What Can You Do With a Degree in Anthropology?
The answer is: almost anything! The skills gained through an anthropology degree transfer well to any career that involves critically thinking about and analyzing human behavior and the human condition from multiple perspectives. An undergraduate major in anthropology, along with a carefully chosen minor or second major and/or foreign language, is valuable to a number of career possibilities. Our students find employment in a wide array of careers including: public relations and advertising, local, national or international non-profit organizations, contract archaeology, businesses, industry research and development, retailing corporations, policy research, local, federal and state government agencies, cultural resource management, marketing research, museums and public history organizations, laboratory research, and social services.
Numerous aid, human services, health, and non-governmental organizations value persons trained in general anthropology for their understanding of cross-cultural differences and similarities in everyday human behavior. International economic organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are now seeking persons trained in anthropology to assist with creating development projects and policies that are both culturally-appropriate and cost-effective. Urban and community planning, international relations, mass media, and corporate business are other areas where anthropological skills are valued as much as they are in more "traditional" anthropology careers in museums, state and local public history organizations, zoos, social studies K-12 education instruction, and forensic investigation.
Among the hundreds of corporations who now hire anthropologists with research methods skills, you will find Target, Apple, Kodak, Whirlpool, AT&T, Microsoft, General Motors, Hallmark, Intel, Motorola, Nynex, NCR, Gap Inc., Hoffman-LaRoche, Xerox, Sapient, National Semiconductor, R.J. Reynolds, Hanes, Verizon, Citicorp, Jockey, T-Mobile, Yum!Brands, Wal-mart, and Kraft, to name but a few. Many of these positions are in research, focusing on the development and improvement of products used by millions around the world. Others are for positions that require excellent communication and interpersonal skills with an increasingly diverse employee and customer population, both within the US and internationally.
Training in anthropological research methods is highly valuable to possible careers, particularly those in archaeology. The US Government, particularly the National Parks Service, is one of the largest employers of students trained in archaeological methods and cultural resource management. Contract archaeology companies also present consistent demand for well-trained students due to federal and state mandated legislation protecting cultural resources.
Academic positions in anthropology require graduate degrees, with a masters required for teaching at the 2 year/community college level and a Ph.D. for 4-year universities. However, an increasing number of graduate students are looking at the same non-academic careers that are discussed above; a graduate degree adds value to these careers in terms of field research experience, a honed focus on one of the subdisciplines, more training in research methods and analysis, and the development of a higher level of critical thinking.
For more information on careers, links to current publications on careers, and articles by working anthropologists, visit the American Anthropological Association's Career Center at: http://www.aaanet.org/profdev/careers/