Employment Prospects


Ethnoscientists work in the same places as other social and life scientists—universities, research institutes, government (National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, etc.) and non-government organizations, museums, and alternative medicine providers. Sometimes ethnoscientists become independent consultants. Others, especially enthobiologists, work for the biotech/pharmaceutical industry developing new products modeled on how indigenous peoples use animals or plants—for example, teas, cosmetics and drugs.

Starting Out

While working on your degree, be sure to communicate your interests to your professors. They may be aware of opportunities at the university or elsewhere. You might be able to participate in a university research project or become a research assistant or teaching fellow. Professional organizations are another important resource when it comes to finding a job. If you network with others in your field, you have a good chance of hearing about job opportunities. Also, organizations might post information on jobs, internships, or apprenticeships in their journals or on their Web sites.

There is strong competition for academic positions. Most students begin their job search while finishing their graduate degrees. Your first position is likely to be an instructor in general courses in anthropology, sociology, history, biology, or botany, depending on your specialty. In order to advance to higher ranks of professor, you will be required to do research, during which you can focus on your ethnoscience specialty. Because research opportunities are difficult to come by, you might have to create your own opportunities, perhaps by proposing research projects.

Advancement Prospects

Ethnoscientists advance by producing high-quality research and publishing articles or books. They might come to be known as experts in their field. They might become the head of a research project. The advancement path of ethnoscientists who teach in universities is instructor to assistant professor to associate professor to full professor. A full professor might eventually become a department head.

Tips for Entry

Subscribe to the Chronicle of Higher Education ( to learn about trends in higher education and to access job listings. You should also visit and for job listings.

Try to land a position as an instructor at a college or university.

Conduct information interviews with ethnoscientists and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field.

Read the following publications to learn more about the field:

  • Ethnohistory:
  • Journal of Ethnopharmacology:
  • Language:
  • Journal of Ethnobiology:
  • Ethnomusicology:
  • Society for Ethnomusicology Student News:
  • Economic Botany:

Use social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on industry developments, network, and learn about job openings. For example, the International Society for Ethnopharmacology, has a Facebook page.