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Top Online Anthropology Schools

Top Online Anthropology SchoolsAnthropology, the study of humanity, examines cultural differences with a focus on understanding behavioral diversity and identifying universal human characteristics and ethics. Anthropology studies can provide insights and tools to evaluate social systems and human diversity.

Online schools, colleges and universities offer degrees in anthropology at various levels, including bachelor's and master's degrees. Graduate programs typically offer in-depth concepts of cultural and behavioral theory as well as designs and methods for anthropological research.

The National Research Council released its assessment of anthropology programs throughout the United States in 2010. Their assessment methodology included an S-Rank, which ranks programs if they meet criteria deemed important by scholars, as well as an R-Rank, which ranks programs if faculty members believe the program has “top-notch” features. Based upon this report, the following five schools have the top five anthropology programs based upon S-Rank:


1.  Duke University
2.  Pennsylvania State University
3.  Harvard University
4.  Stanford University
5.  Northwestern University

The following five schools can be considered the top five schools for anthropology based upon their R-Rank score:


1.  Harvard University
2.  University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
3.  University of Chicago
4.  University of California at Berkeley
5.  University of Arizona

The American Anthropological Association recognizes the best publications in environmental/ecological anthropology with the Julian Steward Awards. The following schools have published research honored with this prize:

1.  2011: Yale University
2.  2011 (runner-up): University of Washington
3.  2009: Louisiana State University

Learn more about anthropology studies and courses

The curriculum for anthropology studies can vary widely and include specializations like linguistic anthropology. Seminars may cover globalization, cultural dynamics, prehistoric societies or specific regions of the world. Students use ethnographic materials to evaluate social systems and typically learn quantitative research methods involving statistics.

Anthropology bachelor's degree programs offer basic courses such as sociology and biology, along with methods for identification and analysis of social structures, patterns and problems. Students may specialize in large-scale or small-scale studies on topics such as historical and ancient cultural influences on the present, modern cultural systems, cultural effects of technology and so on. Master's degree programs in anthropology explore diverse influences on culture -- for example, geography, immigration, forensics, ecology, politics, economy, religions or evolution.

Outlook for careers in anthropology

Anthropologists and archeologists need a master's degree or Ph.D. for most positions, according to the

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov, 2012). The US employment rate for this profession is projected to increase by up to 21 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than the national US average (BLS.gov, 2012). Nationally in 2011, anthropologists and archeologists earned an annual wage of $56,070 median, with the lowest 10 percent earning $32,160 nationally and the highest 10 percent earning $89,840 nationally (BLS.gov, 2012).

Anthropology graduates can seek employment in professional fields encompassing social science research, administration, counseling, developing services, managing and consulting for a wide range of employers. Incomes vary, depending on education and the employer.

Learn more about online anthropology schools

Prospective students can browse through available online programs, request information from schools, compare course descriptions and decide on the anthropology school that suits their needs. Online anthropology schools and colleges typically offer convenient features such as allowing students to work at their own pace. Potential students should check that their school has been accredited by professional accrediting organizations that are approved by the US Department of Education, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both.



American Anthropological Association: Julian Steward Awards

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Anthropologists and archeologists (OES)

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Anthropologists and archeologists (OOH)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Chronicle of Higher Education (Doctoral Programs by the Numbers, 2010)