What can I do with a degree in Anthropology?

China study trip_buddha

Anthropology addresses and offers insights into many of the social issues and problems facing New Zealand and the world.

It is the study of culture, and places issues in their full social and cultural contexts in order to understand them. It provides knowledge and skills that are applicable to a wide variety of occupations, including areas of public policy.

Through their Anthropology degree, graduates develop a valuable set of transferable skills that includes:

  • Holistic and contextual understanding
  • Thinking critically and creatively, and challenging ideas
  • Logical and quantitative thinking
  • Knowledge of cultural and ethnic changes, policies and resources
  • Problem solving skills
  • Ability to show sensitivity to people
  • An appreciation of cultural diversity
  • An ability to see the world in different ways
  • Interpretive and analytical thinking
  • Oral and written communication
  • Research and computing skills.

Opportunities to apply your learning outside the classroom are available, for example undertaking an internship can deepen your skillset, awareness of others, working knowledge and employability.

Anthropologists are employed in sectors or institutions such as:

  • Research
  • Museums
  • Education
  • Community work
  • Local and central government
  • Non-governmental or not-for-profit agencies.

Due to their transferable skills, Anthropology graduates are found in a variety of destinations:

  • International relations
  • Media and public relations
  • Social work
  • Libraries
  • High-tech industries
  • Tourism
  • Human resources
  • Resource management
  • Health.

The ability to see the world differently

Anthropology offers insights into many of the social issues and opportunities in Aotearoa New Zealand and the world today. Anthropologists therefore have an important role to play in areas of public policy, social equity, human rights, technological development, culture and behaviour.

Graduates with this degree are employed in a range of jobs — see some examples below.

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

Social researcher

  • Designs and develops research projects
  • Uses a range of quantitative and qualitative methods to gain insight
  • Analyses and interprets data and findings
  • Writes reports and briefings

Policy analyst / advisor

  • Identifies and investigates issues and opportunities eg, in society, law or governance
  • Interprets and consults on existing policies
  • Prepares reports and recommends changes

Corporate anthropologist, ethnographic researcher, digital anthropologist

  • Tailors products/services to people’s real needs
  • Looks at the human side of search or selection
  • Analyses human differences, appetite forchange and interaction on behalf of a business
  • Assesses how culture can impact data and digital technologies (and vice versa)

Archaeologist

  • Preserves archaeological sites
  • Carries out excavations
  • Helps restore monuments and sites

Librarian

  • Categorises and catalogues library materials
  • Selects materials for library use
  • Helps customers find and use materials

Marketing officer / manager

  • Collects and analyses market insight
  • Prepares and implements marketing plans
  • Works with others to promote goods or services

Museum officer

  • Plans museum programmes
  • Ensures security of items and arranges logistics
  • Informs museum visitors

Digital content analyst / advisor

  • Develops a brand strategy and online presence
  • Increases web traffic and digital engagement
  • Oversees digital marketing and online search

International aid worker

  • Manages and assesses projects
  • Supports long-term development
  • Evaluates responses to emergency situations

Data analyst

  • Collects, analyses and interprets data
  • Identifies and forecasts trends and needs
  • Presents information to assist decision-making

Business development manager, sales specialist

  • Identifies and develops new markets or business
  • Manages client relationships and presentations
  • Implements sales and marketing strategies

Curator

  • Chooses display items at museums or galleries
  • Manages collections and exhibitions
  • Conducts research and communicates details

Entrepreneur and CEO

  • Develops an idea to form their own business
  • Gets involved in a start-up

Get started with Entrepreneurship here.

As they progress, students and graduates often join professional bodies relevant to their area of interest. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network with others in the same community. 

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep up to-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the Anthropology subject page