Careers & Internships

Click here to view our Internship FAQ

Careers in Anthropology

Table of Contents

What can I do with a major in Anthropology? | What is the value of a Liberal Arts education? | Career-Related Resources at the University of Washington | How can I enhance my resume? |Anthropology Associations, Societies & Related links

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.

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 Associations, & Related Links

Of Special Interest to Archaeology

Of Special Interest to Biological Anthropology

Of Special Interest to Sociocultural Anthropology

Of Special Interest to Environmental Anthropology

Of Special Interest to Linguistic Anthropology

Of Special Interest to Medical Anthropology and Global Health

Internship FAQ


Where can I find internships? | Can I earn credit for my internship? | How do I register for ANTH/ARCHY 489? | What sorts of places can I work with for my internship? | What sort of work will be expected of me? | Will ANTH/ARCHY 489 fulfill any of my ANTH requirements? | Can I take either ANTH 489 or ARCHY 489 multiple times? | Are there any other forms that will be required?

Where can I find internships?

Announcements about upcoming internships will be sent out through the undergraduate listserv.  Generally, those Anthropology students who are interested in Internship opportunities are encouraged to find those opportunities on their own.  A number of resources can be found at internship fairs, in the Career Center in Mary Gates Hall, or at the Career Center’s jobs & internship website A sampling of previous student internships can also be found in the Advising Office.

Can I earn credit for my internship?

Yes!  Your internship can be listed on your schedule as either ANTH 489 (Anthropology Practicum) or ARCHY 489 (Archaeology Practicum).  The course may be taken for anywhere from 2 to 9 credits, up to a maximum of 15 credits overall.  The number of credits is generally dependent on the number of hours, per week, you spend working at your internship.  For example, working for 15 hours a week may translate to 5 credits per quarter.

Additionally, you must be registered for ANTH/ARCHY 489 the same quarter you are working your internship.  You may not take it in advance of an upcoming internship, or to gain retroactive credits for a previous internship.

How do I register for ANTH/ARCHY 489?

Registration will have to be arranged with a faculty mentor who will oversee your internship.  The faculty mentor must be part of the Anthropology department.  You’ll need to fill out an internship learning contract (available at the advising office) and get your mentor’s signature.  This form is then returned to the advising office and you register for the course using the 5-digit faculty ID number of your mentor as an add code.

What sorts of places can I work with for my internship?

The types of internships are broad and varied, but are generally dependent on whether you plan to do an Anthropology Internship or an Archaeology Internship.  If you are registering for ANTH 489, then your focus will be on organizations that will allow you to use your anthropological skills in a nonacademic setting.  Examples include (but are not limited to) museums, academic journals, social service/governmental agencies, or private nonprofit agencies.

Those registering for ARCHY 489 should keep an eye out for organizations that will utilize their archaeological skills in an academic or non-academic setting.  This can include cultural resource management companies, government agencies, private nonprofits, tribal governments, and museums.

What sort of work will be expected of me?

The specifics of your work will be arranged between you and your faculty mentor, as well as between you and your employer.  The academic credit you receive will be based on your academic work, and is not automatically awarded simply by having an internship.  Possible requirements may be an academic paper detailing some aspect of your internship or even a daily log of the tasks you’ve accomplished during your internship.

Will ANTH/ARCHY 489 fulfill any of my ANTH requirements?

ANTH/ARCHY 489 will count towards your Anthropology Elective requirements.  They will also count towards the 180 UW credits required for graduation.

Can I take either ANTH 489 or ARCHY 489 multiple times?

You can, but only up to a maximum of 15 credits.  For example, you can take 5 credits of 489 in Autumn Quarter, another 5 in Winter Quarter, and 5 more in Spring Quarter, but no more will be added after that.  Additionally, since they are separate courses, you are allowed to count up to 15 credits of ANTH 489 and then also count up to 15 credits of ARCHY 489.  You simply have to make certain that your internship is applicable to course number you choose.

Are there any other forms that will be required?

Nope!  Once you fill out the Internship Learning Contract and have it signed by your faculty mentor, the paperwork will be complete.  You won’t have to take any forms with you to your employer, unless specifically requested by them.