Anthropology is the study of what makes us human. Anthropologists study different societies, practices, and beliefs; the interaction of biological and social features of human and primate life; and the analysis of human material culture and built environment from past to present.
Concentrations are offered in biological, archaeological, sociocultural, linguistic and general anthropology. Students can combine coursework in forensic, biological, linguistic and social sciences within one plan of study.
Anthropologists play important roles in solving complex human problems. You can find anthropologists working wherever people and organizations face complex social problems and the challenges of intercultural communication.
Anthropology offers four concentrations.
The General Anthropology Concentration includes the four fields of biological anthropology (biological diversity and evolutionary history of human and nonhuman primates), archaeology (human prehistory and the organization and growth of technology and society), sociocultural anthropology (comparative study of identity and power in social contexts from hunter-gatherer to complex urban settings, with attention to contemporary global movements of peoples and diasporic social formations), and linguistic anthropology (comparative study of languages and communication). Although you should strive for a topical and geographical balance, you may specialize in one of these four branches and may also study some world cultural area intensively through an area studies program.
Offers students a program to explore the human past through its material remains to understand cultural and societal change through time, and the role of heritage in the present. Students have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty in archaeology labs and the department's extensive research collections.
The Human Evolutionary Biology Concentration offers students a program to examine the interconnections between genetics, environment and culture to address issues from human origins and morphology to forensics and modern health.
The Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology Concentration offers students a program of more focused coursework in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology.
Sociocultural anthropology is the study of the daily lives of people around the world, both at home and abroad. Sociocultural anthropologists conduct field research to get a hands-on feel for people's lives and passions. They examine everything from beauty pageants to political protest marches, from Disney films to nuclear scientists' lab practices. Sociocultural anthropology distinguishes itself from other disciplines by its conviction that these local and personal details offer a wonderful window on the largest processes and problems of our time, from globalization to race relations and violence.
Linguistic anthropology complements sociocultural anthropology with detailed attention to spoken and signed languages-their structure and use in the daily lives of people around the world, both at home and abroad. Linguistic anthropologists examine such things as the "English Only" movement in the United States, the persuasive language of advertising and politics, racism and hate speech, oral/gestural storytelling traditions around the world, communication in the classroom or at the United Nations, as well as how the way we talk creates our sense of self and reality. Because the field of anthropology presents a wide range of disciplinary perspectives on the human condition, students electing this major concentration are encouraged to select from among relevant course offerings in archaeology or biological anthropology to fulfill General Education requirements.
- ANTH 101—Introduction to Anthropology
- ANTH 102—Human Origins and Culture
- ANTH 103—Anthropology in a Changing World
- ANTH 104—Talking Culture
- ANTH 105—World Archaeology
Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.
Anthropologists work in a range of areas as diverse as public health and epidemiology; biomedical research; technology and ethics; user-centered design and research; organizational management; law; human rights and social advocacy; heritage management and preservation.
Majors go on to careers in:
- Medicine and public health
- Museums, cultural and heritage management
- Forensic Science
- Design and marketing
- International development
- Media and public relations
- Public policy and governmental agencies
- High-tech industries
- Problem solving, analytical, and critical thinking skills
- Research, collect, and identify historical and existing cultural references across
- Scientific research methods
- Oral and written expression
- Observation and interviewing
- Speak more than one language
- Community Service
- Consumer/User Experience/Marketing Survey Researcher
- Cultural Resource Specialist
- Diplomatic Service/U.S. Foreign Service/Immigration Specialist/Cultural Affairs
- Field Archeologist
- Forensic Scientist/Crime Lab Assistant
- Friend of the Court Case Worker/Legal Aid
- Genetic Counselor
- Human Resources Management/Diversity Specialist
- Legislative Aid (U.S. Congress)
- Museum Curator/Exhibit Designer
- Museum Worker
- Park Ranger/Consultant
- Peace Corps Volunteer
- Public Health Worker
- Research Assistant
- Resource Manager
- Sustainable Tourism/Environmental Programs
- Urban Planner
Anthropology offers hands-on, skill-based learning in professional settings such as labs, internships, small seminars and field schools.
- Participating in undergraduate research
- Applying for a study abroad experience
- Utilizing resources of The Career Center
- Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
- Anthropology Club/Lambda Alpha: offers academic guidance and opportunities, organize social events, and travel to conferences to enrich the experience of students interested in Anthropology
- The Association of Biological Anthropologists at UIUC: provides a forum for discussing new ideas, new and classic biological anthropology publications, and to hear invited speakers from within the diverse field of Biological Anthropology
- Society for Art History and Archaeology
- Anthropology Leaders