Anthropology is a growing area of study for online education; according to the BLS, employment opportunities for anthropologists will grow around 7% up to 2030.*
Online bachelor degree study in anthropology allows students flexibility and affordability. Students are able to work on the same problems, theories and practices that on-campus students study. These programs in anthropology provide students with a range of career choices from fieldwork in archaeology, lab work, museums, research and in college and university teaching, criminal investigation and community work.
Choosing an Online Anthropology Program
Online study has been a growing area the last five to ten years as it provides students with greater flexibility to earn a degree. These are great for parents or people with other commitments (such as a part-time or full-time work), and others who cannot physically relocate to the college of their choice. Studying at home allows students to study how they want, when they want and where they want, maximizing productivity at times that suit them over an extended period.
When choosing on online anthropology bachelor's degree, you should consider the following questions. Most college pages contain this information but if they do not, contact them with your questions:
- How long has this particular college or university offered this online program?
- What percentage of the student body graduates from the online program?
- What are the employability statistics for graduates?
- What types of job roles do graduates of the program typically find are open to them?
- Does the online anthropology degree program offer job placement assistance?
Featured Online Programs
Southern New Hampshire University: Hooksett, NH
The online bachelor degree option in anthropology at SNHU is one of the most comprehensive on offer to students today. It teaches transferable skills such as problem-solving and will instill in students a new way of looking at human prehistory, technology, culture and environment. Students will not just learn about the evidence and the people of the past, but also theory applicable to human society in the modern age. The course teaches a range of soft and technical skills. Present modules within the course include World Geography, Discovering the Past: Foundations in Archaeology, Ethics in Anthropology and Social Science Research Methods.
University of Florida: Gainesville, FL
Boasting graduates of their online bachelor degree program working in the public sphere, private business and in the third sector, UF is at the forefront of this growing area. This online program focuses strongly on ethics, social issues and culture within the realms of archaeology, cultural anthropology, biological anthropology and linguistics. Students of this course can be assured they are receiving the broadest possible spectrum of study to take them on to postgraduate education or into a career in anthropology-related job roles.
Ashford University: San Diego, CA
Meeting the needs of the modern student, this online anthropology degree course covers all areas of the discipline. From cultural anthropology to the archaeological study of prehistory, Ashford ensures students get the full range of this expanding area. You will learn transferable soft skills as well as concepts of anthropology and archaeology. In addition, Ashford covers anthropology and war, material culture (physical artefacts), the anthropology of urbanism, religion, and gender roles.
Is an Online Degree Right for You?
In determining whether and which online anthropology bachelor's degree is right, the student should consider a number of aspects including their own background and education, desires and interest and capabilities. Each online anthropology degree program will comprise of three interrelated components. There will be foundation courses, exploration courses, and social and behavioral science modules. Each focuses on a different aspect of the discipline. In the case of anthropology, that will be the science, the art, the social and cultural aspects, and the geography/topographical/environment.
The following sections will cover many aspects of anthropology to help you decide whether online study is the right course of action.
What to Expect
Students can expect to cover all aspects of a modern anthropology degree online. Essentially, it is a study of humanity - in the past and the present, looking at modern social issues the development of society and civilization. This means you will study archaeology, some elements of sociology, cultural evolution, the study of linguistics and the development of urbanism. You will examine material culture (artifacts), philosophy, human systems such as government and social structures and environmental issues.
Anthropology Subjects You'll Study
Online anthropology degree courses are many and varied. Some will bring unique angles of study but most will focus on core areas essential to anthropology.
- There will always be compulsory modules within the degree with such titles as "Introduction to anthropology", "The history of anthropology", "Theory and method in anthropology" though titles may vary slightly
- There are also thematic modules looking at niche areas such as gender roles and sexuality, cultural anthropology, and the development of urban systems
- Hard science courses such as the genetics and biology of early humans and evolution of human ancestry
- Soft sciences such as ethics, the development of religion, art and creativity, linguistics and literature
- More recently, anthropology has covered environmental issues such as world geography, human geography/landscape archaeology and humanity's history with agriculture
Not all of these options will be available at all colleges. We strongly advise if you have a particular interest to seek an online anthropology bachelor's degree that will best meet your needs.
Anthropology Networking Opportunities
Anthropology is one of the world's largest disciplines. There are a number of global, national and local professional organizations with regular conferences. The American Anthropological Association has an annual meeting usually held at the end of November. NASA (National Association of Student Anthropologists) brings together the anthropologists of the future. Realizing that cost is prohibitive for most students, they offer funding for students to attend their events.
As the largest organization of its kind in the US, the American Anthropological Association lists ways by which the professional anthropologist may connect with his or her peers, students, contacts and others working elsewhere in the discipline.
Tuition Cost Estimates
The US Department of Education's estimates suggests that modern anthropology degrees vary greatly depending on location (in-state or out of state), which type of degree the student studies, the quality and prestige of the university and whether they are public or private. Most in state courses range from $15,500 to $24,500 per year; out of state costs range from $23,000 to $42,000 per year. These statistics refer to four-year degree programs. Two year associates degree programs range from $8,000 per year to $20,000 (in-state) and $12,000 to $60,000 per year (out of state).
Online anthropology programs are cheaper on average with costs as low as $23,436 (the total and not the annual cost). The cheapest online degree courses were recorded at $15,960, registering at just under $4,000 per year. Students should consider all options and not just cost when selecting an online anthropology degree.
What You'll Learn
Students who study an online bachelor's degree in anthropology will learn about the past, present and future issues for humanity. Once about the study of human ancestry, and about social and cultural evolution, anthropology now examines the issues of the past, and how societies developed in the way they did. Modern anthropology is about human interaction with the environment, the development of language and culture including art, literature, superstition and ritual, and religious belief, economics and development of political systems including gender roles, sexuality and cultural identity.
You will learn about the development of human systems as well as genetics, look at the material culture and understand cultural diversity. You will have the option to tailor some of your studies to biological or cultural anthropology depending on the college and your personal interests and strengths. You will also learn skills relevant to most graduate job roles including organization skills, record-keeping, critical thinking, analysis and critique of primary data, understanding academic studies, project design and individual research. As anthropologists increasingly find career options outside of academia, these skills become even more important.
Students of anthropology have a number of career options open to them. BLS suggests that demand could increase as much as 7% through 2030.* Demand is related to how anthropology has changed in recent years to include social and cultural anthropology, and ethics as well as covering environmental issues.
Today, students will find openings in the following career areas:
- Marketing and market research
- Charity campaigning (typically for social justice, culture and the arts)
- Government officers - local and state decision making, regional and urban planning
- Academia including research and teaching
- Social work
- Museums and archive curation, tourism and heritage management
- Forensic anthropology (studying archaeological remains for the criminal justice area
*2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics job growth projections for Anthropologists reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.