Career Options for an Anthropology Major

An important part of choosing any major is knowing the career possibilities after graduation. We spoke with Department of Anthropology Undergraduate Coordinator, Dr. Sandra Wheeler, and Graduate Program Director, Dr. Scott Branting, to discover what students can do with an Anthropology degree.  

What are some career options for students with Anthropology degrees? 

Anthropologists can be found working in a variety of career paths in academia, business, government and non-profit workplaces. Since anthropology provides students with a holistic and global understanding of people, this opens a wide range of career options for anthropologists. Anthropology also provides students with broad information about our world, and quantitative and qualitative skills critical to success in numerous careers. 

Can students use an Anthropology degree for careers outside of the field? 

Many anthropologists work in jobs without “Anthropology” in the job title. The federal government is the largest employer of anthropologists outside of academia. Anthropologists are employed in fields such as international development, cultural and natural resource management, defense and security sectors and non-governmental organizations such as international health organizations and development banks. Businesses also employ anthropologists to conduct market research and find out how products can be improved for consumers. Anthropologists also work in UX to understand how people interface and experience various software platforms. 

Why should students pursue an Anthropology degree? 

Anthropology is at its core the study of people in the past and present across the world. It is a holistic, cross-cultural, humanistic and scientific discipline that provides students with workforce skills critical in 21st century workplaces. Cross-cultural understanding, applications of qualitative and quantitative research, use of tools such as GIS and understanding of language all prepare students for the needs of today’s workforce. 

What advice do you have for students beginning their career after graduating with an Anthropology degree? 

Don’t be afraid to sell your anthropological knowledge and skills to potential employers. Many employers do not know how anthropology can contribute to the success of their business or project. The job advertisement might not ask for an anthropologist, but so many jobs require an understanding of people on an international scale. Show them how your anthropological knowledge and skills can help them to succeed. 

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