22 May 2017

Undergrad & MAs career paths

If you're familiar with anthro everywhere! you might know that we have a special page addressing where and how people are Applying an anthropological perspective outside of university. Most of these links profile folks with PhDs in (sociocultural) anthropology making careers outside of the academy in "alt-ac" or applied careers.

Anthropology Major Fox
In my department, most anthropology majors or Masters students also follow career paths that take them outside of the university. A growing number of anthropology departments do offer some information on where their grads find jobs (e.g. University of British Columbia, York University, University of Toronto, Simon Fraser University). Yet, it can still be difficult to find these examples and other hard data to share with our students -- or prospective students who aren't quite sure how a background in anthropology will serve them well after they graduate. There isn't a clear career path from anthropology major to anthropology job! It's with this in mind that this post offers a few links directed specifically toward undergraduate and MA-level anthropologists and their career choices and possibilities.

In 2016, the AAA Blog published this post to answer the question, What exactly are Anthropology MAs doing with their anthropology? You might also want to check out the (2010) report “Changing Face of Anthropology” from the AAA’s Committee on Practicing, Applied, and Public Interest Anthropology (CoPAPIA), which provides some data regarding length of time to employment, types of jobs and tasks, the role of anthropology in respondents' workplaces/ work, and skills training.

For undergraduates who don't plan to pursue graduate studies, there are still many ways in which your anthropological training and perspective matter. Jason Antrosio's post Anthropology Major Jobs: Advice for Undergraduate Majors (Living Anthropologically, 2015) is a good place to start (re)thinking what majoring in anthropology might mean for your career prospects. Professional anthropologists offer a lot of great advice in the comments on this post, and on the FaceBook post for undergrads. You might also want to check out the AAA page Antrosio links to providing some more data on the kinds of careers (American) anthropology majors pursue.

More resources:
  • Our ability to conduct qualitative research -- including interviewing -- is an important part of the anthropologist's toolkit. So, it only makes sense that students use these skills in gathering information about potential future careers! One way to do this is through "informational interviewing," which we wrote about earlier this year. Informational interviewing is also a good way to begin networking with professionals working in fields that you might be interested in working in after graduation.
  • It's also important to learn how to think and talk about your anthropological training in a way that makes sense to people who might never have heard of anthropology. Have a look at our post on Articulating the Anthropological Toolkit to Non-Anthropologists for some tips on how to do this -- and also how to rethink what it is that you learn as an anthropology major or MA.
  • Our Advice for Grad Students page covers a lot of ground, but you might want to check out the "Professional Development Strategies" section for tips on how to start thinking about and preparing for life after university.
  • Check out this post (reviewing Field notes: A Guided Journal for Doing Anthropology) for a discussion of some of the insights that ethnographic methods training and experiences in the field allow anthropologists to develop.
  • Although a resource created by VersatilePhD, this Career Finder contains a lot of really useful information about careers in different sectors for Social Sciences & Humanities grads. Click on the "General information" tab to read a summary of what careers in a wide range of fields are like, including Business, Finance, Government, Institutional Research, K-12 Education, Law, Marketing, Nonprofits, Policy, Publishing, Technology and more.

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