What is Anthropology?

Photo of Russian mountain from the sea.

Anthropology graduate student, Bobbie Hornbeck, on fieldwork in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.  Photo: Caroline Funk.

Anthropology is the study of humans, past and present. To understand the full sweep and complexity of cultures across all of human history, anthropology draws from and builds upon knowledge from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities. It is the only discipline that examines and attempts to understand humankind as a whole.

Traditionally, anthropology has incorporated four basic sub-fields: archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistics and physical anthropology.

Anthropology at UB includes broad representation from each of these sub-fields, and has unique strengths in European archaeology,  European cultural anthropology, and medical anthropology. 

Career Pathways

Students considering a major in anthropology often ask what career pathways are available after graduation. Many students continue their education by attending MA and PhD programs in the discipline to become professors and researchers in colleges and universities.  Others go on to pursue advanced and professional degrees in museum studies, social work, public health, medicine or law.

Employers outside colleges and universities are increasingly seeking out and hiring anthropology graduates for their skills in adapting to new environments and people, ability to analyze data and communicate clearly and effectively.

Consider the below lists where UB anthropology graduates successfully apply their skills in a variety of rewarding professions:

Job Titles

  • Art Consultant
  • University Professor
  • Immigration Officer
  • Family Advocate
  • College Admissions Advisor
  • Epidemiologist
  • Manuscript Editor
  • High School Teacher
  • Museum Curator
  • Middle School Guidance Counselor
  • Physician
  • Clinic Manager
  • Historic Site Administrator
  • Wildlife Program Coordinator
  • Research Analyst
  • Copyright Associate
  • Social Worker
  • Non-profit Executive Director
  • Attorney
  • Police Officer
  • Air Traffic Control Specialist
  • Medical Director
  • Park Ranger
  • Library Director
  • Business Owner
  • Youth Program Director
  • Forensic Pathologist
  • Education Coordinator
  • Paralegal


  • National Imagery and Mapping Agency
  • Xerox Corporation
  • HSBC Bank
  • Buffalo Urban League
  • Amos Enos Gallery
  • Buffalo Museum of Science
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • NYS Department of Labor
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • Veterans Administration
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Museum of International Folk Art
  • St. Louis Science Center
  • U.S. Air Force
  • National Board of Medical Examiners
  • National Council of Teachers
  • National Parks Service
  • National Institute of Health
  • Big Brother / Big Sister
  • The Cleveland Clinic
  • Rich Products Corporations
  • Journeys End Refugee Services
  • NYS Division of Human Rights
  • Random House
  • Citigroup, Inc.
  • Tribune Media Services International