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Department of Anthropology & Development Studies
The University of Adelaide 
 Ground Floor, Napier Building

Assignments to be lodged at School of Social Sciences Office, Ground Floor Napier Building


Phone +61 8 8313 5730 
Fax +61 8 8313 5733

Anthropology & Development Studies

Why Study Anthropology ? | Career Opportunties
Why Study Development Studies? | Career Opportunities

Why Study Anthropology ?

As the world becomes more complex it is increasing important to understand human behaviour and cultural diversity, especially as this relates to everyday life. You just have to look around to see this. Have you ever wondered why humans have such different ways of thinking, feeling, and acting? Or, why humans as social beings similarly participate and identify in music, sport, or religion? Are you interested in what makes you different from and similar to other individuals and groups both in Australia and abroad?

Have you wondered why, in the context of increasing diversity and fragmentation of the world, we are at the same time influenced by homogenous global cultural values due to new technologies, new media and more powerful multinational corporations? Are you concerned about social inequality and why poverty, racism, and ethnic violence continue to occur around the world, including here in Australia? Do you want to develop skills that will help you in developing a career with an international, cross-cultural or socially valued focus?

If you are interested in any of these or similar questions, then you should consider studying social anthropology!

Anthropology is the study of humanity in its total variety. One of its most important aims is to help us better understand the different ways of life which human groups have developed around them, both here in Australia and abroad. Anthropology is the broadest discipline of all the humanities and social sciences-it imposes no restrictions in terms of time, space or the aspect of humankind that is analysed. The Discipline of Anthropology at the University of Adelaide offers a variety of subjects that address important contemporary issues in our rapidly changing world and will help you to better think about and understand your place in it. In Anthropology subjects, you will learn about the lives of people in distant societies like Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Africa, Ireland and the Caribbean. But you will also study closer to home as everyday life in Australia.

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Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with a B.A. Degree in anthropology from The University of Adelaide have gone on to a wide variety of professions. In our society, where adaptability and flexibility are increasingly necessary to succeed in the workplace, anthropology can provide a set of important skills for a variety of jobs. A number of our students become practicing Anthropologists which requires at least a four year degree (Honours) and even postgraduate studies. But many students go on to quite different careers in which they find their anthropological knowledge and skills are highly valued by employers. Some of these careers, including specific anthropological work include:

  1. Museums, Native Title and land claims negotiations, heritage consultancies (conducting research on histories and cultures of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities), Work Area Design and Development ;
  2. Federal and State Government Departments;
  3. Private Consultancies (ie. research for natural resource companies on the social impact of large scale projects, developing better work environments, cultural change management and community development);
  4. Social scientists on Overseas Deveoplment Aid Programs;
  5. Media (editing, reporting, documentary film-making) ;
  6. Politics (social policy advisors, research and planning);
  7. Medical/Health sector (research focusing on health issues for specific cultural groups, the relationship between physical/mental health and the socio-cultural environment).

In the Discipline of Anthropology we also offer students an opportunity to undertake a focused interdisciplinary study in International Development:

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Why Study Development Studies?

Bachelor of Development Studies

Why do so many developing countries suffer from high levels of poverty, low economic growth, poor governance, environmental problems, gender inequality, and civil war? What can be done to address these problems? In particular, what can be done by developing country governments; official development organisations such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and AusAID; and development NGOs such as Oxfam, Save the Children, and World Vision?

Students of Development Studies at the University of Adelaide will address these questions within the context of a program of study that is both academically rigorous and practically oriented. Students will examine major theoretical debates within the field of development studies. At the same time, they will also examine debates within policy-making circles over the appropriate responses to development problems. Students will also study the way in which aid is administered and delivered, focusing in particular on the factors that shape success and failure in aid programs.

The program is interdisciplinary in nature, reflecting the nature of the causes of and obstacles to development and the breadth of the official international development policy agenda. In particular, the program draws on perspectives from Anthropology & Development Studies, Economics, Political Science, International Studies, Asian Studies, Gender Studies and Environmental Studies.

Honours program in Development Studies

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Career Opportunities

The Development Studies program will provide a critical entry point for gaining employment in government (such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and AusAID), private sector consultancy firms (ODA management contractors), non-government organizations, multilateral bank administration, development research organizations, and United Nations agencies.