Prospective Students

What is Anthropology ?

Anthropology is the study of people, both ancient and contemporary, in their biological, archaeological, cultural, and linguistic context. Anthropology uses a holistic approach to integrate findings from the social sciences, natural sciences, and the humanities.

Study Anthropology if you want to…

  • Understand what it means to be human and the changes that have taken place from our earliest ancestors to today
  • Learn about other people’s perspectives who we share this world with, but we often know little about
  • Know more about your global community
  • Appreciate how biology, cultural values, language, social institutions, and individual action forge the natural and social networks that humans occupy
  • Gain applied skills in order to protect Cultural Heritage, aid the disadvantaged, improve health care, find justice, and more
  • Train in the skills needed in the world today:
    1. The ability to think qualitatively and quantitatively
    2. An appreciation of perspectives different than your own
    3. An aptitude for moving between local perspectives and larger frameworks, without forfeiting either
    4. The capability to present your ideas effectively
  • Be ready to apply your skills to today’s complex world, where international activities characterize business, government, and education in fields including law, medicine, business, education, public affairs, urban planning.

Why Anthropology at The University of Montana?

Our diverse, world-class, award winning, faculty members are here to help you reach your goals. Core faculty members teach most courses, including the lower-division ones. Working with a faculty mentor and the Department advisor, choose your electives beyond the eight core courses, potentially following a Board of Regents approved Option in Anthropology to help guide you to essential skills. These options are available for the most popular fields in anthropology.

As you enter upper-division work, there are multiple opportunities to gain hands-on experience, skills, and specializations. These include method classes that range from analyzing stone tools to analyzing languages that you’ve never heard before; field classes in archaeology held nearby and across the globe; internship opportunities yielding real life experiences and college credits; and opportunities to participate in laboratories with the faculty and the graduate students. Those research opportunities can lead to conference presentations, either on campus or at regional or national anthropology conference, or even as an author on a professional publication.

Your learning will not be limited to the anthropology faculty and coursework. The lively Anthropology student club, MASA, hosts a yearly calendar of events, including lectures, workshops, and social events. Depending on your interests, the rich range of professors and programs across the University of Montana campus are available, with the Criminology Program in the Sociology Program, Geosciences, Native American Studies, and the Division of Biological Science having particularly strong ties to Anthropology. Finally, superb facilities and collections add to your experience: for archaeologists and cultural anthropology students, this includes the Department’s University of Montana Anthropological Collection Facility (UMACF); for biological anthropologist students working on ancient DNA, the Murdock DNA Sequencing Facility; for archaeology students interested in interpreting animal bones, Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum (UMZM); for students conducting research wanting to apply qualitative, quantitative, or spatial analyses, the Social Science Research Laboratory.

What Do Our Alums Say?

The professors were extremely passionate about various aspects of the field, and that passion translated into the classroom and made students really want to learn.  The amount of knowledge I have gained has stuck with me as well. Even in a profession that isn't overtly related to anthropology, it's still the study of people, and having an understanding of how different people and cultures interact, exist, etc. has helped me be a better analyst that can examine a variety of different perspectives and address the biases that may impact my thinking processes. I have lived in several different countries in the past few years to pursue my Master's, and even living in a new place with an anthropologist mindset helped me assimilate into new ways of living, cultures, and interactions, the knowledge I gained wasn't just limited to classroom applications.

—Kailyn Johnson, Cyberthreat Analyst, B.A., Class of 2016

The Anthropology Department prepared me for a successful professional life after college through immersive exposure of diverse ideas and cultures.  In my chosen occupation, I am tasked with finding the absolute top technical talent for the largest online retailer in the world.  My ability to navigate this global landscape was fostered by the learning in the University of Montana Anthropology Department. 

—Chris Mosbacher, Lead Technical Recruiter, Amazon.com, B.A. 2009

I have found my degree extremely helpful and highly applicable towards so many different employment applications, however, finding an employer who first knows just what anthropology is, and furthermore, will hire you because of it, can be challenging. For me, at a higher level, it taught me to look at things much more holistically, and with that, manage and interpret data with a sense of purpose often with actionable outcomes. Cultural relativism played a major role for me as well, as it opened the door to so many new ways to look at things, which, overtime, became a fundamental part of how I approached any project. The professors within this department were always available to help.

— Eric Peters, Operations Specialist, B.A., Class of 2002

Potential Careers

Career Services

Through our undergraduate and graduate programs students not only achieve a broad cross-cultural education, but prepare to apply their anthropological knowledge in their chosen career paths. A minor, Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are offered in anthropology, with options or specializations available at every level. For undergraduates, the B.A. can include an option in Archaeology, Cultural and Ethnic Diversity, Forensic Anthropology, Linguistics, or Medical Anthropology - or a general degree crafted to the interests of the student.Parallel missions to promote the student of human diversity and experience are advanced by the Linguistics Program, which is also housed in the Department.

Sample Occupations

  • Archaeologist
  • Lawyer
  • Professor
  • Forensic Anthropologist
  • Researcher
  • Cartographer
  • Forensic Technician
  • Museum Curator
  • Public Policy Analyst
  • Corporate Anthropologist
  • Interpreter and Translator

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Do you have a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science? Looking to become a professional anthropologist? Ready for the journey? The Anthropology Department offers strong M.A. and Ph.D. programs in all four subdisciplines. A guiding theme for our program is Cultural Heritage: the biological, linguistic, cultural, and physical objects, ancient and contemporary, that help define group identity. Our graduates have found employment at top academic institutions; governmental, tribal, and private cultural heritage programs; and international NGOs. To lean more, go to the Graduate Programs in Anthropology webpage.

Resources on Anthropology Careers