PhD Social Anthropology

Year of entry: 2021

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Overview

Degree awarded
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Duration
3/4 years (full-time); 7 years (part-time)
Entry requirements
  • A First or Upper Second class Bachelor's degree in a cognate subject (or its international equivalent).
  • A Master's degree in anthropology with minimum 65% in the dissertation and overall average of 65%, and no mark below 55% (or overseas equivalent). 

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Programme options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
PhD Y Y N N

Programme overview

  • Examine human behaviour and relationships under expert research supervision
  • Join a lively PhD community of students working in all of the world's continents and on a variety of topics
  • Work closely with an expert supervisor, with further guidance from at least one extra supervisor

Open days

The University holds an annual open days, where you will have the opportunity to find out more about our facilities and programmes.

On this day, you will find out more about the School, our Social Anthropology department, and our resources.

You'll also be able to meet academic and admissions staff who will be able to answer any questions you have.

For more information and to book your place, see open days .

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2021, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £4,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £19,500
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): TBC
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £9,750

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

Scholarships/sponsorships

We receive money from a range of sources to help you fund your research and have a variety of awards on offer, covering tuition fees and a generous stipend, including school and departmental studentships and the President's Doctoral Scholar award .

Application deadlines for internal funding opportunities are often at the beginning of December for programmes starting the following September. Please ensure you check the School site for up-to-date information.

If you're planning to apply for a scholarship or award that is not attached to a particular project, you'll normally need to hold an offer of a place from the University before applying.

Search for current funding opportunities by country and research programme using our funding database search tool

If you wish to be considered for funding available via the School or Research Council (ESRC) you must submit your complete programme application as soon as possible.

Please ask your referees to email their references to research.soss@manchester.ac.uk (we do not contact referees directly).

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Social Sciences
Contact name
Edita Pymm
Facsimile
+44 (0)161 275 2450
Email
Website
https://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/social-anthropology/
School/Faculty

Programmes in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of programmes in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

  • A First or Upper Second class Bachelor's degree in a cognate subject (or its international equivalent).
  • A Master's degree in anthropology with minimum 65% in the dissertation and overall average of 65%, and no mark below 55% (or overseas equivalent). 

English language

Candidates whose first language is not English require one of the following certificates:

  • IELTS test minimum scores - 7 overall, 7 writing, 6.5 other sections;
  • TOEFL (internet based) test minimum scores - 103 overall, 28 writing, and 25 in other sections.
  • Other tests may be considered - please contact us for advice

Any non-native English speaking student going away for fieldwork in an overseas, non-English speaking country may be required to re-take the English assessment when they come back to Manchester.

Pre-Sessional English Courses

If you are eligible to do a pre-sessional English course (either 6 weeks or 10 weeks), you will need to successfully complete the course at the required level before you are permitted to register on your academic course.

The dates and fees for next summer (2021) are available on the English Language Centre's website.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

Applying for a PhD is highly competitive, so please allow as much time as possible to prepare your application, browse our research pages and academics' profiles, and familiarise yourself with the application process and any important deadlines.

Your supervisor will be an important part of your PhD programme. It's a close relationship over many years, through which you develop your ideas, skills, thinking and research. Your supervisor's research interests should therefore closely align to yours.

If you aren't applying for a specific project, you'll need to find potential supervisors who will support your research. Details on recent publications, ongoing projects and particular research interests are all available on our academics' profiles.

Your potential supervisor should be able to give you advice on developing your research proposal as well as critical feedback to help make your proposal strong and competitive when it comes to applying for funding. 

If you'd like us to match you to a suitable supervisor, providing clear details of your research area or group within your application will make it easier for us to identify suitable opportunities for you. Include any details in section six of your application form under `Proposed programme of study'.

Please read the guidelines for the research proposals and  watch our recorded webinar .

If you have not contacted a potential supervisor yet and are unsure about the feasibility of your application (eg regarding eligibility and/or availability of expert supervision in the department), you can email the Postgraduate Admissions Tutor Prof Maia Green with:

  • a draft research proposal (max 1,500 words, including bibliography);
  • a summary of the proposal (max 150 words);
  • a CV that includes marks for previous degrees, ongoing studies, and any anthropological research experience (no transcripts required at this stage).

Supporting documents required for your online application:

  • research proposal;
  • CV;
  • two academic references (including one from your most recent institution);
  • degree transcripts.

Interview requirements

As part of the offer making process applicants will be required to undertake an interview assessment.  This may be in the form of a face-to-face interview, Skype or telephone. 

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Programme details

Programme description

The Social Anthropology PhD programme involves substantial original research, normally including ethnographic fieldwork of 12-18 months and leading to the production of a thesis of up to 80,000 words. Throughout, you work closely with an expert supervisor, with further guidance from at least one extra supervisor.

Duration of the programme is three or four years, full-time study (or part-time equivalent). Its structure depends on prior qualification:

  • Students are registered on the PhD programme and, during the first year, take a set of research training courses. After about 10 months (or 20 in part-time study) you will produce a 12,000-15,000 word research proposal. This proposal is examined in an oral viva. Successful completion of this viva and of coursework at satisfactory level, is a condition for you to proceed to field research. After fieldwork, you will return to the University and start writing your dissertation under the guidance of your supervisors.
  • If you have successfully completed our MA Anthropological Research (or equivalent ESRC-recognised course in another UK institution), you may be in a position to start fieldwork as soon as is practicable, provided that you have submitted a satisfactory research proposal as part of that degree and it has been approved by the School of Social Sciences. After fieldwork, you will return to the University and start writing your dissertation under the guidance of your supervisors.

Social Anthropology at Manchester has a lively PhD community of students working in all of the world's continents and on a variety of topics. Find out what some of our postgraduate researchers are working on .

Teaching and learning

During the first year, students who have not taken the MA Anthropological Research or an equivalent, normally take a number of research training units. Two core units are Issues in Ethnographic Research 1 and 2, geared towards research design and planning of your field study. In addition, the postgraduate seminar provides a forum for presentation, discussion and reflection amongst peers. A series of optional courses offer skills in additional methods such as quantitative approaches, archival research, working with memory, conducting elite interviews, etc.

At the same time, under the individualised guidance of your supervisors, you will read extensively around your research topic as well as relevant theoretical literature. To deepen your knowledge, you may also take particular units in social anthropology.

The objective of units and supervision during the first year is to produce a 12,000-15,000 word research proposal, which is examined in an oral viva. Successful completion of this viva and of coursework at satisfactory level, is a condition for you to proceed to field research. After fieldwork, normally 12-18 months, depending on concrete case, you return to the University and start writing your dissertation and, in some cases, editing audio-visual material. During this time, you will continue to work with your supervisors and to present your written work to the postgraduate seminar.

When you become a postgraduate researcher, you'll join a diverse and vibrant community of doctoral students from nearly 100 different countries, all studying within the Faculty of Humanities.

You'll be assigned to a specific research grouping that complements your research interests and have access to a variety of interdisciplinary research institutes.

Our working environments are often spacious and open-plan, giving you plenty of opportunities to communicate with colleagues and staff within the School, and you will have your own desk space as well as access to our fantastic range of libraries on campus.

All of our academic supervisors are research active and will support you to work on challenging research problems and develop rigorous, creative and original research.

You can expect to meet with your supervisor at least once a month to discuss progress on your project.

You will have access to a large and diverse community of internationally recognised academic experts offering an environment that will stimulate intellectual debate and development.

We provide additional financial support for a number of activities related to your PhD, including:

  • presenting at international conferences;
  • attending workshops that provide relevant professional opportunities;
  • conducting fieldwork in the UK and overseas.

Graduate Teaching Assistants

You can also get hands-on, paid teaching experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Graduate Teaching Assistants in the School of Social Sciences are valued members of the teaching team. As such, we take pride in the opportunities provided for the professional development of graduate teaching assistants.

Our training includes preparation for application to the Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. This brings a range of benefits as follows:

  • consolidates your personal development and emphasises your professional practice in HE
  • entitlement to use post-nominal letters - AFHEA;
  • provides a valuable measure of success and is increasingly sought by employers across the education sector as a condition of appointment and promotion;
  • recognised and valued by a growing number of international institutions.

For more information, see the Associate Fellowship HEA .

Programme unit list

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

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Issues in Ethnographic Research I SOAN70641 15 Mandatory
Issues in Ethnographic Research II SOAN70652 15 Mandatory
PG Research Seminar SOAN70940 15 Mandatory

Scholarships and bursaries

We receive money from a range of sources to help you fund your research and have a variety of awards on offer, covering tuition fees and a generous stipend.

Within the University we offer a large number of school and departmental studentships as well as the President's Doctoral Scholar award . A large number of research students also receive funding from externally from places such as research councils, foundations and international government funding bodies.

Application deadlines for internal funding opportunities are often early in the year for programmes starting the following September, and many external funders have earlier application deadlines. If you're planning to apply for a scholarship or award that is not attached to a particular project, you'll normally need to hold an offer of a place from the University before applying.

Search for current funding opportunities by country and research programme using our funding database search tool .

The UK government may offer doctoral loans for those studying PhDs and equivalent doctoral programmes including professional doctorates.

UK nationals who are ordinarily resident in England, aged 59 or under, who are not already receiving funding via a UK Research Council, are eligible to apply.

What our students say

View profiles of our current cohort of PhD students in Social Anthropology.

Facilities

The department of Social Anthropology, and the School of Social Sciences, has been based in a brand new purpose-built building which allows 24/7 access. There is shared workspace available for research students within the social anthropology area, including networked computers and printing facilities.

There are also many work areas elsewhere in the building and in the University. These other work areas include The University of Manchester Library which has an excellent collection of social anthropology books and journals, many of which can also be accessed online.

You may also join the Film Library of the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology. The Library containing over 2000 titles and a collection of `Masterworks' featuring many of the leading works in the history of ethnographic cinema.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help support you with your goals for the future.

As a postgraduate researcher, you'll have access to a dedicated Researcher Development Team who will support your professional development throughout your PhD journey and beyond.

Our researcher development programme will enable you to become more aware of your developing researcher identity, equipping you with the skills you need during your PhD and prepare you to integrate into the researcher community.

We offer training sessions to build your skills and confidence in writing and presenting, with specific sessions on viva preparation, thesis submission and preparing for your Review Panel.

You'll also have access to a range of workshops, covering areas such as:

  • increasing research impact through blog posts;
  • making the most of social media;
  • publishing in journals;
  • applying for fellowships;
  • designing academic posters;
  • improving time and self-management.

In addition, our Humanities training hub ProGRess@humanities gives you additional training opportunities in public engagement, wellbeing, language training and teaching, alongside more specialist courses in tools and software such as Python, R and NVivo.

methods@manchester , meanwhile, is an initiative that gives you the chance to learn from the very best in research methods expertise at Manchester and beyond. Regular talks, workshops and other methods-related events are organised throughout the academic year.

Finally, taking a placement provides a great opportunity to engage in knowledge exchange and to develop professional networking opportunities for your future career development.

We have established Postgraduate Researcher Exchange programmes with a small number of institutions around the world, offering you the opportunity to visit another institution, access research resources and experience another academic culture as well as build professional networks.

Successful applicants will receive some funding towards travel expenses, accommodation, subsistence, education materials and/or other education-related costs.

For more information, see training and development .