Aboriginal Cultural Studies Degree and Certificate Programs

Essential Information

While no U.S. schools offer degrees or certificate programs devoted to the study of Australian Aboriginal culture, many do offer courses in indigenous cultural studies within anthropology or similar degree programs. Bachelor's degree programs in anthropology can provide this opportunity.

A program in anthropology, which is the holistic study of humans throughout the world, can provide a student with a comprehensive liberal arts education. Students study the four main subfields of anthropology: archaeological, biological, cultural and linguistic anthropology. The fifth subfield of applied anthropology, which includes medical, business, psychological, environmental and urban anthropology is also often available.

These programs can also offer the opportunity to study abroad in Australia. The pre-requisites for studying abroad can include the completion of a certain number of credits and/or coursework, a minimum GPA, and a university transcript. After being accepted into a program, the student must also obtain a visa and health insurance.

In some cases, online courses and programs in anthropology are available in addition to more traditional coursework.

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with Study Abroad

Anthropology is an appropriate major for students who are interested in studying Aboriginal culture. U.S. schools offer training in indigenous studies, but in order to concentrate specifically on Aboriginal studies, one may have to study abroad.

Common course topics include:

  • History of anthropology, human evolution, and race
  • Background of population demographics, kinship patterns, social inequality, behavior, beliefs, values, and cultural traditions
  • Ethnographical research
  • Hands-on fieldwork
  • Independent research and interviewing
  • Coding and data analysis

Study Abroad

To focus on Aboriginal studies, students can check with their school to find out if a student exchange or study abroad program in Australia is available. Several universities in Australia offer programs in Aboriginal or indigenous studies that last one or two semesters. Frequently students can create their own academic schedules so that they can concentrate on Aboriginal studies.

Aboriginal studies programs in Australia provide in-depth courses on several aspects of Aboriginal life and opportunities to meet with Aboriginal people to learn about their culture. Some of the more advanced classes will require that students have completed several undergraduate courses to ensure that they can understand the course content.

Classes in Aboriginal studies may focus on:

  • Colonization of Australia
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Indigenous Australian justice
  • Aboriginal artwork
  • Cultural preservation
  • Aboriginal health
  • Aboriginal mythology
  • Aboriginal language

Popular Career Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most anthropologists, researchers and professors with a background in indigenous cultures need at least a graduate degree. However, graduates of a bachelor's degree program in anthropology have attained numerous beneficial skills, including critical thinking and writing. An anthropology undergraduate could find a job as a:

  • Writer
  • Research assistant
  • Museum assistant
  • Field worker

Continuing Education

Many graduates of an anthropology bachelor's degree program further their education in graduate school. Fieldwork is usually part of graduate studies. Completion of fieldwork research and a thesis or dissertation typically marks the end of the program, and the graduate can then seek more advanced anthropology jobs. Graduates of a bachelor's degree program also may pursue master's or doctoral degrees in medicine, law, public health, education or sociology.

While there are no programs of study in the U.S. dedicated to the study of Aboriginal Australians, interested students can take courses on the topic as part of a bachelor's degree in anthropology, combined with study abroad. Graduates of such programs often go on to work as writers and researchers.

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