Careers for Anthropology Majors

Careers for Anthropology Majors

At Thanksgiving dinner table, you told your family that now you are majoring in anthropology. “What? Astronomy?” “No, anthropology.” “What is anthropology?” “Well, anthropology studies humans.  It has four subfields…” “Wait. It sounds interesting. But what kind of job are you going to find with a degree in anthropology?”

Is it really that hard to find a job as an anthropology major? Probably not. Anthropology grants you so many transferrable skills that you can apply to many jobs in many fields, and employers definitely value them.

Our cultural anthropology coursework prepares students for careers in law, business, international relations, development and related fields, and our biological anthropology coursework prepares students for careers in medicine, health sciences and development work.

For example, after learning how to discover taxonomic structure in language, a student applied these skills towards understanding the organizational structure of the financial institution in which he was interning. Upon presenting the results of his analysis, his supervisor expressed such strong interest in the skills that this student had, that he offered him a job.

Douglas Hume Northern Kentucky University
via the American Anthropological Association

The same logic applies to internships. As the American Anthropological Association states, “Internships offer invaluable opportunities to gain experience in your chosen field…don’t be afraid to veer off the beaten path and consider internships that are non-traditional for anthropology students. Anthropology students not only gain experience through internship, but bring valuable insight to different jobs.”

CNN Money on the value of an anthropology degree:

Transferable skills you can add to your resume:

  • Evaluation skills
  • Time management
  • Experimental design
  • Critical thinking
  • Data analysis
  • Report writing
  • Testing theories
  • Research and investigation
  • Synthesizing information
  • Design and planning
  • Public speaking and presentation skills
  • In-depth knowledge about global situation

Careers available with an anthropology degree:

  • Advertising
  • Community Development
  • Cultural and environmental resource management
  • Forensics
  • Human Resources
  • Human rights and social justice advocacy
  • Law
  • Management
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Market research
  • Museums
  • Public Health
  • Public Relations
  • Social Work
  • Teaching
  • Tourism

Internship Opportunities for Biological Anthropology:

  • Turkana Basin Institute offers two academic field schools in conjunction with Richard Meave and Louise Leakey that provide extraordinary educational experiences to students interested in the sciences that relate to prehistory. (Summer 2016 and Fall 2016)
  • Institute for Tropical Ecology and ConservationTropical Field Schools for 2016
  • Sepela Field Programs : Spend up to 4 weeks living and working in the field with fellow students while learning practical skills from experienced instructors. Sepela proudly boasts one of the longest running field primatology courses and is the only field course program that offers Wilderness First Aid training and certification. Contact us today and ask how you can earn course credit while experiencing African wildlife and culture.
  • Grand Valley State University: This program will offer you the opportunity to collect data from historic period skeletal remains housed at the Museum of London. You will learn how to take skeletal measurements, conduct statistical analysis of data, and to write for learned journals in the field of physical anthropology. Field trips to sites such as the Mary Rose Museum and Sutton Hoo add insight to your knowledge of the historic period and its effect on remains. In addition, you’ll explore the myths and rituals of ancient and contemporary British culture through visits to other significant locations such as the Tower of London and Stonehenge. LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
  • The Slavia ProjectThe 17th international Slavia field school in mortuary archaeology, Poland 2016. The early modern skeletal cemetery at Drawsko, Poland (16th -17th centuries AD) provides a unique opportunity for students to practice bioarchaeology by learning archaeological excavation techniques and working with human osteological material.
  • Danta Tropical Biology Field Courses: Danta is pleased to announce our 2016 winter session field courses in tropical biology. Our courses are intended for undergraduates or early graduate level students who have a keen interest in tropical ecosystems and conservation but have little or no experience of working in a tropical environment. Participants may enroll in either a credit or non-credit basis.
  • Field Projects International (formerly PrimatesPeru) is offering multiple opportunities for students to gain field experience and training at two field stations this winter. Click on link above for details.
  • EPAF Field School in Peru: Program dates June 13-July 3, 2016.Transitional Justice in Practice: the aftermath of the Internal Armed Conflict in Peru. Read more from the above link. Deadlines: contact Jr. Rodolfo Rutte
  • EPAF Field School Somaliland: Program dates January 11-February 14, 2016. Forensic Anthropology and Human Rights: Uncovering Somaliland’s Troubled Past. Read more from the link above.Deadlines: contact Jr. Rodolfo Rutte

Internship opportunities for sociocultural anthropology (ethnography, applied anthropology, environmental anthropology, museum, NGO, NPO and more):

  • The School for Field Studies (SFS) and Bhutan’s Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) are pleased to announce a new spring term of their interdisciplinary study abroad program, “Himalayan Environment and Society in Transition.” The new spring semester, beginning in 2017, will enable approximately 22 additional U.S. undergraduate students to live, study, and conduct environmental field research in Bhutan.
  • HRAF at Yale University The Human Relations Area Files at Yale University is pleased to announce a one-year internship in memory of HRAF’s former President, Melvin Ember. The intent of the internship is to learn about cross-cultural research and methods through practical experience.
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • PerserveNet
  • Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology
  • American Museum of Natural History Anthropology Internship ProgramInternships for undergraduate and graduate students to work on projects relating to the collections or to the ongoing research interests of the curatorial staff in the museum or in the field. In addition, internships are awarded in collections management, archives, and conservation.
  • American Association of Museums
  • Amerind Foundation Program Volunteer opportunities at a private, nonprofit anthropological and archaeological museum and research center in southeastern Arizona dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Native American cultures and their histories. Currently only unpaid internships are available.
  • Carter Center 
The Carter Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-policy institute in Atlanta GA, founded in 1982 by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn. The Center is dedicated to fighting disease, hunger, poverty, conflict, and oppression through collaborative initiatives in the areas of democratization and development, global health, and urban revitalization. The Center operates 13 core programs and initiatives active in more than 30 countries, including the United States.
  • Center for Social Well Being
 This program offers an internship in the Peruvian Andes, consisting of a three-week training program followed by a research period tailored to the individual student.
This site maintains a database of thousands of internships of all sorts, both in the U.S. and abroad.  It can be searched for those relating to anthropology.  These may include NGOs, social media, historic preservation, archaeology, and others.
  • City Internships
While primarily business-oriented, this organization does offer a few internships that are more anthropological in human resources consulting, social media, and with charities.  They operate in New York, London, Los Angeles, and Sydney.
  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History 
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History each year offers an archaeological internship on a site in Ohio through its Kirtlandia Research Internship Program.   This is an undergraduate internship that pays $7.85 per hour plus $200 for expenses.
  • Corporation for National & Community Service 
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America.
  • Field Museum The Field Museum in Chicago offers undergraduate internships and graduate fellowships to work with their collections.
  • Firescience Online
 While not a source of internships itself, this site does offer information and links to sites where public service internships may be found.
  • Global Volunteers 
Global volunteers is a private, non-profit corporation that sponsors volunteer participation in international human and economic development projects in the form of “service learning” travel programs.
  • Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) 
The Human Relations Area Files, a major cross-cultural ethnographic project based at Yale University, has an opening for an internship beginning in the summer of 2016.
  • Humanitarian and environmental projects. Opportunities to serve in large of small organizations, schools, community organizations in a local or international capacity.
  • Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology Internships   
Unpaid internships are offered throughout the year for undergraduates and recent graduates. Interns have the opportunity to gain practical experience and exposure to work in the State Archaeologist’s office including, for example, work with archaeological site forms and other records, archaeological data entry, mapping, work with collections (cleaning, cataloguing, etc.), limited fieldwork, and assisting with Indiana Archaeology Month planning and/or activities. To apply, please contact Jeannie Regan-Dinius, Special Projects Coordinator, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, 402 W. Washington Street – Room W274, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2739; 317/232-1646;
  • Indiana State Government
 From this page, search for “internship.” These internships provide students with the opportunity to work within Indiana state agencies and meet with a variety of elected officials, agency directors, and others. For example, openings are sometimes available within the Indiana Department of Transportation for students with majors in anthropology, archaeology, architecture, geography, historic preservation, history, museum studies, and the like.
  • Indiana State Museum
The state museum normally has internships available each year.
  • InterAction
 Offering internship opportunities three times a year, this organization also offers information about job opportunities, in the US and abroad, with international relief and development agencies, largely in the field.
  • Media Education Foundation 
MEF offers internships for undergraduate and graduate students each term, including the summer. Interns at MEF will gain experience in media education, production, and activism. Since MEF is both a production and distribution organization, interns will gain experience in both the production and operations departments. The internships carry credit but no stipend. Women and people of color are strongly urged to apply.
  • Minnetrista Cultural Center The Minnetrista Cultural Center in Muncie offers internships in such areas as collections management, exhibit design, special projects, and public education.
  • National Association for the Practice of Anthropology 
The NAPA “Students” page provides links to internships in applied anthropology, when available.  As they seem to be reorganizing the page at the moment, use the search box.
  • National Center for Preservation Technology & Training 
Ten-week summer Internships are sometimes available for undergraduate and graduate students in the Archaeology and Collections Program of the NCPTT, located at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
  • National Park Service These are oriented to cultural resources management and archaeology.  Internships are available for both the academic year and the summer.  There are also opportunities for volunteers.
  • Nonprofit Career Center 
Register your resume, search for national and international opportunities.
 Gathering place for nonprofit employers and management personnel. Searchable database of jobs and career resources.
  • Cultural Survival, a nonprofit research organization based in Cambridge offers some volunteer/internship opportunities which you can find online.
  • Save the Children 
Save the Children is a non-profit organization devoted to child advocacy through nutritional education, child development, and basic child education. In additional, Save the Children attempts to improve economic opportunities of children, and help children cope and recover in emergency situations.  Enter “internship” in the search box.
  • Smithsonian Folkways
 Described on their website as “a cross between a record label and a museum so the experience is a mix of non-profit record business and applied ethno-musicology.”
  • Smithsonian Institution 
The Smithsonian Institution offers a variety of internships. Its internship website also contains links to internship opportunities at a number of other museums.
  • South Dakota Summer Internships 
Like Indiana, many states offer internship opportunities.  Here’s the search site for the state of South Dakota. Search for those for other states.  These often involve carrying out archaeological surveys, preparing National Register of Historic Places nominations, etc.  Check for residency requirements.
  • Student Conservation Association Internships 
This is one of the best sources for archaeological or museum internships, usually providing at least a stipend for housing and subsistence.  The internships are with Federal and state agencies in parks and monuments throughout the country. In addition to archaeology and museum work, they include public interpretation and a range of other areas.
  • uVolunteer
 Acting as a coordinator for local organizations in Costa Rica, Ghana, and Thailand, uVolunteer offers a variety of projects lasting from one to twelve weeks.  While not all would be suitable for an anthropology internship, all would provide valuable experience living and working in another culture.
  • Federal government agencies

Some on campus resources:

From the American Anthropological Association: