Steps to Becoming an Environmental Anthropologist

Steps to Becoming an Environmental Anthropologist

Are you passionate about studying the interactions between humans and their environment? Becoming an environmental anthropologist could be the perfect career path for you. In this article, we will outline the essential steps you need to take to pursue a career in environmental anthropology. From earning a relevant degree to gaining field experience, we will cover everything you need to know to become a successful environmental anthropologist.

Education and Training

To become an environmental anthropologist, it is essential to have a strong educational background in anthropology and environmental studies. Here are the steps you can take to achieve this:

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology or a related field

The first step towards becoming an environmental anthropologist is to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology or a related field such as sociology, geography, or environmental science. This will provide you with a solid foundation in the principles of anthropology and help you develop critical thinking and research skills.

Pursue a Master’s Degree in Environmental Anthropology

After completing your Bachelor’s degree, you can pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Anthropology. This specialized program will allow you to focus specifically on the relationship between humans and their environment, and how cultural practices impact the natural world. You will also have the opportunity to conduct fieldwork and research on environmental issues.

Consider obtaining a Ph.D. for advanced research opportunities

For those looking to advance their career in environmental anthropology and pursue advanced research opportunities, obtaining a Ph.D. is highly recommended. A Ph.D. program will allow you to conduct in-depth research in your area of interest, publish scholarly articles, and potentially teach at the university level. This advanced degree will open up a wide range of career opportunities in academia, research institutions, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Fieldwork and Research

Participate in fieldwork to study different environmental issues

One of the key components of becoming an environmental anthropologist is gaining hands-on experience through fieldwork. This involves going out into the field to study and observe various environmental issues firsthand. By immersing yourself in different environments, you can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and complexities surrounding human-environment interactions.

Conduct research on the relationship between humans and the environment

In addition to fieldwork, conducting research is another essential aspect of being an environmental anthropologist. This involves analyzing data, documenting findings, and drawing connections between human behaviors and environmental impacts. By delving into the intricate relationship between humans and their surroundings, you can uncover valuable insights that can inform sustainable practices and policies.

Collaborate with indigenous communities for a holistic understanding

To truly grasp the complexities of environmental issues, it is crucial to collaborate with indigenous communities. These communities often have a deep connection to the land and possess traditional knowledge that can provide valuable perspectives on conservation and sustainability. By working together with indigenous groups, environmental anthropologists can gain a more holistic understanding of human-environment relationships and develop more effective solutions to environmental challenges.

Specialization and Career Paths

Focus on a specific area of environmental anthropology, such as climate change or conservation

Environmental anthropology offers a wide range of specializations, allowing individuals to focus on specific areas of interest within the field. Some common specializations include climate change, conservation, sustainable development, and environmental policy. By choosing a specific area to specialize in, environmental anthropologists can deepen their knowledge and expertise in that particular area, making them more competitive in the job market.

Explore career options in academia, research institutions, or non-profit organizations

Environmental anthropologists have a variety of career options available to them. They can pursue careers in academia, teaching and conducting research at universities and colleges. They can also work for research institutions, conducting studies and collecting data on environmental issues. Non-profit organizations also offer opportunities for environmental anthropologists to engage in advocacy work, community outreach, and policy development.

Engage in advocacy work to promote sustainable environmental practices

Advocacy work is an important aspect of being an environmental anthropologist. By engaging in advocacy work, environmental anthropologists can promote sustainable environmental practices, raise awareness about environmental issues, and influence policy decisions. This can involve working with communities, government agencies, and non-profit organizations to develop and implement strategies for addressing environmental challenges. Advocacy work can also involve educating the public about environmental issues and encouraging behavior change to promote sustainability.


In conclusion, becoming an environmental anthropologist requires a unique blend of skills and knowledge in both anthropology and environmental science. By following the steps outlined in this article, individuals can take the necessary steps to pursue a career in this fascinating field. From obtaining a degree in anthropology to gaining hands-on experience through internships and research projects, aspiring environmental anthropologists can work towards making a meaningful impact on the world around them. By studying the complex relationship between humans and their environment, these professionals play a crucial role in understanding and addressing pressing environmental issues facing society today.