Anthropology is the study of humanity: our cultures, our language, our society, even our biology. Anthropologists study the origins and development of people and societies and use that knowledge to better understand who we are, how we came to be and where we might be going.

Anthropologists often work abroad but they can also be found working in companies, governments, educational institutions and non-profit organizations in the U.S. Anthropologists can even be found working in disaster areas, such as New York's Ground Zero or Port-au-Prince following the January 2021 hurricane in Haiti.

A large discipline, anthropology is generally broken down into four subfields (cultural, archaeology, physical and linguistics). Anthropologists are employed in a wide range of careers, depending on their background and expertise, and the general knowledge and insights gained from studying this subject can have useful applications in a variety of careers and pursuits.

Our courses provide an introduction to a variety of anthropology fields and contribute to an increased understanding of the causes, effects and uses of politics, language, culture and religion in the past, present and future. Anthropology classes are held on the Des Plaines and Skokie campuses and online.

While completing this pre-major, you can also complete the requirements for one or more of our special programs . Your anthropology studies could tie directly into special topics such as women, gender and sexuality studies, global studies, peace and social justice studies and environmental studies . If you meet the course requirements for these special programs, you will have a notation added to your transcript.

Degrees and Certificates

We offer an associate in arts (A.A.) degree for students intending to transfer into baccalaureate programs at a four-year college or university.

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This curriculum is designed for students who are interested in studying this field and are considering completing a bachelor's degree in anthropology after transferring to a four-year college or university. It will give you a solid foundation in key anthropology topics while also giving you the chance to complete some of the key general education requirements that should transfer seamlessly to the four-year school of your choice.

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Job Outlook

Employment of anthropologists and archeologists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 800 openings for anthropologists and archeologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Anthropologists and archeologists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. in anthropology or archeology. Experience doing fieldwork in either discipline is also important. Bachelor’s degree holders may find work as assistants or fieldworkers. The median annual wage for anthropologists and archeologists was $66,130 in May 2020.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Two hands covered in dirt holding a centipede.

Meet Your Faculty

Michelle Naffziger-Hirsch
Co-chair, Co-chair of Anthropology, College Studies, Education, Psychology, Social Sciences & Sociology (ACEPSS)
Professor of Sociology
B.A. Northwestern University
M.A. Northwestern University
Ph.D. Northwestern University
Room 3604, Des Plaines

Katherine Schuster
Co-chair, Co-chair of Anthropology, College Studies, Education, Psychology, Social Sciences & Sociology (ACEPSS)
Coordinator, Education and Global Studies
Distinguished Professor, Education
B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College
M.S. Minnesota State University
Ph.D. Loyola University - Chicago
Room 2526, Des Plaines

Lindsey Hewitt
Coordinator, Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of Anthropology and Humanities
B.A. Truman State University
M.S. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Room 2526, Des Plaines

Anika Jones
Associate Professor of Anthropology/Sociology
B.A. (Sociology) University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
B.A. (Africology: Culture and Society) University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
M.A. (Liberal Studies) University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Ph.D. (Cultural Anthropology) University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Room 2554, Des Plaines

Megan Klein
Professor of Anthropology/Sociology
B.A. (Spanish) University of Iowa
B.B.A. (Management) University of Iowa
M.A. (Spanish) Loyola University of Chicago
M.A. (Anthropology) University of Illinois-Chicago
M.A. (Sociology) Loyola University of Chicago
Ph.D. (Sociology) Loyola University
Room 2704, Des Plaines

Meet our part-time faculty

Evangeline Catungal
B.S.C. Polytechnic University of the Philippines
M.A. University of Illinois at Chicago
M.S. University of Phoenix
Room 2430, Des Plaines

Rory Dennison
B.A. Minnesota State University - Moorhead
M.A. University of Illinois at Chicago
Ph.D. Candidate, University of Illinois at Chicago
Room B206, Skokie

Eileen Off
B.S. Loyola University Chicago
M.A. Northern Illinois University
Ph.D. University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Room 2430, Des Plaines

What's Next

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

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