What you will learn
Until recently, it was not always clear what anthropology studies would lead to. But today we are witnessing a veritable explosion of skills of anthropological origin in the commercial sector. Silicon Valley companies, Lego in Denmark and Google hire anthropologists for market and design research. Ethnography, where people live with others and find out how they behave, is said to be all the rage in multinational corporations.

Basically, the study of anthropology is for those who want to understand what it is to be human. It is the study of how, when, and where human life began, and examines human behavior, cultures, history, and social organization. Degree courses generally delve into most of these areas before allowing students to specialize in social, cultural or linguistic anthropology, or biological anthropology. The first takes a more sociological route, examining societies, economies, languages, religions and cultures across the world; the latter examines the science behind the evolution of human beings and how differences arose in different regions. So you might find yourself examining the music of the Efe people in Africa one day and the business culture of the banking industry the next.

Archeology is learning about the past through its physical remains. You could examine Roman mosaics or analyze sketches in a mountain cave that depicted daily life 5,000 years ago. Archeology courses provide the practical skills of excavation. Some focus on the biological side, where you can learn what people eat by examining food waste left at archaeological sites or studying populations through human bones.

How are you going to learn
In addition to tutorials, lectures, seminars and lab classes, you will often have the opportunity to debate complex ideas. Many courses will also require you to do fieldwork as part of a research project, which could involve traveling abroad – Durham University takes students to South Africa to collect data on the samango monkeys, for example. Assessment will likely involve written exams and coursework, and you may have the opportunity to undertake a research project in your final year.

Some universities take a contemporary approach to anthropology. UCL uses digital technology to examine the role of algorithms in the workplace. For example, if you are a Deliveroo driver, is your boss an algorithm? You will examine how social media and digital platforms are changing the nature of social relationships.

For archaeology, you will be taught through a mixture of seminars, lectures and laboratory work. You will also have the chance to work on field and research projects locally or abroad. For those interested in sunken ships and lost treasures of the deep, some courses offer a taste of underwater archaeology.

Assessment will include exams, lectures, lab reports and presentations.

Entry requirements
These depend in part on the content of the courses. For anthropology, if your course includes biological anthropology, you may need an A level (or equivalent) in biology. Geography, history, sociology or science subjects will all help your application.

What job can you get?
Chances are you won’t discover South America’s Lost Cities within six months of graduating. Jobs in archeology can be hard to find and often subject to short-term funding. But the perseverance that took you three years to develop should pay off. Graduates could use their skills working as guides, curators or curators in museums or heritage sites, or in landscape management or consultancy.

Meanwhile, anthropology graduates have become much more marketable in recent years, especially in design research, user experience, social research in think tanks and government as well. Your in-depth knowledge of human societies and cultures, as well as the curiosity and empathy you will gain from them, should serve you well. Careers directly related to anthropology may also include those in conservation, health, heritage and international development, while your transferable skills could see you working in public relations, law or marketing, or as a as a documentary filmmaker, museum assistant or librarian. You would also be equipped to apply for a job in the voluntary sector, as a charity fundraiser or overseas development worker. You could also become a social researcher, lecturer, computer scientist, or work for big companies like Google and Lego.

You should leave college able to engage with a variety of cultures and populations and recognize different ways of thinking about the world – all skills that appeal to employers.


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