"My [anthropology] major has helped my career in two main ways: it awakened me to the cultural terrain that must be navigated in any office, in any industry; and it gave me the tools to always nurture my own inner life."
-- Stephanie Amon '11.
Anthropology is The Major for the 21st Century.
What can you do with an anthropology degree? Almost anything!
According to the Hamilton Project, the most commonly held jobs by anthropology graduates at age 25-34 are college instructors (5.7%), elementary and middle school teachers (3.9%), lawyers, judges, magistrates and other judicial officials (3.4%), and managers (3.4%). Notably, these top four professions account for less than 20% of all types of professions held by anthropology graduates.
Anthropology is uniquely positioned to prepare you for a wide range of exciting and important careers. Earning an anthropology degree in anthropology prepares you for much more than becoming an anthropologist (though this is one possibility!) As the American Anthropological Association explains:
"Job opportunities are generally forged by the individual, not by the program which one follows in college. The best college program encourages the performance skills that anthropology excels in molding in its students. The prudent undergraduate will take a well-rounded course of study, with a few practical career-skill courses interwoven in her or his overall program. In addition to imparting invaluable core knowledge about the human-animal and its cultural and biological history, anthropology lends itself flexibly as a tool to refine whatever other interests one brings to the higher-educational process."
Preparing for Life After College
The Anthropology Department at UMass strives to help you develop and explore your career and civic goals through classwork, advising, and engaged opportunities. Our students and faculty use the tools and approaches of anthropology to work with communities at home and in global organizations, preserving cultural heritage, building community, promoting social and economic justice, and advancing cross-cultural understanding. Our students don’t just study anthropology—they do anthropology. Through these opportunities, students learn the “soft skills” –capacities like critical thinking, collaboration, and communicating across differences—that are so essential to navigating and excelling in a globalized world.
In addition to numerous internship and research opportunities, anthropology majors are supported with two anthropology courses that are designed to help students think carefully and prepare for life after college-- Anthropology Careers Beyond Graduation and Strategies for Career Seeking. Along with the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Career Center, these classes and resources help shepherd you towards your goals.
In sum, UMass Anthropology Majors and alumnae engage critically and thoughtfully with the world around them, they are active in their communities, and they have gone on to successful careers as entrepreneurs, medical professionals, academics, community organizers, non-profit consultants and administrators, policy-makers, and much more. Check out the Prezi presentation to see what some of our amazing undergraduate alumni are saying and doing.
"The UMass Anthropology Department provided a rigorous and theoretically rich intellectual foundation, giving me the opportunity and the skills to critically and self-reflexively examine social problems while cultivating a deep love of research and writing. My experience there taught me what my mind was for, and gave me the tools to use it."
--Adina Gianelli '05, writer, educator, and Executive Director of Bike Walk Connecticut.