Careers in anthropology

Darcy Matthews in a field
Darcy Mathews (PhD 2014) works with local First Nations in understand the deep history of social and ecological relationships between past peoples and their environments.

What can I do with a degree in anthropology?

Our students gain an understanding of human behavioural patterns across cultures and throughout history—ranging from long-term interactions of humans with their environments to an awareness of how technology and media shape our experiences.

In today's globalized world, the cross-cultural perspective of anthropology students is a valued skill in fields like education, research, public health and cultural resource management.

My degree has given me a much deeper understanding of the history of the land I live in, and the community-engaged archaeology research I conducted for my MA helped identify for me what my real vocation is, in terms of social justice.
—Aurora Skala (BA 2013, MA 2015)

Study of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Canada and abroad has led graduates to pursue work with Indigenous communities and other groups working towards reconciliation in Canada.

Anthropology students learn how to derive and interpret knowledge from a number of sources including artifacts, field research and statistics. Our students gain the hands-on skills and background they need to transition into careers in museums, archives, film, photography and media.

Some career options for anthropology majors

  • Archaeologist
  • Community or youth worker
  • Cultural impact assessor
  • Filmmaker, photographer and other media-related occupations
  • Forensic anthropologist*
  • Healthcare/health services*
  • International agency representative
  • Library and archive technician*
  • Marketing researcher*
  • Multiculturalism educator
  • Museum educator/curator
  • Public health educator
  • Social policy research
  • Social service worker
  • Support worker for immigrants and refugees

*Additional education and training may be required

More information from UVic Co-op + Careers (pdf)

Meet our alumni

Aurora Skala

Archaeologist, Archaeologist, Indigenous Knowledge Researcher
Kwusen Research & Media

Aurora works with Indigenous communities, conducting community-based research on traditional knowledge, land use and occupancy. She specializes in traditional ecological knowledge and traditional use and occupancy research in relation to land claims and environmental impact assessments. She also provides documentary video, websites, and web-based mapping services.

Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies - BA with distinction (2013), MA (2015)

Diana Cooper

Archaeological Site Inventory Information and Data Administrator
Archaeology Branch, Government of British Columbia

Diana has worked in the field of archaeology in a variety of locations in BC, California, Australia and the Northern Marianas Islands. "My degree gave me a variety of skills including analytical thinking, map reading and writing. My studies provided a thorough background in the prehistory of the province of British Columbia, and of other peoples and cultures of the world, which has been useful in my career."

Anthropology - BA (1991)

Genevieve von Petzinger

Anthropologist
Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria

As a Master's student in UVic's Department of Anthropology, von Petzinger cracked a startling symbolic code carved on prehistoric cave walls. She has compiled a database of 5,000 geometric shapes, lines and squiggles from 146 Ice Age caves in France and garnered global attention. In 2011, von Petzinger was named a TEDGlobal Fellow.

Anthropology - BA, MA, PhD (in progress)

Honourable Marion Buller

Provincial Court Judge
British Columbia

Marion was appointed the first woman First Nations judge in BC in 1994 and was appointed as chief commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in 2016. Among her many accomplishments, she was instrumental in starting the First Nations Court of British Columbia in 2006.

Anthropology - BA (1975), LLB (1987)

Sam Dunn

Film Director, Musician, Anthropologist
Banger Films Inc.

Sam is the world's foremost heavy metal anthropologist. His first documentary film, Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005), premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won a Gemini Award. The film launched Banger Films Inc., a film and TV production company specializing in feature documentaries and life concerts, including Juno dominated Iron Maiden: Flight 666 (2009) and Grammy-nominated and Juno-winning Rush: Beyond the Lighted State (2010).

Anthropology - BA (1998)

Jenny Shaw

Education and Employment Counsellor
Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society

"My degree provided me with a strong theoretical background in the concepts of culture and inequality which I apply in my job every day. My focus on the anthropology of children and youth also provided me tools to think about the diverse ways in which childhood is practiced and negotiated transnationally. My degree also gave me a strong set of methodological tools and ethics for working with diverse groups of youth and has enabled me to become a full-time youth worker with an amazing job at a local non-profit."

Anthropology - BA (2007), MA (2010)