What Can You Do With an Anthropology Degree?

An anthropology degree can lead to various research and nonresearch careers.

If you're fascinated by people and interested in answering big questions about what makes us human, then you may enjoy studying anthropology.

What Is Anthropology? 

Anthropology is a social science that focuses on understanding the evolution and behavior of human beings and clarifying the ways in which people differ from one another. As an academic discipline, anthropology has historically had four distinct subfields:

  • Archaeology focuses on investigating the beliefs and lifestyles of historical individuals and cultures by examining the remains of their gravesites, possessions and architecture.

  • Biological anthropology centers on the study of the Darwinian, or natural, evolution of humanity. Scholars in this subfield explore the ways in which human brains and bodies adapted in response to environmental threats and strive to understand why the human species has survived for as long as it has. Some examine human fossils, some observe primates and others study the human genome. These experts seek and share knowledge about the physical differences between modern peoples and their prehistoric ancestors.

  • Linguistic anthropology investigates the various ways in which humans communicate with one another, including spoken, written and nonverbal communication. Scholarship within this discipline often explains the differences between communication styles used in various societies. Researchers who specialize in this type of anthropology are often interested in clarifying how and why a culture's dominant language impacts the worldview of its people.

  • Cultural or sociocultural anthropology compares and contrasts the beliefs and customs of different peoples. Experts in this area can provide insight into which philosophies and practices are universal among humans and which are specific to a particular society. Anthropological scholars of this type often immerse themselves in a particular culture, so that they can accurately describe what it is like to be a member of that culture, which is called ethnographic research.

Anthropology Careers 

Brian Wygal, an associate professor of anthropology and director of environmental studies and sciences at Adelphi University in New York, says someone who earns an anthropology degree typically graduates with numerous marketable skills. "Anthropology graduates are equipped to think critically, understand and appreciate diversity, and understand many dimensions of humanity," Wygal wrote in an email. 

"Many anthropologists apply their skills and knowledge to help communities resolve problems: some examples include issues of cultural revitalization, historic preservation, public health concerns, and inequities in access to resources," adds Wygal, who has bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in anthropology.

Anthropology degree-holders say their education can lead to various types of jobs, including both research-focused positions and roles that focus on the application of knowledge.

Cortni Borgerson, an assistant professor of anthropology at Montclair State University in New Jersey who has a doctorate in anthropology, wrote in an email that an understanding of the field is necessary in order to address some of the world's most complex and urgent social problems, like racism, sexism, malnutrition and environmental conservation challenges. 

"Effective progress in any of these fields depends on understanding people and the decisions they make," Borgerson says. "That's where anthropology comes in – we translate our knowledge of people into effective change. This means that students in anthropology are working in careers where human culture, behavior and biology affect outcomes."

Anthropology grads who are interested in and skilled at conducting research can find research jobs with a variety of employers. 

"Google, Facebook, Intel, and Microsoft hire anthropologists to study market trends, human behavior, and technology," Wygel says, adding that the federal government also employs anthropologists as researchers. 

Stacey Pereira, an assistant professor with the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas who has a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology, says the type of research job an anthropology graduate can get depends on how advanced his or her degree is. An anthropology degree-holder who applies for a job with her research center typically will be considered for a faculty post only if the applicant has a Ph.D., whereas he or she might be hired for a research associate position with a master's degree, she says. Someone with a bachelor's in anthropology would most likely only be eligible for an entry-level research coordinator job, she says.

Aspiring researchers who are intrigued by the idea of being absorbed in their research and who like interacting with people might like producing anthropological ethnographies, Pereira adds. Since these research projects require relating to and empathizing with others, they are well-suited to individuals who are highly curious and very social, Pereira says. 

Nevertheless, Pereira warns that tenure-track anthropology professor jobs at colleges and universities tend to be scarce, and they are usually reserved for individuals with anthropology doctorates. So prospective anthropology students should understand the difficulty of obtaining an anthropology professor position before pursuing an anthropology degree, Pereira says.

Borgerson notes that there are many types of anthropology degree-related jobs that involve hands-on efforts to improve society. For instance, she says, anthropology graduates might work in health care careers that involve communicating with patients who aren't complying with their doctors' orders for cultural or socioeconomic reasons.

Dr. Isaac Alexis, an addiction medicine physician based in West Virginia whose undergraduate degree was in anthropology, says his knowledge of anthropology helps him empathize with patients who are struggling with addiction. Coursework in anthropology exposes students to cultures that differ significantly from their own, he adds. 

"It gets you out of your comfort zone," Alexis says, noting that employers welcome employees who know how to stretch and challenge themselves. He says an anthropology education is similar to a telescope – it allows people to see far beyond their own world and facilitates appreciation of the beauty that exists in distant places. "You get to see this wonderful rainbow of diversity."

Many anthropology degree-holders who work in the private sector say that their degree is useful in a business context. Mia Damiano, an account supervisor at the Merritt Group communications firm in Virginia, says the lessons she learned through her bachelor's degree in anthropology are highly relevant to the communications industry. 

"You learn to write well, think critically, present in a compelling manner and above all, you gain the perspective to embrace other cultures, a skill I think lends itself well to successful client relations," she wrote in an email. "Anthropologists are conditioned to be open-minded to other viewpoints and ways of life, rather than making gut judgments or relying on preconceived notions."

An anthropology degree is similar to other liberal arts degrees in that it has a wide array of applications, Damiano adds. As long as a job candidate with an anthropology degree can make the case to an employer that his or her education is relevant, it can help him or her secure a job offer, she says.

Nikki Carelock, who has a master's and Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, says one way to apply a degree in anthropology is to work in the tech sector. She says her job as principal user experience researcher at Ad Hoc LLC technology company is to help the federal government develop technologies that people find easy and pleasant to use and that serve every segment of society, including vulnerable populations. 

She notes that many anthropologists work at technology companies and help design people-friendly technology. For instance, Carelock has a friend with an anthropology degree who works at an online dating company. 

"At the heart of anthropology, we're attempting to answer questions about who and what humans are, how they've lived in the past, how they're living now... and what we could potentially expect from humanity and human nature in the future," Carelock says. "It's huge because it's the study of man... It's very big, because we're asking big questions."

Knowledge of anthropology gives people sufficient insight into humanity to not only imagine solutions to problems within society, she says, but also to envision the way society ought to be and propose "how we might live better."develop technologies

By Ilana Kowarski, Reporter


EXCHANGING A PILL FOR AN ILL - What pain medications would I never take - and why.

EXCHANGING A PILL FOR AN ILL - What pain medications would I never take - and why.

I want to provide ample information to our wonderful readers who want to truly know their options in terms of pain management outside of Opioids.

I am educated in Trauma Surgery out of Cornell University. I have seen burns, people who have fallen from 3 floors up and landed head first or neck first onto the unforgiving concrete below. I am also board certified in Integrative and Holistic Medicine and believe in doing more than simply - EXCHANGING A PILL FOR AN ILL.
I want to treat the whole person. However, having said that let’s look at some traditional modalities of treatment then we will look at more holistic approaches.

How Do Drugs Affect Your Brain?


How Do Drugs Affect Your Brain?

Your brain is the most complex organ in the body. Not only does the brain regulate the functions necessary for your survival, it's also the reason you can drive a car, play music with your friends, kick a soccer ball at the park and most importantly, enjoy these everyday activities.

Drugs can alter the brain’s chemical levels, and it’s ability to perform essential life-sustaining functions. Additionally, long-term misuse of drugs can make the brain deeply dependent on a substance to function and in turn, perpetuate a user’s addiction.

Your Brain And Drugs

Misuse or long-term abuse of drugs can profoundly impact the way your brain functions. Drugs can do this because once ingested, they alter the brain’s chemistry in order to slow down or speed up the central nervous system.

The central nervous system consists of both your brain and your spinal cord.

It is responsible for regulating your body’s core functions such as:

  • Heart rate

  • Blood pressure

  • Respiration

  • Body temperature

  • Sensory information

If these essential brain functions are interrupted or altered in any way due to drug use, it can be life-threatening.

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Mind-altering substances also affect the level of chemicals, or neurotransmitters, in the brain.

The neurotransmitters most commonly impacted by drug use are:

  • Dopamine: Regulates mood, enhances pleasure, helps increase attention and motivation.

  • Serotonin: Stabilizes mood and regulates emotions.

  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA): Lowers anxiety levels and slows down functions of the central nervous system.

  • Norepinephrine: Increases focus, attention and energy levels; speeds up the function of the central nervous system.

Each drug impacts the brain differently, and long-term misuse of one or more substances will increasingly damage this essential organ.

Effects Of Prescription Opioids And Heroin On The Brain

Opioids work as central nervous system depressants to slow down the brain’s activity. When taken, opioids attach themselves to the receptors in the brain and mimic the behaviors of a natural neurotransmitter. While this makes opioids effective at blocking pain and creating a calming effect throughout the body, they can also dangerously slow down breathing and heart rate.

Opioid painkillers and heroin are among the most addictive drugs. Dependence on these drugs can form quickly because of their ability to create what users describe as a euphoric high almost instantaneously. While this may be true, the pleasurable high is only part of the reason that opioids are so addictive.

Prescription opioids and heroin are also addictive because they activate the reward center in the brain. In order to activate the reward center, opioids flood your system with the feel-good chemical dopamine. Your mind is wired to remember and seek out the activities that stimulated your reward center and teaches you to do these things again and again to get the same euphoric rush. Due to this, your brain can form a dependence to opioids quite rapidly.

Effects Of Stimulant Drugs On The Brain

Stimulants include illicit drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine, and prescription amphetamines, such as Adderall and Ritalin.

This collection of drugs affects the brain by acting as central nervous system stimulants. Stimulants increase the activity of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine.

While the increase in dopamine causes a rush of pleasure among uses, the hyperstimulation of norepinephrine can cause:

  • Increased heart rate

  • Increased breathing

  • Decreased blood flow

  • Increased blood sugar levels

When taken in high dosages, the irregular chemical balance in the brain caused by stimulants can lead to dangerously high body temperature, an irregular heartbeat, seizures, and heart failure. Over a long period of time, this chemical imbalance could also cause you to develop depression, anxiety, psychosis or extreme paranoia.

Additionally, the hyperstimulation throughout the brain and body makes you feel stronger, more self-assured and energized. The extra confidence and energy allow those who abuse stimulants to accomplish more than they usually would without the drug. The feeling of accomplishment leads many back to the use of stimulants time and time again.

Effects Of Benzodiazepines On The Brain

Benzodiazepines are prescription sedatives primary used to treat anxiety. Commonly called benzos, this group includes drugs like Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Librium, and Klonopin.

Similar to opioids, benzos act as a central nervous system depressant in order to create a calming effect and reduce anxiety. In order to do this, benzos inhibit the brain’s ability to interpret or produce chemicals that induce stress. The sedative effect of Xanax, and drugs like it, is what makes benzos so good at quickly treating people who suffer from anxiety and panic disorder.

Unfortunately, the same qualities that make benzo so good at treating anxiety also make these drugs highly addictive. Like many other drugs, the more you use benzos, the more your brain will begin to rely on them to function normally. As tolerance for the benzo increases so will abuse of these mind-altering drugs.

Effects Of Hallucinogens On The Brain

Popularized in the 1960s, use of hallucinogenic drugs has made a comeback in recent years among college students and music festival-goers.

While very little research has been done on this class of drugs, it is thought that hallucinogens, such as LSD and DMT, affect the brain’s serotonin levels. When ingested, these drugs create an over-stimulation of serotonin and flood the mind with signals that mimic psychosis and break down your inhibitions.

Hallucinogens also stimulate the part of your brain that is responsible for your mood and your perceptions. This can lead to sensory crossover, which is why those who use hallucinogens sometimes report hearing colors or seeing sounds.

This class of drugs is also thought to interrupt or block the brain’s reception of glutamate, a chemical responsible for your pain perception, learning, and memory. Due to this, you may feel like you have dissociated from your body when using some hallucinogens or feel very detached from your surroundings.

Before taking any drugs, it’s essential to know that affects that these potentially mind-altering substances can have on your brain.

Written by Addiction Campuses Editorial Team

© 2019 AddictionCampuses.com. All rights reserved.

This page does not provide medical advice.



Which deals with medical wellness, STD prevention in our young people - while efficaciously  resisting peer pressure and gangs.

Young ladies you must read this book and don't let the guys play you. He may look like fine wine on the outside but in reality he is spoiled vinegar inside that bottle. Don’t catch another STD - and what to do if you actually do!

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Sit on the edge of your seat as you peer through the eyes of this seasoned medical doctor who served the underserved!

I need to lose weight

You know the feeling . Summer time is rolling around and you  want to shed those extra pounds in order to fit into last years swim trunks or other swim wear. You have lost some weight but still can’t lose that resistant fat around your waist hip & thighs. What to do? I have one suggestion . It has worked for me when I used to be 20 pounds more than what I wanted to be and needed to lose weight so i could have more energy, keep up with my kids, run more longer distances and not have my knees and shins hurt.

So, What in the world was my solution? I would decide to eat strategically. Now what do I mean by that? I find that if I am hungry instead of grabbing a juicy hamburger and some fries with a nice Ice cold Dr. Pepper I will instead eat some cucumbers which will A) Keep me hydrated and B) Keep me full at the same time. Cucumbers have high water density and low calorie which are the 2 CRITICAL things a food must have in order to enable you to lose weight. Cucumbers can also relieve that hard to deal with constipation. Constipation my Friends can add an extra 2 to 3 pounds to you per day and if you have not moved your bowels in several days you are going to be bloated and Heavier too.

Next I would suggest dark green leafy vegetables like kale, swiss chard which when made with some sautéed onions in Extra Virgin Olive oil will be low in calories and keep you feeling fuller for longer. I usually give flavor with some zesty Italian dressing and a Vidalia Onion marinade with the Olive Oil. You will reap the benefits heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids and 6 to 8 grams of protein from the Kale -thereby contributing to lean body mass and stronger bones and musculature. A word on Omega 3’s. We are lacking in this in much of our Diet and we instead eat a lot of Omega 6’s which are inflammatory to our tissues which can lead to stroke, myocardial infarctions. Fish that contain Omega 3’s relieve inflammation and fish with these Omega 3’s improve mood, decrease depression, decrease anxiety, decrease ADHD. My fishes that I like are Salmon,Mackerel which are heart healthy for you. A lot of the foods vegetarians like are good BUT are filled with Omega6’s which are inflammatory to tissue like peanut butter,walnut oil, sesame oil, black walnuts. Flax seed contain a higher ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s and can easily be sprinkled on your oatmeal. Oatmeal is great for you in losing weight as it is loaded with Pectins. A soluble fiber that can actually lower cholesterol and keep you feeling full hours after you have eaten it!!!