Anthropology is the study of people, both ancient and modern, in their cultural, biological and environmental contexts. The discipline incorporates a wide range of theoretical and methodological traditions, drawing on and contributing to approaches in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.
The diversity of anthropology is the source of both its uniqueness and its greatest strength as a discipline. As the only field to address all aspects of the human experience—cultural, biological, historical—anthropology provides both a broad vision of what it is to be human as well as creative synergies unavailable to other disciplines within the human sciences and humanities.
Did you know that many well-known people in a variety of fields majored in anthropology, including Steven Riggio, CEO of Barnes & Noble, actors Thandie Newton, Glenn Close, Hugh Laurie and Tea Leoni, authors Kurt Vonnegut and Zora Neale Hurston, musicians Will Champion (Coldplay), Frank Black (The Pixies) and Tracy Chapman?
Anthropology is the study of human groups, both ancient and modern, in their cultural and biological context. The field takes a global look at human cultures from prehistoric times to the present, integrating findings from the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Although anthropology is related to subjects like biology, classics, geography, history, psychology and sociology, the discipline is unique in its attempt to synthesize and compare knowledge about the human experience.
If you are interested in:
Then Anthropology is the major for you!
At CU Boulder, there are three possible specializations for undergraduate students:
And the department is home to a number of excellent and award-winning faculty, including a CU Distinguished Professor, a number of Fulbright scholars and numerous fellows for the National Endowment for the Humanities, Rockefeller, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Council of Learned Societies, as well as numerous book award recipients.
The Department of Anthropology is nationally recognized in several areas of research, focusing broadly in three categories: Archaeology, Biological or Physical Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology.
Their diverse faculty also include several who have joint affiliations with institutes and centers like the Institute for Behavioral Science, including the Natural Hazards Center and the Environment and Society Program, the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies, Latin American Studies Center and the CU Museum of Natural History, and other departments like Environmental Studies, Information Science, Sociology, Linguistics, Media Studies, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and History.
For the undergraduate students pursuing a degree in anthropology, there are a number of research opportunities beyond just class work:
Anthropology offers students perspectives and knowledge for a variety of careers. As a graduate in anthropology, student's academic background may be useful in positions where it matters to have insights into what makes people tick and where a broad view of the diversity of the world we live in and the ability to communicate effectively are important. Career options include entry-level positions in fields such as software engineering, education, city management, medicine, advertising, market research, foreign affairs, journalism, public relations, library work, law, government service and personnel management.
In the long run, an anthropology background will provide students with the breadth and flexibility required to respond positively to career changes that you may face in your professional life. If students plan to pursue a graduate or professional degree, undergraduate work in anthropology is excellent preparation for advanced degrees in the social sciences, environmental studies, ecology, conservation, law, medicine, dentistry, and business.
Career Services offers free services for all CU Boulder degree-seeking students, and alumni up to one year after graduation, to help students discover who they are, what they want to do, and how to get there. They are the bridge between academics and the world of work by discussing major and career exploration, internship or job searching, and graduate school preparation.
The average expected salary for someone with a bachelor's degree in Anthropology is $56,000, according to the 2018-19 College Salary Report by PayScale Human Capital.
At CU Boulder, anthropology graduates earn more than the nationwide average of comparable majors as reported by PayScale. CU Boulder alumni in this discipline earn an estimated annual salary of $78,476, based on a pool of 1015 alumni who graduated between 1989 and 2018. This amount, however, is lower than the average for all CU Boulder graduates with a bachelor's degree, according to a survey by Esmi Alumni Insight of 25,000 alumni who graduated during the same stretch.
According to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for anthropologists and archaeologists are expected to grow by 3 percent from 2016-2026, slower than the average for all jobs.
The Department of Anthropology has an extensive alumni network working in a variety of industries across the globe. Some alumni of the program include: