Applied Anthropology

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What Is Applied Anthropology?
Applied anthropology uses the theories, methods, and ethnographic findings of anthropology to solve human problems.  Applied anthropology at CSULB focuses on practicing anthropology in three program options. These are: communities/organizations, health, and education.

Where Do Practicing and Applied Anthropologists Work?
Today, most applied anthropologists are practitioners who use cross-cultural knowledge and anthropological methods for research and action around the world, not only from a university base.  Practicing anthropologists are found in all business, government, health, education, and human services domains.  They may work for congresswomen, in hospitals, school districts, research and consulting firms, or state and local governments.  They are often researchers but more and more, they don't just study problems.  These anthropologists are often administrators, program directors, and even business owners.  They craft and manage solutions.

What Do Applied and Practicing Anthropologists Do?
Applied and practicing anthropologists confront special challenges. They are called on to offer the anthropological perspective--a view of humanity grounded in a tradition of cross-cultural scholarship and action.  They may work in teams with other professionals; they must communicate across disciplines.








Site ideation: Ken Erickson, CSULB and Yao Rong, Shanghai, PRC.

Photos by Lucy Neiland, U. Manchester, England; R. Harman, CSULB; Sean Ryan, CSULB; Alison Myers, USF.




Applied and practicing anthropologists build bridges between cultural worlds.  They may make videos, or write explanations of policy or research for a lay audience. Anthropologists blend respect for cultural difference and awareness of common humanity.  This, combined with interdisciplinary research methods, can help make policies, programs, and plans that improve human well-being around the world.

Practicing anthropology may not be a road to riches but it offers creative, critical professionals wider employment opportunities than ever before.  More employers are discovering the relevance of anthropology--and applied and practicing anthropologists are, according to recent research, more satisfied with their employment and better paid than their colleagues in other branches of the discipline.

CSULB has designed a program to make students ready for the world of anthropological practice.  The program can also help prepare you for the Ph.D. and a career as an applied anthropologist in the academy.  In this website, you can learn more about our program, download the forms you need to apply, and consider how CSULB opens doors to local, regional, and international, cross-cultural, anthropological practice.

Learn more about applied and practicing anthropology from the American Anthropological Association.

Learn more about practicing anthropology from the National Associaiton for Practicing Anthropology.

Learn more about applied and practicing anthropology from ANTHAP, the Applied Anthropology Network.

Learn more about applied and practicing anthropology from the Society for Applied Anthropology.


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