PhD Social Anthropology

Year of entry: 2023

Overview

Degree awarded
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Duration
3 or 4 years depending on point of entry
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

Please ensure you include all required supporting documents at the time of submission, as incomplete applications may not be considered.

Application Deadlines

Admission to studying 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.

To be considered for external funding sources (for example, ESRC NWSSDTP), you need to apply far enough in advance of the relevant external funding deadlines, which are usually much earlier than the programme deadline listed below. For internal studentships from the School of Social Sciences, you must submit your completed application by 1 December 2022.

If you are applying for or have secured external funding (for example, from an employer or government) or are self-funding, you must submit your application before the relevant deadline to be considered. You will not be able to apply after these deadlines have passed.

  • For September 2023 entry: 30 June 2023
  • For January 2024 entry: 30 September 2023

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

To find out what studying on a postgraduate research programme at Manchester is like, visit our Open days and study fairs page and explore our virtual open week or future on-campus and international events.

Fees

Fees for entry in 2023 have not yet been set. For reference, the fees for the academic year beginning September 2022 were as follows:

  • PhD (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £4,596
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £20,500
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): TBA
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £10,250

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. Check the School’s How to apply page for further advice. 

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, no later than 1 December 2022.

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Social Sciences
Contact name
School of Social Sciences
Telephone
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:

  • IELTS test minimum scores - 7 overall, 7 in writing and with no further score below 6.5;
  • TOEFL IBT minimum scores - 103 overall, 28 in writing and no further score below 25;
  • Other tests may be considered - please contact us for advice.

Please note:

  • All non-native English speaking students are required to do the English language assessment when they register in September.
  • Any non-native English speaking student going away for fieldwork in an overseas, non-English speaking country are required to re-take the English assessment when they come back to Manchester.
  • All non UK non-native English speaking applicants must have obtained the minimum IELTS or TOEFL score in order to obtain a CAS for their visa.
  • Scores are valid for 2 years.

Please note that CAS statements are issued only when all conditions of the offer have been satisfied, a PDF copy of your passport received and the offer accepted.

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

Apply online

Please ensure you include all required supporting documents at the time of submission, as incomplete applications may not be considered.

Application Deadlines

Admission to studying 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.

To be considered for external funding sources (for example, ESRC NWSSDTP), you need to apply far enough in advance of the relevant external funding deadlines, which are usually much earlier than the programme deadline listed below. For internal studentships from the School of Social Sciences, you must submit your completed application by 1 December 2022.

If you are applying for or have secured external funding (for example, from an employer or government) or are self-funding, you must submit your application before the relevant deadline to be considered. You will not be able to apply after these deadlines have passed.

  • For September 2023 entry: 30 June 2023
  • For January 2024 entry: 30 September 2023

Advice to applicants

Required Supporting Documents

• A 1,500 word PhD research proposal  and 500 word supporting statement summarising your motivation for PhD study, outlining any research experience you have and why you want to do a postgraduate research degree at Manchester. Please upload the 2000 word document as a single file.

• Copies of the academic transcript and certificate from both your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. If your postgraduate degree is pending, please provide an interim transcript;

• An up to date academic CV;

• You must nominate two academic referees (including one from your most recent institution). Your referees will be contacted directly via the Referee Portal following submission of your application form. You may wish to contact your referees to request they submit your reference in a reasonable time as this forms part of the review process;

• If you are not from a majority English speaking country, you must additionally provide English Language evidence (e.g IELTS).

Finding a supervisor

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'.

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 an in-person interview, telephone or video call.

The interview is designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of the broad topic area, the viability of your proposed research and its intellectual contribution, alongside the fit of your project with the supervisory team.

Re-applications

If you applied in a previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard programme 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 programme.

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 current 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 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:

  • 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.

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

What our students say

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

Facilities

The School of Social Sciences is now 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 contains 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 preparing 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 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 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. 

Learn more about Research training and professional development .