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What Can I Do With a Degree in Anthropology?

Anthropological knowledge and skills can be applied to diverse professional settings, while the commitment to service learning and the support of internships within the UC Merced anthropology program enhances career prospects for our students upon graduation. As noted by the American Anthropological Association:

"Anthropology is a career that embraces people of all kinds. It is a discipline that thrives with heterogeneity — in people, ideas, and research methods. Anthropologists know the wisdom of listening to multiple voices, [of] linking the work...from researchers...[of] different backgrounds, and...[applying] various approaches [and perspectives] to their [study of the human experience]."

A bachelor’s degree in anthropology is valuable preparation for a career in law, medicine, education, business, government, museums, and various areas of non-profit, public, and international service, including public policy and cultural resource management.  For example, anthropological knowledge and skills can be applied to such diverse settings as:

  • Market research
  • Regional planning
  • Product design
  • Legal advocacy
  • Government research
  • Health organizations
  • News and entertainment media

Majors in anthropology develop critical skills in thought, written and oral expression, and the application of knowledge. In an increasingly globalized world in which interaction with people of diverse cultures is becoming the norm, developing a cross-cultural understanding about the complexities of human societies past and present is what makes anthropology an ideal education for the 21st century.

For more information about careers in anthropology see the American Anthropological Association Careers page; or see the links regarding internships and employment in Resources.

The U.S. Department of Labor also provides profiles of anthropology and archaeology as occupations, including knowledge, skills, abilities, and salary information by state.  But keep in mind that anthropolgoical knowledge and skills can be applied to many careers beyond those simply identified as "archaeologists" and "anthropologsts"!

Famous… and Anthropology Majors!

In addition to numerous practicing socio-cultural, archaeological, and biological anthropologists, many successful public figures have put their anthropology degree to good use in other ways...

Michael Crichton
Author Jurassic Park; producer ER

Jomo Kenyatta
First President of Kenya

Amy Goodman

Steve Riggio
CEO, Barnes & Noble

Katherine Dunham
Dancer, choreographer

Jane Campion
Director, The Piano; screenwirter, producer

A. Peter Burleigh
Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN

Thandie Newton
Actress Crash, Westworld

Updated 2021