Understanding the intricacies of human societies, cultures, and behaviours is essential to understanding our place in an ever-evolving world. And one of the most fascinating ways you can do this for a living is to become an anthropologist.
These social scientists explore the anatomy, physiology, and biology of ancient and modern humans. They chart the development of languages throughout the centuries. They examine the cultures, practices, and beliefs of people worldwide. In short, they examine what makes us human.
An anthropology degree gives us the knowledge, tools and experience to do all of the above and more. Along the way, students also gain essential skills for 21st-century work, such as critical thinking, ethnographic research, and cross-cultural communication while serving as a conduit to engage with and impact diverse societies worldwide. If this is the fascinating future you see for yourself, get your start at these leading universities below:
Goldsmiths, University of London
At Goldsmiths, University of London, you’ll learn from leading anthropology experts who are actively involved in pioneering research. In this dynamic learning environment — a cosy campus in the world’s best student city, according to QS Best Student Cities, 2023 — you’ll not only receive top-notch academic guidance but are also exposed to cutting-edge anthropological developments.
The BA (Hons) Anthropology offered by the Department of Anthropology goes beyond a traditional take on the discipline. Instead, it dives into contemporary issues like the impact of austerity economics and the creative arts’ role in addressing inequality. The best part is you can apply what you learn in lectures to your everyday life. It’s this fresh take, innovation, and relevance that have earned Goldsmiths a spot in the top 10 for anthropology in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.
What further sets this degree apart is how practical it is. You’ll join ethnographic projects, fieldwork, and real-world research, gaining invaluable hands-on experience. The department also organises a range of events and field trips throughout the year for students to get a better feel of the industry while connecting with like-minded learners.
It also offers plenty of support and additional activities., For example, you can benefit from careers support, opportunities for placements, talks by practising anthropologists, and access to extensive resources, ensuring you stay on track for a successful future in anthropology.
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto (U of T) is Canada’s leading higher education provider, founded in 1827. As an international, top research-intensive institution, U of T is driven to inspire and innovate, consistently producing graduates who make positive changes in the world.
The U of T’s Department of Anthropology is a leading academic department dedicated to studying the unity and diversity of humanity (and related primates) and human culture and society from a comparative and global perspective.
Here, students gain a deeper understanding of human biology and evolution, human behaviour from its first appearance in the archaeological record to the historical and modern periods; language and society; anthropology of health; and the diversity of human culture in today’s world. Pair that with world-class facilities such as an archaeology centre, ethnography lab and ethnography centre, and students will have all the tools to succeed in their learning journey.
With a rich history and a commitment to excellence, the department offers research training and courses of instruction in five fields: Archaeology, Evolutionary Anthropology, Linguistic and Semiotic Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, and Sociocultural Anthropology. MA, MSc, and PhD degrees are offered in all fields.
The Career Exploration and Education Office assists students in mapping out the career path best suited for them and puts them in touch with work opportunities. Plus, students can use personalised, student-centred websites that provide 24-hour access to thousands of part-time, summer, full-time employment, and volunteer listings.
University of Vienna
At its core, the university promotes diversity through research. With 15 faculties and five centres, students can choose to study advanced theological studies, law, zoology, and many more. The teaching staff follows a research-led approach, sharing the latest research findings with their students and enabling them to engage in original research.
One such programme is the Bachelor’s in Social and Cultural Anthropology. It equips students with essential competencies in the field and prepares them for careers in intercultural sectors by providing foundational knowledge for analysing and addressing current research topics.
Upon completion, students can pursue a career in occupational fields that require a theory-based approach to intercultural issues, including development assistance, assistance for refugees and migrant counselling, tourism and cultural communication, museums, and diversity management.
Those who intend to expand their knowledge in this field can pursue a Master’s in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Here, graduates develop and carry out research projects independently or in teams and work in various occupational fields that deal with the reception, analysis, preparation, presentation, and implementation of research results.
UC Berkeley ranks #1 amongst public universities in US News and World Report 2023-24 rankings. Home to the Department of Anthropology Berkeley, it offers one of the top anthropology programmes in the country.
Here, students discover that anthropology includes a spectrum of approaches, from the humanistic to the scientific. Students also benefit from visits by leading anthropologists from around the world, who enrich their learning through lecture series, workshops, and as visiting faculty.
The department’s curriculum offers a mix of extensive introductory courses and small- and medium-sized upper-division lecture, seminar, and lab courses. These smaller courses are vital for anthropology majors as they foster hands-on skills in research methods, including museum studies, archival analysis, artefact analysis, ethnographic film production, digital media, and fieldwork in folklore and ethnography.
The result? Students gain the ability to think critically and analytically in diverse subject areas. They engage in classroom experiences that prioritise the development of theoretical and methodological expertise through their research projects.
Support is available every step of the way. Thanks to its small cohort size, each student need not compete for personalised attention and guidance. There are also departmental grant programmes that enable students to undertake pilot research while mentoring in grant writing eases the process of winning research grants and fellowships elsewhere.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International