Online Archaeology Schools: How to Choose

Typically, there aren't any archaeology degrees available online. Undergraduate degree programs in the broader field of anthropology can be found online though, and some of these programs include archaeology courses.

How to Select an Online Archaeology School

Archaeologists study past human civilizations by locating and analyzing artifacts, ruins and other evidence. Online anthropology programs can be found through select colleges and universities at the undergraduate level. Students should scrutinize the award level and program delivery with their career goals.

Award Level

Students can find archaeology courses through a small number of online anthropology associate's degree programs as well as bachelor's degree programs. Students can also take stand-alone archaeology classes online as a precursor to transferring to a traditional campus-based degree program in archaeology.

Career Goals

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipated a better than-average-employment growth rate of 19% for archaeologists and anthropologists between 2012-2022. The continued increase in construction projects, especially in state and national infrastructure systems, will likely contribute to the increased need for archaeologists to examine, assess and preserve found artifacts. Prospective students should be aware that a master's or doctoral degree in the field is generally required for most job opportunities (www.bls.gov).

Program Delivery

Students may find archaeology classes offered completely online, though there are also hybrid programs that require visits to campus, primarily for fieldwork and labs. Schools may use an online learning management system, such as Blackboard or other propriety software, to facilitate distance lectures and discussions. Newer computers with high-speed Internet access and e-mail are recommended for viewing streaming video and using online course materials.

List of Online Anthropology Degrees

Associate of Arts in Anthropology

The many components of anthropology are studied in this program, such as cultural anthropology, human evolution and medical anthropology. An archaeology course is also part of the core curriculum. Topics of this class include:

  • Archaeology of world rock art
  • Cultural anthropology
  • Classification of artifacts
  • Indians of North America

Associate of Arts and Sciences in Anthropology

This curriculum provides an in-depth exploration of both historical and modern philosophies and methods related to archaeological study. Through online lectures, discussions and assigned projects, students practice techniques for collecting and understanding artifacts. They learn to apply the scientific method to their findings and to discern archaeological fact from fiction.

Additional electives may include a survey of key archaeological discoveries such as Machu Picchu and the Pyramids, and how politics, sexism and racism have influenced archaeological studies and interpretation. Some schools offer this program with a transfer option to a 4-year school for continued undergraduate education at the bachelor's degree level. Course topics include:

  • Historical and human geology
  • Survey of philosophical thought
  • Cultural studies
  • Political science

Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, Concentration in Anthropology

Students in this online program delve into the study of human development from an archaeological perspective as part of their chosen concentration. A course in field archaeology covers the methods for finding, retrieving and analyzing artifacts, including creation of a photographic record. Courses may also feature exploration of archaeological finds from around the world. Archaeology courses may provide a framework for anthropology courses exploring human cultures, communication, and the significance of human rituals and myths.

Detailed research of programs may benefit those interested in a particular region, since some college programs focus on local cultures. Students should also find out if special equipment must be purchased, such as graphics software or camera equipment to complete fieldwork or course assignments. Core courses include:

  • Contemporary social theory
  • History of social thought
  • Social sciences research methods
  • Psychology and culture

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