What Are the Different Types of Anthropology Internships?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 03 June 2018
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There are many different types of anthropology internships in the world, but not all anthropology internships relate directly to doing fieldwork or research in this field. In addition to working in the field as an intern, there are many library positions, museum positions, and even technology positions that could be considered valuable to an anthropologist. Volunteering with charitable organizations that require research of an anthropological nature can be a very unique type of unpaid internship. It is often necessary to compromise on the title of the internship in order to obtain a desirable position where a person will gain applicable skills.

Some of the most obvious anthropology internships involve working with professional archaeologists at dig sites. Cultural anthropologists often do not require interns, but archaeologists who work with physical objects can often find value in interns. In certain cases, a highly promising student might be able to secure an internship working directly for a professional anthropologist as an assistant. Many universities work with anthropology students in order to find appropriate and stimulating internships that directly relate to their interests, and some universities even have their own internship programs.


Many anthropology internships are located in libraries and museums. Archives of anthropologically valuable objects are often located in these institutions, and interns may work cataloging or assisting visitors. In many cases, this type of internship is supplemented with educational opportunities and the possibility of doing research. This makes the internship more appealing to students and differentiates the work from other types of office internships.

Anthropology internships should provide opportunities valuable to an anthropologist. Individuals are often interested in very specific areas of anthropology, and looking into opportunities that prioritize not the anthropological aspect but the area in which someone will work may be a better plan. An anthropology student can turn any type of social research into a valuable anthropological project. This means that volunteering with various organizations in a person's target area can be considered an anthropology internship in some cases.

One important thing to consider when thinking about the different types of anthropology internships is that the line between an unpaid internship and a volunteer position is highly blurred in this field. Anthropological work is often used to help people, which often leads to classification as volunteering, and many unpaid museum positions are thought to further human knowledge and are therefore thought of as volunteer positions as well. Just because a position is not called an internship does not mean that it cannot provide valuable knowledge and skills for future work.



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