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Careers Centre

Social Anthropology - using your degree


Popular career areas for Social Anthropology students:

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.

Review your degree skills

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 and honours dissertation fieldwork project; debates and discussion forums through seminars for visiting speakers and 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 and 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 and 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 and tutorials, but referencing tips outlined in module handbook and dept website.
Think independently and apply analytical, critical and synoptic skills. Pervades teaching of anthropology and requirements of course work; also taught in tutorials and 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 and lunchtime dissertation seminars.
Apply time planning and management skills. Tutorials and honours supervisions.
Engage in group work including constructive discussion. Tutorials, lunchtime seminars, workshops, debates and discussion forums on anthropological away weekends.

Where do our Social Anthropology graduates go?

Recent Social Anthropology graduates
Restless Development - Volunteer    Google - Associate Account Strategist                      Solutions Driven - Recruitment Consultant  
SAP Startup Focus - Newsletter Editor and Community Manager    GSI Events - Marketing Executive     ORC International - Graduate Researcher
Graduates who are established in their profession

Knight Frank - Global Publications Manager

Entrepreneurial Scotland - Director of Future Leaders

Amazon - Associate Producer

BBC - Documentary Producer/Director

US House of Representatives - Legislative Aide

Cabinet Office - Senior Policy Advisor

Saba Douglas Hamilton

Saba graduated in 1993. She is a wildlife presenter and documentary film producer.

Read Saba's case study.

Visit the Graduate Destinations page to see what graduates and postgraduates from your School are doing now.

Network with alumni

Many jobs and internships are not advertised. One of the best ways to find out about these ‘hidden opportunities’ is by networking. Networking can also help secure a job that is publicised or is part of a training scheme. Your contacts can open doors, set up meetings, help prepare you for interviews, and provide you with an inside look at a company or industry.

How to contact alumni

There are two main ways to contact alumni on-line:

  1. Saint Connect - brings together alumni and current students to facilitate networking, enable informal mentoring, provide industry discussion groups, and enable graduates and students to stay up to date with their student societies and sports teams.
  2. LinkedIn - most comprehensive resource to connect with alumni is the University of St Andrews LinkedIn – Alumni Tool. There are also many LinkedIn St Andrews Groups, mainly based on location, which you can join to network with fellow students and alumni, eg St Andrews North America Careers Link.

Postgraduate study/research

In 2014, 26.3% of Social Anthropology graduates went on to do further study.
Advisers are able and willing to discuss postgraduate applications - vocational and academic.

Summer internships/work experience

Campus Opportunities

Work experience is becoming ‘essential’ in the UK when it comes to securing graduate level employment.

During the 2015-16 academic year, more than 90% of the UK’s leading graduate employers offered paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates. Altogether, 55% of St Andrews finalists had completed some element of work experience with a graduate employer whilst at university – much higher than the survey average. More than two-fifths had a part-time job during term-time and three-fifths had some form of casual vacation work.Source: High Fliers –The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2016.

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. There are also a number of scholarships available.

Case studies

Key links and resources


Professional Bodies, Trade Organisations and Journals/Magazines