If you are fascinated by different cultures, past and present, and are intrigued by their impact on relationships, work roles, gender roles and social institutions, you should consider a major in anthropology as a possible foundation for your career.
Below you will find information on the types of skills you develop with an Anthropology Major, as well as a list of ideal jobs for an Anthropology Major.
Major Competencies in Anthropology
Anthropology majors have an intense curiosity about the diversity of cultures throughout human history. They are open to new ideas and new ways of thinking about the roles of life.
Anthropology majors gather information by observing groups within foreign cultures or national subcultures. They develop tools to analyze group dynamics. Anthropology majors learn how to identify leadership patterns and assess organizational effectiveness.
The study of anthropology teaches students to think outside their cultural experience in order to find creative solutions to social and organizational problems. Anthropology majors also hone their writing skills while recording ethnographies, writing field notes, composing essays and researching theses. They develop the ability to present material to groups, facilitate group discussions and build consensus while working towards common goals.
Top 5 jobs for anthropology majors
Many factors, such as your personal values, abilities, interests and academic background will affect your career choices if you specialize in anthropology. However, here are some options to consider when you are thinking about the possibilities.
Lawyers practicing in the fields of international law, immigration and human rights benefit from an understanding of the diverse cultural contexts of different foreign countries. Anthropology majors tend to understand and empathize with under-represented individuals and want to defend their interests. They can communicate effectively with a variety of individuals and groups.
Lawyers use the attention to detail and the writing skills of the Anthropology Major when planning their cases and drafting factums and other legal documents. If you wish to become a lawyer, you will first need to complete graduate studies and obtain a law degree.
Diversity Officers work to promote diversity in various organizations. In this role, they require the knowledge of the Anthropology Major on different socio-economic and cultural groups. Diversity officers analyze current organizational practices and suggest alternative ways to recruit and retain employees from different backgrounds.
Foreign Language Teacher
Foreign language teachers teach students to speak, write and understand a particular foreign language. They also generally educate students about the countries and cultures that speak the language they teach.
Anthropology majors understand the cultural basis of idioms and other subtleties of language, so they are well equipped for this role. They are passionate about foreign cultures and can skillfully convey an appreciation of cultures to their students as part of their language instruction.
The organizational skills of the Anthropology Major are also useful, as foreign language teachers often develop their own curricula and plan the details of their lessons. If you don’t know a foreign language but are interested in international cultures, you may also want to consider a teaching job abroad. This combines an anthropologist’s passion for travel with an interest in education.
Foreign Service Officer
A foreign service officer works for the government as a diplomat in a foreign country. Foreign service officers must understand the social and cultural context of the countries in which they work.
Training in anthropology will enable them to study the customs and norms of their area of service in order to conduct diplomatic activity discreetly and effectively.
The problem-solving skills developed at the university will help an anthropology graduate help U.S. citizens solve problems as they arise in their assigned country. Foreign Service Officers draw attention to the details of the Anthropology Major as they carefully document their cases. Interpersonal, verbal and written skills are essential for foreign service officers in the performance of their duties.
Human Resources Representative
Human resources (HR) representatives help define employee roles and the composition of the workforce in organizations. They cultivate an office culture that supports employee creativity, productivity and loyalty. They write newsletters and other intra-company communications and organize events to improve staff morale.
Human resources representatives use the problem-solving and interpersonal skills of the Anthropology Major to solve problems between employees and between employers and employees.