What can I do with a major in Anthropology?

There are so many career directions open to anthropology majors that your question will likely become, “What do I want to do with my degree?” Some of our current and recent graduates have shared their experiences through Anthropology, actually. 

Employers are usually more interested in a college graduate’s skills and strengths than in a particular college major. Being qualified for many career paths, the biggest challenge might be narrowing down options.

Anthropology majors at the University of Washington develop many skills that employers view as essential. Some of these skills are used so often that they may seem “second nature.”

Examples include:

  • Effective communication
  • Analytical thinking and complex problem-solving
  • Keen awareness of context and its implications
  • Analyze, synthesize, and interpret information
  • Insight into cultural dynamics
  • Work well independently and as a team member
  • Ability to understand & improve human relationships
  • Interact well with diverse cultures/groups
  • Presentation skills
  • Communicating across cultures/languages
  • Interpersonal communication skills (oral and written)
  • Conduct research
  • Summarize information
  • Knowledge of social structures and change processes
  • Sampling, gathering and organizing data
  • Interviewing and surveying
  • Conduct field studies
  • Analyze data and write reports
  • Plan and implement projects


The Value of a Liberal Arts Education

Anthropology is a liberal arts degree rather than a professional certificate.  A liberal arts degree, particularly in anthropology, is extraordinarily valuable in today’s increasingly globalized world.

Ten Ways to Market Your Liberal Arts Degree

The Role of Liberal Arts in Your Future

Many recent studies, including a 2006 research study entitled How Should Colleges Prepare Students to Succeed in Today’s Global Economy?, indicate that “when evaluating the skills of potential new hires, business executives place the greatest emphasis on:

  1. teamwork skills;
  2. critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills, and;
  3. communication skills.

Some anthropology majors will want to pursue the types of careers that are more typically associated with anthropology such as archeologist, professor, high school teacher, archivist, museum curator, or national parks education specialists. 

Although these are wonderful occupations, there are many other possibilities. Our graduates have entered into the following professions and occupations:

  • Advertising
  • Attorney
  • Business
  • Court advocate
  • Dentistry
  • Development officer
  • Environmental protection
  • Human resources
  • Laboratory technician
  • Land management
  • Lecturer
  • Library management
  • Management
  • Medicine
  • Museology
  • Nursing
  • Paralegal
  • Professor
  • Public administration
  • Public health
  • Public relations
  • Publishing
  • Research scientist
  • Sales
  • School administration
  • School teacher
  • Security
  • Social work
  • Translation/interpreting

To see a “starter” list of some typical jobs and employers for anthropology majors, check:


Career-Related Resources at the University of Washington

The University of Washington Career Center in Mary Gates Hall assists with all aspects of your career development:

  • Discovering what career(s) you’re interested in
  • Refining your resume and interviewing skills to
  • Finding internships
  • Identifying activities you can pursue while in college that will enhance your resume
  • Learning salary negotiation skills

The Student Counseling Center in Schmitz Hall offers two career inventories:

  • Strong Interest Inventory
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Find former graduates working in various industries, and network. Visit the UW Anthropology Mentor Network.

Visit the Washington Occupational Information Service for lots of information about various careers including:

  • What people in various occupations actually do for a living
  • Salary information
  • Expected demand for certain occupations in the future
  • Networking resources
  • Self-exploration tools


Act Now to Enhance Your Resume

Get experience through internships and/or volunteer work.

Start networking and making connections that can help with your future job search.

The Husky Career Network is a great place to start your networking. Sponsored by the UW Alumni Association, this network includes over 5000 UW alums who want to help you with your career path!

Take the 3-credit Navigating Career Options (General Studies 350D) course.

Get involved with a Student Organization. Student organizations are an excellent venue for developing and demonstrating skills that you’ll want to include on your resume and in your interviewing.


Anthropology Related Links

American Anthropological Association (AAA)
This is Anthropology (AAA)
American Anthropologist
American Ethnologist
Anthropology & Environment Section (AAA)
Anthropology Resources on the Internet
Association for Africanist Anthropology
Association of Black Anthropologists
Association for Feminist Anthropology
Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists
Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Council for Museum Anthropology
City of Seattle Public Access Network
National Association of Student Anthropologists

Of Special Interest to Archaeology

Society for American Archaeology
Dental Anthropology and Bioarchaeology

Of Special Interest to Biological Anthropology

American Association of Physical Anthropologists
American Society of Primatologists
Biological Anthropology Section (AAA)
Evolutionary Anthropology Society (AAA)
Human Behavior and Evolution Society
Human Behavioral Ecology Bibliography
Human Biology Association

Of Special Interest to Sociocultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology
Society for Cultural Anthropology (AAA)
Society for Visual Anthropology (AAA)
Visual Anthropology Review

Of Special Interest to Environmental Anthropology

Anthropology & Environment Section (AAA)
Journal of Political Ecology
National Council for Science and the Environment

Of Special Interest to Linguistic Anthropology

Journal of Linguistic Anthropology
Society for Linguistic Anthropology

Of Special Interest to Medical Anthropology and Global Health

Medical Anthropology Quarterly
Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Society for Medical Anthropology
Online PhD Program Resources: Medical Anthropology Res