If you are interested in pursuing a degree or finding a job in the field of anthropology, everything you need is here. Find the best schools, career information, history of the discipline, influential people in the field, great books, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Anthropology is an interdisciplinary social sciences discipline that can lead to a wide variety of excellent career opportunities in linguistics, biology, archaeology, and more.

  • Anthropology degrees are widely available through both brick-and-mortar and online colleges and universities at both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels.

  • Anthropology students who are interested in becoming anthropologists or working in research roles will typically be required to earn a master’s degree in anthropology.

Featured Programs

What Is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of human behavior, cultural beliefs, languages and more. Anthropology students will study these subjects through multiple perspectives. In fact, many anthropology students will focus on specific anthropology subfields like cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, or linguistic anthropology.

Starting the Search for Your Anthropology Degree

The anthropology degree is available at the associate degree level and the bachelor’s degree level. Many anthropology students also go on to earn a graduate degree.

Anthropology is an interdisciplinary field, which means that it overlaps with numerous social sciences and life sciences. Your anthropology degree will likely include courses in areas like biology, history, and archaeology as well areas like data analysis, consumer behavior, the legal system, and more.

For this reason, the anthropology degree is particularly versatile. Many students with anthropology degrees enter into directly related careers as educators, social workers, archaeologists and museum curators. However, many students with anthropology degrees use their experience to pursue job roles in public relations, human resources, the business world, and even leadership roles in the federal government.

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Best Colleges and Universities for Anthropology Bachelor’s Degrees

Best Research Universities for Earning an Anthropology Degree

The following are the top colleges and universities for earning an anthropology degree at both the bachelor’s degree and undergraduate degree levels. Each of the schools listed below is a top research university offering a wide range of anthropology degree programs including focused concentrations in cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, sociocultural anthropology and more. Anthropology majors can take a deeper dive into a specialized area while developing valuable research skills.

Best Anthropology Major Research Universities

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

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The Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Earning an Anthropology Degree

Best Anthropology Major Liberal Arts Colleges

The following liberal arts colleges are noted for the excellence of their anthropology degree programs. Many liberal arts schools also offer online anthropology courses as well as full online anthropology degree programs. Students earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from one of these top liberal arts schools will often study the subject with a focus on exploring human diversity, an array of cultural perspectives, the history of written communication, and more.

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

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The Best Anthropology Degrees for Online Students

It’s possible to complete some or all of your anthropology coursework online. The following schools offer access to an anthropology degree entirely through online education. Many online colleges offer access to both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in anthropology. Complete your anthropology studies online at one of these top schools.

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

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The Best Online Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology

You can narrow your search for an excellent online anthropology degree by focusing on schools offering the Best Online Bachelor’s in Anthropology. While some anthropology careers require a master’s degree–including biologist, archeologist, and museum curator–your undergraduate degree in anthropology can create job opportunities in many fields. You may be able to start a rewarding career in human resources, higher education, historical preservation, market research and in an array of private sector roles.

How to Find an Anthropology Degree

To view the entire list of top anthropology schools, including schools offering online anthropology majors and a breakdown of the best anthropology colleges and universities in your state, visit our look at the Best Colleges and Universities for Anthropology Degrees.

Are you interested in exploring even more great college majors? Don’t miss our guide to college majors.

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History of the Anthropology Discipline

The study of anthropology has deep roots in academic history, with early Greek and Roman scholars engaging in the exploration of various overlapping areas including culture, linguistics, human social life, evolutionary anthropology, and more. Increasingly, anthropology has grown to encompass the study of diverse populations, human behavior, and more. Below are a few highlights from our 4-part series A Brief History of the Anthropology Discipline:

  1. Herodotus wrote what we might now call “early anthropology” by documenting and attempting to understand the disparate cultures of Greece and Persia in the 4th Century BC.
  2. Charles Darwin outlined his theory of evolution, encouraging a view of society and culture as evolving through stages, in 1859.
  3. Franz Boas framed anthropology as a research discipline whose primary goal was the scientific study of different cultures in the 1920s.
  4. Bronislaw Malinowski and Alfred Radcliffe Brown helped to proliferate functionalism as a dominant force in anthropology in Europe during the 1930s.
  5. Clifford Geertz recognized the influential role played by symbols in identifying different cultures during the 1970s.
  6. The growth of the Internet and the global erosion of cross-cultural borders has opened up new questions, challenges and opportunities for anthropologists studying the world in the 21st Century.

Career Outlook for Students with Anthropology Degree

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Degree Level: Bachelor's

  • Location: The U.S. (Private Schools)
  • Avg. Cost of Degree*: $10,982
  • Avg. Expenses*: $17,491
  • Avg. Starting Salary*: $25,829
  • Avg. Salary after 4 Years*: $37,660
  • Avg. Cost Recoup Time**: 14 years
  • Job Growth: 3.35%
  • Number of Jobs: 1,242,500
  • * denotes ‘annually’
  • ** denotes ‘at 15% of annual salary’

Career Salaries

CareerJob GrowthAvg. Salary
Managers, All Other3.35%$106,040
Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists9.83%$91,024
Anthropology and Archeology Teachers, Postsecondary3.23%$89,474
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary4.20%$81,038
Anthropologists and Archeologists3.75%$63,023

Average Career Salaries

Bottom 10%MedianTop 10%

Promising Job Markets

StateCost of LivingAvg. Salary
#2 Delaware2% higher than average$149,458
#3 Kansas9% higher than average$105,127
#4 West Virginia11% higher than average$98,903
#5 New Jersey13% higher than average$122,862
#6 Michigan15% higher than average$90,043

Top Industries

IndustryAvg. Salary
Managers, All Other$106,040
Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists$91,024
Anthropology and Archeology Teachers, Postsecondary$89,474
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Anthropology Degrees

What Will I Study as an Anthropology Major?

As an anthropology major, you’ll study subjects such as history, biology and linguistics in the context of human evolution, communication, social organization and more. Common bachelor’s degree courses include Race and Science, Conducting Ethnographies, Linguistic Anthropology, Documenting Culture, Environmental Conflict, and more. You may also take anthropology courses in more contemporary subjects like human resources, market research, and consumer behavior. Most anthropology programs also include research projects.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Anthropology

You need a master’s degree to work in an array of anthropology careers such as archaeologist, historian, or museum curator. Likewise, only anthropology graduates with a master’s degree or higher can be referred to as anthropologists. Anthropologists typically work in research, higher education, historic preservation and more.

But the critical-thinking, problem-solving and research skills you’ll build with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology will also be valuable in a wide range of professional settings in both the public and private sector. Anthropology graduates may also pursue a variety of anthropology careers as a social worker, language expert,

How To Get a Degree in Anthropology

You can earn an anthropology degree either online or through a traditional brick-and-mortar school. The easiest way to get started is to check out our Custom College Ranking tool, where you can build your ow dynamic, real-time listing of the best anthropology schools in the world.

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Who are the top anthropology influencers in history?

The history of anthropology stretches back for thousands of years, but the greatest concentration of groundbreaking ideas and figures emerged in the mid-19th Century, forging an academic tradition that continues to transform and evolve today. Top figures in areas like biological anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology helped to break new ground in this evolving field.

These figures rank as the most influential anthropologists between 4000 BC and 2020, according to our InfluenceRankings

  1. Franz Boas was a German-born American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the “Father of American Anthropology.”
  2. Claude Levi-Strauss was a French anthropologist and ethnologist whose work was key in the development of the theories of structuralism and structural anthropology.
  3. Bronislaw Malinowski was an anthropologist whose writings on ethnography, social theory, and field research were a lasting influence on the discipline of anthropology.
  4. Clifford Geertz was an American anthropologist who is remembered mostly for his strong support for and influence on the practice of symbolic anthropology.
  5. Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist who featured frequently as an author and speaker in the mass media during the 1960s and 1970s.
  6. Edmund Leach was a British social anthropologist and academic who served as Provost of King’s College, Cambridge from 1966 to 1979, as well as President of the Royal Anthropological Institute from 1971 to 1975.
  7. Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher and a central Enlightenment thinker whose comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential figures in modern Western philosophy.
  8. Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist who formally established the academic discipline of sociology and, with Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science.
  9. Ruth Benedict was an American anthropologist and folklorist who studied under Franz Boas as a graduate at Columbia University in 1921.
  10. Mary Douglas was a British anthropologist, known for her writings on human culture and symbolism, whose area of speciality was social anthropology.
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Who are the top anthropology influencers today?

The following are the top Anthropology influencers in the field today according to our machine-powered Influence Rankings, which are drawn from a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia/data, Crossref, and an ever-growing body of data.

  1. Ulf Hannerz is an emeritus professor of social anthropology at Stockholm University, where he has focused his research on urban and media anthropology.
  2. Marshall Sahlins was the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago who has explored the power of culture to shape ideas and beliefs, and who coined the phrase “teach-in” as a Vietnam War activist.
  3. Nancy Scheper Hughes is a program director and professor for medical anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, where she has conducted research in numerous areas including cultural forensic anthropology, human organ trafficking, invisible genocides, Pope Francis, violence, death squads, and epidemics.
  4. David Graeber is a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics as well as an activist and anarchist who has raised criticisms about the actual harm/benefit caused by the International Monetary Fund and their loans to struggling nations.
  5. Marcia C. Inhorn is the William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at Yale University whose research into the social impacts of infertility in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon made her the first anthropologist to conduct such a study in the Middle East.
  6. Paul Rabinow is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley and director of the Anthropology of the Contemporary Research Collaboratory (ARC), and is widely known for his willingness to “tinker” with current modes and methods of inquiry in search of new methods.
  7. David Price is a professor of anthropology at St. Martin’s University, and is widely recognized as an expert in cultural anthropology and intellectual history.
  8. Daniel Miller is a Professor of Anthropology at University College London and is the founder of University College of London’s digital anthropology program.
  9. Bruno Latour is an anthropologist, philosopher, and sociologist, best known for his work, Nous n’avons jamais ete modernes: Essais d’anthropologie symetrique (translated: We Have Never Been Modern).
  10. Christopher Hann is one of the founding Directors of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology who is best known for his ethnographic work, as well as his exploration of the connections between anthropology and history.

Interviews with Top Thinkers in Anthropology

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