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Anthropology Pathway (A.A.)

What does it mean to be human? How has our culture influenced our behavior? What can we discover from our ancestors that will help solve the problems of today? These are just a few of the questions that seek answers via the field of anthropology.

Anthropology provides a holistic approach to determining who we are, how we fit in, how we came to be. It is divided into four subfields: Biological Anthropology, Archeology, Linguistic Anthropology, and Cultural Anthropology. See the section, "What is Anthropology?" for further explanations of these subfields.

The anthropology pathway courses introduce students to the field of anthropology, the study of human beings through biological and cultural adaptation.  Anthropology students acquire critical thinking skills and global perspectives.  This program is designed to prepare students to minor in anthropology at UNG, to transfer to institutions with a major, or to major in complimentary fields such as history.

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Gainesville Campus

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What is Anthropology?

The term, “anthropology” comes from the Greek word anthropos meaning “human.”  In the broadest and most general sense, anthropology is the study of what it means to be human.  Anthropologists approach that study both from a biological perspective in terms of the human species and from a cultural point of view in terms of the learned, shared behaviors that define specific groups of people around the world. 

Anthropology is divided into four subfields: biological anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and cultural anthropology. 

  • Biological Anthropology is the study of human evolution including comparisons of DNA and skeletal materials with our closest biological relatives, the primates.
  • Archaeology supplies a methodology and a framework for understanding and reconstructing both the historic and prehistoric pasts.  Prehistory involves deep time: four million years of human development.
  • Linguistic Anthropology involves analyzing the use and development of human language.   Language, unlike animal communication systems, has no limits in time and space.
  • Cultural Anthropology provides comparative and holistic perspectives on the ways in which people behave, think, and create the distinctive patterns with which they identify as groups.

Why Study Anthropology?

Within the four subfields, anthropologists study an infinite number of subjects that have to do with being human.  The elements that make these studies all anthropological are that they are comparative and holistic. For example, studies of prehistoric ancestors and their  food-getting strategies might help us better understand the environmental and health issues we face today.  

Anthropology provides a framework for understanding and communicating with people from a variety of backgrounds, which is a critical skill in our world. It also provides the scientific literacy that is necessary for solving the increasingly complex environmental challenges that we face.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Anthropology?

Today's anthropologists do not just work in exotic locations. They can be found in corporations, all levels of government, educational institutions and non-profit associations. Anthropologists even work in disaster areas, including Ground Zero in New York and the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

There are many areas of anthropological study....

  • Sociocultural Anthropology - Seeks to understand the internal logic of societies through ethnography
  • Archaeology - Retrieves artifacts from the past and places them in context to understand our history and its relevance for today
  • Physical Anthropology - Traces our biological origins, evolutionary development, and genetic diversity
  • Business Anthropology - Helps businesses gain a better understanding of their activities and customers
  • Medical Anthropology - Seeks to better understand factors that influence peoples' health and well being
  • Environmental Anthropology - Believes that the well-being of the environment goes hand in hand with the well-being of people
  • Forensic Anthropology - Seeks to identify skeletal, or otherwise decomposed, human remains
  • Museum Anthropology - Interprets ethnographic and archaeological collections to the general public
  • Linguistic Anthropology - Seeks to explain the very nature of language and its use by humans
  • Visual Anthropology - Documents everyday life through filmmaking


Where Can I Get Additional Information on Anthropology?

For additional information, go the American Anthropological Association website.

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