MA Anthropological Research / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

The MA Anthropological Research course is designed to prepare you to carry out doctoral level research in social anthropology. It provides training in a wide range of research methods and teaches you how to develop a substantive research project in a theoretically and methodologically informed way.

Although, primarily intended as preliminary to doctoral research, the course is also available as a stand-alone taught master's degree to improve your social research skills and gain an in-depth understanding of ethnographic methods and approaches.

You will work closely with an expert supervisor in social anthropology, with further guidance from a second supervisor. All students attend the following core course units:

  • Issues in Ethnographic Research I and II;
  • Postgraduate Research Seminar;
  • Independent Theoretical and Ethnographic Analysis I; and
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods.

In consultation with your supervisor, you will also select three short, five credit units in qualitative or quantitative research methods. Computer training is also available.

You may then select two specialist course units, of which one must be within social anthropology (options vary from year to year) and one may be elsewhere in the University.

Teaching and learning

Part-time students complete the full-time course over two years. There are no evening or weekend course units available on the part-time route.  

You must first check the schedule of the compulsory course units and then select your optional units to suit your requirements.  

Updated timetable information will be available from mid-August and you will have the opportunity to discuss your unit choices during induction week with your Course Director.

Coursework and assessment

Under the guidance of your supervisors, you are required to complete eight course units and a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation which is, in effect, a doctoral fieldwork research proposal.

This is prepared over the summer period and presented in September. Most course units, including the postgraduate research seminar, are assessed by essays of up to 4,000 words. Some units also involve assessment of presentations and practical work.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Independent Theoretical & Ethnographic Analysis I SOAN60771 15 Mandatory
Issues in Ethnographic Research I SOAN70641 15 Mandatory
Issues in Ethnographic Research II SOAN70652 15 Mandatory
PG Research Seminar SOAN70940 15 Mandatory
Qualitative Research Methods SOCS60230 15 Mandatory
Introduction to Quantitative Methods SOST70511 15 Mandatory
Pharmaceutical Worlds: Markets, Medicines and Metaphors SOAN60022 15 Optional
Anthropology of Displacement and Migration: Why and how do people move? SOAN60252 15 Optional
Anthropology of Childhood and Education SOAN60372 15 Optional
Ethnographies and Adventures in Manchester SOAN60381 15 Optional
Anthropology of Health and Wellbeing SOAN60411 15 Optional
Independent Theoretical Ethnographic Analysis II SOAN60792 15 Optional
Food and Eating: The Cultural Body SOAN60882 15 Optional
Anthropology of Vision, Senses and Memory SOAN70591 15 Optional
MA Ethnography Reading Seminar SOAN70691 15 Optional
Black Identity and Culture in Latin America SOAN70781 15 Optional
Key Approaches in Social Anthropology SOAN70811 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units


Social Anthropology, and the School of Social Sciences of which it is part, are based in a modern building with 24/7 access.

There is shared workspace available for research students within social anthropology, including networked computers and printing facilities. There are also work areas elsewhere in the building and in the University which are available.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: