What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is concerned with a wide range of issues from discovering the earliest origins of human culture to understanding present day civilization, or developing an awareness of the most remote peoples on earth to exploring our own society, and/or documenting the evolution of monkeys and apes to tracing the development of Homo sapiens. Increasingly, anthropologists are securing positions with government agencies and private research firms related areas such as city management and urban planning, environmental assessment, and/or science writing and publishing, to name a few.

At UCSB, the Department of Anthropology offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Anthropology with emphases in biological anthropology and cultural anthropology (including archeology). Approximately 300 students are majoring in Anthropology at UCSB. An additional 6,400 undergraduates enroll in Anthropology classes each year. Cultural Anthropology includes the study of both ethnology and archaeology. Biological Anthropology includes human evolution and biological adaptation to the environment.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like Anthropology?

You could see yourself working at an archaeological site, or in physical anthropology laboratory, or in a cultural or natural history museum. You consider yourself curious, analytical and a strong problem solver who might enjoy researching, evaluating and interpreting large volumes of data on human behavior whether past, present, or future. You would enjoy learning how to do the following: planning projects; writing grant proposals; interviewing surveying; sampling, gathering and organizing data; examining data and artifacts; conducting field studies; summarizing results; communication across cultures/languages; and recognizing cultural differences/similarities.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the Undergraduate Department Advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings. Represented subjects can be found in the following five categories:

Method and Theory- History of Anthropological Theory or Media; Ceramic Analysis in Archaeology; Settlement Pattern Analysis in Archaeology

Ethnology and Archaeology- Myth, Ritual, and Symbol; Hunters and Gatherers; The Clash of Cultures; Work and Industrialization; Comparative Ethnicity

Development, Ecology, and Social Change- Technology and Culture; Colonialism and Culture

Ethnography and Cultural History- California Indians; China through Film; Understanding Africa

Biological Anthropology-Genetics, Natural Selection, and Human Evolution

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?
• Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
• Choose a complementary minor if relevant for career goals.
• Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
• Develop your computer skills.
• Learn a foreign language.
• Study abroad.
• Join professional associations.
• Get involved in student clubs.
• Participate in community organizations.
• Seek out leadership positions.
• Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
• Network with others in fields that interest you.

Learn More

If you are in the process of choosing or changing a major, Career Services has some tools that may assist you in your decision:

Focus 2 allows you to explore college majors and careers.

The Strong Interest Inventory® compares your interests against six broad categories of work. The College Edition adds a section on Making College Fit Your Interests, which identifies majors that match your interests and suggests potential college activities to explore.

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General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?

Traditionally, anthropologists have taught and conducted research at universities or worked as curators in museums. While there are opportunities for students with only a bachelors (e.g. with government agencies, museums, or archaeological consulting firms) this type of work typically requires at least a master’s (2 years) or even a doctorate degree (5-7 years). Today, however, more and more have begun working in applied fields--environmental assessment, planning and development, organizational consulting, medical research, or contract archaeology. Here are a few example career titles to consider:

-Forensic Anthropologist
-Museum Technician
-Field Archaeologist
-Ecotourism Director
-Immigration Inspector
-Multicultural Program Leader
-Special Collections Librarian
-Cultural Artifact Specialist
-Coroner/Medical Examiner
-Environmental Impact Researcher
-Art Conservator
-National/State Park Interpreter
-Peace Corps Volunteer
-Urban Planner
-Foreign Service Officer
-Technical Writer
-Scientific Linguist
-Rural Development Officer
-State/Federal Policy Analyst

Interested in one of the careers above? Want to explore alternative career paths? Utilize tools such as and to learn more about the qualifications, career paths, and industry trends.

Come visit the Career Resources Room (CRR) to see our vast library collection of career resources and books.

Graduate and Professional Schools
This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation

Search and rank 23,508 programs at 2,356 universities based on your priorities. Data comes from the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, and the National Center for Education Statistics.

Education Portal
Anthropology is the study of human socialization and culture throughout history. Many schools offer Master's and doctoral degree programs in anthropology that allow students to specialize in a certain area of the discipline.

Experience Search Strategies

Get Experience

Jobs in Anthropology
Job Listing provided by American Anthropological Association.
Context-based research group seeking cultural anthropologists for short-term projects around the world.

U.S. Archaeology Jobs Online
The Archaeology and CRM Professional’s Resource for Jobs, RFP’s and News.

Museum Jobs
International recruitment for museums and galleries.

U.S. Museum Jobs Online
List of jobs provided by Museum Employment Resource Center.

Online job search for local and national jobs. Search for Anthropology positions based off of your specific criteria.

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.


Professional Associations

American Association of Museums
Represents 16,000 members, 11,500 individual museum professional and volunteers, 3,100 institutions and 1,700 corporate members. Student membership is $35.

American Cultural Resources Association
Lots of links including professional associations. (Membership required)

American Association of Physical Anthropologists
Learn about careers and frequently asked questions in Physical Anthropology

American Anthropological Association
National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Society for Applied Anthropology

UCSB Resources

UCSB Library - Anthropology

UCSB Department of Anthropology

Career Resource Room

UCSB General Catalog

UCSB Office of Student Life

UCSB Minors related to this Major:
-Women, Culture, and Development