Best Colleges and Universities for Anthropology Degrees

The best anthropology programs 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.

Best Colleges and Universities for Anthropology Degrees

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 Colleges and Universities for Anthropology Degree Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.

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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.

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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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Best Colleges and Universities for Anthropology Bachelor’s Degrees

Best Anthropology Major Research Universities

  1. Harvard University
  2. University of Chicago
  3. Stanford University
  4. Yale Univeristy
  5. University of California, Berkeley

Go to The Best Anthropology Research Universities

Best Anthropology Major Liberal Arts Colleges

  1. Williams College
  2. Wesleyan University
  3. Swarthmore College
  4. Pomona College
  5. Amherst College

Go to The Best Anthropology Liberal Arts Colleges

Best Anthropology Online Colleges

  1. University of Florida
  2. Idaho State University
  3. Florida International University
  4. University of Montana
  5. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Go to The Best Anthropology Online Colleges

The Best Anthropology Schools in Your State

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Learn More About Anthropology

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