Interested in Anthropology?

Interested in Anthropology?

Anthropology is a science that studies the origin — physical, social, and cultural development and behaviour of mankind. Anthropology also studies the evolution of man at different ages as well as the physical and cultural diversity among humans, living at the same period of time, at various parts of the world in diverse environments. In totality anthropology includes the biological evolution of human beings — their social, cultural and linguistic development and also include archaeological study of human relics.

Youngsters pursuing Social Sciences, Development Studies, even Economics will find value in Anthropology. Many take it as a base subject to further study Law, Forensic Science, Public Health and Social Work.

As a subject, anthropology has fascinated man for centuries, as it deals with the study of the various dimensions of man’s existence and behaviour. There are several streams in which one can specialise in Anthropology. These include:

Socio-cultural Anthropology: It deals with different aspects of socio-cultural behaviour — how groups and communities are formed and the development of cultures. One studies socio-economic changes like cultural differences among various communities and regions and the causes behind such differences and also cross-cultural communication, the evolution of languages, evolution of technology and the change patterns in different cultures.

Prehistoric-Anthropology or Archaeology: This is an attempt to reconstruct history on the basis of relics like statues, bones, coins and other historical artifacts. Such discoveries help to reconstruct early history and social customs and traditions. Archaeologists also try to analyse social activity from such discoveries. They also make use of contemporary records or historical documents to tally with their discoveries and then reconstruct early human history.

Physical or Biological Anthropology: This stream of anthropology is concerned with physical or biological characteristics of the primate order, like humans and links with other primates. This branch tries to understand social customs through the evolutionary chain. It also explores the physical differences between races and the way in which different races have adapted themselves physiologically and their reactions to different environments. Biological or physical anthropology also has other sub streams or sub disciplines. These provide further specialisation options. These include primate biology, osteology (the study of bones and skeletons), paleoanthropology and forensic anthropology.

Applied Anthropology: Applied anthropology puts to use the information collected from other branches of anthropology and then uses the data in programmes like large-scale initiatives for birth control, health treatment, reducing malnutrition, trying to curb juvenile delinquency, solving labour problems and worker protests in industries, improving agricultural practices, preventing tribal welfare and helping in tribal rehabilitation when their land is taken over or they are forcefully removed.

Linguistic Anthropology: This stream deals with the origin and construction of oral as well as written languages. There is also a scope for comparative studies to see how cultural interactions have influenced the language of the different cultures involved and how language is an indicator to different cultural practices and customs. Linguistic anthropology is closely linked with cultural anthropology.

Study route and eligibility

To be a professional anthropologist, one has to qualify in B.Sc (Anthropology). The minimum qualification for B.Sc in Anthropology is 10+2 pass with science subjects. However, requirement of individual colleges/universities is different such as 10+2 with Biology and minimum percentage of marks scored. For a better career option one can pursue M.Sc in Anthropology for which the minimum qualification is B.Sc in the concerned subject. There are also higher studies such as M.Phil and PhDs in anthropology.

Nevertheless, some universities or colleges also offer BA and MA courses in Anthropology in which, a 10+2 pass mark with Social Science is a minimum requirement.

Close to 30 colleges and universities, spread all over the country, offer graduate and postgraduate level courses in Anthropology.

Prominent among these are Delhi University, University of Calcutta and Manipur University in Imphal. Karnataka University in Dharwad, and the Kurukshetra University in Haryana offer only B.Sc courses in anthropology.

Panjab University in Chandigarh, University of Allahabad, and Dr Hari Singh Gour Vishwavidyalaya in Madhya Pradesh offer MSc courses in anthropology.

The Department of Anthropology, Delhi University and Panjab University also provide a one-year certificate course in Forensic Science, and Criminal Science, after a BSc in Anthropology.

Career prospects
Anthropologists have multiple career options. If one is planning on an academic career, then one can either find academic jobs at various universities and institutes or do research. Research jobs are available in organisations like the Archaeological Survey of India, the Planning Commission and the Commission for Scheduled Castes, Tribes and Other Backward Classes, as well as international organisations like the UNESCO and UNICEF.

One can also find employment with corporate houses in the Human Resource Development sector as anthropologists, to balance relations between society and industry.

Anthropologists are also employed by museums, art galleries, libraries and archives. One can even find employment as archaeologists, curators, linguists, social workers, tour guides, in publishing houses and in social service organisations.

Openings are also available for socio-cultural anthropologists with NGOs as well as international organisations because of their expertise in the understanding of relations between the industry and society. Many organisations like the ICMR, WHO and the police also offer employment to anthropologists possessing expertise in Forensic Science for the purpose of crime detection.

Specialisation in Anthropology is not a strictly professional course. With the increased awareness of human rights, social and cultural awareness and the crying need for development, if you are looking for a career in any of these areas, a degree in Anthropology may be a good option.