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Anthropology, General


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What to Expect

There are three basic skills that every anthropology student needs to develop: how to read, write and do science.

"It sounds simple, but so many of the younger students of today are not good writers and have no idea how to conduct an experiment, or make a hypothesis or collect data," says Douglas Perrelli. He studied for his PhD at the State University of New York at Buffalo. "Reading is key, but writing takes practice."

In anthropology, first-year students are often required to take general physical anthropology, archeology and cultural anthropology courses all at the same time.

Students can expect a heavy workload in their first year of studies, according to Perrelli. "I would describe the average day as having two or three classes to go to, each from one to one and a half hours," he says. "Sometimes you have three-hour classes, one a week, often at night."

First-year students can also expect between three and five hours of homework each night when the semester is in full swing. Perrelli adds that he was surprised by the workload at first, because there was so much pressure on the first-year students to do well. But he says he was also surprised at how light the workload was after the first year.

How to Prepare

"Participate in local archeological digs if possible," Perrelli recommends. "There are a surprising number of ongoing projects in the U.S. and Canada, and many archeologists and institutions are seeking to involve students and the general public in their endeavors."

Andrew Gardner took a master's degree at the University of Arizona. He believes that one of the best ways to study other cultures and civilizations is to get a taste of another part of the world as soon as possible.

"One of the most useful things you could do for a career in anthropology is to spend a semester or year overseas," says Gardner. "Some students do this during high school. Others take a year off between high school and college."


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