If you're interested in studying how we as humans live, work, and play today or, for example, how humans as a species develop, then an online bachelor's degree in anthropology may be a good fit for you. At its core, anthropology is the study of humankind, and by learning your anthropology degree online, you'll learn about the development, evolution, and cultural history of human beings. Many anthropology programs also allow you to specialize your studies through concentrations, like medical or biological anthropology.
What are the best anthropology programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University of Florida||Gainesville, FL|
|2||University of Central Florida||Orlando, FL|
|3||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
|4||Arizona State University||Scottsdale, AZ|
|5||University of Houston-Clear Lake||Houston, TX|
|6||Oregon State University||Corvallis, OR|
|7||Southern New Hampshire University||Manchester, NH|
|8||Colorado State University||Fort Collins, CO|
|9||Troy University||Troy, AL|
|10||Western Illinois University||Macomb, IL|
Right now, growth outlook for anthropology careers is modest yet positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 300 more jobs for anthropologists and archaeologists are expected to be added to the field through 2024. Studying for an anthropology degree online, however, will equip you with strong research, communication, and analytical skills — all of which are applicable to a wide range of career paths.
Accredited Online Bachelor's in Anthropology Programs
University of Florida
|Gainesville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
The online bachelor's in anthropology at the University of Florida offers four concentrations: cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistics. Through a combination of science and liberal arts classes, this program explores cultural and social impacts from a global perspective.
Of the 120 credits required to graduate, 34 credits are obtained through core anthropology coursework. Other liberal arts courses cover a variety of disciplines, including biology, law, political science, and zoology. The program culminates with a three-credit capstone course in which instructors assess students' application of anthropological knowledge.
The program can be completed in five semesters and offers the flexibility of part- or full-time enrollment. Competitive upper-division transfer applicants should hold a minimum of 60 college credits, a 2.5 GPA, and nine credits in anthropology-related courses.
University of Central Florida
|Orlando, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 73%||
Founded in 1963, the University of Central Florida operates as a leading research university and currently enrolls more students than any other university in the nation. UCF offers an online bachelor's degree in anthropology focusing on archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and physical anthropology. Designed to give students a global perspective in culture and religion, this program uses a holistic approach to explore how past events influenced contemporary human behavior and societal norms. Major-related coursework includes nine lower-level credits and 12 upper-level credits, such as arch and rise of human culture, the human species, and archaeology of complex societies.Students must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA while in the program. All students take a standard exit exam. An undergraduate coordinator in the department helps online students create a degree plan since course availability varies per semester.
Florida International University
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Florida International University, located in Miami, Florida, offers an online bachelor of arts in anthropology and sociology with an anthropology track. By combining sociology and anthropology, this joint program explores historical cultures and societies through archeological finds and research.Coursework includes world ethnography, research methods, anthropological theories, and social theory. Every student works with a success coach who provides guidance and ensures degree requirements are met. Graduates of this program develop the skills required for careers in journalism, education, social services, and research.
Applications can be submitted year-round, allowing students to enroll in the spring, summer, or fall. Prospective students must submit official transcripts and SAT or ACT scores.
Arizona State University
|Scottsdale, AZ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Arizona State University is a leading research university that offers an online bachelor of arts in anthropology. Comprising 39 courses and totaling 120 credits, this program takes a transdisciplinary approach, exploring social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities.With a focus on developing strong analytical and writing skills, this fully online curriculum is designed to prepare graduates for many career opportunities. Over the course of 10 terms, students cover social statistics, cultural anthropology, buried cities and lost tribes, statistics for life science, and elements of statistics.To apply, students must have completed a high school curriculum with studies in English, mathematics, lab sciences, social sciences, and a secondary language. SAT and ACT scores are required for scholarship consideration and course placement.
University of Houston-Clear Lake
|Houston, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
The online bachelor of science in anthropology at the University of Houston-Clear Lake provides a foundation in global diversity, preparing students for work in diverse, multicultural settings. Major coursework encompasses studies in contemporary cultural anthropology, applied quantitative methods, and theories of society.UHCL’s online bachelor of science in anthropology program, which serves as a degree completion pathway, can be completed in two years if participants take 10 online courses per year. The major requires 45 credits and includes coursework in cultural anthropology, research methods, geography, and cultural diversity.Prospective students interested in earning this online degree should have completed their first- and second-year courses elsewhere. Online learners can receive a tuition and fee break if they take more courses per semester.
Oregon State University
|Corvallis, OR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Oregon State University — the largest institution in Oregon — offers an online bachelor of science and bachelor of arts in anthropology. These degrees feature four specializations: archaeology, biocultural, cultural/linguistic, and general anthropology. Coursework covers topics like the evolution of people, cultures in conflict, wealth and poverty, and forensic anthropology. The fully online program requires 180 quarter credits, with 60 earned through core curriculum classes. Students pursuing the archaeology specialization are required to earn 12 additional credits through on-site field experiences.
The admissions process at OSU is based on a holistic assessment, meaning academic performance is not the sole metric for gaining admission into the university. Additional factors include the strength of a student's high school curriculum, an accomplished insight resume, and extracurricular activities. However, the program is competitive and applicants with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a high class rank are prioritized.
Southern New Hampshire University
|Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Southern New Hampshire University — located in Manchester — offers an online bachelor's degree in anthropology with concentrations in general anthropology, environmental sustainability, and geospatial technologies. Within each concentration, students take general courses in biological anthropology, anthropology in the contemporary world, and social science research methods.Through a multidisciplinary approach, this 120-credit program builds foundations in archaeology, conservation, and ethics. Students develop skills required for a variety of fields, including global health advocacy and environmental resources.The program culminates with a capstone project in which students demonstrate an understanding of their coursework and fulfill any remaining degree requirements. SNHU accepts applications on a rolling basis and does not require a minimum GPA for admission.
Colorado State University
|Fort Collins, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
Colorado State University in Fort Collins offers an online bachelor's degree in anthropology. The curriculum focuses on cultural relativism, giving students a better perspective on how their own experiences influence their perception of other cultures. The fully online program is 120 credits and requires two capstone courses, totaling four credits. The capstone seminar is designed to assess students' ability to synthesize and apply the knowledge and skills developed throughout the program, while also exploring professional anthropological perspectives. Students also register for a concurrent capstone course.To apply, prospective students must have earned a minimum 2.0 GPA on all previous coursework and meet CSU’s admission requirements in mathematics. Applicants with prior college credit use an online tool to assess which classes are eligible for transfer.
|Troy, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
Located in southeast Alabama, Troy University offers an online bachelor of science in anthropology that explores cultural anthropology and archaeology. The 120-credit program includes 36 credits of core coursework and covers topics like physical anthropology, kinship and social structure, culture and society, statistics, and theory.Placing an emphasis on practical experience, this program allows students to participate in field and laboratory research. Students also have access to on-campus archaeology labs where they can analyze artifacts and remains brought in from archeological sites in North America, Australia, and the Near East.The program prepares students for career opportunities with historical archives, museums, archaeology companies, and government agencies. Rather than a traditional 15-week semester, Troy University offers courses over nine-week terms, giving prospective students the ability to enroll on one of five start dates throughout the year.
Western Illinois University
|Macomb, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Western Illinois University takes a holistic approach to its online bachelor's in anthropology. Examining social and cultural impacts from a global perspective, this program offers four concentrations: cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistics.This program emphasizes environmental anthropology across all four concentrations, exploring the consequences of human-environment interactivity. Through courses, fieldwork, and research projects, students investigate environmental change and biological adaptation from a historical and contemporary viewpoint.WIU requires prospective students to have completed a high school curriculum with studies in English, mathematics, science, and social science. Transfer students must have earned at least a "C" average on previous coursework. Applicants whose grades do not meet these admission requirements may submit a supplemental letter explaining any extenuating circumstances.
What Else can I Expect from an Online Bachelor's in Anthropology Program?
|Program Costs||$15,000 per year (average for non-residents)|
|Core Courses||Human Evolution, Cultural Anthropology, and Culture and Health|
|Concentrations||Biological Anthropology, Social Anthropology, and Archaeology|
|Accreditation||No specific accreditation is required, though the American Anthropological Association (AAA) publishes the AnthroGuide, a comprehensive reference of reputable BA, BS, master's, and PhD programs in Anthropology|
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Anthropology Degree?
With a focus on developing analytical skills, online anthropology degrees prepare graduates for a wide range of career opportunities. Many anthropology majors go on to work for nonprofits and cultural institutions, careers where their skills are particularly valued. Survey and research skills that graduates develop in online anthropology programs may also lead them to private sector jobs, which often boast higher pay and better job growth prospects.
Anthropologist/Archaeologist: Anthropologists and archaeologists study human behavior and the origin and development of humankind. This career often involves fieldwork to uncover archaeological or physical human remains, or analyzing fieldwork samples in an office or lab setting. In order to pursue this career, students would have to augment their online anthropology degree with a master's or PhD.
Historic Preservationist: Historic preservationists work to conserve important or historically significant buildings, objects, or even natural landscapes. They protect historic structures from the threat of demolition or destruction by arguing for their historical significance. Many historic preservationists have backgrounds in archaeology, which makes earning an online anthropology degree with a concentration in archaeology a smart choice for students interested in this career.
Social Service Manager: Social service managers run programs that serve communities within clinics, hospitals, and other outreach centers. The background in human development and analysis that an anthropology online degree provides prepares social service managers to understand and meet community needs. Many social service managers start out as social workers before transitioning into a management role.
Social and Market Researcher: Social and market researchers conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gather data about consumer habits and preferences and stances on social issues. Earning an online anthropology degree with a focus on research will prepare you for an entry-level position within this field.
|Position||Projected Growth Rate|
|Social Services Manager||10%|
|Social and Market Researcher||12%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
While a bachelor's degree alone can prepare graduates for some careers in fields related to anthropology, certain career paths may require a master's degree or higher. In fact, 21% of anthropology students go on to pursue graduate studies, studying areas such as law, counseling, sociology, and/or, of course, anthropology in more depth. Pursuing a master's degree in a related field allows you to tailor your career prospects to your specific interests and may help you advance in your career more quickly.
- Master's in Medical Anthropology: Through a master's in medical anthropology, students explore the intersection of biology and culture — and how they influence one another. This master's prepares students for careers in global or public health.
- Master's in Visual and Media Anthropology: In a master's in visual and media anthropology program, students explore problems in media representation, how the digitization of visual media affects certain cultures, and the influence of the internet on visual media. Graduates of this program often go on to work in film, media, museums, and galleries.
- Master's in Economics: Students who pursue this master's degree will learn both economic theory and its practical applications. Anthropology degree graduates may want to earn this master's to further career prospects in the fields of surveying and market research.
What Will I Learn in My Bachelor's in Anthropology Program?
- Human Evolution: Consider the scientific evidence for how humans have evolved over the millennia. Explore the fossil record, our genetic ancestry, and the development of humankind.
- Archaeology: Understand the past by examining physical evidence left behind by humans. Learn about dating techniques, excavation methods, and how to interpret historical man-made artifacts.
- Cultural Anthropology: Learn about popular theories within the study of human societies and cultures, and how cultures develop and evolve.
- Biological Anthropology: Examine the field of anthropology from a biological perspective by studying the behavioral and genetic aspects of humans. You'll look to humankind's closest living relatives — primates — to glean insights into how we've biologically evolved.
Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Anthropology Graduates
Bachelor's in Anthropology SALARY
While not especially lucrative, careers in fields related to anthropology will appeal to professionals who seek to apply their passions to their jobs on a daily basis. Many careers available to anthropology degree graduates support lifelong learning and exploration of concepts and questions central to the field. You'll find the average median salaries for five careers popular with anthropology graduates below:
|Profession||Median Annual Salary|
|Social Service Manager||$64,680|
|Market Research Analyst||$62,560|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Anthropology Licensure and Certification
Most careers related to anthropology don't require licensure or certification. Some professionals, however, may choose to pursue a certification if it's common in their specific field or if it may help them stand out among other applicants for jobs. Some higher level positions within fields relating to anthropology do require certification or licensure.
American Board of Forensic Anthropology Certification: The ABFA certification recognizes qualified professionals in the field of forensic anthropology, which encompasses the application of biological anthropology to the field of law.
Certified Archivists credential: The Academy of Certified Archivists certifies professional museum archivists, who must pass the Archival Certification Examination and meet educational and experience standards to become certified.
Professionals in the field of anthropology may opt to join one of the handful of professional associations related to anthropology — though students are often allowed, and encouraged, to join as well. These organizations connect professionals to one another through conferences and events, job boards, and informal networking opportunities. Some organizations may also grant certifications to qualified professionals or administer certification exams.
- Register of Professional Archaeologists: The RPA has established moral and professional guidelines for the field of archaeology. Members agree to abide by a code of conduct and are listed in the organization's searchable register.
- American Anthropological Association: Boasting more than 10,000 members, the AAA is the premier professional organization for anthropologists. The association holds events, provides career resources, and sponsors field schools and internships.
- Society for Medical Anthropology: A section of the AAA, the SMA supports medical anthropology students, practitioners, and activists around the world through policy initiatives, a published journal, and a job board.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Anthropology Program
Most likely, you'll want to draw from a variety of sources to finance your online anthropology degree. Your search for financial resources should begin with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Completing a FAFSA form will show you what federal funding opportunities you're eligible for, like scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study positions. Be sure to check scholarship opportunities at individual schools as well — some colleges earmark scholarship funds for certain majors, like anthropology.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the FAFSA is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.