Anthropology Career or Research Pathways

Pathways in Anthropology are not intended as rigid course requirements, but rather as road maps to support student interests and goals.

Archaeology and Historic Preservation

Most archaeologists work in an applied area of the field involving the preservation, management, and interpretation of archaeological sites and cultural resources for the public.

  • The Cultural Resources Management industry is the number one employer of archaeologists in the nation and across the world. CRM archaeology is the business and policy oriented branch of archaeology that involves the preservation and management of archaeological resources. CRM archaeologists work for archaeological consulting firms, environmental consulting companies, and engineering corporations.
  • Preservation archaeologists are employed by federal, state, and municipal governments to help preserve national, regional, or locally significant archaeological resources.
  • With an estimated six to seven million archaeological sites known to exist on federal and public lands in the United States, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management, are the second largest employers of archaeologists in the U.S.
  • Heritage tourism relies on archaeology to educate the public on how their studies have shaped our knowledge of these places. Archaeologists are on staff at heritage sites across the nation and abroad, like at George Washington's Mount Vernon, Historic Jamestown, Mesa Verde National Park, and UNESCO word heritage sites.

Suggested specialization courses in our program:

  • ANT 213 Archaeological Field Techniques
  • ANT 260 Artifacts and Culture
  • ANT 310 Human Paleontology
  • ANT 321 American Indian Today
  • ANT 352 Cultural Heritage
  • ANT 360 Historical Archaeology
  • ANT 362 Archaeology of Central America
  • ANT 364 Archaeology of Ancient North America
  • ANT 366 Archaeological Lab Methods
  • ANT 367 Archaeology & the Environment
  • ANT 368 Archaeological Field School
  • ANT 568 Advanced Archaeological Field School

Conservation and Natural Resources

Environmental anthropologists work in education, research, private consulting, and government to promote environmental protection and a balance between social responsibility and sustainable innovation. They work on issues such as natural disasters, pollution, indigenous land rights, and global climate change.

  • Disaster response and recovery consultants gauge the impact of natural disasters and emergency management, and evaluate vulnerability, risk, coping strategies, and relief management. They may work with organizations such as FEMA or NGOs.
  • Anthropologists may work as land use analysts for government agencies like the USDA Forest Service or regional Land Trusts to develop recreational opportunities, manage open space, and promote environmental resources as a public good.
  • Ecotourism is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry, uniting conservation, community, and sustainable travel. Anthropologists may work for NGOs like the Nature Conservancy to address indigenous land rights or promote sustainable development.

Suggested specialization courses:

  • ANT 227 Sustainable Food Systems
  • ANT 230 Introduction to Primatology
  • ANT 260 Artifacts and Culture
  • ANT 340 Folklore in Society
  • ANT 367 Archaeology & the Environment
  • ANT 368 Archaeological Field School
  • ANT 375 Ethnographic Field School
  • ANT 568 Advanced Archaeological Field School

*other courses in archaeology or cultural anthropology

Consulting and Market Research

Increasingly, anthropologists are being recruited by local and international corporations for their skills in cross-cultural communication and ability to analyze human behavior, organizational structures, and corporate cultures. Large corporations have started investing in anthropologists and anthropological research for consumer research and product design.

  • Google hired anthropologists to observe people using mobile devices to understand how to create better mobile interactions by looking at why people use their phones, not just what they do on them.
  • Procter & Gamble worked with anthropologists in the development of the Swiffer.
  • Coca cola commissioned ethnographic research in their development of bottled tea products for the Chinese market. The research resulted in removing sugar and added flavorings from the tea beverages.
  • Adidas has in-house anthropologists to understand how their products are used and valued, leading them to pioneer “urban sport” products for those who wish to jog, practice yoga, or informally work out in style.
  • Microsoft is the second largest employer of anthropologists.

Suggested specialization courses:

  • ANT 220 Cultures of Ethnic Groups in America
  • ANT 244 Native People of South America
  • ANT 260 Artifacts and Culture
  • ANT 322 Ethnology of Central America
  • ANT 326 Cultures and Peoples of India
  • ANT 329 Problems in Ethnology
  • ANT 344 Magic, Religion, and Witchcraft
  • ANT 347 The Culture of Cities
  • ANT 348 Dimensions of Ethnographic Film/Video
  • ANT 352 Cultural Heritage
  • ANT 355 Anthropology of Tourism
  • ANT 375 Ethnographic Field School
  • ANT 380 Language and Culture

Public Health/Healthcare Management

Medical anthropologists study how people in different cultural settings experience and think about health, illness, and health care. Medical anthropologists are engaged in health-related research, health policy analysis, and consulting, and are employed in health care, public health, and health education settings. They often act as cultural mediators, helping to communicate cross-cultural understandings of health and illness to make public health initiatives more effective for specific groups. Medical anthropologists have applied their research to the impacts of AIDS on various societies and communities, the role of malnutrition in children's illness, the effects of migration on the mental health of ethnic minority groups, and the societal significance of illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder. Nutritional and food anthropologists focus on the ecology of food and nutrition, evolution of the human diet, the relationship of food to health, and cultural foodways.

Suggested Specialization Courses

  • ANT 227 Sustainable Food Systems
  • ANT 310 Human Paleontology
  • ANT 312 Medical Anthropology
  • ANT 314 Biocultural Perspectives on Food and Nutrition
  • ANT 340 Folklore in Society
  • ANT 344 Magic, Religion, and Witchcraft

*other courses in medical and nutritional anthropology, archaeology or cultural anthropology

Museums

According to the American Alliance of Museums, there are approximately 850 million visits each year to American museums, nearly double the attendance for all major league sporting events and theme parks combined. Museums employ more than 400,000 Americans and directly contribute over $21 billion to the U.S. economy each year. Anthropologists work in museums as exhibit designers, curators, and marketing and development officers. Anthropologists frequently consult for museums and other institutions that make up the “culture industry” (the performing and visual arts, galleries, and heritage sites), by conducting audience research into who visits these institutions, how, and why.

  • Museum Archivists catalog and preserve permanent records and historically valuable documents.
  • Museum Curators are content specialists who acquire and protect museum collections and develop programs for the public benefit.
  • Museum Educators develop and strengthen the educational role of museums by engaging visitors in learning experiences utilizing their objects and collections.
  • Museum Development Officers coordinate fundraising, membership campaigns, annual funds and sponsorship events.  This is the financial end of museum operations.
  • Audience Research Consultants provide in-depth analyses of visitor motivations and behaviors to aid the museum in meeting the needs and interests of their visitors. 

Suggested specialization courses:

  • ANT 260 Artifacts and Culture
  • ANT 352 Cultural Heritage
  • ANT 366 Archaeological Lab Methods
  • MST 258 Introduction to Museum Studies
  • MST 280 Museum Techniques
  • MST 350 Collections Care & Management
  • MST 358 Museum Exhibit Curation
  • ANT 558 Advanced Museum Exhibit Curation

*See Museum Studies minor

Tourism and Heritage Industry

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Anthropologists in the tourism industry work with governments, NGOs, and cultural agencies as policy analysts, consultants, preservationists and conservationists, or as educators to inform tour operators, tourists, study abroad offices, or media companies about cultural and ecological considerations. Through the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism program, anthropologists work to benefit local communities from tourism.

Suggested Specialization Courses:

  • ANT 227 Sustainable Food Systems
  • ANT 230 Introduction to Primatology
  • ANT 260 Artifacts and Culture
  • ANT 340 Folklore in Society
  • ANT 347 The Culture of Cities
  • ANT 348 Dimensions of Ethnographic Film/Video
  • ANT 352 Cultural Heritage
  • ANT 355 Anthropology of Tourism
  • ANT 368 Archaeological Field School
  • ANT 375 Ethnographic Field School

*other courses in archaeology or cultural anthropology

 

Transferrable Skills

Anthropology provides students the opportunity to gain a broad range of transferrable skills that are widely applicable and highly desirable by most employers. These include:

  • Project Development
  • Research/Analysis
  • Critical Thinking
  • Interpersonal and Cross-Cultural Communication

Why Become an Anthropologist?

According to a US News & World Report, Anthropology and Archaeology rank among the top seven "Best Science Jobs." Anthropologists are highly versatile and broadly-trained, and can apply a wide array of critical skills that enable them to succeed in a range of fields and careers. These are some anthropology career areas identified in a study conducted by the American Anthropological Association:

  • Education/Outreach
  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Resource Management (CRM)
  • Historic Preservation
  • Museum/Curation/Project Design
  • Community Development
  • Advocacy (human rights/social justice)
  • Human/Social Services
  • Computers/Software Development/Information Technology
  • Design (products and/or services)
  • International Development/Affairs
  • Forensics
  • Mass Communication
  • Administration/Management
  • Ethnography/Cultural Anthropology
  • Evaluation/Assessment
  • Health (international/public health)
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Business
  • Tourism/Heritage
  • Healthcare Management/Services/Deliver
  • Management Consulting/Organizational Development/Training
  • Social Impact Assessment
  • Market Research
  • Law/Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement
  • Humanitarian Efforts
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