Online Cultural Anthropology Degree Program Overviews

Cultural anthropology is the investigation of different societies and cultures. Students with a knack for picking up languages and a desire to see the world might find a cultural anthropology program rewarding. While some schools offer such associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs online, campus-based courses are more common due to field research components.

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Essential Information

Online degree programs in cultural anthropology are available at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's levels, although these programs are relatively rare. On-campus programs are much more common in cultural anthropology. Associate's degree programs take two years to complete and are available in fully online formats. Four-year bachelor's degree programs examine anthropology, archaeology and linguistics. Master's degree programs may include some on-campus requirements such as thesis presentation and orientation, in addition to online courses. Admission into a master's degree requires the student to hold a bachelor's.

Online Associate's Degree in Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropologists study how societies and cultures adapt to their environments. Distance education programs in this major are rare, but online cultural anthropology electives can be found. Coursework typically is offered in the four subfields of anthropology, including physical anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and cultural anthropology.

Program Information and Requirements

An Associate of Arts in Anthropology can usually be completed online in two years. Course lectures, exams, discussions and instructional videos are delivered via the Web. Students generally are required to log in 2-5 days per week.

Courses Offered

Students gain a basic knowledge of physical anthropology and archaeology, in addition to cultural anthropology. They may be able to focus on a particular geographic region or topic within cultural anthropology for their electives.

Cultural Anthropology Course

Explore ways in which non-Western cultures differ from our own, as well as ways that society's actions and beliefs are culturally based. Anthropological theory and methods for ethnographic interviewing skills are reviewed.

Cross-Cultural Belief Systems Course

Comparative case studies of the spiritual beliefs and practices of nonindustrial societies are explored to reveal how science, magic and religion provide different ways of understanding the natural world.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Anthropology

The study of anthropology fosters multicultural awareness and communication skills. Most schools offer general anthropology degrees, with an option to concentrate on cultural anthropology. Distance learning programs are available for both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees.

Program Information and Requirements

A bachelor's degree in anthropology may be obtained online in four years, or two years if transferring associate degree credits. A full year's worth of advanced anthropology courses in addition to general liberal arts courses fulfills most school's requirements for a major. Online cultural anthropology courses are delivered through streaming video and DVDs; therefore, students are advised to have high-speed Internet.

Courses Offered

Additional courses in physical anthropology, archaeology and linguistics generally complement the cultural anthropology classes highlighted below.

Comparative Cultures Course

Cross-cultural comparisons of societies worldwide are reviewed in their historical context, as well as the methods by which anthropologists gather ethnographic data.

Role of Language in Culture Course

The ways in which language is created and used by society are explored. Language is evaluated as a means of cultural expression.

Cross-Cultural Relations Course

Economic and political relationships between tribal, colonial and market societies are investigated in order to shed light on why state systems evolve.

Online Master's Degree in Cultural Anthropology

Students who already possess a bachelor's degree and a solid foundation in anthropological theory may obtain an online master's in applied anthropology. Applied anthropologists use ethnographic data collecting and analytical skills to tackle current societal problems.

Program Information and Requirements

By taking 2-3 courses per semester, students can obtain a master's degree in three years. While all coursework can be completed online and through teleconferencing, on-campus orientation and thesis defense might be necessary. Field research often requires the ability to converse in a foreign language and a working knowledge of anthropological theory, which may be demonstrated through testing or prerequisite courses.

Courses Offered

Master's level coursework focuses on data analysis through quantitative and qualitative methods.

Statistics for Anthropology Course

An overview of the practical applications of statistics to anthropology includes methods and theories behind collecting, organizing and interpreting numerical data in ethnographic research.

Quantitative Anthropology Course

Research design and ethical data collection of cultural attributes are reviewed. Computer programs are employed to aid in pattern recognition within data.

Applied Anthropology Course

A review of the diverse applications of anthropological research to societal concerns prepares students for fieldwork. Students choose a case study and develop a research design.

Employment Options for Graduates

Cultural anthropologists gain useful interviewing skills, proficiency in foreign languages and international experience that make them marketable as diplomats, cultural advocates and researchers in global trade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reported a mean annual wage of $60,230 for anthropologists as of May 2012.

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Best Schools with Cultural Anthropology Graduate Programs

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