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Department of Anthropology

Career Prospects

Durham Anthropology graduates have excellent employment prospects in a wide range of possible careers


 

 

Career Opportunities and Employability

With an anthropology degree our students acquire a knowledge base which is both fascinating and useful as well as having an unusual mix of intellectual and practical skills. This combination is much sought after by employers worldwide and particularly so where creativity, curiosity and the ability to understand human culture and society are at a premium - which, in practice, is in most situations.

Our graduates use their anthropology directly in fields such as health, community work, conservation, education, international development, culture and heritage. A significant number progress into careers which at first sight have no direct link to Anthropology but which nonetheless utilise the broad understanding of human society and behaviour and the many important transferable skills that come with the study of Anthropology. Employment fields falling into this category include advertising, publishing, journalism, human resource management, public relations, finance, law, consultancy and marketing.

The quality of teaching on our programmes is further underpinned by a wide range of opportunities for work placements, research internships, study abroad and fieldwork both the UK and abroad.

Of thse students who graduated in 2017:

  • 85% are in paid employment or further study 6 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 65% are in a professional or manegerial job
  • Average salary of £21,000 (compared to average UK salary for similar courses of £19,000)

(Source: https://unistats.ac.uk)

A large proportion of our students progress onto higher level study following their degree in Anthropology. Many remain within their academic field of interest and pursue higher level anthropological research, notably at Durham but also other prestigious institutions including Imperial, University College London, London School of Economics, Manchester and York. Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in both related (development studies, international relations, public health, nursing, medicine, youth work, social work, human resource management, education, social policy, museum studies) and non-related fields (law, finance, marketing, management, journalism and publishing.

Graduates from our BA (Hons) programme (source: https://unistats.ac.uk/subjects/employment/10007143FT-L602/)

“The Anthropology degree gives you a thorough grounding in anthropology: offering interesting optional modules enabling you to explore people's customs, health care systems and cultures all over the world both past and present. I feel lucky to have found a degree that grabbed my interest from the onset. Since graduating, I’ve qualified as a teacher and as a Careers Advisor working in graduate positions.”

Jane Gemmel, BA (Hons) Anthropology
 

Employment Development Opportunities

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works with closely the department in facilitating student access to job and work experience opportunities, careers and employability events, employer workshops and presentations, skills programmes and tailored individual careers guidance. A dedicated Careers Adviser is available to support Anthropology students individually and collectively.

“We're interested in talented students applying to us with strong academics, but just as important are your employability skills – including impact, drive, flexibility, curiosity, integrity and commercial awareness. The skills students develop throughout university shape their employability and our aim is to help students to understand how they can transfer these skills in to the workplace. Applicants who stand out are those who've done research and are well prepared. As a leading employer of graduates, we recognise the important role played by the Careers and Employability Centre at the University of Durham by encouraging students to meet local and national employers and producing high-calibre, motivated individuals who are ready to enter the world of professional services. We recruit a number of students every year onto our Insight and graduate programmes from Durham University.”

Konica Stones, Senior Manager at PWC

Durham University Anthropology graduates progress into an incredibly diverse range of careers and employment sectors. Some graduates apply their academic study directly within a number of relevant sectors including health, community, conservation, education, international development, culture and heritage. A significant number progress into careers with no direct link to Anthropology but which utilise the transferable skills developed including advertising, publishing, journalism, human resource management, public relations, finance, law, consultancy and marketing. Examples of high profile recent employers of Anthropology graduates include Shell, NHS, Office for National Statistics, CST Advertising as well as interntaionally recognised organisations such as Save teh Children, Survival and Amnesty International.

 

Work Experience & Study Abroad

Via the Erasmus programme we have agreements with universities in Czech Republic, Iceland, France, Spain, Germany, Slovenia and Malta.

Students are encouraged to undertake fieldwork or appropriate laboratory work as part of research methods and dissertation modules on their degree courses. These activities give them valuable 'real world' experience. We also encourage our students to take advantage of volunteering and other opportunities whenever they can.

Read more about Study Abroad options for our undergraduate students.

“As well as medical students on their community placements, Thrive Thornaby has benefited from the involvement of an Anthropology student working with Student Community Action. The arrangement has been beneficial to both parties. For Thrive, we have benefited from highly capable volunteers, 'self-starters' - capable of sourcing, developing and maintaining relationships with households on low-income who were deemed by other agencies as 'hard-to-reach'. From the students' point of view, the work offered them the opportunity to engage with people in poverty on terms they hadn't done so far and might not do in their future careers. They learned first-hand about the complex nature of debt, health and how people get by. This experience will stand them in good stead, whatever they go on to do, I'm sure.”

Greg Brown, Director, Thrive Thornaby