Applied Anthropology Degrees

What is Applied Anthropology?

Anthropology is the study of humans and human behavior and societies in the past and present. Applied anthropology, just as it sounds, uses anthropological research and methodology to solve complex human problems. At one point or another, nearly every industry is required to use anthropological research to solve industry-specific issues that arise; this includes business and industry in the following fields:

  • Healthcare & Medicine
  • Business
  • Human Behavior/Human Rights
  • Education
  • Sustainability Issues
  • Community Development
  • Disaster Response and Management
  • Global Development

Applied anthropology degree and certificate programs prepare students with the anthropological based theories and methods required to work in, and contribute to, organizations and communities. Students also receive training in understanding various perspectives and the skills needed to solve complex and multi-level human problems.

What Types of Applied Anthropology Degrees and Certificates are there?

With several colleges and universities offering bachelors, masters, and PhD degrees in Applied Anthropology, those wishing to study the field have a number of degree options to choose from.

In addition, a number of colleges also offer a Certificate in Applied Anthropology (CAA). These certificate opportunities are often 12 to 15-credit sequences designed to expose students in other majors to the anthropological skills beneficial in several fields of study and employment, including government, business, healthcare, and education sectors.

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What Skills Will I Learn While Studying for a Degree or Certificate in Applied Anthropology?

While studying for a degree or certificate in applied anthropology students are exposed to, engage in, and prepare for important anthropology-related theories and competencies, including:

  • An appreciation of human cultural, linguistic, and biological diversity and an understanding of what differentiates human beings from other types of species.
  • Study of the three anthropological approaches to studying humanity, including cross-cultural comparison, holism, and evolutionary theory.
  • An understanding of anthropological literature and data sources.
  • Demonstrating knowledge of the methodologies required to decipher anthropological information and data.

How are Applied Anthropology Courses Taught?

Courses that culminate in a degree or certification in applied anthropology often include study in a wide variety of anthropology courses, including archaeology, biological, and cultural anthropology. Masters study, in addition to required coursework, often includes a 6-credit, or 200-hour, internship. PhD study also includes additional research, field study, and dissertation work.

Applied anthropology courses are primarily taught through in the classroom lecture and laboratory settings, while a few programs offer online courses.

Many applied anthropology paths require students to participate in hands-on or research opportunities specifically designed to expose students to authentic situations encountered in the field, including studying various cultures, data collection, probability and nonprobability sampling, interviews, and conducting focus groups.

Several applied anthropology certificate programs focus on exposing students engaged in non-anthropologist fields of study to introductory level anthropological training; this provides a way for students not majoring in anthropology to gain a better understanding of the importance of various cultural perspectives encountered in most professions. Most applied anthropology certificate programs require students to take between 12 and 15 credits.

How Long Does It Take To Complete the Applied Anthropology Degrees/Certificates?

Applied anthropologists often follow a similar educational tract, starting with a bachelor's degree and progressing to masters and PhD level courses. Similar to most bachelor degree programs, the normal applied anthropology course of study takes roughly four years to complete.

A master's degree in applied anthropology often includes content-specific area of study in a field of anthropology, most often in the areas of linguistic, biological (physical), archaeological, or cultural anthropology. With full-time study, most complete the coursework and internship required to earn a master's degree in roughly two years.

Earning a PhD in Applied Anthropology is often a time-consuming and intense course of study. Typical PhD students complete 64 graduate credits, complete research and field work related to a content-specific area of anthropology, and write and defend a dissertation; this often takes between 6 and 8 years to successfully complete.

What Kind of Jobs Can I Do With Applied Anthropology Masters/Doctorate/Certificate?

The skills and knowledge attained in an applied anthropology course of study often lead to employment in a variety of business and industry sectors, including:

  • Health care
  • Education
  • Technology
  • Environmental Organizations
  • Business, Sales, and Marketing

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), annual income for applied anthropologists majors ranges from $40,800 to $102,770. After successfully completing an Applied Anthropology masters degree or PhD program, graduates are prepared to find meaningful employment in a wide variety of careers, including:

Federal government $79,270
Engineering services $71,450
Consulting services $62,680
R&D in the social sciences and humanities $59,240
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2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for Anthropologists reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.

What Are The Benefits of Having An Applied Anthropology Degree/Certificate?

As the demand for research into the behavior of humans continues to increase, those earning a degree or certificate in applied anthropology often find themselves well prepared to pursue employment in a wide variety of careers.

While anthropologists are often hired for many social science jobs, it is interesting to point out that most of these positions do not include "anthropologist" in the job title, opting instead for titles such as researcher, analyst, and manager.

How Can I Get More Information on Applied Anthropology Degrees/Certificate?

Additional information on applied anthropology and applied anthropology degrees can be found here: