By: Megan (Anthropology major!)
Anthropology is one of the smallest majors at UMD, but it is not a major to be forgotten about. Like the other Social Sciences, Anthropology equips you with a perspective to look at the world, and a way to explore topics of interest to you. The question then becomes: What can I do with a degree in Anthropology? There are 3 main paths in Anthropology, and all of them can be applied in other areas as well.
- You will need certifications and grad school, but yes, you can be Indiana Jones. Or not. After all, Indy destroyed quite a few priceless artifacts. Archaeologists are the people who find the artifacts used to construct the lives of people long gone through excavation.
- If you’re more inclined to use your background in Anthropology in the hard sciences, you can go into Forensic Anthropology, and help law enforcement based on the evidence found in bones. Biological Anthropologists are working on discovering our evolutionary path as well. There are a lot of advances being made right now!
- Cultural Anthropologists study the culture of people. They may work with Archaeologists to construct theories based on artifacts found, or visit a current culture. Anthropologists tend to spend a lot of time with a group of people: living with them, studying them. They look for patterns to try to generalize to theories on basic human behavior, as well as gather data on a culture that may or may not survive.
- Cultural Resource Management is an application of Cultural Anthropology. Anthropologists doing this work often work as a mediator between governments and smaller communities, to preserve culture. An example would be working with the American Government and Native populations to ensure that projects (such as roads and other improvements) do not interfere with the practice of their culture.
The beauty of Social Sciences in general and Anthropology in particular, is that you really can do almost anything with them. I have a friend who minored in Anthropology and is now going to Grad school for Public Health. I personally plan to be a Social Worker, Health Educator, and Community Planner (maybe not at the same time). The Holistic view of Anthropology lends itself to Human Service professions extremely well, allowing for Anthropologists to do their work while taking into account the culture they are working in. Anthropology also lends itself to the hard sciences, and when you pair your degree with a minor, another major, or grad school in a science, you can find plenty of jobs in those fields.
The graduates of UMD’s Anthropology department go on to do a wide variety of things.
Here are a few professions that grads from 2010 and 2011 are doing: Archaeological Technician, Behavioral Aide Specialist, Sales Representative, Graphics Designer, Activities Director, Hospitality Specialist, (Museum) Preparatory Assistant, and AmeriCorps.
Quite a few of them have also gone onto Grad school, studying: Counseling, Cultural Resource Management, Advocacy and Political Leadership, Library Science, and Forensics.
Several grads are in jobs that relate to their major, but many of them aren’t. Anthropology really supports you in any career, allowing you to approach any problem by looking at it from all sides, as well as having a background in looking at different cultures.
Here are a few other resources of interest:
- What can I do with this major? Anthropology/Archaeology
- What can I do with a major in Anthropology?
- Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program – National Park Service
- Internship Programs in different areas – start researching the possibilities
- Careers in Anthropology – American Anthropological Association