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Anthropology is the study of humanity (the Greek anthropos means ‘human being’). It is a very wide-ranging discipline, made up of a variety of sub-topics.

You will study culture, society and the wide variety of ways in which people around the world live. By appreciating what humans have in common, and the fundamentals on which social life is based, comparisons across societies and observations about the nature of human beings can be made. In this sense Anthropology promotes cross-cultural awareness and self-understanding.

Traditionally, anthropology concentrated on the study of non-western societies, but now Anthropology students can expect to learn about a variety of things relevant to western societies. These include areas such as ethnic relations, migration, social change, environmental policies and the preservation of cultural resources.

Why study Anthropology at UC?

The kind of Anthropology taught at UC is known as social and cultural Anthropology. This branch of Anthropology intersects with other academic disciplines taught at UC such as GeographyHistorySociology, Political Science and International RelationsMāori and Pacific studiesPhilosophy, Cultural Studies, and Fine Arts.

Acquaintance with subjects such as geography, history, languages or art can be helpful but is not necessary for the introductory courses in Anthropology.


See all Anthropology courses

If you want to major in Anthropology it is recommended that you take 30 points at 100-level. However, 15 points at 100-level is sufficient as a prerequisite for 200-level. 

Career opportunities

Anthropology offers insights into many of the social issues and problems facing New Zealand and the world today. Anthropologists therefore have an important role to play in areas of public policy, international relations, foreign affairs and human rights.

For professional anthropologists, there are employment opportunities in research, museum work and university teaching, as well as in certain sectors of local and central government (eg, where research skills are needed) and in non-governmental agencies dealing with issues such as third-world development.

A major in Anthropology will provide you with skills and expertise that can be utilised in a wide variety of employment situations, especially where sensitivity to people, an appreciation of cultural diversity, and an ability to grasp alternative ways of seeing the world are required.

Recent graduates have also gained work in journalism and other branches of the media, public relations, social work, adult education, museums and libraries, tourism, international agencies, human resources, resource management, and in a variety of government departments.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Anthropology.

More information

School of Language, Social and Political Sciences

Phone +64 3 369 3377

Visit the School's website for up-to-date location details.

Postal address
College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

Olivia Shimasaki

Olivia Shimasaki

'I enjoy being able to learn about and question the world that we live in...'

Mereana Wi-Kaitaia

Mereana Wi-Kaitaia

'I get a kick out of investigating our past, asking questions about it, and evaluating any improvements we have made today...''