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Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Anthropology

Explore the top online bachelor's degree programs in anthropology, including degree and coursework requirements. Then, learn how to afford your degree and delve into possible career paths.

Best Online Anthropology Bachelor's Programs

When researching and compiling our list of the best online bachelor's degree programs in anthropology, we considered numerous factors, such as total cost, flexibility, and affordability. Below, you can explore the top online bachelor's degrees in the field of anthropology.

1. Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Fort Collins, CO $11,707 80%

Colorado State University-Fort Collins offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology degree that requires 120 credits and incorporates learning across multiple disciplines including the social sciences, the natural sciences and the humanities. Students take a range of courses in such subjects as:

  • Medical anthropology
  • Evolution of human or primates
  • Indigenous people and culture
  • Culture and art
  • Cultural geography

This online program is interactive with weekly discussion board assignments, readings, and group projects. While there are no in-person requirements, students can choose to participate in a summer field school experience, which could be in the field of paleontology, archeology, or in ethnographic studies. For the 2019-2020 academic year, the price per credit for this online program was $476.

2. Oregon State University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Corvallis, OR $11,166 86%

Oregon State University has a 180-quarter credit online undergraduate anthropology program that can lead to a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. This program boasts several unique specialization areas:

  • Archaeology
  • Biocultural Anthropology
  • Cultural/Linguistic Anthropology
  • General Anthropology

The cultural/linguistic option has classes on oral narratives and popular culture, while the biocultural option has classes on human adaptability and neuroanthropology. Additionally, the archaeology option requires that students complete an in-person archaeology field school component, which could take place through Oregon State University's field school option or in the student's community. During the 2019-2020 year, the price per credit was $309 for all students.

3. Troy University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Troy, AL $8,908 94%

Troy University offers an online bachelor's degree in anthropology with classes on high civilizations, supernatural traditions, and the archeology of death and burial. Students are also able to participate in hands-on experiences through the Troy Archaeological Research Center (TUARC), which offers field and lab research opportunities. Fieldwork could take place in the Near East or in the southwestern or southeastern United States. The online, undergraduate tuition rate for the 2019-2020 academic year was $338 per credit, and that includes all fees.

4. University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
North Dartmouth, MA $13,921 93%

The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth has an online 120-credit Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology degree with a concentration in anthropology. This is a flexible program that allows students to study where and when they can while meeting deadlines and receiving personal interaction with faculty.

Students are also required to complete a hands-on internship that could take place in their local area and a senior seminar that consists of a research paper on a single anthropology topic. The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth charges just $332 per credit for online undergraduate courses.

5. University of Central Florida

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Orlando, FL $6,368 90%

The University of Central Florida's online Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology degree program requires 120 total credits and has no in-person requirements. Possible electives include unique courses on magic and belief, Florida archaeology, and death and life in ancient Egypt. Students may be able to participate in field practicums or internships as well. For the 2019-2020 academic year, all students paid $105.07 per credit, making this one of the most affordable anthropology programs in the country.

Rank School Name Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ $10,317 82%
7 Eastern Washington University Cheney, WA $7,323 94%
8 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH $31,136 75%
9 Western Illinois University Macomb, IL $12,951 93%
10University of Houston-Clear Lake Houston, TX $7,002 65%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Anthropology Bachelor's Programs

The field of anthropology takes a holistic approach to the understanding of humankind through a cultural, linguistic, archeological, and biological framework. Programs of this kind generally include online coursework and possibly some real-world requirements.

Credits

Typically, an online bachelor's degree in anthropology requires 120 credits with both general education and anthropology-focused coursework needed.

Length

For incoming freshmen who are attending full-time, an online bachelor's degree program in anthropology takes about 4 years to complete. However, those with an associate degree or previous college credit could earn their degree in less than 4 years, depending on their university's transfer credit policies and the number of credits they have already earned.

Specializations

While most online bachelor's degree programs in anthropology have a general focus on all aspects of anthropology, a limited number of programs offer students the opportunity to specialize in a specific area within the field.

Below are examples of possible specialization areas, which may not be available for all online programs.

  • Archaeology - This focuses on the physical material remains of past peoples and cultures.
  • Linguistics-Cultural Anthropology - is an area that centers on the study of language, rituals, arts, and social practices.
  • Biological-Cultural Anthropology - focuses on biological, political, and cultural factors of human development and behavior.
  • Geospatial Technologies - concentrates on geology, mapping technologies, and spatial awareness and analysis.

In-Person Requirements

Many online bachelor's degree programs in anthropology require or make optional in-person research or field opportunities. Field schools require that students travel to a certain area where they may work to uncover and identify fossils or learn about excavation and geophysical survey methods. Some online programs will work with students to find suitable field experiences in their local area as well.

Common Courses in Online Anthropology Bachelor's Programs

Although the coursework in online bachelor's degree programs in anthropology varies by university, there are some common subjects that you will likely study.

  • Human Evolution - A course that follows the evolution of humans and the primate order through the study of the fossil record and evolutionary theory.
  • Gender and Anthropology - These types of courses focus on the study of gender in relation to culture, health, race, and other elements.
  • Language and Culture - This is the study of human language and behavior in an anthropological and sociological framework.
  • Cultural Anthropology - A course that centers on the study of human cultures, their development, and their diversity.
  • Forensic Anthropology - This is the study of skeletal human remains in a legal and criminal justice context.

How to Choose an Online Anthropology Bachelor's Program

When deciding which online bachelor's program in anthropology is right for you, there are several factors that you should consider, including total program cost, whether you want to attend a public or private university, and what in-person requirements you are able and willing to complete.

Cost

The total cost of earning your degree is one of the most important factors to consider. Generally, online bachelor's programs in anthropology can cost anywhere from $105 to $500 per credit, with some programs costing even more. That means your total tuition for a 120-credit degree would be about $12,600 to $57,120. Conversely, some programs charge a flat rate per semester, which can sometimes work out to a cheaper total cost.

Most universities also charge additional fees, such as technology fees or library fees, that could range from $10 to $300 or higher. These can be one-time fees or fees charged each semester. When you add these fees to your base tuition price, the price tag on your degree can go up significantly.

Residency status can also factor into the cost of your degree. Out-of-state students are sometimes charged more per credit than in-state students.

Public vs Private

Another consideration is whether you want to attend a public or private institution. Although it's generally accepted that private universities cost more, this is not always true. It may cost more to attend an out-of-state public university compared to an in-state private university.

As public schools are larger, you may have more program resources and networking opportunities available to you. On the other hand, private universities are generally smaller, which means that you may have a more personalized learning experience. When deciding between public and private, consider your residency status and the opportunities that each anthropology program offers.

Field Experiences

You should also consider the types of field experiences that are offered by anthropology programs. Most make field schools and internships optional; however, some programs may require them. It's important that if you want to complete a field school or internship that you make sure that these experiences match your area of interest or that a program will work with you to find the right experience.

Scholarships & Financial Aid for Anthropology Bachelor's Programs

To help you afford your bachelor's in anthropology, you can apply for scholarships and federal financial aid.

Scholarships

Scholarships are offered by companies, non-profit organizations and even your own university. Scholarship eligibility can be based on need, the program of study, and your traits. For some opportunities, you may need to submit an application or write an essay.

Below are scholarship opportunities specifically for undergraduate anthropology majors.

  • Nancy 'Penny' Schwartz Undergraduate Student Essay Award - From the Association for Africanist Anthropology (AfAA), this is a $100 cash prize and free registration for the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) for the best undergraduate paper on Africanist anthropology.
  • John E. Lobdell Undergraduate Scholarship - From the Alaska Anthropological Association, this is a $1500 award for a member of the organization who is enrolled in an anthropology undergraduate program.
  • The Kenneth W. Payne Student Prize - This is from the Association for Queer Anthropology for a graduate or undergraduate student whose work focuses on queer topics or gender.
  • Sylvia Forman Prize - From the Association for Feminist Anthropology, this prize is for an essay that centers on feminist anthropology.
  • Christine Wilson Award - This is from the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition for a paper that centers on nutrition, food studies and anthropology.

Federal Financial Aid

By filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from the US Department of Education as soon as possible, you can learn about the types of aid you qualify for.

Below are the types of aid you may be able to access:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans - These are for undergraduate students.
  • Work-Study - In this program, students work part-time and apply their earnings to their education.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans - These are for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
  • Direct PLUS Loans - These are for graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students.
  • Pell Grants - These are for students with financial need.

Job Options with a Bachelor's in Anthropology

With a bachelor's degree in anthropology, you can pursue entry-level positions in a museum setting or the anthropology field.

Museum Technician

Museum technicians, or collections specialists, work within museums where they care for and manage exhibits and collections. Along with preparing items for display, museum technicians may build exhibits and must document items on display, on loan, or in storage.

Museum technicians need a bachelor's degree in museum studies, archaeology, or a related field (like anthropology).

Anthropologist or Archeologist

Anthropologists and archeologists research the way humans have developed culturally and biologically. Anthropologists can focus on the study of culture, language, or biology, while archeologists often focus on one time period or geographic area. Archeologists and anthropologists might work at field sites where they uncover and analyze artifacts and remains of past human cultures or may work in a museum or educational setting.

With only a bachelor's degree in anthropology, you can pursue an anthropology-related career as a research assistant, laboratory technician, or field worker.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Museum Technician $43,020 9%
Anthropologist or Archeologist $62,410 10%

Salary and job growth information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

Advancing an Anthropology Career

To help advance your anthropology career, you might consider participating in field schools or going on to earn an advanced degree.

Field Schools

Field schools grant students the opportunity to learn a range of practical skills in the field of anthropology and archeology. By taking advantage of the field schools your bachelor's degree offers, you will be able to hone your skills and get much-needed real-world experience. Field schools will teach you how to excavate sites and record data and findings.

Advanced Degree and Experience

For most anthropologist and archeologist positions, you must hold a master's degree and high-level, leadership positions require a Ph.D. If you have the goal of pursuing this career, then you will most likely need to earn an advanced degree. During your master's and Ph.D. program, you will also receive more field and research training.

Certifications for Forensic Anthropology

Most anthropology careers do not require any kind of licensure or certification. However, if you pursue a career as a forensic anthropologist, then you can become certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. To earn this certification, you must earn a doctoral degree in the physical/biological anthropology field, demonstrate high moral character and meet other standards.

Professional Organizations for Anthropology

Anthropology organizations work to advocate for the field and help both students and professionals access resources.

American Anthropological Association (AAA)

The AAA is a leading organization for the field of anthropology. Along with an annual meeting, the AAA also offers career resources, webinars and podcasts, internships programs, and helps students find field schools. The AAA also has memberships for students and professionals that grant access to discounts and other resources.

Society for American Archaeology (SAA)

The SAA offers educational resources, produces a range of publications, and holds an annual meeting. As a paid member of SAA, you get access to seminars, discounts, an e-community, and scholarship opportunities.