So you know how a bug scientist (entomologist) studies every aspect of ants – like what they eat and how they build their ant hills and how they get along with each other? Anthropologists are like bug scientists for humans (and other primates, like apes). Anthropologists study people and cultures, perform research, and publish their findings. A bachelor’s degree in Anthropology gets you started, but to get a job beyond research assistant you’ll need a master’s degree or higher.
This is for people who like people. Some Anthropology majors have a specific culture already in mind when they start their education – the ancient Mayans, modern-day tribesmen, nomad shepherds. Others just have a general interest in cultures to being with.
Anthropology majors write a lot of papers and do a lot of research. They are patient, and they’re able to postpone judgment until all the data has been collected and analyzed. In a way, anthropologists record living history, so they need to have a huge tank of knowledge to pull from.
If you giggle your way through “National Geographic” magazine because some of the natives are half-naked, you’ll likely be thrown out of every Anthropology class you take.
Anthropology majors take a lot of history classes. They also study psychology and biology. Depending on their emphasis, they also study languages and learn about specific religions and cultures.
Anthropologist majors who stay in their field primarily become researchers. They may study a culture or group for months or years, then publish their findings. Others teach Anthropology. Some work as advisers to international companies or governments.
Do well in your high school English and history courses, and make sure you have an arsenal of fabulous research papers handy to show off your ability to transform ideas into coherent sentences. Also, research your prospective schools. If the head of the department is an expert in Pacific Island cultures, throw a little something about your trip to Kiribati into your entrance essay.
As with all research-based majors, if you suck up to your best professors you just may find yourself on their research team. Any field experience you can get will give you a huge advantage. You also might consider a semester abroad to experience living in another culture.