What can I do with a major in anthropology?

Anthropology majors graduate with a wide variety of skills that equip them for an array of future career possibilities. The trademark of anthropology is its holism. Anthropology majors study the human condition from both a cultural and biological perspective.

As a result, anthropology majors have great "people skills", are adept at working with people from a diversity of contexts, learn how to think critically, look below the surface of an issue for deeper meaning, and generally are quite skilled at thinking "outside the box." Anthropology majors are "worldly", often taking their studies abroad to interact with people from other cultures. These skills are all highly valued by employers in today's increasingly diverse society.

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An Anthropology BA or BS is excellent preparation for professional graduate work in:

  • Public Health
  • Law
  • Business
  • Medicine
  • Not for profit & NGO agencies
  • Museums, and Governmental and Cultural Heritage Agencies
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Biological Anthropology
  • Linguistics


Anthropology majors are sought out by employers in a variety of sectors, including:

  • universities and colleges- in anthropology departments, medical schools, or international studies programs
  • park services- in archaeology and public education
  • field archaeology- in cultural resource management and historical preservation, at colleges, universities, museums, and contract archaeological firms
  • museums and historical societies- in research, conservation, exhibit design, and administration
  • social services- in contexts where cultural-sensitivity training is needed, particularly with immigrant groups
  • business- in consultant positions, assessing socio-cultural impact of business practices
  • national and international agencies- in agencies with initiatives around the world such as the Peace Corps, United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank
  • coroner and medical examiner offices- in laboratory forensic contexts, as forensic anthropologists, forensic biologists, and autopsy technicians


Famous Anthropologists

Anthropology majors are a diverse group of individuals. College graduates with a degree in Anthropology may find themselves in almost any career imaginable, and some have even become quite famous. Below are a few well-known individuals who have studied and/or practiced Anthropology.

  • Jomo Kenyatta, first president of Kenya
  • Greg Graffin, lead singer of Bad Religion (BA in anthropology; PhD in evolutionary biology)
  • Kathy Reichs, forensic anthropologist turned mystery writer
  • Zora Neale Hurston, author and folklorist
  • Tracy Chapman, singer
  • Yo-Yo Ma, cellist
  • Michael Crichton, author
  • Jane Goodall, primatologist
  • Billy Graham, evangelist
  • Gary Synder, poet and environmental activist
  • Katherine Dunham, choreographer
  • Stephen Riggio, CEO of Barnes and Noble
  • Gabriel Byrne, actor
  • Dorothy Allison, author
  • Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro, worked in rural development, mother of President Barack Obama