Why Anthropology?

What can you do with a degree in anthropology? What can't you do?  

Anthropology is an education in the world’s diverse cultures and in the global flows and exchanges that shape all of our lives. A major in anthropology provides excellent preparation for a variety of careers that require critical intercultural literacy and attention to social justice, ethics, and power, including education, journalism, law, media, medicine, development, social justice organizing, and graduate and professional studies.

Some of our alumni in the news

  • Read Melissa Rosario, Wes Anthropology ‘05, on founding the Center for Embodied Pedagogy and Action (CEPA) in Puerto Rico, decolonizing research, and building alternative communities that rework legacies of colonialism, imperialism and capitalism in this Savage Minds essay.
  • Read why anthropologist Susannah Fox, Wes Anthropology ’92, was the right choice for Chief Technology Officer for the United States Department of Health and Human Services at Forbes, and how Wes Professor Doug Charles’s course helped her make carework visible.
  • Read Will Tyner, Wes Anthropology ’13, the 2015 Fellow at Code For America, talk about how his anthropology training gave him the skills of analysis, creativity, empathy and problem solving to help improve the lives of others in this Anthropologists in Practice interview
  • Read an interview with filmmaker Sara Dosa, Wes Anthropology ‘05, about the connections between ethnography and documentary filmmaking that led her to make The Last Season, about the world of matsutake mushroom hunting in CAAM and in Whole Terrain. Dosa recently produced Audrie & Daisy, a documentary exploring rape, trauma, power, and coming of age in the world of social media.

Our alumni have gone on to work as community organizers, doctors, professors, teachers, editors, public defenders, non-profit researchers, documentary filmmakers, oral historians, nurses, writers, social workers, and media makers. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment of anthropologists and archaeologists is expected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations" (US Department of Labor; see Careers in Anthropology). Whatever your future path, majoring in anthropology will give you skills critical for your future: the ability to listen carefully and work with diverse people and organizations, to navigate complex local and global dynamics, to think critically and question power and injustice, to tell meaningful stories about the world in which we live, to see things differently.

We asked our alumni what they have done with their anthropology degree. Here is what they said:

See the full list of Quotes >