In general, choosing a college or university can require hours of research. There are many factors to consider, such as online or on-campus, tuition cost, state or out-of-state, student population, school reputation, and what majors it provides. Some schools may be to your liking but not offer the program you want – in this case, anthropology. Does the institution have a master’s program if that is your intent? What specialties are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels? Ideally, it would help if you visited the school. However, this can be an expensive undertaking to travel across the country. Many colleges and universities have virtual tours to give you a taste of their learning environment and culture.
The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be significant. According to research.collegeboard.org site, the average published in-state tuition and fees at a public four-year school were $10,440 in 2019-2020. The average for out-of-state tuition and fees at public institutions was $26,820 for the same school year. Attend a private non-profit four-year school, and the average was $36,880. You might be able to offset the cost with grants to qualified students or government loans. Colleges, states, or the federal government typically award grant aid to eligible students. These do not require repayment, unlike loans; however, recipients are generally from lower-income families.
Arts or Science
An example we’ve cited in other articles is the University of Washington’s anthropology department that offers a B.A. or B.S. choice in this major. As expected, the latter lean towards a scientific approach as it includes biology, as well as electives in:
- Medical Anthropology and Global Health
- Archaeological Sciences
- Human Evolutionary Biology
Students choosing the arts program will not avoid science classes as it too includes biological anthropology. You have the option to select one of the majors above with the addition of Anthropology of Globalization and Indigenous Archaeology.
The University of Houston (UH) also provides a B.A. or B.S. choice in anthropology housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. When making your selection, the courses might influence your decision. There are medical anthropology courses at UH, applied anthropology, historical archaeology, sexuality, economic development, nutrition, ethnic studies in the United States, and cultural reconstruction from symbolic behavior. From a review of the coursework, there appear to be more similarities between the two programs than differences.
Students whose goal is to proceed directly from a bachelor’s degree to a graduate program have this option at UH. The Master of Arts in Anthropology is a thesis-required degree consisting of 30 semester hours of courses and 6 hours of thesis.
Individuals who prefer to study from the familiarity of the home may research online programs. This option comes with considerable savings on room and board, meals, transportation, parking fees, and more. Some learning institutions have asynchronous classes – there are no set times to be online. You set your schedule. Arizona State University has an online B.A. in Anthropology consisting of 120 credits or 39 classes. This program, as with other arts degrees, has a second language requirement. Students who want to bypass learning a foreign language may prefer a B.S. instead.
One of the disadvantages of an online program is the lack of lab facilities incorporated into some study plans. Students interested in the sub-specialty of archaeology have the opportunity to perform lab analysis of materials obtained from fieldwork. The bachelor’s degree at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo has an Archaeology Material Lab and the Anthropology Club. Campus organizations at this provide an exchange of information and networking opportunities.
Another feature at NDSU is the possibility of doing archaeological field studies. Recently, students have completed fieldwork in Jamaica, Ireland, Mexico, and Greece. The privilege to experience exploration is one to add to your selection process. Field schools are an item to include on your wish list. The University of Wyoming has two field schools affording professional-level training in research in Croatia and Peru.
Students may focus their college search on those whose concentrations match a future career—forensic anthropology for the science and analytically-minded is one consideration. Texas Tech University in Lubbock offers a concentration in this major. The requirements are 15 hours in the concentration and at least 34 hours of anthropology courses.
In summary, there are various ingredients to choosing a program in anthropology. There are external elements like location, tuition, student population, graduation rate, and others. And there are the personal aspects like the school’s ambiance, the professors’ personality; even the institution’s décor might be influential. When and if you visit a campus, there are usually sublime things about the setting that make you feel comfortable. Weigh all the components to arrive at an informed decision.