Free Online Lectures and Courses for Anthropology

From prehistoric civilizations to the present day, the way humans interact with and relate to one another is a topic of great interest to anthropology students and professionals. Anthropology is the broad academic field that explores race, religion, gender, age and other factors that influence modern human society. The field (which comes from a Greek term meaning “human study”) represents an intersection between history, civics, sociology and psychology. Students who want to learn more about this field are encouraged to enroll in a free online course sponsored by an accredited college or university.

A significant number of anthropologists end up teaching the subject at a higher-learning institution, but others find their calling in other lines of work. Forensic anthropologists work with law enforcement agencies to identify human remains, archaeologists use ancient artifacts and structures to learn more about historic populations, and cultural anthropologists consult with museum curators to create informative exhibitions for the general public. The common bond that links all of these different careers is a passion for understanding the things that make our society tick.

Sample Courses

Anthropology offerings at most accredited colleges and universities can be divided into two categories. General introductory courses delve into the fundamentals of archaeology, cultural anthropology, and other subfields; specific undergraduate courses, on the other hand, focus on the anthropological aspects of particular regions and/or cultures. At the graduate level, anthropology students learn how to use academic research and advanced data analysis to monitor and evaluate socio-cultural factors.

Possible Specializations

Generally, the four ‘traditional’ sub-disciplines in anthropology are physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistics and archaeology; these are available at most schools that offer advanced anthropology credentials. In addition, students may be able to earn a specialization in narrowly focused fields, such as “Native American agriculture” or “Archaeology of Mediterranean Civilizations.” The nature and number of anthropology specializations will vary between higher-learning institutions.

Degree Types

The degree an anthropology student chooses to achieve will directly correlate with his/her salary and opportunities for employment and professional advancement. Here is a look at the degree types available to prospective anthropologists:

Associate

Typically earned at a community college or vocational school, the associate degree focuses on general education, rather than specific fields. As a result, it will likely be insufficient for landing a high-paying, long-term career in anthropology ― but anthropology courses at this level will introduce fundamental concepts that resurface in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral courses.

Bachelor’s

Anthropology is a field in which students tend to earn advanced credentials after graduating with a bachelor’s degree. However, those who choose to conclude their education after finishing undergraduate studies may be able to secure an entry-level position at a museum, cultural center or other establishment that caters to anthropological work.

Master’s

Anthropology students who choose a specialization and complete a master’s program will be able to effectively compete for a wide range of positions in or related to their field. Those who wish to become anthropology professors or academic researchers should opt for a doctoral degree.

Ph.D.

Doctoral programs incorporate data analysis and fieldwork that assist anthropology students who are interested in careers in higher education and/or academic research. A Ph.D. may also allow a degree-holder to compete for advanced or leadership positions that would be off-limits to applicants with lesser degrees.

Ideal Candidates for Anthropology

First and foremost, anthropologists must be genuinely interested in examining human society and culture without bias. Many anthropologists deal directly with certain populations and minority groups throughout the world, so a strong degree of cultural sensitivity and understanding is required. A data-driven mindset is also valuable, since most anthropologists use surveys, statistical data and research studies to guide their work.

Career Pathways

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are currently 7,200 individuals employed in this field in the United States. The BLS estimates that the number of positions will grow by 19% between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average rate of growth for all professions. Despite the expansion of anthropology-oriented jobs in non-traditional workplace settings, competition for jobs remains somewhat high. According to the BLS, anthropologists tend to find the best jobs with cultural resource management firms.

Another factor influencing the employment rate of anthropologists is federal funding, since so much of the field is financed through grants and proposals. How the government chooses to allocate funds ― and how much agencies earmark for specific organizations and groups ― directly affects the amount of anthropology jobs and the median salary of professional anthropologists which, according to the BLS, is currently $57,420 per year.

Most colleges and universities today host at least one student organization devoted to anthropological research and theory, as well as numerous groups for different cultures, religions and genders. Additionally, aspiring anthropologists can find more information about this career path by attending conferences and seminars, and gaining membership in a professional organization.

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Anthropology Journals & Trade Magazines

  • Journals

    • American Anthropologist

      This is the journal of the American Anthropological Association, and it strives to present scholarly work across the various anthropological disciplines.

    • Annual Review of Anthropology

      This peer-reviewed journal "covers significant developments in the subfields of Anthropology, including archaeology, biological anthropology, linguistics."

    • Arctic Anthropology

      Published by the University of Wisconsin, this journal focuses on human behavior, culture, and evolution in the arctic.

    • Museum Anthropology

      This journal focuses on how we document and present anthropology and ethnology in museums around the world, analyzing those choices.

    • Social Geography

      This journal is meant to connect scientists across numerous disciplines, including anthropology, and focuses on the "interrelation of society, practice and space."

    • The Australian Journal of Anthropology

      Though based in Australia and including content on Aboriginal anthropology, especially, this journal covers the discipline's topics worldwide.

  • Trade Magazines

    • Aesthetica

      Calling itself the "art and culture magazine," this publication takes the arts as a jumping off point for analyzing society and human behavior and culture.

    • Americana

      This magazine isn't necessarily for academics, but takes a different perspective on analyzing American popular culture, incorporating multiple media types in ...

    • Anthropology Now

      Paradigm Publishers puts out this magazine, which "offers readers thought-provoking and timely content focused on contemporary issues and debates."

    • Popular Anthropology Magazine

      This magazine is aimed at both academics and the general public, with the goal being to "raise popular awareness of anthropology's relevance."

    • Scientific American: Anthropology

      An online subset of SA, this publication makes the discipline accessible to the average reader but also goes into depth about current anthropological ...

Anthropology Grants & Scholarships

  • Grants

    • AAA Ethics Grant

      Deadline: November 8

      Award Amount: $200-$1,000

      This grant is given to AAA members to "foster the development and use of curricular materials for the teaching and communication of ethics and ethical practice across the discipline of anthropology."

    • AAA Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program

      Deadline: March 1

      Award Amount: $10,000

      This grant funds a dissertation writing fellowship for minority doctoral candidates in anthropology, with its aims being to increase diversity in the field.

    • ACOR-CAORC Post-Graduate Fellowship

      Deadline: February 1

      Award Amount: Maximum $31,800

      This grant is for postdoctoral students who are "pursuing research or publication projects in the natural and social sciences, humanities, and associated disciplines relating to the Near East."

    • National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Grants

      Deadline: January 15 and August 15; January 16 and August 16

      Award Amount: Varies

      The NSF accepts grant proposals for cultural anthropology research in a number of categories, including senior research, workshop proposals, training programs, and Faculty Scholars proposals.

    • Wenner-Gren Foundation: Dissertation Fieldwork Grants

      Deadline: February 1st and August 1st

      Award Amount: Maximum $20,000

      Wenner-Gren gives this grant to support students conducting doctoral or thesis research, and it aims to "ensure that the discipline continues to be a source of vibrant and significant work."

    • Wenner-Gren Foundation: Wadsworth International Fellowships

      Deadline: March 1

      Award Amount: $17,500

      This grant is given to international students completing Ph.D. or equivalent research in countries where the discipline is underrepresented.

  • Scholarships

Anthropology Internships

  • AAA Leadership Fellows Program

    Deadline: March 15

    The American Anthropological Association gives this internship to young anthropologists; the chosen interns work with a mentor while conducting research over a year.

  • Amerind Museum Graduate Internships

    Deadline: Rolling

    This Foundation asks graduate student interns to assist in numerous museum areas, such as collections management, grant writing, exhibition development, digitization, education, and others.

  • Cultural Survival Internships

    Deadline: March 31, August 31, December 31

    Cultural Survival offers student internships of 16 hours a week in multiple departments, including community radio, global response, research and publications, events, and others.

  • Minnetrista Internships

    Deadline: Varies

    A preservation organization in East Central Indiana, Minnetrista offers student internships in oral history interviewing, collections, events, research, and other areas.

  • National Association for the Practice of Anthropology

    Deadline: TBD

    NAPA plans to offer student internships with the organization, which has goals of both anthropological outreach and education.

  • North American Archaeology Internship

    Deadline: April 1, August 27, December 1

    The American Natural History Museum offers this internship to undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduates three times throughout the year, giving them a chance to contribute to museum projects.

  • Smithsonian Internship

    Deadline: Varies

    The Smithsonian's internships vary widely, but anthropology students are welcomed to participate in experiential education along with a mentor who shapes the program to meet the intern's goals.

  • Women in Archeology Internship Program

    Deadline: March 17

    This internship, sponsored by the Center for American Archeology, offers four internships for undergraduate and graduate women in archeology, museum education, or related fields.

Anthropology Student & Professional Organizations