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As Anthropology Doctorates Increase in Number & Diversity, So Do Financial & Social Support Needs

The AAA receives daily requests from researchers, administrators, faculty, and students for information such as:

  •  Number of degrees granted in a given year
  • Average length of time to complete a degree in anthropology
  • Degrees granted by gender and/or minority status
  • Post-graduation employment rates

To address these inquiries we often rely on our membership database, AnthroGuide, and findings from special purpose surveys. In addition, in January 2014, the NSF released tables and an interactive report on findings from the 2012 Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). First conducted in 1957-1958, the 2012 SED reports on “all individuals who received a research doctorate from a U.S. academic institution in the 12-month period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012,” producing annual statistics on graduate demographics, time to degree, funding source, field of study, and post-graduate commitments. For the most recent iteration, the total eligible population was 51,008 graduates with a doctorate degree. The survey had a response rate of 92% of doctorate recipients.

In this first of two reports, we highlight key findings in the composition of graduates in anthropology and the social sciences. The Graduates 2012 Report: As Anthropology Doctorates Increase in Number and Diversity, So Do Financial and Social Support Needs for Graduates summarizes growth patterns among PhDs, and changes in anthropology’s graduate student body composition, based on data from the NSF SED and contextualized with recent reports on the costs and benefits of graduate-level education. The NSF SED data indicate that post-secondary education enrollments continue to rise as graduate-level degrees become requisite for an increasing range of careers. While a greater portion of college-aged students are attending graduate school, they are enrolling disproportionately in career-oriented fields. More students from racialized minority groups are pursuing doctorate degrees, albeit with less social and financial resources at hand than their white counterparts. And the costs versus gains in pursuing a graduate degree may be differentially calculated among members of racial and ethnic categories. The findings reported in the SED, combined with growing reports of PhD debt suggest that the demographic profile of students and role of higher education are evolving.

The second, forthcoming report will discuss post-graduation employment trends.

As we continue to strengthen our institutional research capacity, we will be updating, re-organizing, and building on the reports and data sources currently available on our Resources for Researchers webpages. By constructing an easily-navigated, comprehensive repository for assessing trends in education, academic programs, membership, and employment, we hope to help our members and other interested parties obtain the information and statistics necessary to monitor trends, lobby for resources, and address changing needs in our field. We look forward to any feedback or additional inquiries you would like to contribute to this effort.

For more information on the Graduates 2012 Report, please contact Courtney Dowdall (cdowdall@aaanet.org)

Department Enrollments Grow, But Also Lose Ground

Undergraduate enrollments in anthropology in the US grew between 2000 and 2010, but not as much as enrollments overall. Between 2000 and 2010, departments self-reported growth of anthropology undergraduate enrollments. Specifically, for the 222 departments that provided AnthroGuide data in both years, undergraduate enrollments grew by a total of 32% over the decade. In the same years, the National Center for Education Statistics reported overall undergraduate enrollments increased by 37%. So even as anthropology enrollments grew, anthropology departments–on average–may have lost ground in terms of their share of the student population.

Why do you think other departments may be outpacing our discipline?

AAA collects its data through the AnthroGuide, an annual reference published in print and online (members can access the statistics and detailed listings of anthropological experts after logging in; everyone can access the eAG program finder.) In addition, the Association offers the Department Services Program, to provide support for department chairs, including collecting some statistics. AAA also created some resources to help students and their parents understand the value of the discipline:

What is your top priority for what else AAA could do to help?

What’s the AnthroGuide All About?

AnthroGuide Through the YearsWhat is an “AnthroGuide” anyway? At its core, the AnthroGuide is the premier directory of anthropological institutions and professionals, including universities, community colleges, government organizations, museums, companies, and non-profits. It cuts across all types of anthropology and offers something for every type of anthropologist: students, professors, practicing anthropologists, anyone you can think of. If you have an interest in anthropology, chances are the guide is a perfect resource for you.

So we’ve established that it’s interesting, a fascinating book and an invaluable online resource. But I can guess what you’re wondering. Why should your institution bother listing; what would you get out of it?

Good question! Here’s your answer: a lot. Okay, that doesn’t quite explain what makes the AnthroGuide great, so I’ll give you the details.

Containing a wealth of information about their favorite topic, the AnthroGuide easily captures the attention of students everywhere. For a university, it’s a surefire way to draw in more students. For a company or non-profit, it displays a side of your institution that people may not have known and attracts quality interns, employees, and volunteers. How does the AnthroGuide do all of this? Simple! It gives you the opportunity to tell everyone about just how amazing your institution is, to lay out all of the details and show what makes it special. You have the opportunity to brag about any facilities, resources, or libraries at your disposal and any degrees or special programs you offer. Better yet, your internships, field schools, and support opportunities have a place in an AnthroGuide listing as well. This knowledge is often the deciding factor when choosing a university. The icing on the cake here is that all of this can be found online: an easy, straightforward search can put this information within a student’s grasp.

On top of all that, an AnthroGuide listing includes any faculty and staff member you want. Not only does it contain their names, but it’s also the perfect place to spotlight their degrees, areas of knowledge, and academic interests. Naturally, this proves useful to students trying to decide on a graduate program, but it can do even more than that. This information is also at the fingertips of people who want to collaborate on papers, projects, or grants but don’t know where to find that perfect partner. By having your faculty members or staff researchers listed, you’re doing yourself and your fellow anthropologists a favor, making your names visible, front and center. It’s much easier to be involved in collaborations when people can find your name!

Bottom line here? The AnthroGuide has something to offer everyone, listers and readers alike. Institutions can bring in more students. Students can find their perfect school. Institutions can proudly announce their faculty. It’s one of the few true win-win scenarios! So what are you waiting for? The next step is easy: sign up for the AnthroGuide today! Simply send an email to guide@aaanet.org and we’ll be thrilled to help you create a listing!

Searching for a program? Looking for an expert?


The American Anthropological Association is delighted to announce its eAnthroGuide online, a directory of more than 800 academic departments; museums; government agencies; nonprofits, NGOs, and foundations; research and consulting firms. To promote study of the discipline, we offer a freely available program search in which students and faculty advisers may look up institutions by Country, State, degree offered, subdisciplinary specialization, internships, and more.

As a benefit of joining AAA, we also offer a more robust search engine of degrees and programs, including searches of 10,000+ anthropological and archaeological specialists. Members may login to use the premium eAnthroGuide to locate subject experts as well as programs. After logging in, look in left-hand menu for eAnthroGuide Members Only Institution Search and eAnthroGuide Members Only Individual Search.

To read more about the print AnthroGuide and its history, go to: http://www.aaanet.org/publications/guide.cfm.

Put Your Program on the Map

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is offering a FREE copy of a prior year’s print AnthroGuide to international organizations who complete a new listing.

What is AAA’s AnthroGuide? The AnthroGuide is the definitive resource to identify anthropologists with particular backgrounds and the only resource for students that aids them in selecting educational programs. Inclusion in the AnthroGuide makes your faculty and staff, degree and/or certificate programs visible to the one thousand subscribers of the AnthroGuide and hundreds of anthropology advisors.

Take a peek inside (click on image to see readable size):

AG interior

How to get your FREE copy? To enter your listing, so you can receive a free copy of the AnthroGuide, please contact Oona Schmid (guide@aaanet.org) for access to the submission portal.

In order to be eligible for a free copy of the AnthroGuide, institutions:

  1. must be primarily anthropological (which includes archaeology, human evolution and origins, and linguistic anthropology);
  2. be situated outside of the United States and Canada;
  3. submit a complete listing with details about your staff and faculty, degrees and certificates;
  4. compose submission in English; and
  5. have not listed in the AnthroGuide previously.

AAA can only send out free AnthroGuides while we have inventory and we will mail out free copies in the order of the listings that are correctly entered and approved, as meeting the eligibility requirements above.


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