Online Cultural Anthropology Degree Program Overviews

Find out about online cultural anthropology programs and which degree levels are offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

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.

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.

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.

Course Topics

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

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

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.

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.

Course Topics

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

Comparative Cultures

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

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

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

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.

Course Topics

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

Statistics for Anthropology

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

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

Applied Anthropology

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.

Career Information

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 $64,290 for anthropologists and archaeologists as of May 2015.

Students interested in studying cultural anthropology online can earn an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in preparation for becoming an anthropologist. Students in these programs will study language, culture, beliefs and other anthropologic concepts.

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