What can I do with a major in anthropology?

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View videos of professionals describing a day on the job

Examples of where alumni in your major are working

Companies:
Columbia University
AmeriCorps
Bronx Zoo

Titles:
Research Assistant
Author/Historian
Professor of Anthropology

Search for employers hiring graduates in your major

Employers in NY: 330
Employers in US: 5,592

 

Explore the numerous career fields related to your major

Education

Areas

Teaching
Research
Administration
Student Affairs
Library/Information Science
Non-classroom Education

Employers

Universities/colleges/community colleges
University research institutes or laboratories
Campus museums
Zoos
Nature centers

Information/Strategies

Earn a Ph.D. in Anthropology for university and college faculty positions or an M.A./M.S. for community college positions.
Earn a graduate degree in College Student Affairs, Library/Information Science or related field for work in student affairs, administration, or libraries.
Gain research experience by assisting professors or participating in independent studies.
Maintain a high g.p.a and develop strong personal recommendations.
Develop excellent communication and presentation skills.
Get involved in campus leadership positions such as Resident Assistant, Peer Advisor, or Admissions Tour Guide.

Museums and Archives

Areas

Management/Administration
Curatorship
Conservation
Restoration
Research
Education
Libraries
Development

Employers

Natural history or history museums:

  • Universities 
  • State, federal or local 
  • Private

Archives
Historical societies

Information/Strategies

Plan to earn a graduate degree in anthropology, museum studies, library science (with an emphasis on archives) or other related discipline depending upon specific interests.
Gain relevant experience through internships or volunteering positions in museums.
Develop a strong attention to detail.
Be prepared to relocate to access the most employment opportunities.

Archaeology

Areas

Cultural Resource Management
Research
Excavation
Field Work

Employers

Consulting firms
Environmental/engineering companies
Firms specializing in archaeological investigation
Federal, state and local government
Urban and city planning offices
Historic preservation societies

Information/Strategies

Field positions require a B.S./B.A. and previous field experience. Get involved with faculty research or other research programs.
Obtain a graduate degree to direct field crews.
May need a willingness to travel and endure adverse living/working conditions during field studies or excavations. Working conditions and hours vary with the type of work/research performed.

Government

Areas

Administration
Cultural Resource Management
Surveying
Site Management
Excavation
Research
Museum Conservation
Legislative Compliance Review
Program Management and Evaluation
Impact Assessment: Social, Environmental
Policy Analysis
Urban Planning
Translation/Interpretation

Employers

Federal agencies including:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs 
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Central Intelligence Agency 
  • Departments of: Conservation, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Natural Resources
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Park Service 
  • Public Health Service
  • Smithsonian Institute
  • Tennessee Valley Authority 
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Forest Service

State agencies including:

  • Historic Preservation Offices 
  • Parks Departments 
  • Highway Departments

Information/Strategies

Learn federal or state application procedures.
Graduate degree generally required for higher level positions.
Gain related experience through internships in areas of interest.
Develop statistical, analytical and computer skills and learn various research methodologies.
Get involved in campus organizations to develop leadership abilities and interpersonal skills.
Consider earning a minor or double major to qualify for particular areas of interest, e.g. learn a foreign language for translating/interpreting positions.

Non-profit

Areas

Administration
Program Management and Development
Policy Analysis
Fund Raising/Development
Research
Grant Writing
Counseling

Employers

Nonprofit organizations
Social service agencies
Hospitals and medical centers
Private foundations, e.g. The Ford Foundation
International organizations, e.g. The World Health Organization, The International Red Cross, and the United Nations

Information/Strategies

Seek volunteer and internship positions to gain experience.
Hone skills in public speaking, writing, and programming.
Obtain a degree in counseling for therapy positions.
Learn to work well with people from varying backgrounds.

Business

Areas

Management
Sales/Marketing
Human Resources
Public Relations
Consulting

Employers

Business corporations in various industries such as:

  • Banking
  • Retailing
  • Insurance
  • Financial
  • Services
  • Travel and tourism 

Cultural resource firms
International companies
Consulting firms: management, scientific, technical

Information/Strategies

Many businesses hire students of "any major" if they have relevant experience and have developed the skills employers seek.
Minor in business or another relevant field.
Obtain related experience through internships, summer and part-time jobs.
Develop strong analytical and computer skills.
Learn to work well on a team.
Get involved in campus organizations and seek leadership roles.

Communications

Areas

Documentary Film Production
Photography/Photojournalism
Journalism
Writing/Editing
Publishing

Employers

Colleges and universities
Government agencies
Government or private museums
Local historical societies or sites
Television and motion picture industry
Internet media companies
Independent production companies
Publishing houses
Newspapers and magazines
Freelance/self-employed

Information/Strategies

Minor or double major in a communications field.
Develop excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
Submit articles or books for publication.
Work for campus or student run publications.
Demonstrate talent, persistence, assertiveness, competitive spirit, and enthusiasm.
Compile a portfolio of writing, graphics and ideas.
Develop strong computer skills.
Obtain internship, summer or part-time experience with book, magazine, or newspaper publishers.
Develop an attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines.

General information and strategies

  • Most professional anthropological jobs require a graduate degree.
  • Those interested in anthropology may specialize in one of its four branches: archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, or physical anthropology. Many subfields exist within the larger specialties such as forensic anthropology, a subfield of physical anthropology. Typically students take a general curriculum as an undergraduate and specialize through graduate studies.
  • As the demand for university/college faculty positions decreases, most openings will exist in consulting firms and government agencies.
  • To increase your employment opportunities with a bachelor's degree, consider minoring or double majoring in another field such as sociology, business, urban planning, or public administration.
  • Anthropology provides a solid background for a variety of graduate programs including law, medicine, forensics, or genetic counseling. Research admissions requirements and take prerequisite courses.
  • Anthropology is good preparation for jobs that involve people skills and require an understanding of cultural differences.
  • Spend a summer in field school or travel and study other cultures.
  • Volunteer to help with a professor's research.
  • Gaining relevant work experience through internships, practicums, part-time jobs, or volunteer positions is critical.