How Do I Start a Career in Physical Anthropology?

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  • Written By: YaShekia King
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2019
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Physical anthropology is the study of how biology and culture have impacted human development. An individual who works in this field, which also is called biological anthropology, typically performs research. To begin a career in this vocational area, you have to complete four years of undergraduate school as well as two years of a master’s degree program. A doctoral degree program that lasts four years or five years also is necessary to be successful in this line of work.

If you want to start a career in physical anthropology, you should first complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in general anthropology. Getting into this type of training program involves turning in your most recent standardized test results and filling out your chosen institution’s enrollment form. You also have to provide a copy of your high school transcript as well as your high school diploma or the equivalent certification.

Anthropology courses teach you the basic skills that you need to thrive in this vocational area. You must learn about different cultures and how civilizations developed, particularly focusing on genetics, or the study of variations in organisms. This is important because mastering these concepts makes you eligible to pursue a graduate school degree in physical anthropology.


You need to attend graduate school in order to be able to claim job positions in this field. Entrance into a two-year master’s degree program in physical anthropology involves submitting your bachelor’s degree program transcript as well as completing the university’s admission application and turning in your graduate school test results. Training program courses teach you about forensics — the use of science to gather evidence for solving crimes. Other research-related courses instruct you on the proper use of statistics collected from industry experiments. Completing a comprehensive exam or research project as well as a practical internship also is required prior to graduation.

Finishing a doctoral degree program will increase your employment options. To be enrolled in this type of four- to five-year program, you have to send in your master’s degree transcript and submit a completed admission form and updated resume. You should take courses specific to the specialty area of physical anthropology, in which you learn about the process of evolution. In addition, you must complete an extensive research dissertation project that you have to defend before faculty members. This type of degree can open up chances to work as a university professor, director of research, or even a geneticist.



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