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What Exactly is Anthropology?

Anthropology is an exciting field of inquiry, with new projects and discoveries happening all the time. Anthropologists study human beings, past and present, throughout the word. To understand the full sweep and complexity of cultures across all of human history and prehistory, anthropology draws upon knowledge from many fields in both the sciences and humanities. Anthropologists are usually trained in one of four areas – socio-cultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. Often anthropologists integrate the perspectives of several of these areas into their work. Because anthropology is both local and global in scope and comparative and holistic in methods, it provides knowledge of community – who we have been and how we have lived - during all of our known history on Earth.

Why Study Anthropology Anyway?

People who study anthropology don't just earn general education credits; they develop a perspective that fosters deeper understanding in other disciplines, greater awareness of how the world works, and a confidence to engage in life as responsible citizens of the world.

At Normandale, we offer eight permanent courses, more than any other community college in the state, and we also have new courses under development. We encourage students to develop an appreciation and understanding for what it means to be human.


Anthropologists teach anthropology at the college level. They also teach in other departments, such as business, education, design, and public health.

But over half of all the anthropologists now work in organizations outside the university. Their interesting work may involve doing museum collection and research, building research partnerships, assessing product markets, evaluating policies, developing new educational programs, and evaluating social services, such as community health, to improve design and delivery.

Applied anthropologists are men and women who work in government agencies, private businesses, community organizations, independent research institutes, medical fields, service organizations, the media, or private consulting firms, and they also work as evaluators or independent consultants for agencies such as the World Bank or United Nations. For more information on what you can do with a degree in anthropology click here.

Careers in Anthropology

Types of Jobs


Individuals who study anthropology often work in the following profession

  • Anthropologists and Archaeologists
  • College Anthropology and Archaeology Teachers


Skills Acquired


Anthropology programs include topics such as:

  • Sociology
  • Human cultures
  • Ethnology
  • Prehistoric humans and primates
  • Human paleontology
  • Cultural studies
  • Research methodology

Degrees & Certificates in Anthropology

Earning an Associate's in Art with an Emphasis in Anthropology will equip you with a broad, systematic, comparative understanding of human nature and societies past, and emerging, across the full range and complexity of our biological and behavioral adaptations.

This knowledge will open additional perspectives and prepare you for further study in anthropology as well as other academic disciplines and serve as a foundation for mindful living in a changing world.

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Associate of Arts Degree with Emphasis in Anthropology

The Anthropology Department explores human nature and culture very broadly and comparatively. Our courses foster a bio-cultural understanding of humans from materially simple to complex cultures from the distant past to the present.

The Associate of Arts degree with Emphasis in Anthropology provides a solid foundation for an undergraduate major or for study in related disciplines as well as powerful tools for making one's way in a changing world.

Required Courses - 9 credits

Code Title Credits
ANTH 1127 Cultural Anthropology - The Global Human Experience 3
ANTH 1210 Human Evolution - An Introduction to Bio-Anthropology 3
ANTH 1230 Archaeology - Prehistory and Humanity's Cultural Origins 3

Complete at least one additional course for 3 credits

Code Title Credits
ANTH 1101 Cultural Diversity 3
ANTH 1121 Women Across Cultures 3
ANTH 1145 Human Variation – Bio-Anthropology and Forensic Analysis 3
ANTH 1148 Seeing Culture Through Film and Fieldwork 3
ANTH 1150 Native American Voices 3
ANTH 1188 Magic, Witchcraft and Religion 3
ANTH 1235 Field Archeology - Methods of Exploring the Past 3
ANTH 1236 Archaeology of Minnesota - Prehistoric Native Cultures 3
ANTH 1899 Medical Anthropology: Health, Illness and Healing Across Cultures 3