Bachelor’s in Anthropology Program Guide

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by Marisa Upson
Published on May 28, 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Defined as the study of humanity, anthropology encompasses diverse aspects of the human experience, including language, physical evolution, behavior, religion, culture, society, and archaeology. Anthropologists analyze both vast sociocultural differences and the similarities that make us human.

While many people think anthropologists spend their time visiting remote cultures, many of today's anthropologists work in corporate America. Companies, such as Microsoft, Intel, and Google, turn to anthropologists to help them understand why people do what they do. Because of their understanding of human behavior, anthropologists can help companies define their target audience and better serve their clients.

Graduates also find careers in academia, government, and nonprofit organizations. Others go on to pursue graduate degrees in anthropology, law, health sciences, and social justice.

Should I Get a Bachelor's in Anthropology?

Students interested in the evolution of the human race and the diverse cultures, customs, and beliefs that define societies may find a bachelor's degree in anthropology both rewarding and enlightening.

Students interested in the evolution of the human race and the diverse cultures, customs, and beliefs that define societies may find a bachelor's degree in anthropology both rewarding and enlightening. Some learners use this degree as a stepping stone to graduate school, while others directly enter the workforce.

The skills students acquire in this program—such as qualitative and quantitative research, statistical analysis, writing, and cross-cultural understanding—can lead to careers in numerous fields. For example, graduates may enter the workforce in entry-level fieldwork or research positions, as museum technicians or market research analysts, or in advocacy and social work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 11% employment growth for museum technicians and 18% job growth for market research analysts between 2019 and 2029, well above the average of 4% growth for all occupations.

An on-campus or online bachelor's degree in anthropology requires about 120 credits and takes four years of full-time study to complete. Some online accelerated programs can lead to faster completion times. Students pursuing careers as anthropologists or archeologists may consider an integrated accelerated program that leads to both a bachelor's and master's degree in five years.

What Will I Learn in an Anthropology Bachelor's Program?

Students may pursue a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS) degree in anthropology. Most BS programs require additional science courses and appeal to students considering graduate studies or careers in health, forensic investigation, or science. Alternatively, a BA offers a broad educational foundation with an emphasis on the humanities.

The two tracks share a core curriculum. Typical courses include human origins and evolutions, cultural anthropology, anthropology in the modern world, and indigenous ecologies. Most programs culminate in a capstone experience, incorporate research, and feature hands-on field opportunities, all of which help students gain experience.

Because of the broad nature of anthropology, most programs offer concentrations that allow students to align their education with their career and academic goals. In addition to the concentrations listed below, schools may offer specializations in areas of environmental sustainability, geospatial technologies, global health, and social action.


Forensic Anthropology

This concentration teaches the skills students need to identify human remains and possible cause of death. Forensic anthropologists may work in areas hit by catastrophic events or in the criminal justice system.


Archeology focuses on the material remains of past and present societies, as well as the use of artifacts to hypothesize about beliefs and lifestyles. In the U.S., indigenous archeology focuses on Native American sites, history, and culture.

Sociocultural Anthropology

Sociocultural anthropology explores human behavior, beliefs, and customs from hunter-gatherer societies to today's consumers. Ethnographic research leads to a deeper understanding of the community's social organization, practices, and values.

Biological Anthropology

Biological anthropology studies the evolution of humans and their ability to adapt to different environments. This concentration includes the study of primates, fossils, and human remains.

Linguistic Anthropology

This concentration focuses on language, its evolution, and its role in a community's view of the world. Linguistic anthropology relates to both verbal and nonverbal forms of communication.


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What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Anthropology?

An online bachelor's degree in anthropology prepares students to work in positions that require cross-cultural awareness and effective communication skills in diverse communities. Because of this expertise and other in-demand skills, graduates can find opportunities in various fields and industries.

Some graduates attain positions as field technicians, research assistants, and museum technicians. Others opt for careers in sales and marketing, community service, or research and development, working for nonprofits, corporations, government agencies, or educational institutions.

Popular Career Paths

Social Science Analyst

Social science analysts collect and analyze data regarding society to find solutions to social issues. Most analysts work for nonprofits, government agencies, and universities.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts study market trends and consumer behavior. By gathering and analyzing data, they help companies define their target market and increase sales.

Museum Technician

Museum technicians handle the preparation, care, and collection of items for museum exhibitions. They may also create displays and maintain detailed records for each item.

Social and Community Service Manager

Social and community service managers oversee community programs, suggesting improvements and demonstrating their effectiveness. Some focus on supporting people with specific challenges or in certain demographics.

Research Assistant

These professionals support researchers in various projects. For example, possible duties may include administering tests or questionnaires, collecting and tabulating data, and preparing material for reports.

Popular Continued Education Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With a Bachelor's in Anthropology?

According to PayScale, individuals with a BA in anthropology earn an average annual salary of $60,618. However, salaries vary considerably based on position, location, and industry. For instance, the BLS reports that market research analysts earn a median annual wage of $65,810, with those working in finance and insurance earning a median salary of $73,800.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Anthropology Programs

Is a bachelor's in anthropology worth it?

For students interested in the human experience, a bachelor's degree in anthropology can lead to a fulfilling career. Students learn essential skills, such as effective communication, cross-cultural understanding, and critical thinking, that translate to numerous job opportunities.

How much does it cost to get a bachelor's in anthropology?

College Board reports that in-state students attending public college pay an average annual tuition of $10,560, while out-of-state students pay $27,020 for the 2020-2021 school year. The average yearly tuition for private colleges comes in at $37,650. Some online programs offer reduced tuition rates and no out-of-state fees.

Is anthropology a hard major?

A major in anthropology requires students to study diverse communities and question how their history, beliefs, language, and customs define their society. This type of study requires an open, unassuming mind and an analytical nature unafraid of statistics and research.

What are the four major fields of anthropology?

Cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and archaeology make up the four major fields of anthropology.

What's the difference between a bachelor's in anthropology and a bachelor's in philosophy?

Anthropology studies human diversity by observing languages, customs, beliefs, and artifacts of societies worldwide. Philosophy attempts to understand the world through logic and reason. Philosophy students research and think about the big philosophical questions, such as religion, ethics, morality, the nature of free will, and the existence of the soul.

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