three students talking at a table

Anthropology

Anthropology is the comparative study of the cultural, material, biological, and social life of humans all over the world and throughout human history. The real-world application of theoretical inquiry and empirical research applied to contemporary issues is a hallmark of the Department of Anthropology at UBC. The Department offers honours, major, and minor undergraduate programs in Anthropology.

Get experience at UBC

Building your career takes more than attending academic lectures. Get involved with research and complement your studies with relevant research and applied experiences. Whether you choose one of the experiences listed below or one of the many other great opportunities available, you’ll learn new things, make new friends, network, and set yourself apart. It all counts.

Go Global

Imagine student life in Melbourne; passing by vibrant street art on your way to class in the morning, and watching the sunset on the beach with friends in the evening. Whether you end up studying Māori  culture in New Zealand, take part in an archeological dig in China, or contribute to community-based research in Nguruma Village, Tanzania, you can immerse yourself in the languages and cultures of another part of the world all while finishing your degree. From exchange to internships and global seminars, check out the range of international experiences.

Our recommended exchange destinations for Anthropology students include, but are not limited to:

Asia

Australia

Europe

UK

Chinese University of Hong Kong

Sophia University (Japan)

Seoul National

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University of Singapore

Australian National University

MacquarieUniversity

University of Melbourne

University of Auckland

University of Canterbury

University of Otago

Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS)

University of Iceland 

Universiteit Leiden (Netherlands)

Lunds Universitet (Sweden)

Uppsala Universitet (Sweden)

University of Aberdeen

University of Birmingham

University of Bristol

University of Manchester

University of Sussex

University of Edinburgh

Arts Co-op Program

Put your language skills and cultural knowledge to work for you. Gaining paid, full-time co-op experience will help you explore careers in non-profits and community organizations, arts organizations, education, government, and the private sector with employers across Canada and abroad. Graduate with career skills, experience, and a network of professional contacts that will give you a competitive edge after graduation.

Arts Internship Program

Build a career while you are studying through part-time, unpaid internships. Exciting internships are being created in local museums, galleries and culturally diverse non-profit and social service organizations like the Vancouver Rent Bank or the Chinese Cultural Centre. Apply your valuable intercultural understanding and language skills to the world of work and gain industry contacts along the way.

Community experience

Work and learn in community settings like non-profits and inner city schools. Take a course with a community-based experiential learning (CBEL) component and develop an understanding of community contexts and the systemic factors underlying community needs. Whether it’s a course or signing up for Trek & Reading Week placements, or a grant project in community, you’ll build skills in real-world settings and make invaluable connections with people in community.

Arts Mentoring

Join the tri-mentoring program and introduce yourself to the professional world! Initiate and maintain professional relationships with industry and faculty mentors who specialized in Anthropology.

Student Directed Seminars

The Student Directed Seminars program provides upper-year undergraduate students (in 3rd year or later) the opportunity to propose, coordinate, and lead their own 3-credit seminar class with a small group of peers on a topic not currently offered at UBC-Vancouver. Each seminar brings together a group of highly-motivated students that explore and investigate a topic through learning activities including group discussions, research papers, presentations, guest lectures, applied problem-solving, and Community Service Learning. This is a fantastic opportunity for Arts students to share their passion for a topic, as well as build key skills in the areas of facilitation, time management, peer-to-peer learning, and more.

Field Schools

Choose from an urban ethnographic field school (ANTH 480) or an archaeological field school in either British Columbia or China (ANTH 306). Both courses offer hands-on learning experiences essential for training as an ethnographer or archaeologist.

Research-based courses

Students in anthropology courses have numerous opportunities to participate in and advance their own research with facilities, classroom-based courses, field courses, the honours program, and opportunities within and beyond the department.

Using your degree

Our students gain an in-depth understanding of human relationships in a variety of contexts, with access to outstanding resources and fieldwork opportunities. Working in teams and developing their own leadership skills, our students gain an understanding of cross-cultural issues, academic training in observation and research, and the ability to assess and organize information quickly, skills that are valued by government and industry.

Career possibilities

Cultural Resource Manager

Provides expertise in areas such as archaeological assessment & mitigation, heritage resource planning, cultural heritage conservation, site interpretation & development to provide information to governments or private organizations.

International Aid/Development Worker

International aid/development workers focus on meeting the needs of people and communities in the developing world. Many work on development projects in fields such as education, sanitation, health, agriculture and urban/rural/small business development.

Other Careers: 

Anthropologist
Public Health / Disaster Planning
Environment & Natural Resources
Business Advocacy
Information Technology Manager
Organizational Development
Social Impact Assessment
International Development
Market Analyst
Policy Analyst
Museum/Gallery Assistant
Heritage Coordinator
Cultural Resource Manager
Archaeological Technician
Rural Development Officer
Art Conservator/Technician
Community Development Officer
Multiculturalism Educator
Cultural Artifact Specialist
Fundraiser / Philanthropy
Cultural/Ethnographic Researcher
Preservation/Restoration Specialist
Journals & Microforms Assistant
District Aboriginal Principal
Professor
Aboriginal Enhancement Support Worker
Spatial Information Analyst
Urban Planner
Communications Coordinator

Academic possibilities

An Anthropology degree prepares students for further study in a variety of fields including:

Anthropology
Art History
Curatorial or Archival Studies
Education
First Nations Studies
Human Development/Learning/Culture
Law
Planning
Social Work
Sociology

Alumni profiles

Vana Babic - BA 2005

Just three credits shy of completing her Political Science major Vana made the switch to CENES and learned a very important life lesson, which is to always follow your passion. Vana loved everything she learned from the Scandinavian plays, Italian movies to great German literature.  The courses provided for a great balance between school and work-life. Today Vana is continuing to follow her passion by working in television for a NBC affiliate as an Account Executive. She is also writing a novel that will draw on what she learned during her studies in CENES at UBC.

Aisha Jamal - BA (Honours) 2002

Aisha Jamal graduated from UBC with a double major in German Studies and International Relations. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto’s Department of German Literature and Languages. During her studies, she produced and directed her first documentary entitled Dolls and Bombs, which premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival. Aisha is currently holding the position of Assistant Professor of German in the Modern Languages and Literatures Department of Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, as well as teaching Media Arts at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. 

Resources