Social Anthropology - using your degree
Social Anthropology graduates have characteristics many employers seek (see Employability Profile) and a Social Anthropology degree provides openings to a wide range of careers. Anthropologists are valued especially for their willingness to question received wisdom and to suggest alternative ways to achieve goals.
Some anthropology graduates choose careers which build directly on anthropology, including research, social policy and teaching, work for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and development/overseas agencies. Anthropology graduates also pursue roles in advertising, sales and marketing, positions in museums, conservation, and heritage management and careers in areas related to health and social work.
- Private Organisations: use the skills of Social Anthropology by, for example, doing research for urban planning, working with health organisations, doing market research for advertising companies, training employees who will be working in international divisions, or working in Human Resource departments.
- Government Agencies: employ Social Anthropologists as policy researchers, research analysts, evaluators, mangers, planners and policy makers.
- International Organisations: employ anthropologists in projects in various countries around the world as researchers and cultural brokers.
- Non-profit Agencies: employ Social Anthropologists as advocates, administrators, evaluators and researchers.
- Graduate Employers: 70% of graduate jobs are for students from any discipline, Social Anthropologists successfully move into teaching, law, finance, HR, marketing, PR etc.
Where do our graduates go?
Lindsay is a social anthropology graduate of the University of St Andrews. She is a Campaigner for Survival International.
Read Lindsay's and other social anthropology graduates case studies to hear what their jobs involve, how they got there, and how to successfully follow a similar career path.
|Year of graduation||Organisation/Company||Position|
|These are some of the first roles taken on by students six months after graduation:|
|2011||John Lewis||Buying Administrator (Graduate Scheme)|
|2010||Royal Mail||HR Trainee|
|2010||Headline Publishing Group||Marketing Assistant|
|2009||New Star Foreign Language Training Center||English Teacher|
|2009||Indigenous People||Arts Events Officer|
|Longer term career paths:|
|2008||Breakthrough Breast Cancer||Supporter Fundraising Administrator|
|2002||Visit Scotland||Development Quality Advisor|
|2001||Horwath Clark (London)||Accountant|
|1993||BBC Natural History Unit and Freelance Work||Wildlife presenter and documentary film producer|
|1993||BMRB||Market Research Director|
|1990||World Bank (Washington, USA)||International Economic Development Consultant|
Network with alumni
- LinkedIn this professional networking site can be a great way to make contact with St Andrews alumni. By joining the St Andrews alumni groups, University of St Andrews Alumni and University of St Andrews - Mentorship Programme, you are able to make contact directly with alumni with a LinkedIn profile.
- Careers Alumni Network- a database of St Andrews graduates who have volunteered to offer careers information to existing students.
In 2011, 20% of social anthropology graduates went on to do postgraduate study.
Advisers are able and willing to discuss postgraduate applications - vocational and academic.
Summer internships/work experience
One of the key aspects that often helps graduate recruiters to differentiate between candidates during the selection process is work experience. Students and graduates who have had internships or vacation placements usually have a much better understanding of the roles they are applying for and the industry or business sector they want to join after graduation. High Fliers - The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2012.
- Anthropological Summer School project in Malta held annually on Gozo, The Malta Summer School offers a unique opportunity to acquire some 'in the field' experience. Various field research available including a variety of architectural and religious sites as well as the study of tourism and ethnic relations. There are also a number of scholarships available.
- The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC), located at the Washington Navy Yard, USA, offers a variety of internship opportunities including archivist, collections management, curatorial (museum and Naval Art Collection), historian, librarian, museum education, and public relations areas. The program is a partner with the US Department of State's Visitor Exchange Program that allows successful non-resident, non-US citizens to receive the pre-J-1 visa document free of charge. Online application form.
|Year of graduation||Organisation/Company||Position|
|2013||Virgile Avocats/LPLG Avocats||Internship|
|2012||BNY Mellon||Summer Intern|
|2009||Amazon Watch||Research and Development Intern (Summer Employment)|
- Read a number of case studies written by social anthropology students, on our work experience case studies database.
- If you have undertaken any type of work experience, then why not inspire students by sharing your story.
Employability profile: what you can offer employers
Over the course of your degree you will develop a mix of subject specific and transferable core skills (communication, team work, time management, presentation etc). Analyse how your other activities, such as paid work, volunteering, family responsibilities, sport, membership of societies, leadership roles can be used as evidence of your skills and personal attributes. Identify what you may be lacking and consider how to improve your profile.
The profile below identifies the skills that can be developed through the study of your discipline based on subject benchmark statements developed by UK higher education academic communities.
This table is able to help you to identify the valuable skills that you can offer to potential employers.
|A graduate in Social Anthropology typically will have the ability to:||Evidence:|
|Understand how human beings are shaped by and interact with their social, cultural and physical environments, and appreciate their social, cultural and biological diversity.||Most modules do this. Honours years dissertation fieldwork project especially important in this regard.|
|Engage with cultures, populations and groups different from their own while retaining their personal judgement||most modules do this, but also achieved through reading anthropological research, presentation and analysis of ethnographic film. [Available for lending from anthropology video library] and through Honours dissertation fieldwork project.|
|Read and interpret texts within their historical, social and theoretical contexts.||Module tutorials and reading groups especially useful here.|
|Recognise the politics of language, indirect forms of communication, forms of power, theoretical statements and claims of authority, and analyse them.||At centre of module work, but also raised in discussion forums on anthropology weekends away.|
|Apply their knowledge of anthropology to practical situations, personal and professional.||Subhonours mini-fieldwork project & honours dissertation fieldwork project; debates and discussion forums through seminars for visiting speakers & through student-led Anthropology Society.|
|Plan, undertake and present scholarly work showing an understanding of anthropological aims, methods and theoretical considerations||should pervade all aspects of undergraduate & postgraduate study.|
|Demonstrate an understanding of their subject of study, and exercise qualities of mind associated with intellectual reflection, evaluation and synthesis.||Student-led forums for discussion: tutorials, workshops & debates|
|Express ideas in writing, summarise arguments and distinguish between them.||Core features of module work.|
|Make a structured argument, reference the works of others and assess historical evidence.||Module lectures, workshops & tutorials, but referencing tips outlined in module handbook & dept website.|
|Think independently and apply analytical, critical and synoptic skills.||Pervades teaching of anthropology & requirements of course work; also taught in tutorials & supervisions.|
|Apply learning and study skills and use statistical and computing techniques.||Core lesson of module work.|
|Apply information retrieval skills to primary and secondary sources of information.||Core skill of final year dissertation work.|
|Use skills in information technology and oral and written communication.||Module coursework, but also verbal presentations in tutorials & lunchtime dissertation seminars.|
|Apply time planning and management skills.||Tutorials & honours supervisions.|
|Engage in group work including constructive discussion.||Tutorials, lunchtime seminars, workshops, debates & discussion forums on anthropological away weekends.|