Best Online PhD in Anthropology Programs

Getting a PhD in anthropology can be an excellent choice for people who want to develop new skills, streamline their knowledge, and achieve new career goals. Enrolling in an on-campus PhD program is a time-consuming option that’s often unavailable to professionals with busy careers. That’s why many potential students choose online studies.

If you are thinking about getting a PhD in anthropology online, you need to consider multiple options, clarify your demands, and list your expectations. Let’s take a closer look at choosing the best online PhD in anthropology programs.

Reasons to Get a PhD in Anthropology Online

Pursuing an online doctor of philosophy in anthropology can turn into a rewarding academic journey. It offers numerous benefits and opportunities for individuals passionate about human societies, cultures, and behavior. Here are a few reasons why online anthropology PhD programs may be right for you:

Advanced Knowledge and Expertise

An online doctor of philosophy in anthropology allows you to go deep into the field and gain advanced knowledge. Through engagement with leading scholars, you can develop a comprehensive understanding of anthropological methodologies and practices.

This in-depth knowledge will not only enhance your critical thinking and analytical skills but also position you as an expert in your chosen area of specialization.

Research Opportunities

Getting an online doctorate in anthropology degree provides you with extensive research opportunities. You will have the chance to:

  • Conduct original research
  • Contribute to the existing body of knowledge
  • Address pressing social, cultural, and environmental issues.

Whether it’s ethnographic fieldwork, archaeological excavations, or data analysis, the PhD journey allows you to immerse yourself in hands-on research experiences. Your work can make a significant impact in the field of anthropology even while you are still getting a degree.

Academic and Teaching Careers

An online doctor of philosophy in anthropology opens up doors to academic and teaching careers. With your advanced degree, you can pursue tenure-track positions at universities. These positions can help you to engage in cutting-edge research while teaching the next generation of anthropologists. Additionally, you can shape the future of this discipline by supervising and mentoring students.

Applied Anthropology and Consulting Opportunities

Anthropology is not limited to academia. A Doctoral Degree in this field equips you with transferable skills that can be applied in various industries. Many anthropologists find rewarding careers in consulting by working with private companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.

Your expertise in cultural understanding, qualitative research, and problem-solving can contribute to many fields, including healthcare, international development, and public policy.

Personal and Intellectual Growth

Getting a doctorate degree in anthropology is a transformative journey that drives personal and intellectual growth. It challenges you to think critically and expand your worldview. Throughout the process, you will engage in intellectual debates, collaborate with scholars, and develop your own perspective within the field. While getting your degree, you will continuously discover opportunities for contribution to the field.

Offline vs. Online Doctoral Program in Anthropology

While it’s possible to pursue a doctorate degree in anthropology offline, many students choose the online option for a variety of reasons. Here are several things you may want to consider when making this choice.


One of the main advantages of an online doctoral anthropology program is its flexibility. Online programs allow people to study from anywhere so you don’t need to relocate to be closer to an offline campus.

This flexibility is particularly beneficial for working professionals or people with personal commitments because it allows them to balance their studies with other responsibilities.

Networking Opportunities

Offline PhD programs provide impressive networking opportunities. Being physically present on campus allows students to engage in face-to-face interactions with faculty, peers, and guest speakers. These interactions can lead to collaborations and provide access to a broader academic community.

While online programs don’t offer as much face-to-face communication experience, networking opportunities still exist. They include online conferences and workshops as well as occasional offline fieldwork and seminars.

Research Support

Both online and offline PhD programs often provide extensive research support. Offline students gain access to well-equipped laboratories, libraries, and research facilities.

These resources are highly useful for conducting in-depth anthropological research. While online programs may offer some research support, it may be more limited due to the remote nature of the program.

Structure and Accountability

Offline PhD programs usually have a structured curriculum and specific timelines for completing coursework. This structure can provide a sense of accountability and guidance throughout your studies.

In contrast, online PhD programs may offer more flexibility in terms of pacing and scheduling. However, students must be self-motivated and disciplined to stay on track.

Financial Considerations

Online PhD programs don’t usually have lower tuition compared to their offline counterparts. However, online students save on such expenses as commuting, housing, and campus fees.

This affordability can make pursuing an online PhD in anthropology more financially accessible. However, you would still need to factor in additional costs associated with online programs, such as technology requirements or travel expenses for in-person components.

Admission Requirements for Online PhD in Anthropology

Each university that offers a Doctor of Philosophy program in anthropology has its own set of admissions requirements. They may include:

Online Admissions Application

To begin the process, all applicants must submit an online admissions application.  This application provides essential information about the applicant, including contact details, educational background, and research interests. It also comes with a fee that differs from school to school.

Most online PhD programs in anthropology require applicants to hold a master’s degree in anthropology or a related field. In some cases, a bachelor’s degree coupled with relevant work experience may be sufficient for a positive admissions decision.

A High GPA Score

PhD programs usually require the applicant to have a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 in their previous academic coursework. In some cases, a school may settle for a GPA that’s lower than 3.0 if the applicant has a strong CV and a powerful personal statement.

Official Transcripts from All Attended Academic Institutions

You would have to submit official transcripts from all previously attended academic institutions, including undergraduate and graduate programs. These transcripts reflect your academic achievements and completed coursework.

Letters of Recommendations

Online anthropology Doctoral programs often require applicants to provide two or three letters of recommendation from people who can confirm their academic abilities, research potential, and suitability for doctoral studies. These letters usually come from professors, research supervisors, or other professionals familiar with the applicant’s work.

Writing Sample

This sample may be a research paper, thesis chapter, or any other scholarly work that demonstrates your ability to conduct research and present ideas effectively.

Personal Statement

A personal statement allows applicants to articulate their motivations, research interests, and career goals. It provides an opportunity to explain why you are interested in pursuing a PhD in anthropology at this particular school. The statement also demonstrates how your academic and personal backgrounds align with the program’s objectives.

CV or Resume

Schools usually ask applicants to provide a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume, which has an overview of their academic, professional, and research experiences. These documents highlight your qualifications and achievements relevant to the field of anthropology.

Proof of English Proficiency

If your native language is not English, the school will likely demand proof of English proficiency This proof comes in the form of standardized tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

GRE Scores

While some online Ph.D. programs in anthropology may require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, it is not always mandatory. Many schools have shifted towards a holistic approach, focusing on an applicant’s academic background, research experience, and personal statement, rather than relying solely on test scores.

Top Programs for Getting an Online PhD in Anthropology Online

These programs can help you achieve your PhD goals without leaving the comfort of your own home. Each one of them can be the perfect choice for students who have to juggle career and personal responsibilities while getting a degree.

California Institute of Integral Studies

Located in San Francisco, CA, the California Institute of Integral Studies offers a PhD in anthropology program and social change. The program can take between 4 and 7 years to complete, depending on the intensity of your studying schedule.

Admissions requirements include:

  • Master’s degree from an accredited university
  • GPA 3.0 or higher
  • Transcripts
  • Autobiographical and goal statements
  • Academic writing sample
  • Two letters of recommendation

The school is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Southern Methodist University – Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies

Located in Dallas, TX, Southern Methodist University’s Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies offers a strong program for getting a doctorate degree in anthropology. It puts a strong emphasis on various fields of training and provides opportunities for face-to-face guidance, both online and offline.

Admissions requirements include:

  • At least a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology
  • GPA 3.0 or higher
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • For non-native English speakers – English proficiency test results

The school is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Arizona – Global Campus

Located in Chandler, AZ, the University of Arizona offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Sciences program that includes anthropological studies.

Admissions requirements are:

  • GPA of at least 3.0
  • Transcripts
  • For non-native English speakers – English proficiency test results
  • Master’s degree from an accredited school

It takes between 3 and 7 years to complete the doctorate program. Students who don’t do so within 7 years may be dismissed.

The school is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I earn a PhD in Anthropology entirely online?

Yes, many universities are accredited and offer degree programs in anthropology online. These programs provide flexibility to complete coursework, research, and dissertation requirements without traveling to the campus.

How long does it take to complete an online PhD in anthropology?

The duration of an online PhD program in anthropology varies depending on such factors as enrollment status, prior coursework, and research progress. On average, it takes around 4 to 6 years to complete.

What are the admission requirements for an online PhD in Anthropology?

Admission requirements vary but usually include a master’s degree in anthropology or a related field, a minimum GPA (usually 3.0 or higher), letters of recommendation, a writing sample, a personal statement, official transcripts, and a CV or resume.

How do online PhD programs in anthropology facilitate research and fieldwork?

Online PhD programs in anthropology often offer various resources for research and fieldwork. This can include virtual research tools, access to online databases and libraries, remote collaboration with faculty and peers, and opportunities to work with industry experts.

Can I specialize in a specific area of Anthropology during my online PhD program?

Yes, many online PhD programs allow students to specialize in specific areas such as cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, or linguistic anthropology.

Can I receive funding or financial aid for an online PhD program in anthropology?

Some online PhD programs offer funding opportunities, such as scholarships, grants, or research assistantships. Talk about the available funding options directly with the school of your choice. :

Are online doctorate degrees in anthropology recognized in the field?

Yes, online doctorate degrees in anthropology from accredited universities are generally recognized in the field.

Getting a PhD in Anthropology Online

Getting a Doctoral degree in anthropology in a remote setting can be a wonderful choice for many professionals who are looking to increase their expertise and knowledge. The flexibility of such programs coupled with cost-savings make them highly appealing.

When choosing the best programs for your needs, pay attention to admissions requirements, the type of studies (fully remote or hybrid format), accreditation, and alumni reviews. Online schools also offer financial aid. So if you need this type of assistance, make sure to inquire about it directly with the school.