2019 Best Online Colleges for Anthropology Degrees
Our comprehensive list of online anthropology degrees includes 20 accredited colleges and universities offering online programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. Anthropology students study the development of human cultures and societies through coursework in disciplines like ethnography, paleoanthropology, and fieldwork. We also highlight the best schools for prospective online anthropology students, ranked based on tuition rates and alumni salary data provided by PayScale.
When deciding which online anthropology degree program to attend, students should select a school that is regionally accredited to ensure that they receive an education that meets national standards. Only students who enroll in accredited institutions are eligible for federal financial aid.
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Anthropology Degrees (20)
Annual Tuition: $10,632 - $13,400
212 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|Full List||Accreditation||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|Full List (24)|
|HLC||$15,691 - $27,372||71% (88 reviews)|
226 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|WASC WSCUC||$10,632 - $13,400||67% (646 reviews)|
212 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|SACS COC||$17,140||Add Review|
35 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|HLC||$28,903||100% (5 reviews)|
81 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|NWCCU||$19,682||80% (5 reviews)|
57 Programs, 6 in Anthropology
32 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|SACS COC||$18,954||90% (10 reviews)|
127 Programs, 2 in Anthropology
|SACS COC||$23,971||0% (1 review)|
62 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|NWCCU||$29,457||43% (7 reviews)|
154 Programs, 10 in Anthropology
|HLC||$12,720||100% (1 review)|
62 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|NECHE||$11,520||61% (324 reviews)|
281 Programs, 3 in Anthropology
|SACS COC||$13,520||55% (11 reviews)|
90 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|SACS COC||$22,467||88% (8 reviews)|
124 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|SACS COC||$28,659||60% (5 reviews)|
269 Programs, 2 in Anthropology
|SACS COC||$19,270||Add Review|
29 Programs, 6 in Anthropology
129 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|MSCHE||$12,336||59% (192 reviews)|
111 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|NECHE||$28,285||100% (3 reviews)|
47 Programs, 2 in Anthropology
|SACS COC||$21,029||50% (2 reviews)|
97 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
77 Programs, 2 in Anthropology
|SACS COC||$20,504||60% (5 reviews)|
61 Programs, 2 in Anthropology
|NWCCU||$25,817||80% (10 reviews)|
98 Programs, 2 in Anthropology
44 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
|HLC||$17,390||100% (1 review)|
40 Programs, 1 in Anthropology
2019 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Anthropology Degrees
With tuitions under $23,000 per year and median salaries reported by graduates as high as $105,167, these schools offer the best online anthropology degrees. Oregon State University, ranked 3rd, offers both a BA and a BS in Anthropology. Annual tuition for these programs is only $13,365. For students interested in environmental issues, Southern New Hampshire University Online offers a BA in anthropology with a specialization in environmental sustainability. Tuition at Southern New Hampshire University Online is only $9,600 per year.
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Median Salary|
- Annual Tuition: $8,520
- Median Salary: $105,167
Southeast Missouri State University offers students the ability to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science with a concentration in anthropology through distance-learning programs, complete with asynchronous coursework. SEMO's online BA in Social Science program consists of 39-credit hours broken down into 21 credit hours for the concentration, six toward a secondary area of work, and 12 for general social science work. Core required courses include Survey of Social Science, Problems in Social Science, and Social Science Research Methods. The BA degree requires a total of 120 hours. Upon completion, students will be prepared for a career in survey research, market research analytics, human resources, and other social science research departments.
- Annual Tuition: $10,104
- Median Salary: $75,000
Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Arizona State University is one of the largest public universities in the country and offers one of the most expansive online degree programs. Designed specifically for distance-learning students, ASU Online provides opportunities for students across all education levels. With its Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, interested social science students can obtain a quality degree from the comfort of their own home without having to sacrifice their job, family life or additional resources. The degree program consists of a total of 120-credit hours with a minimum of 30 hours taken at ASU. To be admitted to the online program, degree-seeking students must meet the university's general admission requirements.
- Annual Tuition: $13,365
- Median Salary: $75,263
Oregon State University has a 180-credit undergraduate program in anthropology where distance-based students can earn either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in the field. The online program has four options for specialization: archeology, biocultural, cultural/linguistic and general. These different options all require 60-credits of anthropology major work, but the archeology option encompasses 12 credits of field school experience which can be completed through OSU, or a location convenient to the student. Courses in this degree include Wealth and Poverty, Evolution of People, Cultures in Conflict, and Forensic Anthropology. Students also have the option choose a minor from many fields of study to work in tandem with their anthropology baccalaureate degree.
- Annual Tuition: $8,993
- Median Salary: $66,100
Florida International University, a public university, is the fourth largest university in the United States with over 56,000 students across its on-campus and online programs. For out-of-state online students, FIU charges $329 per credit hour while offering in-state students a rate of $212 per credit hour. FIU’s online BA in Anthropology is 120-credit hours with 60 hours in the anthropology track. The final 30 credits must be taken at FIU. FIU offers all distance-based students a success coach to assist with degree acquisition.This program seeks to cultivate a global perspective and understanding on the universal human experience borne through society.
- Annual Tuition: $9,000
- Median Salary: $65,900
The University of Central Florida is America's largest university with over 66,000 students enrolled across asynchronous online and on-campus programs. With its fully online BA in Anthropology program offered through its digital platform UCF Online, students from across America can earn a degree in self-paced coursework. UCF Online's anthropology program connects students to the past and present understanding of modern human society and culture. The program is identical to the on-campus version, with development from the same renowned faculty and advisers. With this degree, online students can expect to be well suited for a career in archeology, conservation, consumer affairs, and public policy.
- Annual Tuition: $18,725
- Median Salary: $64,960
Wichita State University is a publicly-funded research university that offers over 60 bachelor degree programs across six colleges, including online options for students who learn at a distance. While WSU doesn't offer a full anthropology degree program, interested degree-seeking students and working professionals can obtain a Bachelor of General Studies with an anthropology concentration. It requires 94-credit hours, with an additional 33 hours being dedicated to the major field. The major field is broken down into four parts: upper-level concentration; primary liberal arts and sciences department; secondary liberal arts and sciences department; and electives.
- Annual Tuition: $10,041
- Median Salary: $59,600
Western Illinois University, a small research university with fewer than 10,000 students, has many nationally ranked programs. Its highly ranked online Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology program offers both online and hybrid options. Distance-based students can take part in research funded by the National Science Foundation at WIU. The entire program consists of at least 120-credit hours; at least 33 credit hours are dedicated to anthropology, and 18-24 credit hours go toward a minor of the student’s choosing.
- Annual Tuition: $11,329
- Median Salary: $59,600
Washington State University is a public, land-grant university that offers students, both on-campus and through its online platform, a variety of academic disciplines including anthropology. The digital platform provides students with two anthropology options: a BA in Humanities - Anthropology and a BA in Social Sciences - Anthropology. As is customary with undergraduate degrees, both options require about 120-credit hours. Both tracks allow students to choose between either Plan A or Plan B, which are two areas and three areas of concentrations, respectively. These plans require that students choose either one or two concentrations besides anthropology, depending on which plan they choose. Some of the available concentrations include criminal justice, history, women’s studies, and communication.
- Annual Tuition: $22,980
- Median Salary: $60,333
The University of Houston - Clear Lake is one of four universities in the University of Houston College System For distance-learning students, UHCL Online offers upwards of 14 online programs including a B.S. in Anthropology degree for students wanting to learn about the impact of culture on society, politics, and economics. This B.S. program can be completed in as little as two years if degree-seeking students take advantage of the fall, spring and summer semester offerings. The degree plan includes courses in Social Psychology, Topics in Asian Studies and Theories of Personality. Students must complete the University Core Curriculum requirements and maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA in order to graduate.
- Annual Tuition: $20,475
- Median Salary: $58,550
The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers a program for distance-learning students interested in studying anthropology. Through its fully online B.S. in Sociology, students can concentrate in the field of anthropology and explore the scientific world of culture and human relationships. Courses in this digital program center around ethnology and cultural competency with coursework such as Ethnomedicines of the Americas, Cultures of African People, Topics in Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology. As a sociology degree with an emphasis in anthropology, students will only be required to take 12 credit hours of concentrated anthropology coursework. The crux of the major requirement is centered around sociology coursework.
- Annual Tuition: $14,280
- Median Salary: $56,000
Colorado State University- Fort Collins offers opportunities for 34,000 students with both traditional and online programs. With their online Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology degree, distance-based students can learn from renowned staff in self-paced programs designed for working professionals and otherwise busy students. It is recommended that students choose a minor from areas such as economics, gerontology, or media studies to expand their area of knowledge. This online program offers hands-on learning opportunities for distance learning students through its summer schools: Paleontology Field School held in Greybull, Wyoming; Archeology Field School in parts of northern Colorado; and Ethnographic Field School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. These field schools work as supplements to the online work and are offered every summer for students able to attend.
- Annual Tuition: $9,600
- Median Salary: $54,300
Southern New Hampshire University Online is a nonprofit, private college with one of the largest offerings of distance-based programs for online students and working professionals. With its accredited online programs, it offers two B.A. options for students interested in anthropology: Environmental Sustainability and Geospatial Technologies. Both programs total 120-credit hours. The Environmental Sustainability option includes courses on Conservation Biology and Sustainable Communities. Meanwhile, the Geospatial Technologies concentration focuses on coursework in Principles of Geology and Spatial Awareness. With the latter, you can expect a career as a cartographer or GIS specialist, while the former program prepares students for jobs as energy analysts and waste management managers.
- Annual Tuition: $10,800
- Median Salary: $49,900
Eastern Oregon University is a fairly small public university with a student body that barely exceeds 3,000. Through its digital platform EOU Online, this university provides unique degree acquisition options for distance-learning students. For interested anthropology students, it offers both a B.S. and B.A. in Anthropology/Sociology. The anthropology concentration consists of a total of 65-credit hours in courses ranging from Physical Anthropology to Applied Ethnographic Research. Eastern Oregon University's online baccalaureate anthropology program aims to cultivate professionals with increased awareness of cross-cultural perspectives, and the ability to analyze the social, economic and political impacts on culture and society.
Online Anthropology Degree Overview & Career Information
Anthropology students normally obtain at least a bachelor’s degree from a four-year program. Two-year associate programs in anthropology are also available for those who do not wish to undertake four years of study. About 20% of anthropology undergraduates go on to pursue graduate degrees in anthropology or a complementary field, such as sociology, teaching, criminology, journalism, or marketing. Those who do not wish to pursue graduate degrees often double major in another desired field to broaden their job possibilities. Upon graduation, they can apply their communication, research, and data skills to a wide range of professions, such as business, public health, education, or the arts.
Anthropology students who wish to obtain positions in teaching, research, or higher management go on to pursue graduate degrees in anthropology. Beyond offering a wider job pool, a graduate degree in anthropology allows for greater specialization and independent research in the student’s topic of choice. Museum curators, non-profit managers, archeologists, and forensic anthropologists all typically require applicants to have a graduate degree. Those who wish to become a university professor must first obtain a doctorate degree by completing a dissertation alongside departmental faculty.
Online bachelor’s degrees in anthropology establish skills in communications, fieldwork, research methodologies, and data development in the humanistic and scientific study of human culture. Because anthropology draws on a large educational foundation and diverse skill set, recipients of a bachelor’s degree in anthropology might work in market research conducting focus groups or surveys. They may also oversee public interest research for government, community, or international organizations. Additionally, anthropology majors may go on to work as assistants in academic research, museum curating, or archeological fieldwork. Higher-level positions require graduate degrees at the master’s or doctorate level.
To apply, students must have completed a high school education. Bachelor’s degrees usually take about four years to complete, but students who already have some course credits may be eligible to graduate on a faster track. Students must complete the necessary general education requirements as well as the additional required credits in anthropology. Depending on the school and program, a bachelor’s degree requires about 120 semester credits, 30 of which must be anthropology coursework, equaling about 40 classes in total.
During their undergraduate anthropology degree programs, students take basic anthropological courses on cultures, archeology, history, and civilizations. They can also choose electives in specialized anthropology topics such as forensic, linguistic, or biological anthropology. Students can choose to major or minor in anthropology depending on the number of anthropology credits they complete. Undergraduates who wish to enter the job market directly after completing their bachelor’s degree often choose to double major in another desirable field in order to widen their potential career paths. Common second majors for anthropology students include business, communications, international relations, public health, and social work.
An online master’s degree prepares students for work as specialized anthropologists and archeologists in research institutions, government organizations, or consulting firms. For students hoping to work in academia as a researcher or professor, an online master's program in anthropology can be a stepping stone on the path to a PhD in the field.
A bachelor’s degree, often in anthropology or a related field, is required to apply for a master’s program. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA, and typically need to have taken the GRE or GMAT. A master’s program requires 30 to 40 credit hours and takes anywhere from one and a half to three years to complete. About a third of graduate coursework is dedicated to the master’s thesis, an independent study or academic writing completed alongside a team of academic advisors that addresses a question within the topic area.
In addition to specialized coursework and independent research, master’s students gain experience through fieldwork in their subfield of choice. Master’s level courses provide in-depth investigations of specialized anthropological theory, research, and its application to real world questions. Each subfield of anthropology can be used in professional careers, whether to interpret history for a museum, to solve health, education, or conflict issues, or to provide consumer data.
Many certificates in anthropology are available for those wishing to continue their education without committing to a full degree program. Certificate programs are often part-time, one-year commitments. While they often do not require the GRE or GMAT, programs do normally have a minimum GPA requirement. Postgraduate certificates in anthropology are available for those who have completed their bachelor’s degree but do not wish to pursue a master’s. Certificate programs are useful as they help students decide whether they wish to continue on to a full degree while building up graduate-level course credits.
Schools offering anthropology degrees must have received either national or regional accreditation from a recognized agency. The U.S. Department of Education provides a database of accrediting agencies on the national, regional, and programmatic level. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) also has an online list of their recognized regional accreditation agencies. Regional accreditation is the highest form of academic recognition.
While there is no specific programmatic accreditation for anthropology programs, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) publishes the annual AnthroGuide, compiling hundreds of academic member programs into a comprehensive directory. The AAA also provides extensive information about careers, internships, and fieldwork opportunities in anthropology. The Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology (COPAA) provides further information about higher education institutions and programs in anthropology across the nation.
In addition to general education requirements in the sciences and humanities, online anthropology students must take courses specific to their field. Available classes include but are not limited to the following:
- Introduction, Method, and Theory of Archeology
- Anthropology of Activism
- Culture Through Film
- Creating Museums
- Researching Environment and Culture
- Ethnology of Immigrant Life
- Applied Urban Ethnography
- Reading Ethnographies: Ethnographic Theory and Practice
- Anthropological Fieldwork Abroad
- Communicating Anthropology
- Cultural Heritage
- Biocultural Approaches to Food
- Forensic Bioarcheology
Forensic anthropologists must undergo a rigorous examination process covering theory, ethics, and practice in order to obtain certification from the American Board of Forensic Anthropology (ABFA). Personal, academic, and professional records are taken into consideration. Certified forensic anthropologists are publicly identified by the ABFA for the consultation of medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officials, and attorneys.
Anthropology covers a wide range of educational topics from the biological sciences to cultural psychology and history. Anthropology students learn to conduct group fieldwork, formulate and test hypotheses, work with data, and employ diverse research methodologies. While potential professions often don’t include the term “anthropology" in the title, an anthropology degree prepares future graduates for careers in business, marketing, consulting, journalism, nonprofit work, public health, social work, international relations, criminal justice, government, and academics. The number of anthropology students who become professional anthropologists or archeologists is small in comparison to those who go on to apply their anthropology degree in other areas.
- Anthropologists or Archeologists: These scientists research the origin, behavior, and evolution of humans through the study of cultures, languages, and archeological remains. They work for research organizations, government, or consulting firms, sometimes traveling on-site for long periods of fieldwork. Professional anthropologists must hold a master’s or doctorate degree in anthropology or archeology.
- Archivists, Curators, and Conservators: Museum archivists, curators, and conservators work on exhibitions, events, educational materials, community projects, independent research, permanent records, and collections. Specialized museum workers must have a master’s degree or higher.
- Biological Anthropologists: Biological anthropologists study physiology, nutrition, and pathology at health ministries, international health organizations, and medical schools. They may conduct research on the evolutionary origins, lifestyle, or dietary changes behind modern health issues. They can also work as specialized forensic anthropologists assessing skeletal remains to provide medical and legal consulting in criminal justice cases.
- Corporate Anthropologists: Corporate anthropologists apply their background in social and cultural anthropology to analyze workplace efficiency, product design, or intercultural marketing.
- Development Anthropologists: Development and international aid workers use their anthropological background to plan social projects, work as cultural mediators, and assess the success of organizational work. Development anthropologists study aid work and must have an extensive knowledge of the local community.
- Professors: University professors teach classes and publish original research. Professors must have PhDs.
- Public Sector Careers: Government jobs for anthropologists may include policy-making and planning, lobbying, grass-roots advocacy, and social service agencies.
- Secondary Teachers: Teachers with a background in anthropology go on to teach pre-university subjects such as history, religious education, sociology, geography, or biology.
- Visual Anthropologists: Visual anthropologists work in film, television, multimedia, marketing, museums, and political campaigns.
- ABFA - American Board of Forensic Anthropology. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.theabfa.org/.
- AnthroGuide & eAnthroGuide. American Anthropological Association. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.americananthro.org/StayInformed/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=1709.
- Anthropologists and Archeologists. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/anthropologists-and-archeologists.htm.
- Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/curators-museum-technicians-and-conservators.htm.
- Becoming an Anthropologist. American Anthropological Association. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.americananthro.org/.
- Member Departments. Consortium of Practicing & Applied Anthropology. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://copaainfo.org/.
- Regional Accreditation Organizations 2015-2016. Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.chea.org/.
- The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. The U.S. Department of Education. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Agencies.aspx.
- What do Anthropologists do? Discover Anthropology. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.discoveranthropology.org.uk/career-paths/what-do-anthropologists-do.html.
- What to do with a degree in anthropology. The Guardian. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2010/aug/21/anthropology-degree-career-options.