Social Anthropology - using your degree

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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.

Where do our graduates go?

John Lewis Buying Administrator (Graduate Scheme)
Leapfrog Research Researcher
Royal Mail HR Trainee
Headline Publishing Group Marketing Assistant
New Star Foreign Language Training Center English Teacher
Edinburgh Tattoo Promoter
Fenwick Graduate Buyer
Indigenous People Arts Events Officer
Breakthrough Breast Cancer Supporter Fundraising Administrator
Survival International Campaigner
Survival International Researcher
Visit Scotland Development Quality Advisor
Horwath Clark (London) Accountant
BBC Natural History Unit and Freelance Work Wildlife presenter and documentary film producer
BMRB Market Research Director
World Bank (Washington, USA) International Economic Development Consultant

Network with alumni

Postgraduate study/research

Postgraduate links

In 2013, 38.5% of social anthropology graduates went on to do further study. Source: Career Destinations.
Advisers are able and willing to discuss postgraduate applications - vocational and academic.

Summer internships/work experience

Work experience links

Work experience is becoming ‘essential’ in the UK when it comes to securing graduate level employment, with those having experience in the workplace being three times more likely to land a job offer than those without.

62% of graduating St Andrews' students have had internship experience by the time they graduate, the fifth highest percentage in the UK.

High Fliers - The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2013.

Subject-specific opportunities

Work experience examples of social anthropology students

Year of graduationOrganisation/CompanyPosition
2013 Virgile Avocats/LPLG Avocats Internship
2012 BNY Mellon Summer Intern
2010 World Relief Intern/Representative
2009 Amazon Watch Research and Development Intern (Summer Employment)

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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.


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