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List of Free Online Anthropology Courses and Learning Materials

See our list of the top free online anthropology courses. Learn about what courses are available and what topics they cover to find the course that's right for you.

Online Anthropology Courses for Credit

Free courses in anthropology that don't provide credit can be found online if you're just looking to brush up on the subject without the trouble of registration or tuition. If you're seeking credit for college, however, Study.com can help you attain it at a relatively low-cost through engaging courses featuring video and text lessons.

Students can take Anthropology 101: General Anthropology, which includes chapters such as:

  • Introduction to Anthropology - Study reoccurring themes in history and examine the differences between physical, cultural, linguistic, and archaeological anthropology.
  • Spatial Processes - Topics include cultural diffusion, spatial interaction through movement, behavioral geography, and types of spatial processes.
  • Settlement Patterns - Examine human settlements, distribution of people in rural settings, city land use, and the invention of cities.
  • Religion - Go over theories on the origins of religion, primal religions, Wallace's typology of religions, and key concepts of various religions.

List of Free Online Anthropology Courses

University of Cape Town

  • Adventures in Forensic Anthropology delves into the study of human remains and what bones can tell us about a human's life and death. It teaches students how forensic anthropology contributes to solving murders and other crimes. The school provides audio lectures that students can download.

Utah State University

  • Anthropology of Religion looks at the relationships between the individual, culture, society and religion. Lectures are available as videos or PDF downloads, and they cover religious myths and symbols, the psychology of religion, religion and society, religion as an expressive culture, and religious ritual, among other topics. Quizzes are also available for each lecture. One textbook purchase is required to fully learn from this course.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Anthropology of War and Peace teaches students about the consequences of war on American culture, the reasons for war, and how war experiences differ. The focus of this course is the war in Iraq. The class schedule consists of 12 sets of PDF lecture notes, which examine the genocide in Rwanda, the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War, the invasion of Iraq, and experiences of war and violence. Four textbooks are recommended to get the most out of this course.
  • Culture, Embodiment and the Senses is focused on human sensory experiences and the politics related to them. For example, students take a look at philosophical dialogues about the brain, emotions, the inner working of the mind and the body. Online students have access to downloadable lecture notes.
  • Gender, Sexuality, and Society addresses gender and how people experience it under different cultural and historical contexts. Specific topics covered include gender in the workplace, sexuality-based identities, intersexuality, fetal images and abortion, and sexism and racism as they relate to violence. Three textbooks are suggested to work through the readings of the course.
  • Power: Interpersonal, Organizational and Global Dimensions explores the dynamics of subordinate and dominant relationships. Students look at the ways in which these personality types influence themselves and the people around them. Students are able to download class assignments as well as lecture notes.

Capilano University

  • Introduction to Social Anthropology is designed to teach students ideas, concepts and methods in the social anthropology field. Some of the topics covered through short lecture excerpts are communication systems, kinship systems and religious systems. Students can purchase a workbook and download fieldwork and cultural paper assignment instructions to get the most benefit from taking this course.

University of Notre Dame

  • Primate Behavior examines nonhuman primates and their social activities and behavior. The course syllabus suggests that students purchase one textbook to work through the 18 topics included in the lecture notes. Some of these topics include conservation, behavioral ecology, mate choice, social learning and conflict negotiation. The course includes a couple links to outside resources as well as a primate taxonomy chart.

University of California at Irvine

  • Religion and Social Order looks at religions in many different cultures. The course consists of a series of PowerPoint lectures covering such topics as religion and the body, religion and art, exorcising miscegenation, religion in contemporary Africa and GLBTQ spirituality. The course site includes relevant links to outside sources that shed some additional insight on the course topics.

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