Anthropology—BS

Expand Your Worldview

The Bachelor of Science in Anthropology is all about the study of people: what it means to be human, the origins of cultures, the comparisons of cultures and histories, what historical and environmental factors influence people’s behaviors and worldviews, and how we communicate.

At Michigan Tech, you will globalize your studies of the human experience, learning from faculty who specialize in the cultures and histories of different regions and time periods of the world. Your educational experience will include course work in regional histories and cultures, global change, world peoples and environment, language and culture, human evolution, and archaeology.

Gain a Broad Anthropology Foundation

The anthropology degree will introduce you to the four primary fields of anthropology, while also allowing you to develop a more focused understanding of our department’s specialty areas, archaeology and cultural anthropology. Here's a preview of the fields you will encounter:

Archaeology

Archaeology is the recovery and analysis of the material remains of prehistoric and historic human cultures, as well as the interpretation of this record of material cultures. Archaeologists study structures, artifacts, human remains, and landscapes.

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropology examines the diversity and variation among human cultures, aiming to provide a holistic view of humanity. Scholars in this area have long studied human cultures through immersion in their natural settings. Historically, cultural anthropologists focused largely on non-Western cultures, but the scope of their work has grown to include humans in any setting.

Physical Anthropology

Physical anthropology focuses on the biological aspects of human and primate evolution, as well as on the fossil record of human development over time. Scholars in this area have devoted increasing attention to the DNA record.

Linguistics

Linguistics involves the study of human language and speech, usually with an eye to the similarities and differences in the world’s languages. Linguistic anthropologists may study how humans use language, grammars that develop among social groups, language as a set of symbols that hold meaning in cultural systems, and historical relationships between populations through language analysis.

Customize Your Degree

The anthropology curriculum is flexible. A number of social sciences electives will allow you to study what you're most passionate about in the areas of anthropology, archaeology, history/sociology, and environment; and general electives will support your interests in other disciplines, such as business, communications, or the arts.

Because our degree provides a strong foundation in the liberal arts, you can expect exposure to broad topics that will expand your horizons in both the social and natural sciences. You will diversify your studies with course work in science and math.

Degree audit forms with a breakdown of required and elective courses can be found here.

About the Program

  • You can count on small class sizes—and great opportunity for student participation and active class discussion. Virtually all social sciences classes are taught by faculty members, who are experts in their fields.
  • Get to know your instructors personally. Our department’s low student-to-faculty ratio (12:1) equates to more individualized attention and academic advising.
  • We offer hands-on research opportunities for undergraduate students. Our faculty are always willing to undertake independent study projects with students. Many of our students have participated in SURF, Tech’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program. Anthropology majors also design and carry out an original research project culminating in a senior thesis during their final year in the program.
  • During the archaeology summer field school, anthropology majors work alongside faculty and graduate students. Currently, we are studying the local ruins of the historic Cliff Mine, the first profitable copper mine in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. The focus of this ongoing research project is to thoroughly document the Cliff Mine site, with the goal of reconstructing the evolution of the industrial process during the mine’s heyday (1845-70).
  • You’ll have access to a well-equipped archaeology lab that gives you experience in the processing and classification of artifacts.
  • Opportunities for intercultural exchange abound at Michigan Tech. The Study Abroad Program sends students to countries around the world for stints ranging from two weeks to one year.
  • Get involved. The Anthropology Club is a student organization that promotes the field of anthropology through outreach and education and supports majors through networking and mentoring.

Career Pathways

As is common with most areas of the social sciences, professional careers in anthropology normally require a graduate degree. Our degree program introduces students to the primary nature of the discipline and prepares them for future success in graduate school. A bachelor's degree in anthropology also offers a beneficial background for a variety of professional graduate degrees, such as in social work, law, business, and health professions.

What could I do with a degree in Anthropology?

Many anthropologists who possess a doctoral degree teach and conduct research in academia. Outside of the academic realm, the federal government is a major employer of anthropologists (with a master's or PhD) in international development, cultural resource management, the legislative branch, forensic and physical anthropology, natural resource management, and defense and security sectors. Corporations, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments also hire anthropologists in general researcher, evaluator, and project manager positions.

An emerging area that employs anthropologists is ethnographic market research. In this role, anthropologists examine consumer thoughts, motivations, and behaviors as part of the product development process.

Which professions have our alumni chosen?

Anthropology alumni have landed diverse positions including

  • Anesthesiology Resident (MD)
  • First Lieutenant, US Air Force
  • Language Teacher in France
  • Museum Historian