Careers in Anthropology

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is literally the study of mankind and while there are anthropologists who approach the study of humans from a cultural perspective (e.g., cultural anthropologists, anthropological linguists and archaeologists) others study humans as animals (e.g., physical or biological anthropologists). Because of the diversity in perspectives, most anthropology departments throughout the United States offer a four field approach to the discipline. We at CSU, Chico, are no different and address each of anthropology's subdisciplines: archaeology, cultural, linguistics and physical/biological anthropology.

Despite diverse approaches among anthropologists they are tied by their common interest to pursue answers to questions concering human origin, evolution, and variation, which frequently requires an understanding of both biology and culture. Indeed, the discipline of anthropology takes pride in its all encompassing or "holistic" approach to the study of humans. Just as many other disciplines, anthropology emphasizes the life long value of a strong, broad liberal arts education.

What Anthropologists Do 

Anthropology is concerned with analyzing the origins, cultures, languages, and value systems of all people, past and present. Many are ethnographers--which study contemporary cultures while archaeologists excavate locations of past civilizations and are increasingly involved in environmental review processes.
Physical anthropologists attempt to explain human origins, evolution, and variation through the study of evolutionary theory, comparative anatomy, human paleontology, population genetics, and primate behavior. Some anthropologists specialize in museum work, linguistics, or folklore. Most teach in colleges and universities, in many cases combining teaching with research. However, increasing numbers of anthropologists are finding positions in business and public agencies.


Anthropologists have been hired in the following areas.