Medical anthropology and sociology is a dynamic field and one of the fastest growing specialisations in social science. There is an increasing demand for professionals who are able to work in multidisciplinary, problem-driven research and health interventions.
Specific career examples from alumni of the Medical Anthropology and Sociology programme are:
An education in the social sciences will impart a broad range of skills that easily translate into a multitude of careers. Below you can read about the career path of an alumna in the MSc Medical Anthropology and Sociology.
When it became time to choose a specific focus in my third year of Anthropology, I did not hesitate for a moment: Applied Medical Anthropology. It covers current health issues, how this is dealt with and how we can learn from this to improve the lives of people.
I gained skills in executing applied research, and expanded my knowledge on health (system) theories, and sexual and reproductive health and rights and beside that I was lucky to do my Master's research for a Pilipino NGO. After my studies, I was engaged in a number of research programmes, both in the Netherlands and abroad. I started at the Medical Anthropology Unit. Then, I was able to join the JPO research programme (for young professionals) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a research with the Royal Tropical Institute.
After that, my CV was strong enough to apply for a research position with Artsen zonder Grenzen, for which I was approached through my network. At a certain moment I felt the urge to be more involved in the implementation of programmes. I was ‘just’ talking to people and analysing data behind my computer. Through my network I found work as a program manager with War Child Plan Netherlands and later with Rutgers WPF . Whenever needs assessments needed to be done, results ought to be researched, or progress reports had to to be written, I was quick to volunteer. Before I knew it, I was into PMEL and combining research and programming.
Currently, as a Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (PMEL) Coordinator at the international program of Rutgers WPF, my job perfectly combines two of the reasons why I studied Anthropology in the first place: the implementation of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) development programmes and research.
This is precisely what PMEL is about. It asks questions during the entire project cycle, from the development of a programme, until the final evaluation. During the design phase, I support my colleagues at the programme, the department and partner organisations in the South to get clarity about the objectives of new programmes: What is it that we want to reach? How do we want to reach it? With what result will we be satisfied? And how are we going to measure this?
During the implementation of programmes, PMEL officers are involved in keeping track of the progress within the program. Are we working according to plan, and why or why not? Do our activities lead to our planned results? What can we learn from our insights so far, and do we need to adapt or planning or strategies?
Measuring results in development programmes and in sexuality programmes is challenging. It requires creativity, skills, flexibility and pragmatism. Results are often stimulating, sometimes frustrating, but whenever good or bad, by reflecting on it, we learn and improve.
My advice to students would be: search opportunities during your studies to gain a diversity of experiences and academic courses, which makes you suitable to more jobs, and helps increasing your network, which is absolutely invaluable.
To support you in your career goals, the University offers a variety of resources.
Twice a year the GSSS hosts a Career Event, where you can meet organisation representatives and alumni, and receive helpful tips and feedback about searching for a job as a graduate.
The career advisers at the UvA Student Careers Centre can help students with information, workshops and individual vocational counselling to find out what you want, get insight into your capabilities and competencies, make choices and improve your application skills in order to achieve your goals.
With an increasing number of international students each year, the UvA is truly an international university. UvA graduates from all over the world find their way to interesting careers, whether in the Netherlands or abroad. The Student Careers Centre is specialised in advising international (non-Dutch) UvA graduates about job seeking in the international labour market.