An anthropologist observes and investigates human societies, cultures, and behaviours to uncover insights into our diverse history and ways of life.Job Category:
What you will do:
The job role will include:
- Research: Anthropologists gather information through methods like interviews, surveys, and observations. They might spend time living with and learning from different communities to understand their way of life.
- Analysis: They analyze the collected data to find patterns, similarities, and differences in how people live, interact, and make sense of the world. This helps them create a detailed picture of a particular culture or society.
- Fieldwork: Anthropologists often do fieldwork, which means going to the actual places where people live and experiencing their daily lives. This hands-on approach helps them truly understand the culture they’re studying.
- Cultural Interpretation: Anthropologists interpret the cultural practices, traditions, beliefs, and values of different groups. They try to explain why certain behaviors exist and how they impact people’s lives.
- Writing and Communication: Anthropologists write reports, articles, and sometimes books to share their findings with other researchers and the general public. They help others understand the uniqueness and diversity of human societies.
- Teaching and Education: Some anthropologists work in academia, teaching students about anthropology and conducting research to contribute to the field’s knowledge.
Overall, the role of an anthropologist is like being an explorer of human culture and history, seeking to unravel the fascinating stories of how people have lived and evolved over time.
- knowledge of cultural, physical anthropology, linguistic and environmental anthropology as well as archaeology
- understand research methods and how to conduct participant observation and document fieldwork
- history of specific regions
- knowledge of foreign languages
As well as:
- a healthy curiosity and open mindedness to learn and explore
- empathy to build rapport with communities you are studying
- verbal and written communication skills
- active listener
- cultural sensitivity & ethical awareness
- adaptable and resilient to overcome challenges
- critical thinker and problem solving skills
- patience as research can be a slow process
- language skills
- teamwork and collaboration
To prepare for a career in anthropology, it’s important to have a well-rounded education that includes a mix of subjects. While there are no specific GCSE subjects that are absolutely required, certain subjects can provide a strong foundation, such as:
- History: History can provide insights into past cultures, societies, and how they have evolved over time. It helps develop critical thinking and research skills.
- Geography: Geography introduces you to the concepts of human-environment interactions, cultural landscapes, and global diversity, which are relevant to anthropology.
- Biology: Biology can be useful, especially if you’re interested in biological anthropology, which involves studying human evolution, genetics, and physical traits.
- English: Strong communication skills are essential in anthropology for writing reports, articles, and presenting findings. English helps enhance your writing and speaking abilities.
- Social Studies/Sociology: These subjects introduce you to concepts related to human behaviour, society, and social structures, which are at the core of anthropological studies.
- Foreign Languages: Learning a foreign language, especially one spoken in regions of interest for your future studies, can be extremely valuable for fieldwork and communication.
- Mathematics or Statistics: Developing strong analytical and quantitative skills can be helpful when analysing data and conducting research in anthropology.
- Art and Design or Cultural Studies: These subjects can help you appreciate various forms of cultural expression, which is important when studying societies and cultures.
To become an anthropologist, you typically need to pursue higher education after completing your secondary schooling. Here’s a general pathway to follow:
Bachelor’s Degree (Undergraduate Level): Start by earning a bachelor’s degree. While anthropology is the most direct path, related fields like:
- cultural studies
- cultural anthropology
- physical anthropology
- linguistic anthropology
During your undergraduate studies, take courses that align with the specific subfield of anthropology you’re interested in. This could include topics like ethnography, research methods, human evolution, cultural theory, and more.
If possible, engage in research projects or internships related to anthropology. This practical experience will help you apply theoretical knowledge and gain valuable skills.
Depending on your field of interest, developing proficiency in foreign languages spoken in regions you want to study can be beneficial. Anthropologists often need to communicate with and understand local communities.
Graduate Studies (Optional)
While a bachelor’s degree can qualify you for entry-level positions, some advanced roles and research-focused careers may require a master’s or Ph.D. in anthropology. Graduate studies allow you to specialise further in your chosen subfield and conduct more in-depth research.
- Master’s Degree: A master’s program in anthropology can deepen your expertise and provide opportunities for advanced research. Some programs may offer tracks in areas like medical anthropology, cultural heritage, or environmental anthropology.
- Ph.D. (Doctorate) in Anthropology: If you’re interested in conducting extensive research, teaching at the university level, or pursuing high-level positions, a Ph.D. in anthropology is an option. This typically involves several years of focused research and the completion of a doctoral dissertation.
Working Hours and Environment:
Working hours and environments for anthropologists vary. Academic anthropologists balance teaching and research, often with flexible hours.
Fieldwork-based roles can involve irregular schedules, adapting to communities studied.
Consultants have office hours, with travel for research. Museum roles align with standard hours.
Freelancers have flexible schedules, and technology allows remote work in some cases.
Career Path & Progression:
An anthropology degree can lead to careers such as academic research, teaching, cultural resource management, museum curation, archaeology, forensic analysis, applied anthropology for problem-solving, market research, international development, media, environmental study, nonprofit work, health analysis, policy advising, and business consulting.