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1450/32

  17. #20

    Macalester College

    Saint Paul , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    39%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/31

    Macalaster College Anthropology Major

    As interdisciplinary field the anthropology program covers a broad range of subjects, from refugees and migration to global health and environmental issues, from human rights to human origins, and from museum studies to the study of development.

    Source

  18. #22

    San Francisco State University

    San Francisco , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/20

    San Francisco State University Anthropology Majors Specializations

    • Bioarchaeology
    • Medical Anthropology
    • Political Archaeology
    • Visual Anthropology (including Ethnographic Film-making and the Study of Ancient and Prehistoric Art)

    Source

  19. #25

    Smith College

    Northampton , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    3K

    Smith College Anthropology Major Areas of Interest

    • East Asian Studies
    • African Studies
    • Latin American Studies
    • Environmental Science and Policy

    Source

Go to all Liberal Arts Colleges for Anthropology programs

The Best Anthropology Schools in Your State

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