Earn an Anthropology Degree
- $320/credit (120 credits)
- Transfer up to 90 credits
- Receive credit for prior learning
- Learn from field-tested faculty
- Experiential learning opportunities
- $73,230 median annual wage for environmental scientists and specialists1
Online Anthropology Degree Program Overview
If you’re interested in why humans act the way they do, Southern New Hampshire University's online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Anthropology may be for you.
In this program, you'll have the chance to analyze relationships and think about the human experience. This experiential online anthropology degree bridges the sciences and humanities. Here, you'll explore similarities and differences in society through cultural, biological, archaeological and linguistic lenses. You'll examine how society has changed throughout the years and into the present day.
Our online anthropology degree will give you a broad range of skills that could be useful as you embark on your future career. From tourism and market research to social impact and criminal justice, a degree in anthropology could open the door to many potential career options, and help you respond to cultural and environmental challenges. In this program, you can expect to explore complex human nature, investigate identity and promote cultural awareness and change.
Whether you wish to earn your master's or dive right into the field after graduation, this program is designed to provide the tools, skills and knowledge you'll need to succeed. SNHU graduate Celeste Cox '20 said, “Anthropology is an amazing base to any graduate degree and even in everyday life. I am currently in a public health/global health program and it has already helped me immensely."
Learn how to:
- Apply anthropological theories and concepts to both historical and present-day issues
- Consider how we've evolved and adapted as a modern society
- Develop anthropological research questions for potential project proposals
- Analyze research and data for how humans construct their realities
- Assess the similarities and differences of various cultures
- Develop your own culturally relevant perspectives
In addition to the general anthropology track, you can also choose to tailor your program with a career-focused concentration in environmental sustainability.
Anthropology (BA) - Environmental Sustainability
Southern New Hampshire University's Bachelor's in Anthropology with a concentration in Environmental Sustainability aims to help you recognize and respond to cultural and environmental challenges by exploring the way the past impacts the present. In this concentration, you'll acquire ethical, practical and technical skills – and learn to view the world through a social, historical and evolutionary lens. Students who pursue this degree generally do so with the goal of better understanding and thereby protecting the environment.
Many of the courses in our environmental sustainability concentration use virtual experiences. From role-playing to tourism plans, you'll combine theory and problem-solving skills in an authentic way, helping you make your mark as an engaged citizen of a diverse world. You'll emerge a steward of the natural world, ready to enter the booming green economy as more and more firms recognize the importance of environmental impact.
SNHU's environmental sustainability program features a multidisciplinary approach and provides skill sets valued by a range of employers - from urban to rural organizations, private firms to nongovernment organizations (NGOs).
After earning your online anthropology degree with a concentration in environmental sustainability, you should be able to examine the relationship between human activities and environmental processes. You'll then be able to inform and develop individual and community strategies that mitigate environmental issues and promote sustainable living.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for environmental scientists and specialists was $73,230 in May 2020, and the employment rate for this field is projected to grow 8% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.1 Adding this concentration to your degree in anthropology could help you pursue a career with an organization working to lessen environmental impact through the use of research, maintaining best practices, installing technologies and training employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sustainability managers are responsible for developing and implementing an organization's sustainability plans and presenting these plans to senior staff. They may also use their education and expertise to ensure that an organization is in compliance with environmental, health and safety regulations.1
Courses may include:
- Conservation Biology
- Environmental Issues
- Energy and Society
- Sustainable Communities
If you're interested in turning your passion for the planet into a profession, you may also want to check out our online environmental science degree.
Anthropologists can be found in a wide range of career paths all around the world, from corporations and government jobs to disaster areas and nonprofit associations.
"Whether my passion brought me to the beautiful coastline of the Yucatan, inland lakes of Nicaragua or colonial libraries of Oaxaca, my degree in anthropology emphasized the importance of recognizing the ways human culture changes and adapts over time. This resulted in me feeling like I could shed a little light on a sliver of the human experience," said Collin Gillenwater, who holds a master’s in historical archaeology and has taken his career in many directions over the years.
According to the American Anthropological Association, there are four main career paths for anthropology graduates today: 2
- Academic careers: These career paths generally work on campuses and in anthropology departments, and focus on teaching and conducting research. This career path could include teaching courses, writing lectures and grading papers in university programs.
For example, as an adjunct instructor and social sciences team lead at SNHU, Heather York currently teaches Introduction to Cultural Anthropology and Human Origins and Evolution. What she especially loves about teaching anthropology is "the surprise students so often express at learning that the rest of the world really isn't as exotic as they thought."
"Anthropology really teaches us the ways in which we're the same, even though it does that through the medium of exploring ways in which we're different," she said. "I also love showing students that other cultures think we're just as strange and exotic as we might think they are," York says.
- Corporate and business careers: Many organizations look to add anthropologists to their team to help gain further insight into the needs of their consumer. Anthropologists working in corporate research go beyond the traditional survey methods. Instead, they use their research skills to conduct focus groups and better understand the needs of the consumer. Using this information, they can identify improvements to the organization's service or product to adequately meet the needs of the consumer.
- Government careers: Anthropologists can work closely with a wide range of government organizations at the state or federal level in planning, research and managerial capacities. Police departments and museums often rely on forensic anthropologists to help identify mysterious remains. On the other hand, contract archaeology is a growing occupation in state and federal legislatures to assist in government-funded projects and their effect on cultural resources. According to the American Anthropological Association, the federal government is one of the largest employers of anthropologists outside of academia.2 SNHU graduate Celeste Cox '20, for example, is employed by Maine CDC (Center for Disease Control) as a case investigator/field epidemiologist. "I come into contact with a diverse group of people from all walks of life," said Cox. "Having this background is certainly beneficial. I've adopted a wide perspective and understanding of many cultures and beliefs. “
- Nonprofit and community-based careers: If designing programs and helping your community and the world become a better place is something that interests you, you might consider a career in the non-profit world. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) often hire anthropologists to help design and implement new programs.
So, whether you pursue an academic career on campus or online, choose to work on a corporate team, take a job working with the state or federal government or work for a nonprofit organization, you'll graduate with skill sets valued by a range of employers – from urban and rural nonprofits to private firms to NGOs.
At Southern New Hampshire University, our online anthropology degree emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach that gives you the skills you need to apply for a wide range of positions in every area from global health advocacy to environmental and natural resources.
Potential job titles include:
- Historic preservationist
- Cultural resource manager
- Human rights advocate
- Forensic anthropologist
- User experience designer
- Cultural resources specialist
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% growth for anthropologists and archaeologists through 2029.1 Note that an advanced degree (a master's or doctorate) is generally required to become an anthropologist. Those with bachelor's degrees may be able to secure positions as assistants or fieldworkers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects that job prospects for environmental scientists and specialists may grow 8% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.1 And while hazards facing the environment and increased environmental demands due to population increase will only continue to grow, so will the demand for environmental scientists and specialists with anthropology backgrounds in the future.
[Note: some positions may require additional training.]
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Anthropology Degree
Why SNHU for Your Online Anthropology Degree
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 90 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, Southern New Hampshire University has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
As an Southern New Hampshire University student, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 peers, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate your industry. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.3 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 6 (8-week) undergraduate terms.
How to Apply
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. Start by:
- Completing a free undergraduate application
- Providing previous institutions attended – so we can retrieve transcripts for you at no cost
Test scores are not required as part of your application.
Courses and Curriculum
The online anthropology degree has a strong foundation in archaeology, ethics and conservation. Core courses and concentrations stress the application of anthropological theory and methods to real-world problems through hands-on assignments, ethnographic case studies, data collection and the acquisition of skills in a specialty area. The program ends with a capstone course, where you'll have the opportunity to showcase the knowledge and skills you've developed throughout your coursework.
Beyond learning how anthropology helps us understand society, you'll also have the chance to gain widely applicable skills in research methods, statistical analysis, critical thinking and effective communication, which could help you greatly as you consider your future career path.
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
- General education courses: All bachelor's students are required to take general education classes, if not obtained in prior coursework. Through these foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.
- Technology resources: We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
- Earn math credits for what you already know: Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Show your knowledge of the materials in your program's math courses, and you could earn up to 12 math credits – at less than $50 for each course assessment (statistics or precalculus).
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|Courses May Include|
|BA in Anthropology Online|
|ATH 101||The Human Experience: Introduction to Anthropology||Anthropologists seek to answer the questions of what it means to be human and how cultures shape societies. Anthropology is composed of four main fields-physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and archaeological anthropology-from which culture is examined. This course will introduce students to the anthropological study of cultures, including comparing and contrasting social relationships and belief systems in different cultural settings. Concepts learned in this course will then be used to understand contemporary world views.|
|ATH 111||Introduction to Cultural Anthropology||This course is the study of preliterate and changing societies that emphasizes social organization and cultural aspects.|
|ATH 205||Discovering the Past: Foundations in Archaeology||Archaeological anthropologists seek to discover and learn from what we know about people and cultures that lived long ago. Artifacts and environmental modifications have left behind traces that tell us about their culture and their lives. In this course students will learn about survey techniques, culture change, dating methods, and the reconstruction of economic, social and religious practices of prehistoric societies. Archaeologists often collaborate with scientists from other disciplines to learn about the past. Students will explore what archaeologists hope to learn and how they study the past to inform the present.|
|ATH 210||Human Origins and Evolution: Biological Anthropology||This course provides an introduction to biological anthropology which explores the evolution of the human species, as well as the biology of contemporary humans and their non-human primate relatives. Students will explore evolutionary theory and mechanisms, the fossil record of human evolution, and modern humans' adaptation to their environments. Basic concepts of genetics, geology, paleontology, comparative anatomy, and primate biology provide the foundation for understanding humanity from a biological anthropological standpoint.|
|ATH 315||Anthropology in the Contemporary World||Anthropologists utilize an anthropological view to improve human lives. The purpose of this course is to allow students to discover the role of culture in contemporary problems, and to identify anthropological methods for creating positive, sustainable, and minimally biased change. The course will include a review of the history of anthropology and the current state of the field.|
|ATH 320||Who Owns Culture? Ethics in Anthropology||This course examines an anthropological understanding and knowledge of different models of ethical decision-making in applied and theory based contexts. Students will learn to identify the concepts of morality and ethical reasoning using the three main traditions of Western philosophy. Ethical decision-making will be explored in the context of current issues, taking into account the four fields of anthropology.|
|ATH 489||Capstone in Anthropology||This capstone course is the culminating experience for the B.A. in Anthropology program. The aim of the capstone is to assess students' ability to synthesize and integrate the knowledge and skills they have developed throughout their coursework, rather than introducing new concepts. This course is structured to support student success in fulfilling program requirements.|
|SCS 285||Research Literacy in Social Sciences||Students will analyze the value of using various kinds of data and credible existing research to address professional problems. Essential research skills and strategies such as research question development, evaluating data sets for practical application, and applications of social science research methods will be covered, enabling students to become effective consumers of research.|
|Total Credits: 120|
Tuition & Fees
As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation—and haven't raised our costs in a decade.
We also offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Undergraduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 30 credits|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between anthropology and archaeology?
Simply put, anthropology is the study of what makes us human.2 Anthropologists study every aspect of the human experience from our biological makeup to the evolution of human society throughout time and how we compare to other species. As you can imagine, that's a lot of ground to cover for one anthropologist. That's why the field is generally divided into four subfields which utilities a distinct set of skills in addition to the foundational anthropology techniques and methods. Archaeology, or anthropological archaeology, is one of those four subfields.
Much like anthropologists, archaeologists study human culture. The only difference is they study human culture of the past rather than the present. They do so by studying and analyzing artifacts excavated from archaeological sites. They use these artifacts to get a sense of what daily life was like for these humans. Archaeologists can even determine the types of diets and diseases from excavated human bones and teeth. In addition to excavating sites, archaeologists also manage and preserve sites and artifacts.
The other three subfields of anthropology include biological anthropology, cultural anthropology and linguistic anthropology. Biological anthropologists examine biology in humans and their non-human primate relatives and ancestors. Cultural anthropologists look at modern cultures and the effects of overpopulation, natural disasters, war and poverty on society. Linguistic anthropologists explore the past, present and future of languages, focusing on the use and impact of language on culture and social relationships.
Those looking to deepen their understanding of human behavior may also be interested in an online sociology degree.
Can I study anthropology online?
Absolutely! At Southern New Hampshire University, we believe higher education can be more accessible and affordable. With an online BA in Anthropology degree, you can explore the study of the human experience on your schedule with no set class times and 24/7 online access. Plus, we have some of the lowest online tuition rates in the country because higher education shouldn't come with a higher price tag.
Whitney Wheeler ’19 chose SNHU to pursue her online bachelor’s degree in anthropology because “it’s an actual school…it felt like a legitimate facility that happened to have courses available online as well.” She also found a ton of support from SNHU faculty and staff.
Core courses in both SNHU’s general anthropology track and the environmental sustainability concentration stress the application of anthropological theory and methods to real-world problems. They feature hands-on assignments, ethnographic case studies, data collection and projects that build skills in a specialty area.
Many of SNHU’s courses even use virtual experiences, while the robust curriculum includes real-world applications that yield pragmatic lessons and portfolio-worthy projects. You'll be able to enter the field knowing you've taken part in an interactive experience that's prepared you for whatever anthropological career path you choose.
Dr. Kelley Sams, anthropology and public health instructor at SNHU, even has some helpful advice for up-and-coming students looking to pursue their online degree.
"Succeeding in online learning has a lot to do with good time management. I encourage students to really think about how to use the 24 hours they each get every day. At the beginning of each term, each week and each day, make a plan. Decide what you want to accomplish in terms of work, relaxation, family time, etc. Think about your priorities and set clear boundaries for yourself," she says
What can I do with an online anthropology degree?
“An anthropology degree seems to translate well to the types of jobs that require curiosity or analytical thinking in areas that explore what it means to be human," said Collin Gillenwater, who then earned a master’s in historical archaeology.
Among Gillenwater’s most pivotal career moves was the time he spent surveying ancient settlements and researching colonial history in Mexico. Shortly after returning from his Central American dig, he parlayed the experience into an adjunct professor position teaching cultural anthropology and social science research methodology at Southern New Hampshire University.
Two years later, he transitioned into his current role as the university’s Senior Director of New Partnerships and Ventures.
"Indirectly, I found that anthropology helped me develop skills in project management, inquiry and community development, skills that I use every day of my new career," he said.
"Jumping into careers with no direct connection to anthropology is also becoming more common," Gillenwater said. This includes fields that apply a similar skill set such as human resources, social work, research and development, and sales and marketing.
Read more about what you can do with an anthropology degree.
What degree is needed for anthropology?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor’s degree in anthropology combined with internship experience can lead to positions as a field/lab technician or research assistant. Overseas work or jobs requiring leadership skills and complex technical knowledge usually call for an advanced degree.1
For Whitney Wheeler ’19, who made up her mind to become a marine archaeologist while working at Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium, a bachelor’s degree in anthropology was the first step on her career path.
Heather York also tried on two other majors before switching to anthropology. The deciding factor was the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology and Human Origins and Evolution courses she took midway through her sophomore year. Today, she teaches those same courses as an adjunct instructor at SNHU, bringing her real-life experience to the field of anthropology.
Is anthropology a growing field?
The BLS projects a 5% growth in employment of anthropologists and archeologists through 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.1
Much of the demand will come from corporations, which use anthropological research to analyze consumer demand within cultural or social groups. Anthropologists in corporate settings delve into specific markets to help businesses serve clients better or target new customers or demographic groups.
What does environmental sustainability mean?
Environmental sustainability focuses on helping people live more efficiently and effectively in their environment. Graduates of SNHU's online bachelor’s in anthropology with a concentration in environmental sustainability learn to become stewards of the natural world, ready to enter the booming green economy as many firms recognize the importance of environmental impact.
The program features a multidisciplinary approach and provides skill sets valued by a range of employers – from urban to rural organizations, private firms to nongovernment organizations (NGOs).
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
Sources & Citations (1, 2, 3)
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at:
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm (viewed May 28, 2021).
- https://www.bls.gov/green/sustainability/sustainability.htm (viewed April 14, 2020).
- https://www.bls.gov/OOH/life-physical-and-social-science/anthropologists-and-archeologists.htm (viewed May 28, 2021).
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm (viewed May 28, 2021).
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/anthropologists-and-archeologists.htm (viewed May 28, 2021).
- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/anthropologists-and-archeologists.htm#tab-4 (viewed May 28, 2021).
- https://www.bls.gov/OOH/life-physical-and-social-science/anthropologists-and-archeologists.htm (viewed May 28, 2021).
Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth
2American Anthropological Association, Careers in Anthropology, on the internet, at:
- https://www.americananthro.org/AdvanceYourCareer/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=1783 (viewed May 28, 2021).
- https://www.americananthro.org/AdvanceYourCareer/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=2150 (viewed June 1, 2021).
3According to a survey of over 12,000 SNHU online students conducted in the fall of 2018.