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Undergraduates

Anthropology at Michigan is made up of Four Subfields:

Anthropological Archaeology seeks both to understand the human past—including the origin and evolution of culture, inequality, agriculture, and urban life—and to link this past to the world that we inhabit today. Archaeologists at the University of Michigan conduct original fieldwork in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Near East, and across the Americas. Through survey, excavation, and laboratory analyses of material culture, we explore changes in the social, political, economic, and symbolic organization of human societies over time.

Biological Anthropology investigates human evolutionary history, the causes of present-day genetic diversity, and the biology of human behavior. It is multidisciplinary, drawing on genetics, paleontology, developmental biology, primate behavior, nutrition, and ecology.

Linguistic Anthropology looks at how speaking, singing, reading, joking, texting, arguing and so on, makes us who we are. We look at how interactions create social relationships, political inequalities, cultural forms, and historical change. We attend to face-to-face events but also to the ways words and gestures from elsewhere (including the media) are woven into them. Close attention to such details illuminates how big-picture conditions come about--for instance, how labor hierarchies or diplomatic conflicts work-- and how we might change them.

Sociocultural Anthropology analyzes social, cultural, political and economic life. Our research is made up of on-the-ground observation, interactions and participation, and contextual and historical inquiry.  Sociocultural anthropologists at Michigan work all over the world, from cities like Berlin, Detroit, Moscow and Tokyo to the rainforests of New Guinea and the deserts of Jordan. An ethnographic approach means delving deeply into the lives of the people we work with to better understand their institutions, values and everyday practices.

What can I DO with an Anthropology degree?

Anthropology majors have gone on to jobs in research, conservation, education, law, public relations, political campaigns, urban planning, public health, product development and advertising. Students have pursued opportunities in the Peace Corps, Americorps, and Teach for America, but also in corporations and NGOs. Anthropology students have chosen graduate training in public health, social work, public policy, and anthropology. Many have gone on to professional programs in medicine, law, business, and veterinary school.