Anthropology Career Opportunities

A male student collecting a paper from the administrative staff at the front desk


Careers in government

Anthropologists work for federal, state and regional government agencies in a variety of capacities in planning, research and managerial positions. Specialties for anthropologists in government include:

  • international development
  • forensic anthropology
  • crime scene investigation
  • cultural resource management
  • legislative staff
  • natural resource management
  • positions in defense and national security
  • public administration
  • refugee services administrator

Careers in education

Many anthropology alumni have established careers in primary, secondary and higher education, as teachers, professors, researchers and academic advisers and counselors. Career opportunities in academia for anthropology alumni include positions in various university programs or departments, including:

  • K-12 STEM teacher
  • admissions advising and management
  • cognitive psychology
  • community studies
  • cultural studies
  • ecology
  • education
  • ESL specialist
  • ethnic studies
  • linguistics
  • medicine
  • neuroscience
  • public health
  • student affairs administration

Careers in business

The perspective that anthropologists can lend to corporate management teams is valued. Career opportunities include:

  • clinical research coordination
  • human resources
  • inter-cultural communication
  • international trade
  • lobbyist
  • market research
  • medical anthropology

Careers in health

A Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology provides a holistic approach to pre-medical, pre-dental, and pre-veterinary training; it also provides the educational background for further training in the health professions, biological and evolutionary sciences, and forensic investigation.
Students that focus on biological processes in Anthropology will be well-prepared to enter advanced training programs in the following fields:

  • Medicine
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Forensics
  • Dentistry
  • Pathology
  • Nursing
  • Public Health
  • Epidemiology

According to a Newsweek Magazine article, over the past 20 years, social science majors have had an increasing rate of successful admission to medical school, in comparison to their science-major counterparts. Moreover, students with a broader perspective are now in demand by health professions schools nationwide. The article summarizes this trend by saying that "medical educators are looking beyond biology and chemistry majors in the search for more well-rounded students who can be molded into caring and analytic doctors."

In addition, the American Association of Medical Colleges notes in a 2011 report that, "Health is a product of the interactions among biology, genetics, behavior, relationships, cultures, and environments. Some of medicine’s most promising frontiers for improving health explore the realms of human behavior and social science. . . A complete medical education must include, alongside the physical and biological science, the perspectives and findings that flow from the behavioral and social sciences."

Careers in public service

An emphasis in sociocultural anthropology offers good preparation for numerous public service opportunities, including positions in:

  • advocacy
  • development
  • community organizing
  • historic preservation
  • library science
  • literacy programs
  • museum curation
  • policy analysis
  • political activism
  • social work