Best Online Anthropology Programs of 2021

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September 21, 2021

Edited by Jordan Stewart-Rozema
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Anthropology involves the study of humans and society. It covers human evolution, culture, politics, religion, and social transformation. A bachelor's in anthropology can be a great degree for any learner who wants to take on the ambitious study of humanity itself.

A bachelor's in anthropology traditionally lasts four years, and this degree prepares students for careers in anthropology, archeology, museum studies, and public sector or community work. Average tuition costs for a four-year degree can range from $10,560 per year for public schools to $37,650 annually for private schools, according to the College Board.

Online programs give students greater flexibility and independence. Distance learners can enroll in part-time programs, for instance, or graduate more quickly with accelerated programs.

If you're interested in earning an online bachelor's in anthropology, read about the best programs in this guide. Plus, learn about the career outlook and salary potential for graduates with this degree.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Anthropology Program?

Like many other bachelor's degrees, online bachelor's in anthropology programs typically require 120 credits. For traditional, on-campus students, these degrees usually take about four years to complete.

However, online bachelor's degrees may require more or less time depending on the program format. Distance learners can shave a semester or year off through an accelerated degree, but part-time students may need an extra year or two before they can graduate.

Anthropology can be broken down into three general areas: sociocultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and archeology. Some anthropology programs specialize in one specific area, while others allow students to choose their concentration. Some schools may offer linguistic anthropology as well.

Anthropology programs teach students how to think critically about human societies and cultures around the world. Courses usually demand plenty of reading and writing. Learners also practice quantitative and qualitative methodologies so they can carry out research projects during their studies. Online students may need to complete some in-person, on-location requirements depending on the program.

Those who specialize in archeology may participate in excavation fieldwork, and individuals interested in museum studies may visit exhibitions in their local area. Some students may also take advantage of internships.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Anthropology Program?

Anthropological Theory

Students typically take this course early on, as it introduces them to the fundamental theories within the discipline of anthropology. The course covers various anthropological theories as they have evolved since the 1800s.

Ethnographic Methods

Another fundamental course in anthropology majors' curricula, this course explores ethnography, or the systematic study of individual cultures. Students learn about this area of social science research through both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Fieldwork

Many anthropology programs require students to engage in anthropological fieldwork, during which learners carry out their own research project. Students typically propose their own fieldwork projects based on their interests and carry them out under faculty supervision.

Social and Cultural Anthropology

This course examines the evolution of cultures across the world and also considers social frameworks in different cultures. Students also learn about the economic and political aspects of international cultures.

Museum Studies

Students who wish to work in the museum industry may benefit from this course, which covers topics like museum preservation, research, and education. This course also goes over the ethical considerations that come with curating and managing museums. Students often visit museums as part of this course.

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What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Anthropology Program?

Generally speaking, the application process for traditional and online bachelor's in anthropology programs does not differ much. However, distance learning applicants applying as nontraditional or transfer students might need to submit additional documents. You can find a list of the most common application requirements below.

Application

First, you must fill out the application form itself. Distance learning programs require prospective students to complete their forms online. Candidates provide basic information about themselves, including their educational background and extracurricular or volunteer activities.

Test Scores

Most undergraduate anthropology programs, including both online and on-campus programs, require prospective students to submit test scores from college entrance exams. Colleges usually accept either the ACT or SAT. You may need to take these exams several times to earn your best possible score. When you achieve a satisfactory score, you should send those results to your potential colleges.

Letters of Recommendation

Often colleges ask applicants for 2-3 recommendation letters from previous teachers. You might ask a previous high school teacher or college professor if you apply as a transfer student. If you're a nontraditional student, check to see if a previous employer can vouch for you instead. Asking for letters of recommendation can seem intimidating, so ask a teacher with whom you have a good rapport. Make sure you give them plenty of time as well.

Essays

You can expect to write at least one college application essay when applying for a bachelor's program, although some schools require two or more. Try to tell a story that demonstrates your potential as a student or shows your passion for the field of anthropology. Ask a trusted source to proofread the essay before attaching it to your online application.

Official Transcripts

Admissions departments like to see how you've performed academically, so they ask for previous transcripts. Submit your official high school transcripts instead of unofficial copies. If you took dual-credit courses or have already completed a year or two of college, submit those college transcripts as well. Make sure to check whether your school accepts transfer credit first.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Anthropology Degree?

Career Outlook

When anthropology majors graduate with their bachelor's degrees, they enter a relatively small but growingfield. About 8,500 professionals worked as anthropologists and archeologists in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Although anthropology might not be the most popular major or field, the BLS projects the profession could add about 600 positions from 2020 to 2030, which translates to a 7% growth rate. Plus, anthropologists and archeologists earned a median annual salary of $66,130 in 2020.

That said, anthropology majors don't necessarily need to go into the anthropology field. This degree equips students with critical thinking and writing skills in addition to expertise in human social and cultural structures. As such, graduates may find jobs at museums or in the public or nonprofit sectors.

Career Paths

Anthropologist

Professional anthropologists study human societies and cultures around the world and throughout history. They often become experts in one specific area, and they may use methodologies like observation and interviews to inform their research. Although some anthropology positions require a master's degree or Ph.D., candidates with undergraduate degrees can land jobs as research assistants

Median Annual Salary: $66,130


Archeologist

Some anthropology degrees allow students to specialize in archeology, or the field of excavating remains to study human history and prehistory. They examine and analyze human remains and artifacts from past cultures, often using excavation tools and geographic information systems. Archeologists sometimes need a postgraduate degree to find employment, although bachelor's degree-holders may find jobs as field workers or lab technicians.

Median Annual Salary: $66,130


Museum Technician

Museum technicians care for and preserve artifacts in collections and exhibitions. They display museum objects so that they remain protected and prepare these objects for transport. This job also serves as a stepping stone for individuals who eventually wish to earn a master's degree or Ph.D. and become a museum curator or archivist.

Median Annual Salary: $52,140


Community Health Worker

These professionals must possess expert knowledge in how people approach health issues within a social framework. They identify community health needs and address cultural and other barriers to healthcare services through outreach programs. For anthropologists who study biological or physical anthropology, this job could prove a good fit.

Median Annual Salary: $48,140


Social and Community Service Manager

Since anthropologists study human culture and social structures, they can use their expertise working for nonprofit organizations and government groups that support communities. Social and community service managers supervise these groups, carrying out administrative tasks. These professionals also exercise their writing skills by drawing up proposals for funding.

Median Annual Salary: $69,600


Anthropology Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Since several anthropology and archeology positions require job applicants to hold master's degrees or Ph.D.s, many students go on to apply to graduate school. Graduate learners can usually find a degree that fits their area of expertise, such as ancient Greek and Roman archeology, linguistic anthropology, or museum curation.

Earning an advanced degree can open up additional career options. Some anthropology majors go on to law school, using their critical thinking skills to become attorneys. Others might earn a Ph.D. in anthropology with the goal of becoming a postsecondary teacher. This position involves instructing anthropology at the college level, mentoring individual students, and carrying out and publishing original research.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Anthropology Program?

Cost

When researching bachelor's in anthropology programs, consider the cost. Private schools tend to charge more per credit than public colleges; however, the cost of college isn't just about tuition. The true cost of an online program includes fees, books, and supplies as well. If you attend college in another state, you may need to pay nonresident tuition rates.

Online programs tend to come with less expensive costs since they exclude room and board. Plus, you may be able to apply for scholarships and financial aid to help with the financial burden.

Program Format

Think about what program format best fits your lifestyle. Online bachelor's in anthropology programs may either follow synchronous or asynchronous formats. Synchronous learning may prove best for students who prefer a set schedule and regular engagement with their classmates, while asynchronous programs might better fit the lifestyle of learners with full-time jobs or other responsibilities.

You might also decide between part-time and full-time enrollment, and some colleges offer accelerated bachelor's degrees as well.

Location

Regardless of whether you attend college online or on campus, location is an important factor. High out-of-state tuition rates or fees can limit your options. Additionally, some distance learning anthropology programs may require on-campus visits, fieldwork in the local area, or trips to museums.

Accreditation

The accreditation process evaluates whether colleges and higher education programs offer students a quality education. Employers often look for job applicants with degrees from accredited schools, and graduate schools often only consider candidates with undergraduate degrees from accredited institutions. If you attend an unaccredited program, you may risk losing employment and educational opportunities.

Student Support

Student support services are especially important for online programs, particularly when distance learners do not have regular access to on-campus services. Check whether your school offers college mentorship programs, career services, tutoring, internship opportunities, and alumni connections.

2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Anthropology Programs

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University of Florida-Online true View School Profile Gainesville, FL

UF offers an online bachelor's in anthropology through its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The program incorporates a broad, holistic curriculum from a global perspective. Graduates qualify for a variety of professional roles in academia, research, and government.

The 120-credit program requires a minimum of 34 credits in the anthropology major and at least 18 credits completed at UF. Students may choose to concentrate in a subfield like cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistics, or archeology. The BA in anthropology culminates in a capstone requirement.

UF charges a discounted, per-credit tuition rate for online undergraduate programs based on whether a student resides in or outside of Florida. Online learners enjoy flexible full-time and part-time enrollment options and generous transfer credit policies for previous experience.

University of Central Florida true View School Profile Orlando, FL

UCF's holistic bachelor's in anthropology is rooted in the liberal arts. The online program surveys human history and explores world language, cultures, and religions. Graduates qualify for careers in fields like archaeology, conservation, and anthropology.

Students complete courses asynchronously through UCF's virtual learning platform. The online bachelor's in anthropology is one of more than 20 online degree completion programs at UCF, including anthropology-related programs in fields like history and social sciences.

Applicants must possess at least 60 transferable college credits or meet high school GPA and SAT or ACT requirements. Students with 60 or more transferable college credits or an associate degree must meet English, math, and world language prerequisites and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Arizona State University-Skysong true View School Profile Scottsdale, AZ

ASU's online bachelor's in anthropology explores human evolution through social behavior, culture, language, and biology. The curriculum covers the four primary anthropological subfields: archaeology, bioarchaeology, evolutionary anthropology, and sociocultural anthropology.

ASU offers multiple start dates for the online program. Each online course lasts for 7.5 weeks. The BA in anthropology requires 120 credits over 39 courses, culminating in an anthropology practicum. Students may participate in virtual field trips and access ASU's digital database of fossils and relics.

The faculty includes anthropological researchers, geneticists, and bioarchaeologists. Online learners enjoy resources like 24/7 access to personal counseling services, time management coaching, and technical support.

Oregon State University true View School Profile Corvallis, OR

OSU offers an online bachelor's in anthropology through its nationally renowned School of Liberal Arts. Students can choose a BA or BS degree with a specialization in archaeology, biocultural, cultural/linguistic, or general anthropology. The archaeology option requires some in-person attendance on campus.

The program requires 180 quarter credits and emphasizes core liberal arts and professional skills like communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and independent research. Graduates qualify for diverse careers in fields like education, human services, law, medicine, and business.

OSU assigns a set, per-credit tuition rate for online undergraduate coursework regardless of residency. Distance learners enjoy a choice of multiple start dates throughout the year. The program's culminating capstone course explores anthropology in practice.

University of Houston-Clear Lake true View School Profile Houston, TX

UHCL offers an online bachelor's in anthropology with an accelerated option for full-time students. The BS in anthropology requires completion of 120 credits. Students who take consecutive courses over the fall, spring, and summer semesters can graduate in two years.

UHCL also offers a generous transfer credit policy for students with previous experience. The accelerated online "completer" track enables students to apply credits for freshman and sophomore coursework and complete only the junior- and senior-level courses necessary to earn the BS degree.

Online programs offered through UHCL emphasize universal professional skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, public speaking, and research. Graduates often launch careers in fields like healthcare, human resources, and education.

Colorado State University-Fort Collins View School Profile Fort Collins, CO

CSU's online bachelor's in anthropology emphasizes career skills like marketability, cultural diversity, and critical thinking. The 120-credit curriculum draws from the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.

Students may opt to choose a minor in one of 10 areas of study, including liberal arts, business, and social science disciplines. Though not required, students can attend a summer session on campus to gain practical experience in paleontology, archaeology, or ethnography.

The program requires core anthropology and geography coursework. Additionally, students must complete at least one course each in archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. The degree culminates in a capstone seminar.

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile Manchester, NH

SNHU's online bachelor's in anthropology features a generous transfer credit policy and multiple points of entry. Students can transfer up to 90 college credits. SNHU accepts applications on a rolling basis and offers six online undergraduate start dates throughout the year.

The 120-credit curriculum includes an experiential learning component and an internship. Coursework explores topics like ethics and anthropological research, culminating in a capstone project. Students may choose to add a concentration in environmental sustainability.

All online undergraduate students pay the same per-credit tuition rate no matter where they live. The university offers additional tuition discounts for full-time and part-time military service members and the spouses of active-duty military students.

Troy University View School Profile Troy, AL

Troy University offers an online bachelor's in anthropology. The program features experiential learning opportunities through the Troy Archaeological Research Center.

The online degree requires 120 credits completed over four years. Coursework explores linguistics, archeology, and cultural anthropology.

The online program includes practical experience through field and lab components. Troy offers experiential learning opportunities throughout the southwestern and southeastern U.S. Online learners enjoy five start dates per year. Online academic terms span nine weeks.

Western Illinois University View School Profile Macomb, IL

WIU's online bachelor's in anthropology offers students unique research opportunities through grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. The university also maintains partnerships with the Field Museum of Natural History and the Dickson Mounds Museum.

Students can join WIU's Western Anthropology and Social Club and participate in a summer archaeological field school session, potentially including a study abroad experience. The 120-credit program offers online and hybrid learning opportunities. The degree includes an internship and culminates in a senior honors thesis in anthropology.

WIU enables junior- and senior-level students to choose one or more concentrations in cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, biological anthropology, and/or archaeology. WIU's GradTrac program enables full-time transfer students to pursue an accelerated path to graduation.

University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth View School Profile North Dartmouth, MA

UMass Dartmouth offers a BA in sociology and anthropology that allows incoming students to transfer up to 75 credits toward the degree. Coursework explores global, institutional, and community anthropology.

The 120-credit curriculum includes required introductory courses in sociology or cultural anthropology. The program culminates in an internship and senior seminar. Alternatively, students may choose to complete a two-semester, six-credit thesis research project in lieu of the internship and seminar sequence.

UMass Dartmouth assigns a set, per-credit tuition rate to all online undergraduate programs no matter where students live. Distance learners enjoy personalized advising and counseling services and free online tutoring.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Anthropology Programs

Is a bachelor's in anthropology worth it? true

Although the profession continues to grow, the field remains relatively small, which means job opportunities can be limited. That said, if you feel open to careers adjacent to anthropology (such as the community or public sector or the museum industry), then your career options open up considerably.

An online degree allows many learners to dive into their passion and pursue their career goals without sacrificing as much as they would have to for an on-campus degree. For these students, an online degree can certainly be worth it.

What can I do with a bachelor's in anthropology? true

Individuals who want to work in anthropology or archeology professions can begin careers as field workers, research assistants, and lab technicians.

Anthropology majors can also find jobs in adjacent fields that leverage their skills and expertise working within social systems and communities. These positions include social or community service manager, community health worker, human rights and social justice advocate, museum technician, historic preservationist, and public administration or legislative staff.

Are anthropology majors in high demand? true

Although the workforce only employed about 8,500 anthropologists and archeologists in 2020, the BLS projects 7% job growth for the profession from 2020 to 2030. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS also projects 19% job growth for museum workers.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in anthropology?

The BLS reports that archeologists and anthropologists earned a median annual salary of $66,130 in 2020. Keep in mind that most professionals in the field make more or less than this median figure. As of 2020, anthropologists in the lowest 10% of earners make less than $40,800 per year, while the top 10% of earners make more than $102,770 annually, according to the BLS.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in anthropology?

Social and community managers earned a median annual salary of nearly $70,000 in 2020, according to the BLS. The top 10% of earners in this field make more than $115,800 per year.

If you want to find a job with even greater salary potential, consider pursuing a graduate degree. According to the BLS, postsecondary teachers made a median annual salary of $80,560 in 2020, but many of these professionals need terminal degrees.

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