Defined as the science of humanity, Anthropology is a blend of Humanities, Natural Biology and Social Sciences. The subject became popular in the years of colonisation when people attempted to study and understand the difference between the western-European and African cultures. The field is traditionally divided into four sub-categories: Cultural Anthropology, Archaeology, Linguistic Anthropology and Biological Anthropology.
Today there are a wide range of courses, some covering all the above branches, and some focusing on specialised areas of Anthropology. Whether you’re looking to do a short course, a degree or further postgraduate studies, all courses aim to give students an insight into a cross-section of different cultures, past and present.
Are you passionate about different cultures? Do different people and their customs fascinate you? If so, then studying an Anthropology course may be right for you!
Not only is a passion for the subject matter essential when studying this discipline, but it is also vital that students are highly organised, self-motivated and hard working. Although the core teaching for this particular programme will take place in lectures, it is important for students seeking a high grade to conduct their own critical study in their spare time, particularly for written assessments.
There are many careers available to those with Anthropology qualifications, and while some graduates do opt for further study, many are employed by public and not-for-profit sectors, ranging from the civil service to working in museums.
Those with specific specialised Anthropology knowledge will be able to find work within local government sectors such as housing and social care, as well as employment within non-governmental organisations such as The Red Cross and Oxfam.
As part of the Anthropology degree programme, students will learn about a wide range of cultures and attitudes. As such, Anthropology graduates have a number of skills that are highly sought after by potential employers, including a significant understanding of people. Roles in advertising, sales and marketing are popular for those with good degrees, a strong work ethic and some previous experience.
For those with particularly strong qualifications, there is always the option to continue studying in order to become a qualified university lecturer, or to find work as a tutor. With an average yearly salary of £18,125 in the UK, Anthropology has the potential to be an underappreciated and advantageous qualification that can be applied to a number of career sectors.
The study of Anthropology essentially tackles what it is to be human; examining cultural points of reference and social belief structures, as well as economic customs. It combines academic disciplines such as sociology and philosophy with more science-based content, and as such it can be an incredibly varied and diverse course.
The majority of programmes will have a minimum entry requirement, though this will very much depend upon your level of learning and where you choose to study. Most undergraduate courses require students to have a minimum of 3 A-levels (or equivalent) and many postgraduate courses expect applicants to have a strong degree classification in a related subject.
Given the diverse range of topics studied on an Anthropology course, there will numerous ways in which a student’s progress is monitored. For the most part, the course will be assessed through written examination alongside submitted essays and reports; on some occasions, students will be expected to partake in a more practical means of assessment.
For those who do not speak English as a native language, it will also be compulsory to sit an IELTS test and score a minimum of 6.0 in order to be accepted on to the course.
One of the most important things to consider when you’re looking for somewhere to study is the prestige of your potential academic establishment, alongside your own abilities. For those expecting to achieve top grades, it is important to look at universities that are likely to impress future employers and that will provide an in-depth teaching of the subject. Universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, The London School of Economics and St Andrews are some of the best UK universities for this particular course.
This will of course be reflected in the cost of the fees (as well as the cost of living), but don’t let this put you off. If you’re struggling to secure funding, there are a number of scholarships and grants available.
It is also important when choosing your place of study that you opt for a location that will make you happy for the duration of your course – particularly as you’ll be away from home. Making the most out of your time as a student is important, especially when you consider how much your time studying will cost in fees. Are you socially extroverted, or would you prefer to study in a smaller, more intimate environment? Whatever the answer, you should consider this aspect of your personality before making a decision as to where to study.
Many establishments will cultivate relationships with local authorities which will not only provide students with employment opportunities after graduation, but will also allow them to gain hands-on work experience while still studying. When you are applying to an Anthropology course, you should consider broadly what you would like to do in the future. Will you be able to gain experience while studying? Does a university offer specialist modules relating to your specific interests? Will this contribute towards your final mark?