Is it a bad idea to study for a career I know there aren't many jobs in? Arch/Anth

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UnderPressure16
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I really want to do Anthropology and archaeology at uni, or maybe go into forensic anthropology. I've known this was something i wanted to do for years, and I'm a hard worker so i was always sure I'd be successful. I would really love to work in a museum, or do research, and i love writing so i could see myself loving that aspect of the career. Its something I'm really interested in and know I would love studying it, but every time I bring it up to a teacher or another student, they say its a terrible idea, a waste of time, that ill never get a job. My careers advisor at school even said it was "Unrealistic" and she couldn't help or advise me. Everyone is dismissive and starts talking about some other job like accounting and how I'd make more money doing that. I even had a horrible experience on here when i was asking for advice on applying for arch and anth at Oxford where i was harassed by an anonymous person about this topic. All this discouragement has really upset me, like being told my interests and dreams are stupid.
I really don't care about the money side of things, but all of the discouragement has made me doubtful about this career path. The only reservation I have about it is what people have told me about how I'd never get a job and I'd be wasting my life. Other than that, I know its something I'd love and be really good at.
Anyway, can someone who did/is doing anthropology, archaeology or something similar please weigh in, tell me about what kinds of job prospects there are and generally give me some advice? Are these people right? Is it stupid to study what I'm passionate about instead of aiming for a secure career?
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bejie
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If it is something that you really want to do then I will recommend you could go for as long as you are competitive. I will recommend that you attend a top uni oxford/cam like you said so even if you cannot get a job as a archeologist etc, employers may still take you for alternative jobs that are linked. If you are unable to go to oxford/cam then ill will probs do a duel degree like archeogy plus history or English, so you can gain more transferable skills if you cannot find a job! so many students take up other arts and all of my friends are going into arts degrees too ! (:
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ajj2000
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Its not stupid to study courses like anthropology/ archeology etc. I doubt its any less employable than other generic academic types degrees like history, biology, philosophy etc. Less employable than some of the more mathematical courses (and healthcare type degrees also) - but these are really not for everyone.

May I ask what type of school you go to and in what sort of area? Your careers advisors advice sounds a little ill informed. While I suspect its very, very tough to get a job in academic archeology its a very interesting thing to study. As with most degrees you would want to think about a variety of careers at an early stage to figure out what might suit you.
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UnderPressure16
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Its not stupid to study courses like anthropology/ archeology etc. I doubt its any less employable than other generic academic types degrees like history, biology, philosophy etc. Less employable than some of the more mathematical courses (and healthcare type degrees also) - but these are really not for everyone.

May I ask what type of school you go to and in what sort of area? Your careers advisors advice sounds a little ill informed. While I suspect its very, very tough to get a job in academic archeology its a very interesting thing to study. As with most degrees you would want to think about a variety of careers at an early stage to figure out what might suit you.
My school is a very poor performing school in a rough area. I guess it isn't surprising that the advisor is ill informed.
thank you for the advice
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ajj2000
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(Original post by UnderPressure16)
My school is a very poor performing school in a rough area. I guess it isn't surprising that the advisor is ill informed.
thank you for the advice
Ah, I had sorta guessed.....

Here's the thing. Most good graduate level jobs and careers don't require specific degrees. They also don't tend to have job titles which align with the degree names even when they are linked - so many people don't see what these degrees might lead to.
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becausethenight
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No. You will have plenty of career options as said even if not in a specific field. Have a look at https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-...e/anthropology. The fact that you are targeting very good unis is a sign you'll probably be fine as well - Oxford has very high postgrad employment/further study rates (https://discoveruni.gov.uk/course-de...LV64/FullTime/)

More to the point becoming a museum curator or academic anthropologist is really not the most unrealisitic dream out there - think of how many 18yos want to be a YouTuber or footballer! I would go for it, do your research, find out what you need to do, and just give it a go - if it fails you'll have an excellent degree to fall back on for loads of graduate careers.

Someone has to become a museum director, right - why not you?
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DuckDodgers
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You can help yourself a lot by doing work experience during your degree. Typically this might be volunteering at a museum or other heritage organisation a few times a week. Most of them tend to hire internally when it comes to full-time hires later on. It can take a few years to get an 'in' but once you're in it's a lot easier. I've known people who've done it so it's more than possible. Some of them balanced part-time roles after their degree but I'd advise getting started a lot earlier.

In terms of writing, it's the same. Many of those organisations would be happy for you to provide guest articles that can go up on the website. They don't have a lot of money so are usually very open to contributions.

Edit - I'd advise applying to universities in areas where heritage exists but maybe not London as it's very competitive, even for volunteer roles. Birmingham + Manchester would be best IMO.
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chazwomaq
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It's fine to study a degree in such a subject. However, don't be surprised if you don't land a career in this area. You might, but you should be prepared not to. If you are happy to study for three years, then have a career in something different, go for it.
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UnderPressure16
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(Original post by becausethenight)
No. You will have plenty of career options as said even if not in a specific field. Have a look at https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-...e/anthropology. The fact that you are targeting very good unis is a sign you'll probably be fine as well - Oxford has very high postgrad employment/further study rates (https://discoveruni.gov.uk/course-de...LV64/FullTime/)

More to the point becoming a museum curator or academic anthropologist is really not the most unrealisitic dream out there - think of how many 18yos want to be a YouTuber or footballer! I would go for it, do your research, find out what you need to do, and just give it a go - if it fails you'll have an excellent degree to fall back on for loads of graduate careers.

Someone has to become a museum director, right - why not you?
thank you, this is really encouraging
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Sandtrooper
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(Original post by UnderPressure16)
I really want to do Anthropology and archaeology at uni, or maybe go into forensic anthropology. I've known this was something i wanted to do for years, and I'm a hard worker so i was always sure I'd be successful. I would really love to work in a museum, or do research, and i love writing so i could see myself loving that aspect of the career. Its something I'm really interested in and know I would love studying it, but every time I bring it up to a teacher or another student, they say its a terrible idea, a waste of time, that ill never get a job. My careers advisor at school even said it was "Unrealistic" and she couldn't help or advise me. Everyone is dismissive and starts talking about some other job like accounting and how I'd make more money doing that. I even had a horrible experience on here when i was asking for advice on applying for arch and anth at Oxford where i was harassed by an anonymous person about this topic. All this discouragement has really upset me, like being told my interests and dreams are stupid.
I really don't care about the money side of things, but all of the discouragement has made me doubtful about this career path. The only reservation I have about it is what people have told me about how I'd never get a job and I'd be wasting my life. Other than that, I know its something I'd love and be really good at.
Anyway, can someone who did/is doing anthropology, archaeology or something similar please weigh in, tell me about what kinds of job prospects there are and generally give me some advice? Are these people right? Is it stupid to study what I'm passionate about instead of aiming for a secure career?
Hey there, I'm an Egyptology graduate, and a lot of my friends did archaeology and/or anthropology as well.

So, I will say that job prospects aren't the best, but, if you get work experience, and put the effort in, you can do well. You just have to be very proactive in this field. Out of the seven people who did Egyptology with me, only two have what you would consider 'graduate level' jobs, i.e. jobs which you need a degree for, but two went onto further study, so time will tell in their cases.

My friends who got jobs in the archaeology field made sure to get experience through the course, and off of their own backs. One is a GIS specialist, and I also know four more working for specialist archaeological units across the UK. At the same time, however, I know those who are working in supermarkets or as cleaners, and some of them have First Class degrees, too. I also know of people who've done the degree and then gone onto completely different fields, like law or consulting, so you're not boxing yourself in. I will say that you should spend the holidays doing something productive, whether it's working or getting involved in an excavation, once you're at university. There's a strong correlation with students who do this and get good jobs after, whether it's in the field or more widely.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me! I'm more than happy to help.
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