The Field and Career Paths

Anthropology is the intensive study of human diversity across time and space. It is a field that is both eclectic and rigorous. Methods deployed can include ethnography, linguistics, archaeology, and biology while topics anthropologists study are as varied as the human experience  (check out the department's course listings for an idea of the possibilities). Anthropology is grounded in intensive fieldwork and, as practiced at the University of Chicago, an understanding that cultural realities need to be studied, theorized, and accounted for prior to any attempts to universalize human behavior. 

At the undergraduate level, courses generally align with one of four traditional subfields: sociocultural, linguistics, archaeology, and biological anthropology. Topical classes can focus on particular cultural areas or nations such as South Asia, the U.S., Africa, post-Soviet Europe, the Andes, or the Caribbean. Others are defined by communities that cut across geography, such as bankers, pirates, or the African diaspora. Current topical strengths of the department include critical studies of science and technology, environment, race and indigeneity, gender and sexuality, capitalism, material culture, historical anthropology, urbanism, migration, language and meaning, media studies, populism and political violence, genomics, heritage, and cross-cultural approaches to law, empire, and religion.

Students with training in anthropology receive excellent training for continuing graduate study in social sciences, humanities, or biological fields, and are sought after by NGOs, the medical field, market research, museums, education, and government. To learn more about career paths for anthropologists, see the AAA's Careers in Anthropology.