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Online Masters Degree in Anthropology

Employment in anthropology is highly competitive at the fieldwork level, with a scant 6,100 jobs according to a 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. A master's degree is therefore the minimum level of education for a professional anthropologist. Students interested in pursuing such an education can do so through online anthropology masters degree programs, although most graduate work from accredited online master’s degree programs in anthropology require extensive field research. The most specialized careers in this subject, such as archeology and linguistic anthropology, require a PhD. Fortunately, an online bachelor’s degree in anthropology is sufficient for many careers in private businesses, nonprofits and government institutions, sectors that prize anthropologists’ research skills and knowledge of human behavior.

What are the admission requirements for an online master’s in anthropology?

Top online masters degree programs in anthropology commonly require students to submit the following for admissions purposes:

  • Application form
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Personal statement or Essay
  • Letters of recommendation

Candidates for these programs typically should have either a bachelors degree in anthropology or in a related field, such as:

  1. History
  2. Sociology
  3. Linguistics
  4. Ethnology
  5. Cognitive Science

What types of online master’s degrees in anthropology can students pursue?

Students can pursue one of several different online masters degrees in anthropology at accredited online schools.

Students often pursue concentrations in order to become an expert in a specific discipline.

Common areas of focus for online degree students include:

  • Archeology: The most hands-on of anthropology concentrations, archeology involves the excavation and examination of cultural artifacts. Students will use these artifacts to draw inferences about the customs of ancient societies.
  • Biological Anthropology:  Students seeking online master’s degrees in anthropology can expect to study the physical development of humans throughout history, should they choose this concentration. Their research will incorporate readings on genetics, nutrition, diseases and forensics.
  • Cultural Anthropology: This concentration immerses students in diverse societies and asks them to observe the cultural subtleties between them. Students learn to interview and survey people from varied walks of life.
  • Linguistic Anthropology: The influence of language on culture, and vice versa, is the focus of linguistic anthropology. Students track the development of languages over long periods of time, in particular those of non-European origin.
  • Archives and Preservation: Students will research the methods behind keeping and appraising valuable documents and artifacts. They may also learn how to copy or transfer these documents to digital media for safeguarding.

What can students expect to learn in an online anthropology master’s degree program?

Students pursuing an online master in anthropology gain knowledge in history, language, geography and human behavior while expanding their skills in examination, investigation, inquiry deduction and communication by taking such online master’s degree anthropology courses as the following.

Some classes which are popular among students enrolled in top online masters programs in anthropology include:

  1. Early Prehistory: Courses in prehistory paint a broad picture of human social dynamics before the written word. They cover theories on ancient tool use, warfare, religious rituals and the domestication of animals, subjects of continued debate and speculation.
  2. Medieval Archeology: Students in this course explore the buildings and artifacts of European civilizations before the Reformation. In the process, they learn about the forces that shaped those civilizations, be they economic, ethnic, religious or militaristic.
  3. Legal Anthropology: Earning an anthropology masters degree online may involve a course in legal anthropology, or the study of the ordering of human society. Students learn how cultures throughout history maintained such order through law, and how they wrestled with concepts like property rights, land claims and self-determination.

What careers can students pursue after graduating from anthropology masters programs online?

There is a variety of different job options that online anthropology masters programs graduates may choose from.

Some careers graduates can choose from include:

  1. Secondary School Teacher: The best online masters degree anthropology programs provide the research and communication skills crucial to leading high school and community college classrooms. Unlike postsecondary teaching, which is possible with an online PhD in anthropology, secondary schools do not require as specialized an understanding of anthropology. The median salary for  this profession is $53,230.  According to a 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, this career is expected to grow 7% up to 2020, far slower than the average rate of 14%.
  2. Research Archeologist: In their efforts to unearth and study ancient artifacts, archeologists help expand, refine and clarify our perceptions of past cultures. The median income in this field is $54,230. The U.S. Bureau of Labor predicts a growth rate of 21% in this career by 2020, a faster rate than average.
  3. Museum Curator: After earning an online master degree in anthropology, students may pursue a career in museum curation. Curators organize collections of archeological artifacts for public appreciation, installing and restoring them when necessary. The median income for this profession is $42,310. Job growth is an average 16%, with 3,800 new curators expected to enter the work force by 2020.
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