Anthropology is the comparative study of humanity, focusing on people in all places and throughout history and prehistory. Courses engage students in the analysis of beliefs, values, and practices from a perspective that understands societies on their own terms. This perspective includes comparing the similarities and differences among different groups and appreciating and valuing different ways of living. Students study other cultures in order to learn more about their own. This curriculum affords students the opportunity to see the interaction between “what we know” and “what we do” that lies at the heart of the study of humanity.
Our curriculum combines the best parts of a critical, creative, liberal arts education with practical, professional preparation. The major courses direct the student toward the subfields of cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and archaeology, with a focus on applied research in these sub-fields. As part of the major, students engage in several research projects, including those that expose them to the application of anthropological knowledge for non-academic audiences, and to our archaeological field school. Out-of-class research projects in the City of Chicago are integral components of several courses. They graduate with an extensive knowledge of how anthropology is actually done. We bring students farther into this practical side of the discipline than any other B.A. program in the country.
Academic careers are attractive to some graduates, but more than half of all professional anthropologists work outside of academic institutions. Some of these careers include research for public and private organizations, administration and/or public policy on the local, regional, federal, or international level; research and work in museums; intercultural communication; advertising, marketing, and public relations; forensics; human resources; public health; health care; and law. They also contribute to non-governmental and international organizations. Within the context of administration or public policy, anthropologists are engaged in cultural resource management (CRM), monitoring the preservation of cultural resources for national parks, museums, and state or municipal cultural institutions (i.e., parks and historical societies). Anthropology enhances other career paths, such as modern languages, international studies, international relations, cultural studies, and international business. Students will have completed at least four ethnographic research projects and be certified in archaeological research skills by the time they graduate.
The extensive ethnographic research experience qualifies students with B.A. degrees to work in both non-profit (social service agencies) and for-profit (marketing, design, user-based) research settings. The archaeological certification opens avenues for careers in cultural resource management (CRM), and monitoring the preservation of cultural resources for national parks, museums, and state or municipal cultural institutions.