Career Options

Cultural anthropology prepares students for a variety of successful professional careers. Many graduates go on to professional school in law, medicine, public policy, social work, or business. Others go directly into journalism, teaching, advertising, and non-profit organizations, often with an international or multicultural focus. All of these fields place a high premium on issues of cultural understanding and diversity, and a Cultural Anthropology degree offers a unique set of resources and perspectives to bring to a professional career.

Some majors from the Duke Cultural Anthropology Department have pursued masters or doctoral degrees in anthropology, and have been accepted into some of the finest graduate programs in the country. Because it offers a critical understanding of vital questions of identity and society, the major serves as a valuable foundation for graduate study in other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including economics, literature, history, political science, psychology, and sociology.  

Cultural anthropology majors are encouraged to browse through the Anthropology Alumni folder available in the departmental office. It includes responses received from anthropology alumni to a letter sent by the department inquiring about their post-graduation experiences in the job market and the relevance of their degree in anthropology in current or past professions. These accounts narrate the usefulness of an anthropology major and also provide advice to current majors seeking professional careers. Also available are alumni career profiles of anthropology majors prepared by the Duke placement office, which include alumni's current jobs and contact numbers for those interested in discussing professional careers in general and/or opportunities in specific professions. Cultural anthropology majors are also encouraged to discuss their career plans and concerns with their individual advisors and faculty with whom they have worked closely.

Anthropologist, doctor, and humanitarian Paul Farmer ('82) is an alumnus of our department.  In this video, he discusses the importance of his Duke Cultural Anthropology education, and its role in shaping his acclaimed career as a medical anthropologist (Harvard Medical School).

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    • Cultural Anthropology major Nia-Malika Henderson ('91) is a White House reporter for the Washington Post

    • Eric Oberstein Producing

Music producer Eric Oberstein graduated with a Cultural Anthropology major in 2007

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