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Whether you hope to remain in the discipline or are planning to work in an allied field, anthropology offers a number of career advantages. It provides a way of "seeing" and "reading" the world that, given our rapidly changing times, is in great demand. It helps you develop the intellectual judgment to become a professional, teaching you to ask questions, apply more than one explanatory model, and adopt a broad perspective. It trains you in sensitivity toward human cultures, helps you develop social ease in unfamiliar surroundings, and the wisdom to listen to different voices. It also instructs you in the value of teamwork, notably by assembling interdisciplinary researchers who bring different backgrounds and approaches to a question.

Anthropology students acquire a range of social, behavioral, biological, archaeological, and other scientific research skills, including:
  • Participant observation
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Action research
  • Statistical analysis
  • Field methods (surveying, recordkeeping, etc.)
  • Laboratory methods
  • Digital data collection and analysis (such as use of GIS, transcription and conversation analysis)
  • Visual and auditory documentation, including use of photography and film
  • Oral and written expression, including ethnographic, report, and grant writing
Given their rich set of skills and varied interests, it is not surprising that anthropologists are found doing different kinds of work around the world. Some still conduct classic ethnographicfieldwork in cities and rural areas. They also join multidisciplinary reams on archaeological digs, organize collaborative research in laboratories. Many anthropologists also teach and, at the university level, combine teaching with research and writing.

Most anthropologists are in applied positions. They work as planners and managers in government, corporations, the media, NGOs, museums, and zoos. They serve on corporate teams; a common instance would be market research, where anthropologists lead focus groups on consumer preferences. They also design and implement programs in community health and economic development. Forensic archaeologists - who have been popularized in novels and on television - work not only with police departments to identify remains but also in universities and museums. Anthropologists work as education officers, curators, and videographers in parks, zoos, and museums. Physical anthropologists work with primates in zoos. The list is almost endless.

Choosing a Degree for Your Career

Perhaps the most important consideration in planning a career is the level of education you will need. Some careers, such as university professors, require a doctorate, while careers in research or clinical practice may require a master's degree or an MD. Our graduates have an excellent track record of being accepted by medical and dentistry schools as well as by graduate programs in public health, education, psychology, biology, international studies, and social work. If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies, you may wish to download our information packet "So You're Thinking About Graduate School in Anthropology".

There are certainly many opportunities for students who hold a BA. One area of growth at the state and federal levels is contract archaeology, which is research and excavation undertaken to preserve cultural resources that are in danger of being destroyed. There are also openings for anthropology BAs in museums, laboratories, social science research, the media, community organizations, and government. For more information on the exciting careers QC Anthropology students pursue after graduating, please check out our Alumni News page.

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