Best Online Bachelor’s in Anthropology

Find top-ranked online bachelor’s in anthropology degree programs to prepare students to work as an anthropologist, museum curator, or to obtain a position in government, among others, as well as pursue related graduate degree programs.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Anthropology

Frequently Asked Questions About Anthropology Bachelor’s Degrees

Earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology can open numerous professionals doors. In addition to fields such as archaeology and museum curation, the research, critical thinking, and communication skills learned in this major can apply in a wide range of educational, scientific, and social services work settings. The best schools for anthropology will put you in a position to become an innovator and a leader in this exciting field.

Today, top influencers in anthropology are bringing new light to topics like military uses of anthropology, cultural influences on economies, human organ trafficking, and much more.

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Anthropology studies human behaviors and characteristics with less focus on social influences than sociology. There are a lot of similarities, especially between cultural anthropology and sociology, but the focus is different. Anthropology focuses on the people — their behaviors, physical characteristics, and their responses to social structures, ie, their culture. Sociology focuses more on group behaviors and relations with social structures and institutions. Sociology uses qualitative and quantitative methods to study the causes and effect of social structures. Anthropologists more often utilize qualitative research methods like ethnography to study the changes that occur in people given their circumstances.

In an interview with us, Princeton Univerity Sociologist, Vivian Zelizer noted their similarities and common difference with psycholgy,[T]here are a lot of parallels between both fields in the sense that they’re both trying to understand social life, and in that sense, a contrast with psychology, which of course they’re interested in social life, but the focus is on the individual. Individual development, individual cognition, and both sociologists and anthropologists are more interested in the social relations, even though there are many splendid scholars in both of those fields that may specialise in cognitive aspects of social relationships. And I would say that in the past, the boundaries between sociology and anthropology were stronger in the sense that anthropologists would study primitive communities and other kinds of groups and less contemporary capitalist societies. But in the past years, anthropologists have done splendid ethnographies and studies of contemporary societies.

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Anthropology is an excellent interdisciplinary major. The degree is typically composed of numerous distinct but related subject areas from history and linguistics to studies on world religion and race, alongside science-driven subjects such as evolutionary biology, archaeology, and forensics. As an anthropology major, you’ll get the chance to flex both your scientific muscles and sharpen your skills of critical analysis.

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Once you’ve declared your major in anthropology, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in a number of related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized anthropology electives, there are a several common courses that most anthropology majors will be required to take, including:

  • Gender, Sexuality and Society
  • Race and Science
  • Conducting Ethnographies
  • Identity and Difference
  • Anthropology of Biology
  • Documenting Culture
  • Environmental Conflict
  • The Anthropology of Politics in the U.S.
  • Social Theory and Analysis

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Anthropology is often divided into four distinct subdisciplines:

  • Biological or physical anthropology studies the biological development of humans or human-environmental adaptation.
  • Forensic anthropology falls under biological and physical anthropology as an application of the anatomical science of anthropology that assists in the identification of deceased individuals.
  • Cultural anthropology studies patterns of behavior and development of culture among societies.
  • The study of how language is formulated, how communication is used, and how language influences social life is known as linguistic anthropology.
  • Perhaps the most familiar application of anthropology is archaeology, which is the study of the past civilizations through the examination of artifacts.

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To answer this, we looked at internet search queries within the Education category on Google Trends. Biological anthropology (also sometimes called physical anthropology) is currently the most-searched field in anthropology, followed by medical anthropology, cultural anthropology, forensic anthropology, and linguistic anthropology (also known as ethnolinguistics).

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Anthropology is a highly specialized field. Those who will ultimately practice anthropology or archaeology will typically have earned a master’s degree. This will qualify you for a wide range of opportunities doing fieldwork, consultation, or education as an anthropologist, archeologist, or historian. But anthropology is also a versatile degree program. In addition to preparing you to enter into an advanced degree program in anthropology, a bachelor’s degree in anthropology could lead to a wide range of opportunities in forensics, education, biology, and much more. If you do choose to pursue anthropology as a career, your major can lead to these top jobs:

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Best Online Bachelor's in Anthropology Degree Programs

How do we determine the best online anthropology bachelor's degree programs?

Methodology

Pursing your degree online doesn’t mean you need to settle for a inferior school. Today, most universities and colleges offer online degrees, and many respected schools are seeing significant growth in their numbers of online students.

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why influence — i.e., the academic impact of faculty and alumni associated with a school — gets at the heart of what is truly best in education. The combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers is the best indicator of academic excellence. For our online degree rankings, we focus on the academic influence of faculty and alumni in the specific disciplines we’re ranking.

If you are serious about finding the best online colleges, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Ranking: Best Online Bachelor’s in Anthropology

  1. #1

    University of Florida

    #72 institution's historical influence
    #45 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    47K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/30

    Gainesville, FL

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. #2

    Idaho State University

    #1519 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    9K

    Pocatello, ID

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  3. #3

    University of Montana

    #588 institution's historical influence
    #417 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1150/23

    Missoula, MT

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  4. #4

    University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    #489 institution's historical influence
    #1418 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/22

    Las Vegas, NV

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  5. #5

    Western Illinois University

    #1498 institution's historical influence
    #642 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    Macomb, IL

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 Years
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    University of Central Florida

    #494 institution's historical influence
    #181 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    60K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    Orlando, FL

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  7. #7

    Southeast Missouri State University

    #652 institution's historical influence
    #1249 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    9K

    Cape Girardeau, MO

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Science

    Concentrations

    • Anthropology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economics
    • History (any prefix)
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • or Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #8

    Southern New Hampshire University

    #1468 institution's historical influence
    #1034 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    84K

    Manchester, NH

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  9. #9

    University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

    #1233 institution's historical influence
    #248 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/21

    North Dartmouth, MA

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Sociology And Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
    REQUEST INFO
  10. #10

    University of Memphis

    #558 institution's historical influence
    #787 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    17K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1120/22

    Memphis, TN

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #11

    Lewis–Clark State College

    #6482 institution's historical influence
    #404 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    100%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/19

    Lewiston, ID

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    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Science

    Concentrations

    • Anthropology
    • History
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: 4 years
    • Format: Online
  12. #12

    University of Alaska Southeast

    #3257 institution's historical influence
    #149 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    1K

    Juneau, AK

    View profile

    Online Degrees

    BA in Social Science

    Concentrations

    • Anthropology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. #13

    Troy University

    #1714 institution's historical influence
    #720 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/21

    Troy, AL

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    Online Degrees

    BS in Anthropology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online

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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities—educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students