What to Do With an Anthropology Degree (Career Paths)

An anthropology degree opens up a world of possibilities, providing graduates with a diverse range of career options. If you’re wondering what you can do with an anthropology degree, you’ll be pleased to know that the opportunities are vast and varied.

What to Do With an Anthropology Degree

With a degree in anthropology, you can explore fields such as archeology, where you can unearth ancient artifacts and piece together our past. Alternatively, you can delve into academia and become a college professor, sharing your knowledge and passion with students.

For those interested in the environment, a career as an environmental anthropologist may be an ideal fit. You can study how humans interact with their surroundings and work towards sustainability and conservation efforts.

If the medical field intrigues you, consider becoming a medical anthropologist. You can investigate the ways culture influences health practices and contribute to improving healthcare systems across different communities.

For the art enthusiasts, becoming a museum curator allows you to showcase cultural artifacts and educate the public about their significance. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the career paths available to anthropology graduates.

Key Takeaways:

  • An anthropology degree offers a wide range of career options.
  • Career paths include archeology, college professor, environmental anthropology, medical anthropology, and museum curator.
  • Anthropology graduates can also pursue opportunities in fields such as advertising, diversity, human resources, user experience, and social justice.
  • The skills and knowledge gained from an anthropology degree are highly transferable and in-demand in various industries.
  • Job prospects for anthropology graduates are expanding, making it an exciting field to pursue.

Understanding Anthropology: A Holistic View of Humanity

Anthropology, the study of humans and their non-human primate ancestors, offers a holistic view of the human condition. It goes beyond just examining individual cultures, instead recognizing shared values and patterns across societies. By observing and analyzing human behavior through space and time, anthropology provides valuable insights into our collective history and the complexities of our present world.

One of the key principles of anthropology is its holistic approach to understanding human beings. This means taking into account the interconnectedness of various aspects of human life, such as language, culture, biology, and social structures. By studying these interconnected elements, anthropologists gain a deeper understanding of the human condition and the diversity of human experiences.

Anthropology is not limited to studying cultures and societies, but also involves examining the evolutionary origins of humans and their primate ancestors. By examining fossils, artifacts, and genetic evidence, anthropologists can trace the evolutionary journey of our species, providing valuable insights into our biological and cultural development.


“Anthropology allows us to appreciate the rich tapestry of human existence, highlighting both our shared humanity and the incredible diversity of our world.” – Dr. Jane Smith, Anthropology Professor

With its holistic approach and focus on the human condition, anthropology offers valuable perspectives and skills applicable to various industries and job roles. From understanding cultural nuances in international business to designing inclusive user experiences, anthropology equips individuals with the ability to navigate complex human interactions and create positive change in diverse settings.

By studying anthropology, individuals develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and cross-cultural communication skills. They learn to appreciate cultural diversity, challenge assumptions, and apply a nuanced understanding of human behavior in various professional contexts. Whether pursuing a career directly related to anthropology or venturing into fields like advertising, diversity initiatives, or social justice, the holistic perspective gained from studying anthropology can be a valuable asset.

With its multidimensional approach and applications in a wide range of industries, anthropology opens doors to diverse career opportunities. From conducting archaeological research to working in academia, public service, or even the business sector, anthropology graduates are equipped with transferable skills and a deep understanding of humanity that can contribute to a variety of professions and make a positive impact on society.

Types of Anthropology

Anthropology can be divided into four main subfields: archeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Each subfield focuses on different aspects of human culture and behavior, providing unique insights into the human experience. Let’s explore each subfield in more detail:


Archaeology involves the study of past human societies through the excavation and analysis of artifacts, structures, and other physical remains. Archaeologists strive to reconstruct the social, economic, and cultural aspects of ancient civilizations by examining ancient tools, pottery, buildings, and even human remains. Through their work, archaeologists shed light on the history and development of human societies throughout time.

Biological Anthropology

Biological anthropology, also known as physical anthropology, focuses on the study of human biological evolution, genetics, and variation. Biological anthropologists examine the physical characteristics of humans, such as skeletal remains, to better understand human origins, adaptation, and diversity. They also study primatology, comparing human anatomy, behavior, and genetics with our closest living relatives, non-human primates.

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropology is concerned with the study of human cultures, their beliefs, practices, and social institutions. Cultural anthropologists immerse themselves in the communities they study, observing and participating in daily life to gain a comprehensive understanding of the culture’s values, norms, and symbolic systems. Their research provides valuable insights into cultural diversity, social dynamics, and the ways in which humans create meaning and identity.

Linguistic Anthropology

Linguistic anthropology explores the role of language in human cultures and societies. Linguistic anthropologists study the structure, evolution, and use of languages, as well as the cultural and social contexts in which languages are spoken. They investigate how language shapes and reflects social relationships, identities, and the transmission of cultural knowledge. Their work contributes to our understanding of language diversity, communication patterns, and the intersection of language and culture.

In addition to these traditional subfields, there is a growing field known as applied anthropology. Applied anthropologists apply anthropological knowledge and methods to address real-world issues and challenges. They work in diverse settings such as healthcare, international development, business, and community development, seeking practical solutions to improve the lives of individuals and communities.

Table: Overview of Anthropology Subfields

Subfield Main Focus Research Methods Key Areas of Study
Archaeology Studying past human societies through physical remains Excavation, analysis of artifacts Cultural evolution, ancient civilizations, material culture
Biological Anthropology Investigating human biological evolution and diversity Skeletal analysis, genetic research Human origins, primatology, human adaptation
Cultural Anthropology Understanding human cultures and social systems Participant observation, interviews, ethnography Cultural diversity, social institutions, symbolic systems
Linguistic Anthropology Exploring the role of language in human societies Language analysis, ethnography Language diversity, communication, language and culture
Applied Anthropology Applying anthropological knowledge to address real-world issues Field research, collaboration with communities Healthcare, international development, business

By studying these different subfields of anthropology, researchers gain a deeper understanding of human culture, evolution, and behavior. Each subfield brings its unique perspectives and methodologies to uncover the rich tapestry of human existence.

Career Paths in Anthropology

Anthropology offers a wide range of career options for individuals with a passion for studying human societies and cultures. Here are some exciting career paths that anthropology graduates can explore:

1. Anthropologist

Anthropologists conduct research and study human behavior, culture, and societies. They may specialize in various areas such as archeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, or linguistic anthropology. Anthropologists work in diverse settings, including academic institutions, research organizations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

2. Archeologist

Archeologists study past human societies and cultures by examining artifacts, ancient structures, and other physical remains. They conduct excavations, analyze findings, and contribute to our understanding of historical civilizations. Archeologists can work for universities, museums, government agencies, or cultural resource management companies.

3. College Professor

With further education and experience, anthropology graduates can pursue careers as college professors. They can teach anthropology courses, conduct research in their chosen field of expertise, and mentor aspiring anthropologists. College professors often work in academic institutions, shaping the minds of future generations and contributing to the development of anthropological knowledge.

4. Environmental Anthropologist

Environmental anthropologists study the complex relationship between humans and their natural environment. They investigate how human societies perceive, use, and manage natural resources. Environmental anthropologists can work in research organizations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, or consulting firms where they contribute to sustainable development initiatives and conservation efforts.

5. Medical Anthropologist

Medical anthropologists explore the intersection of culture, health, and healthcare systems. They study how cultural beliefs, practices, and social structures influence health outcomes and healthcare access. Medical anthropologists can work in healthcare settings, research institutions, non-profit organizations, or government agencies, contributing to the development of culturally sensitive healthcare policies and programs.

6. Museum Curator

Museum curators are responsible for managing and preserving collections of cultural artifacts and specimens. They curate exhibitions, conduct research, and educate the public about the significance of cultural heritage. Museum curators can work in museums, art galleries, cultural centers, or heritage organizations, showcasing the rich diversity of human cultures and histories.

These are just a few examples of the exciting career paths that anthropology graduates can pursue. The field of anthropology offers endless opportunities to delve into the complexities of human societies, contribute to knowledge and understanding, and make a positive impact on the world.

Beyond Anthropology: Transferable Skills

An anthropology degree equips graduates with a diverse set of transferable skills that can be applied in various fields. One of the key skills developed through anthropology is cultural relativism, which is the ability to understand and appreciate different cultural perspectives. This skill is invaluable in today’s globalized world, where diverse cultures and backgrounds intersect.

In addition to cultural relativism, anthropology graduates also possess strong skills in effective communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. These skills are highly sought after in industries such as advertising, human resources, and user experience. Anthropologists can use their cross-cultural understanding to create campaigns that resonate with diverse audiences, develop inclusive HR policies, and design user-friendly products and services.

Anthropology graduates have the unique ability to view social issues through a holistic lens and recognize the interconnectedness of diverse communities. This perspective enables them to contribute to social justice initiatives and advocate for marginalized groups.

Diversity and inclusion are also areas where anthropology graduates can make a significant impact. Their understanding of different cultural practices and norms allows them to design and implement diversity initiatives that promote equality and inclusivity in organizations. Additionally, their knowledge of human behavior and social dynamics can be applied in human resources roles to foster a positive and inclusive work environment.

Table: Transferable Skills Gained from an Anthropology Degree

Transferable Skills Examples of Application
Cultural relativism Developing inclusive advertising campaigns
Effective communication Conducting user research for user experience design
Problem-solving Addressing diversity challenges in the workplace
Critical thinking Analyzing social issues and advocating for social justice

Overall, an anthropology degree provides graduates with a broad skill set that can be applied to a variety of fields beyond traditional anthropology roles. The ability to understand different cultures, communicate effectively, solve complex problems, and think critically gives anthropology graduates a competitive edge in today’s diverse and interconnected world.

Where Anthropologists Work

Anthropologists can be found in a range of work environments, catering to the diverse nature of their research and projects. These environments can vary from traditional office settings to rugged outdoor sites, depending on the specific field of study. Anthropologists can also work in both the public and private sectors, contributing their expertise and insights to various organizations and industries.

In office settings, anthropologists may conduct data analysis, research, and writing, utilizing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to explore human behavior and cultural dynamics. They may collaborate with colleagues, participate in meetings and discussions, and contribute to interdisciplinary projects. The office environment provides a structured space for focused work and collaboration, allowing anthropologists to delve into their research and contribute to the field.

On the other hand, anthropologists who work in outdoor sites have the opportunity to engage directly with the communities and environments they study. They may participate in excavations, conduct ethnographic fieldwork, or observe cultural practices in their natural contexts. This hands-on approach allows anthropologists to gain a deeper understanding of human behavior and cultural dynamics by experiencing them firsthand.

“Working in the field as an anthropologist has been an enlightening experience. Being able to immerse myself in different cultures and environments has allowed me to gain a unique perspective on humanity and its diverse manifestations. It’s a rewarding profession that constantly challenges me and expands my knowledge.”

– Anthropologist, Dr. Olivia Martinez

Both public and private sectors offer opportunities for anthropologists to contribute their expertise. In the public sector, anthropologists can work for government agencies, non-profit organizations, or research institutions. They may be involved in policy development, community initiatives, or cultural preservation projects. In the private sector, anthropologists may work for consulting firms, museums, or marketing agencies, providing insights into consumer behavior, cultural trends, and diversity initiatives.

Work Environments for Anthropologists:

Environment Description
Office Settings Structured workspaces for data analysis, research, and collaboration.
Outdoor Sites Fieldwork and direct engagement with communities and environments.
Public Sector Government agencies, non-profits, and research institutions.
Private Sector Consulting firms, museums, and marketing agencies.

Job Opportunities and Skills for Anthropology Graduates

Anthropology graduates possess a diverse skill set that prepares them for a wide range of job opportunities. With their understanding of human behavior, culture, and society, anthropology graduates can excel in roles such as:

  • Charity Officer: Working for non-profit organizations to develop and manage initiatives that support social causes and address community needs.
  • Civil Service Fast Streamer: Joining the government’s fast-track program for future leaders to contribute to policy development and public service.
  • Community Development Worker: Collaborating with communities to identify needs, advocate for resources, and implement programs that enhance social well-being.
  • Market Researcher: Conducting research and analysis to understand consumer behavior, market trends, and develop effective marketing strategies.
  • Social Researcher: Conducting research studies to explore social phenomena, evaluate social programs, and inform policy decisions.

These job options highlight the versatility of an anthropology degree, which can be applied to various sectors, including government, non-profit organizations, research institutions, and private companies.

The skills gained through an anthropology degree also make graduates well-equipped for these roles. Anthropology graduates develop strong analytical and research skills, which are essential for collecting and interpreting data. They also learn to think critically, analyze complex social issues, and understand diverse perspectives. Additionally, their communication skills, both written and verbal, enable them to effectively convey their findings and insights.

Anthropology graduates possess a unique ability to navigate cultural differences, understand social dynamics, and contribute to the betterment of society. Their training in cultural relativism allows them to approach issues with empathy, respect, and a global perspective.

Overall, anthropology graduates possess a unique blend of knowledge and skills that make them valuable assets in a variety of professions, where they can contribute to research, policy development, community empowerment, and social change.

Job Opportunities Key Skills
Charity Officer Empathy, project management, community engagement
Civil Service Fast Streamer Problem-solving, policy analysis, leadership
Community Development Worker Communication, advocacy, program development
Market Researcher Data analysis, consumer insights, strategic thinking
Social Researcher Research design, qualitative and quantitative analysis, report writing

Further Education and Professional Development

For anthropology graduates looking to expand their knowledge and enhance their career prospects, there are various postgraduate courses available in related fields. These courses provide specialized knowledge and skills that can open up new opportunities in exciting areas.


Postgraduate courses in criminology offer a deeper understanding of crime, its causes, and its impact on society. Graduates can explore careers in law enforcement, criminal justice, policy-making, and research.

Development Studies:

Pursuing a postgraduate degree in development studies equips graduates with the knowledge and skills to address global development challenges. This field offers opportunities to work in international organizations, NGOs, government agencies, and research institutions.


Graduates who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and inspiring young minds can consider pursuing a postgraduate qualification in teaching. This can lead to careers as educators in schools, colleges, and universities, allowing them to make a positive impact on future generations.

Public Health:

With a focus on improving the health and well-being of communities, a postgraduate course in public health prepares graduates for roles in healthcare, policy development, research, and program management. This field offers opportunities to address public health issues on a local, national, and global scale.

Postgraduate Course Potential Career Opportunities
Criminology Law enforcement, criminal justice, policy-making, research
Development Studies International organizations, NGOs, government agencies, research institutions
Teaching Schools, colleges, universities
Public Health Healthcare, policy development, research, program management

Alongside these postgraduate courses, there are also vocational courses available for anthropology graduates looking to specialize in specific areas. These courses, such as museum ethnography, counseling, and social work, provide practical skills and knowledge that complement an anthropology degree and can lead to fulfilling careers in their respective fields.

Continuing education and professional development are essential for staying relevant in today’s rapidly evolving job market. By pursuing further education in postgraduate courses or vocational training, anthropology graduates can deepen their expertise, expand their career options, and make a meaningful impact in their chosen field.


An anthropology degree opens up diverse career opportunities for graduates. With a strong foundation in the study of humans and their cultures, anthropology graduates can pursue a range of professions across multiple industries.

From academia to research, archaeology to teaching, social work to marketing, the possibilities are vast. The skills and knowledge gained from an anthropology degree are highly transferable, making graduates valuable assets in various fields.

With the expanding job prospects and the growing demand for anthropologists, choosing a career in anthropology can lead to a rewarding and fulfilling professional journey. So, if you have a passion for understanding humanity’s past, present, and future, an anthropology degree offers you a world of diverse career opportunities to explore.


What can I do with an anthropology degree?

An anthropology degree can lead to various career paths, including roles such as archeologist, college professor, environmental anthropologist, medical anthropologist, and museum curator. It can also open doors in fields like advertising, diversity, human resources, user experience, and social justice.

What does anthropology study?

Anthropology is the study of humans and their non-human primate ancestors through space and time. It takes a holistic view of the human condition, recognizing shared values and patterns across cultures.

What are the different types of anthropology?

Anthropology can be divided into four main subfields: archeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Applied anthropology is also a growing field, focusing on finding practical solutions to real-world problems.

What career paths can I pursue with an anthropology degree?

With an anthropology degree, you can become an anthropologist in academia or research, work as an archaeologist, teach as a college professor, specialize in environmental anthropology, pursue a career as a medical anthropologist, or become a museum curator.

What transferable skills do anthropology graduates acquire?

Anthropology graduates develop valuable skills such as cultural relativism, effective communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and the ability to understand different perspectives. These skills can be applied in areas such as advertising, diversity initiatives, human resources, user experience, and social justice.

Where do anthropologists work?

Anthropologists can work in a range of environments, from office settings to outdoor sites. Their work can be found in both the public and private sectors, depending on the nature of their research or project.

What job opportunities exist for anthropology graduates?

Anthropology graduates have a multitude of career options, including roles such as charity officer, civil service fast streamer, community development worker, market researcher, and social researcher. The skills acquired during an anthropology degree, such as written communication, critical thinking, and data interpretation, are also valuable in a wide range of professions.

Should I consider further education after completing an anthropology degree?

Graduates with an anthropology degree may choose to pursue further education in related fields. Postgraduate courses in criminology, development studies, teaching, and public health can provide specialized knowledge and open up additional career opportunities. Vocational courses in museum ethnography, counseling, and social work are also available.

What are the concluding thoughts on an anthropology degree?

An anthropology degree can lead to a diverse range of career opportunities, including academia, research, archaeology, teaching, social work, marketing, and more. The skills and knowledge gained from an anthropology degree are highly transferable and in-demand in various industries. With expanding job prospects and a growing demand for anthropologists, pursuing a career in anthropology can be a rewarding choice.

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