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Top 4 Affordable Online Anthropology Master’s Under $25,000

Online anthropology master's degree programs delivery an education in culture

If you have a questioning mind that loves to consider how humans and cultures work, then an online anthropology master’s degree may be the perfect education for you. In anthropology, you get to consider big ideas about humanity. How do languages relate to each other? What contact did ancient civilizations have with others? Why do ethnic conflicts begin? Were ancient humans physically different from us? There are so many fascinating questions that you can investigate in anthropology, and getting an online anthropology master’s degree is a great way to launch your career.

Types of Anthropology

Broadly speaking, anthropology is the study of humans. Human cultures, human behavior, human biology, and humans in the past. According to National Geographic, there are four basic types, or subdisciplines, in anthropology.

  • Cultural or Social Anthropology is the study of the behavior of people and groups in different environments. Within cultural anthropology is ethnology, which is a research method of field work where anthropologist study and observe customs, societies, and individuals in their own environments.
  • Linguistic Anthropology studies how language influences social life. It explores how language relates to identity, organizes beliefs, affects communication, and helps people represent their understanding of the world.
  • Biological or Physical Anthropology is the study of the evolution of humans in the context of human culture and behavior. It can also include studying close relatives of humans, such as apes, to understand more about how biology influences human culture.
  • Archaeology is the branch of anthropology that studies the human past and examines the material remains of past societies.

In addition to these main branches of anthropology, there are other subdivisions such as Visual Anthropology, which is either the making of ethnographic films or the study of how visual representation operates within a society. You might also consider applied anthropology to be a field within anthropology, which uses the methods and theories of anthropology to solve practical problems in the world today. Working with global migrants and refugees is one such application of anthropological ideas to a real-world issue. Medical anthropology is another subfield, looking at how human health and wellbeing is influenced by different factors.

Anthropology master’s programs will teach the theories and methods used in anthropology, the history of anthropology, and students may take classes in many related fields. By its very nature, anthropology is an interdisciplinary field, touching on many other realms of knowledge. Pursuing the big questions about humanity ends up leading anthropologists to work with many other specialties and to follow their lines of inquiry in new and interesting paths. For the curious who love to use critical thinking, observation, and research to explore humans and society, an online anthropology master’s degree makes a great choice.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Anthropology?

There are so many possibilities for anthropology master’s jobs that is hard to list them all. Some of the more well-known careers for anthropologists might be working in museum curation, historic preservation, education, or archeology. But did you know that there are careers in a wide variety of fields that you can get with an online anthropology master’s? The American Anthropological Society lists careers that their members are in that include social services, information technology, market research, tourism, business, management consulting, criminal justice, community development, advocacy, international affairs, and more. Because anthropology can touch on so many parts of the human world, and because masters degrees for anthropology majors often let students gear their program to individual interests, you can apply your knowledge to so many different careers. When you start to think about the big questions, you can be a professional in many types of careers and work to solve problems and mysteries that humans have pondered for millenia.

Requirements to Work in Anthropology

Working in anthropology doesn’t require any sort of licensing, but it does require a degree. Few anthropologists can find work with just a bachelor’s degree, but an online anthropology masters would be a very quick and easy way to get the most popular degree for anthropologists. Masters degrees for anthropology majors are what most people who consider themselves professionals in this field have, although getting a doctorate degree may be necessary to reach the very highest levels of this profession or to teach at the university level. Anthropology masters programs teach students varied and useful skillsets for different subfields within anthropology, so it is a great idea to have some ideas of what areas within anthropology interest you when you decide to get your master’s degree. If you have a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, that will help you to more easily get into an online anthropology master’s degree program, but most programs do not require you to have this as your undergraduate major to accept you for graduate school. However, some anthropology masters programs will want you to have taken a few anthropology courses during your undergraduate degree, so you may have to take a prerequisite course or two before you begin master’s study.

Master’s in Anthropology Salary

There are anthropology master’s jobs in many different industries, and master’s in anthropology salary ranges can vary. The median annual salary for anthropologists and archeologists is $66,130, which is one-and-a-half times the salary for all occupations. For the highest masters in anthropology salary, graduates may want to look at careers in the federal government, which have the highest median salary at $79,270. The job outlook for these careers is good, at a projected increase of 5% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than average. Those who work in engineering services do well, and management and research positions round out the most popular industries where anthropologists work. Although job growth is better than average, competition for these jobs may be strong because of the large number of applicants for each position. To increase your employment potential, extensive fieldwork, an applied master’s degree, or even getting your PhD may be good strategies.

You may also want to consider that there are many other career fields you may pursue with your online anthropology master’s. Working in market research, museums, historical preservation, human or social services, non-governmental organizations, health care, advocacy, international relations, forensics, communications, or diversity programs are all options. The possibilities are quite broad, and depending on what you decide to concentrate on in your study, anthropology master’s jobs can be almost anywhere that your interest and specialty take you. Whether your interests are research, working with people, working with objects, applying your training to problems in the world, helping people through nonprofits, or applying your skills to an area of business, your understanding of human behavior and society can take you into many careers that will be very intellectually satisfying and secure.

Top 4 Online Anthropology Master’s Programs

  1. Humboldt State University

    Degree: Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology
    Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State):

    Humboldt State University’s online Applied Anthropology master’s program begins with a 7-10 day summer intensive on campus, and then offers full or part time options for distance learning for the remainder of the program. The program can be completed in two years full time or three years part time. Online classes are mostly asynchronous, and students take 27-31 credits of required courses plus nine credits of elective classes. Courses in this program include Anthropology Careers & Management Strategy, Research Project Design, Introduction to Applied Anthropology, and Anthropology Internship/Field Placement. There is one synchronous meeting of students and faculty which happens on Thursday evenings from 6-8pm PST for discussions, announcements, and to maintain community within the program. 180 hours of internship or field placement is required, and students take either a comprehensive exam as the final part of the program, or may elect to complete their studies with a thesis if they have a 3.5 GPA. Up to 4 units of electives may be transferred from another school. In addition to the coursework, students are expected to demonstrate mastery of skills and subjects related to their final project or career plans; this may include taking workshops, trainings, or performing field work either on campus or at other sites. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, archeology, or a related subject, or be able to demonstrate adequate preparation for the master’s program. Additionally, they should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 credits of their bachelor’s study, and experience in their intended area of concentration is preferred. Students will have a chance to explore research interests and develop their concentration at the summer intensive and throughout the program with faculty, advisors, and peers. The Humboldt State anthropology master’s degree program is perfect for students who seek a strong academic community, individual choice of concentration, and a high-quality yet affordable distance MA that prepares them for their careers goals.

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    Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology


  2. University of North Texas

    Degree: Master of Arts/Master of Science in Applied Anthropology
    Total Cost (In-State):
    Total Cost (Out-of-State):

    The online anthropology master’s program at University of North Texas gives students the options of an MA or an MS, and most students complete the degree in three years taking two courses each fall and spring semester. The classes are all online, with both synchronous and asynchronous elements, and students only have to come to campus twice during their program: before their first fall term for a 2-day orientation, and at the end of their program to present their thesis project. Courses in this program include Anthropological Thought and Praxis, Ethnographic and Qualitative Methods, Quantitative Methods in Anthropology, and Preparation for Practice and Applied Thesis. The MA degree option requires either two full years of foreign language study, or testing out of the requirement with fluency in a second language. The MS option doesn’t require a foreign language, but students will take addition courses in a skill appropriate to their project plans. The thesis for this degree needs to be an applied research project that benefits an organization or agency, or a report to the department of anthropology that is booth written and presented orally. Students design and carry out the project using skills gained in the master’s program, and in the case of an applied project, students will work with the client organization and their faculty advisor with clear three-way communication. The department has a lively virtual community called the Cosmic Café to allow students to freely make connections with others in the program, both online and on-campus students in the program. There is also help for online students available from the help desk. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree with at least 12 hours of anthropology courses, or they will need to take a prerequisite leveling course in the summer before the program starts. Early admission and scholarship application deadline is January 15, and the late application deadline is March 15, with all new students starting in the fall semester. The UNT master’s program is designed with working students in mind, and provides a curriculum that allows for students to specialize in an area of interest.

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    Master of Arts/Master of Science in Applied Anthropology


  3. Columbia International University

    Degree: Master of Arts in Global Migration Studies
    Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State):

    Columbia International University offers the MA in Global Migration Studies as an online program with an emphasis on the cultural, economic, and spiritual impact of migration. The 36 credit program can be completed in as little as 14 months of study and is designed to equip students to minister to refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants. Students will learn how biblical principles apply to diaspora and global migration, history and politics, about the unique needs of different types of diaspora communities, and ministry skills as they apply to global migrants of various types. The career possibilities for graduates include international student ministry, working in faith-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs), specializing in refugee resettlement, or missionary work among refugees, asylum seekers, and international students. Applicants to the program need to have a minimum 2.5 GPA on their undergraduate degree, transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate work, a reference from a church leader who has known the applicant for at least two years, and an application essay. International applicants will need to provide an academic evaluation by World Educational Services, fill out an international education form, and submit minimum TOEFL scores if English is not their first language. For students who are interested in the plight of migrants, the degree offers up-to-date training to work in the 21st century diaspora. The program at CIU is a perfect master’s degree for those who are working in Christian ministry around the world or who would like to work in a global context or their local communities to meet the needs of today’s migrants. The convenience of a fully online program makes this a great choice for students who have work, spiritual, and family obligations but who want expert professional training in this specialized area of anthropology.

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    Master of Arts in Global Migration Studies


  4. Eastern University

    Degree: Master of Arts in Theological & Cultural Anthropology
    Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State):

    The Theological and Cultural Anthropology master’s from Eastern University is fully online and can be completed in 11 months full time or 16-21 months part time. New students can enroll to start in January or August, and the program has core courses in both theology and anthropology, operating at the intersection of culture and faith. Courses in the 33 credit program include Integrated Anthropological Theory I & II, Epistemological Insights for Anthropological Practice, and On Knowing Humanity Colloquium. Students can tailor the program to their interests with 12 elective credits that can be in education, business, biblical studies, ethics, leadership, missiology, linguistics, spiritual formation, and more. Applicants should have a 2.5 GPA on their bachelor’s degree and have taken am Intro to Cultural Anthropology course or must take this as a prerequisite online in the summer before their program starts. Applicants also need to submit a Statement of Purpose and a Faith Statement, although they do not need to be Christian, they need to understand that much of the work in the program is drawn from Christian doctrine. The core courses for the program must be taken all together in one academic year, while electives can be taken before, during or after the core classes. The program is allied with the On Knowing Humanity Research Center which brings together resources and opportunities for anthropologist and theologians, as well as other scholars to participate in the anthropological discourse. Suggested careers for graduates include anthropology teacher, mission ethnographer, anthropological consultant, or to advance to management level in any current career. It is also appropriate as preparation for doctoral work. The Eastern University online anthropology master’s degree program brings a Christian perspective to anthropology, and is perfect for students seeking a challenging academic program that incorporates their interest in faith.

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    Master of Arts in Theological & Cultural Anthropology


Begin an Online Anthropology Master’s Today!

For those who love to ponder the mysteries of humanity, whether in the past or right here in the present-day world, getting an online anthropology master’s can be a great place to start. This is a degree that can make your wondering into your profession. Master’s degrees for anthropology majors can help you to get to the next level in a career you already have, help you to change your career focus, or take you in an entirely new direction. Whether you see yourself working with asylum seekers at the border between two far-away countries, digging for the remains of human society in an area near or far, or working with a large corporation to understand client behavior, you can start this all by getting a master’s degree online in anthropology.

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