Careers and Employability Service

What can I do with my degree in Anthropology?

Skills gained

The abilities and qualities of mind that a student studying anthropology acquires incorporate both subject-specific and generic skills, which include those set out in the following sections.

Social anthropology

Depending upon the proportion of social anthropology within their degree course, students demonstrate an ability to do some or all of the following:

Understand how human beings are shaped by, and interact with, their social, cultural and physical environments, and an appreciation of their social, cultural and biological diversity

Formulate, investigate and discuss anthropologically informed questions, use major theoretical perspectives and concepts in anthropology and critically asses their strengths and limitations

Engage with cultures, populations and groups different from their own, without forgoing a sense of personal judgement, with an awareness of cultural assumptions, including their own, and the ways in which these impact on an interpretation of others

Critically read and interpret texts (including print, oral, film and multimedia) within their historical, social and theoretical contexts and acknowledge practical awareness of the strengths and limitations of ethnographic fieldwork and the different stages and requirements of carrying out an anthropological study

Analyse and recognise the politics of language, indirect forms of communication and theoretical statements, forms of power and claims of authority

Apply anthropological knowledge to a variety of practical situations, personal and professional plans and undertake and present scholarly work that demonstrates an understanding of anthropological aims, methods and theoretical considerations.

Biological anthropology

Depending upon the proportion of biological anthropology within their degree course, students demonstrate an ability to do some or all of the following:

Gain an understanding and appreciation of the Darwinian evolutionary process and our species' place within the natural world

Interpret varied information on aspects of human biological diversity and the ways in which biological and social processes interact

Analyse and evaluate relevant qualitative and quantitative data using appropriate techniques

Design and implement a project involving data collection on some aspect(s) of human biological diversity, and to display relevant investigative, analytical and communication skills

Gain an understanding of the scientific process, including the ability to read, evaluate and write scientific reports

Demonstrate awareness of ethical issues associated with biological anthropological methods and theories, including those associated with studying non-human primates, with handling human remains, and with proposals that human behaviour has an evolutionary basis

Demonstrate a deepened understanding of the subject and qualities of mind associated with intellectual reflection, evaluation and synthesis.

Generic and transferable skills

Students gain some or all of the following transferable skills:
The capacity to express their own ideas orally, visually and in writing, to summarise the arguments of others, and to distinguish between the two
Independence of thought and analytical, critical and synoptic skills
Research skills in collecting and collating primary and secondary data
Communication and presentation skills (using oral, visual and written materials and information technology)
The ability to make a structured argument, reference the works of others, and assess historical evidence
Time, planning and management skills
The ability to engage, where appropriate, in constructive discussion in group situations and group-work skills
Statistical and computing techniques
Independent learning and critical thinking
The ability to assess and understand their strengths and weaknesses, and to take action to improve and enhance their capacities
A reflexive approach to cultural assumptions and premises developed through a deep understanding of other ways of being in the world
The ability to recognise and challenge ethnocentric assumptions.

Source: QAA Subject benchmark statement

 This is not an exhaustive list of skills – you will develop many skills from your course, extra-curricular activities and work experience. You can find out more about the skills employers look for and how you can develop them here.


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Last Updated: 09/02/2021