Information regarding new applications


Our 2021/22 postgraduate taught admissions cycle opens on Monday, 26 October. While we welcome you to apply now, please note that we will not start to review and process applications until after this date.


If you would like to be considered for 2020 entry, this course is currently still accepting applications for home applicants only.

MA Social Anthropology / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

Claire Moran

I loved Science, Magic and Expertise. We had a great lecturer, Penny Harvey

who had a great way of delivering complicated ideas, with a sort of raconteur-meets-mad-scientist-style, but all wrapped up in a warm and approachable manner.

Claire Moran / MA Social Anthropology student
The objective of this course is to communicate an anthropologically-informed understanding of social life in both Western and non-Western societies. By confronting you with the remarkable diversity of human social and cultural experience, our aim is to encourage you to question taken-for-granted assumptions and to view the world from a new perspective.

Through a set of core course units, comprising about a third of coursework credits, you are provided with a comprehensive grounding in classical as well as contemporary debates in social anthropology and are introduced to the distinctive research methods and ethical positions associated with the discipline. You can select units of study from a good number of elective modules offered by staff working at the forward edge of their fields of study, and complete augment these by choosing from a broad range of units offered around the Faculty of Humanities. 

Through these options, you apply the social anthropological theories and methods learnt on the core units to particular substantive themes and topics.

Diploma students complete their coursework in May and formally graduate in July. Over the summer holidays, MA students carry out research for a 15,000 word dissertation that is submitted in September; normally graduating in December.

Teaching and learning

You will take three 15-credit core course units, and a selection of optional units that you select shortly after arrival. Many elective units are worth 15 credits. In total, you are required to achieve 120 coursework credits. Over the Summer holidays, you are required to write a dissertation which is worth a further 60 credits.

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

You must first check the schedule of the compulsory 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

Most units are assessed by means of an extended assessment essay. Typically, for 15 credit units, these will be 4000 words, whilst for 30 credit courses, they are normally 6000 words.

Certain options involving practical instruction in research methods, audio-visual media or museum display may also be assessed by means of presentations and/or portfolios of practical work. In addition, all MA students are required to write a 15,000 word dissertation.

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
MA Ethnography Reading Seminar SOAN70691 15 Mandatory
Key Approaches in Social Anthropology SOAN70811 15 Mandatory
Contemporary Debates in Social Anthropology SOAN70822 15 Mandatory
Anthropology of Development and Humanitarianism SOAN60112 15 Optional
Anthropology of Childhood and Education SOAN60372 15 Optional
The good life: an anthropology of ethics SOAN60392 15 Optional
Anthropology of Health and Wellbeing SOAN60411 15 Optional
Documentary and Sensory Media SOAN60992 15 Optional
Images, Text, Fieldwork SOAN70452 15 Optional
Anthropology of Vision, Senses and Memory SOAN70591 15 Optional
Screening Culture SOAN70771 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 11 course units

Disability support

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