Careers

In the 2017 QS Top Universities World Rankings by Subject, archaeology at Oxford was ranked number 1 in the world for metrics including employer confidence in the quality of graduates producedOur alumni hold posts in universities, museums, galleries and heritage organisations around the world. The BA Archaeology and Anthropology degree equips our students with a unique set of knowledge and skills and a deep appreciation for the diversity of human cultural experience which is essential for a successful career in today's globalised world. This is reflected in the variety of careers members of the School have gone on to succeed in in other fields including: advertising, conservation, television, journalism, chemistry, civil service and the legal profession.

Get started on your career while you are studying at Oxford

As both Oxford and our university have such a rich cultural life, there are many varied opportunities to build experience, including exclusive opportunities for our BA Archaeology and Anthropology students. For example 

  • As a student at Oxford you can apply to one of five internship programmes which provide research and professional work experience placements exclusively to Oxford students, with adjunct funding and support.
  • Apply to the internships at the Ashmolean Museum (offered exclusively to students taking BA Arch & Anth)
  • Join a community project. Start by exploring www.oxonarts.info
  • Interested in making documentaries? Explore the Oxford Broadcasting Association to work on student films
  • Interested in working in museums or galleries? Sign up for volunteering at www.museums.ox.ac.uk
  • Get involved with Oxford Preservation Trust projects locally. 
  • Confident at IT skills such as blogging and website design? Then why not think about creating a heritage-style 'audio guide' for visitors to your college or a record of street art in Oxford? Don't know how to build a website or an app? Just ask Lynda.com and sign in with your Single Sign-on to access hundreds of 'how-to', bite-size video tutorials. 
  • Become a non-accredited member (student/affiliate) of the CIfA - Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
  • Volunteer or apply to be an intern at the Royal Anthropological Institute

Some helpful hints to get you started in your job search

Your degree in Archaeology and Anthropology at Oxford has empowered you with a unique set of knowledge and skills that is essential for a successful career in today's globalised world. The Royal Anthropological Institute has some very helpful advice on how to sell yourself to future employers, especially to those who might not be fully aware of what it is an archaeologist or anthropologist actually does.

The University of Oxford Careers Service www.careers.ox.ac.uk provides free information and impartial advice on any careers-related topic - from choosing a course of further study to making job applications, and from deciding what career would suit you to finding opportunities to develop your skills. As a student (or alumni) at Oxford you can access Career Connect (the password-protected area of their website using your Single Sign-on password). There you can book appointments with their advisers, download Wetfeet guides, search their extensive database of job vacancies and internships, and, browse their calendar of upcoming careers events. With nearly a third of Oxford's leavers continuing into further study, the Careers Service's website also includes guidance specifically focused on issues to consider when looking at these options. 

The Arts and Heritage sector has a huge range of roles, some artistic (designers, performers, artists, writers) and many more using organisational leadership and operational skills (sometimes known as 'arts management/administration'). In addition, there are teaching or training roles ('arts education'), jobs using research or academic skills ('curatorial/specialist' roles), and those requiring technical skills (from art conservation to surveying or designing computer games). It is important to note that employers in arts and heritage often rely on you to find them, and do not tend to have big graduate recruitment campaigns. Regularly check organisation websites, such as sector-specific job sites and government bodies such as: Arts Jobs, Arts Professional, BAJR, CADW, Heritage Daily, Heritage Update, Historic England, Historic Scotland, Museum Jobs, National Trust, etc. 

One of the key strengths of your archaeology degree is the inter-disciplinary nature of the skillset you acquire studying this subject so check sites for related fields such as: UK Geography Jobs, careers in forensic science, careers in chemistry, and, Geology, Geoscience and Earthscience jobs. Did your research lean towards Archaeobotany? Then keep an eye on Earthworks for opportunities in plant science, horticulture and botany. Furthermore, keep an eye on our own School websites and other relevant departments and bodies within Oxford, for example the Bodleian which regularly offers Graduate Training Programmes for posts such as archivists. See also the job pages of the National Archives

Remember you should not just consider the big names, there are hundreds of smaller organisations working regionally which can present less competition - research organisations (museums, galleries, archaeological units, small start-up IT firms) in your local area.

Many archaeology and anthropology students begin their career in a different sector and move across having gained relevant skills (e.g. accounting, marketing or teaching). Consider organisations and businesses which provide services and support to the Arts and Heritage world: art investment, specialist legal and insurance firms, publishing firms, travel companies, PR firms, specialist IT companies, marketing companies, training companies, public sector bodies and charities.

Useful sites for searching for archaeological fieldwork opportunities and commercial archaeology jobs

School of Archaeology > Current Staff & Students > Careers in Archaeology