NAPA Mentor Program

Information for undeclared undergraduates


Q. I am thinking about an anthropology major. Can I get a job in that?

A. The answer is a qualified yes. If you do not plan on going to graduate school, anthropology is a great dual major with biology, mass communications, business, geology, computer science, and many others. A combined anthropology major or minor will really give you an advantage in the job market. If you want to work as an anthropologist, however, you will benefit by going on to graduate school.

Q. I want to follow my  bliss and just get a bachelors in anthropology. Are there going to be any jobs in the field for me?

A. Yes, you can get jobs in archaeology, museums, research, and a few other sectors.  But it may only take you so far. Learning/knowing another language is a great help to anthropology majors. Tracy Chapman, Billy Graham, Yo Yo Ma, and Kurt Vonnegut are famous people who have reportedly studied anthropology, and then went on to other things.

Q. How can I try this out without having to declare a major?

A. Look around for internships, volunteer roles, and summer programs. Ask in the anthropology department or look online. You might not find something in your local area, but there are opportunities. There are also field schools and international programs that will accept undergraduate students. 

Q. I see information about applied anthropologists, practicing anthropologists, professional anthropologists… are they all the same thing?

A. These are terms used within the profession and have different shades of meaning, but for your purposes they all indicate the same thing:  people who work outside of academic settings. NAPA is a national association of anthropologists who work full or part time outside of the academy, or train students who do.

Q. Where to I go from here?

A. Ask students who are anthropology majors about their plans. Look in the library for books on careers in anthropology. Go to an annual meeting of one of the anthropological organizations. Look for anthropology listserves where you can pose questions. Here are some websites you can check for more information:

<> National Association for Student Anthropologists:
<> Society for Applied Anthropology:
<> Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference:
<> Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs:

You can also read through our Q&A for undergraduate students, which provides more context and information for undergraduates.

Good luck in your quest, and we hope will join the wonderful and fascinating world of anthropology!