BSocSc Social Anthropology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

Cheyane Brown

Social Anthropology is one subject that I can say has helped me both academically and personally.

I have been able to explore and learn about so many cultures, societies, communities and individuals. In the same breath, I have been able to self-reflect more and realise that there is so much to the world outside my perception. My favourite part of Anthropology has been the moments where I have been left astonished by my assumptions and noted that communities can flourish no matter what their organisation is. There is a lot of reading, but these positive experiences make it worth it!

Cheyane Brown / BSocSc Social Anthropology

BSocSc Social Anthropology is a single honours course for Social Anthropology specialists.

You will learn the diverse ways human beings live in the world today.

Contemporary social anthropology is a discipline that critically tackles some of the most pressing issues of our time.

These range from the implications of new reproductive technologies, environmental crises, migration, and challenges to health and wellbeing through the analysis of ritual, kinship, and material culture.

You will also study violence, poverty, and the means to alleviate human suffering.

You will learn about our distinctive character focusing on the political and economic aspects of social and cultural life, and the anthropology of visual and other sensory media.

The course has both regional and global scope, teaching you to challenge common sense assumptions through cross-cultural comparisons.

Special features

Learn from experts

We focus on contemporary political and economic challenges and are specialists in:

  • visual, sensory, and digital media;
  • race and genetic technologies;
  • migration, climate change and disasters;
  • AIDS and medicine;
  • death;
  • masculinities;
  • social class;
  • cities and infrastructures;
  • border politics;
  • humanitarianism and development;
  • religion.

Study abroad

If you would like to broaden your horizons and your degree, you can apply to study overseas for a year at one of our partner universities. You apply in Year 2 to spend a year abroad in Year 3.

If successful, you will put together a programme of study at the host university in consultation with your Academic Exchange Advisor, to complement your studies at Manchester.

You will then come back to Manchester to study for a fourth year and graduate with a degree title including ‘with International Study'.

See The University of Manchester Study Abroad pages

Paid placement opportunities

Apply for a paid Q-Step internship between Years 2 and 3.

It is an excellent opportunity to gain work experience and future contacts.

Professional Experience Year

You apply in Year 1 to boost your employability through a paid Professional Experience Year. If you meet the criteria, the Professional Experience Team and Careers Service will work with you to find a suitable placement in Year 2.

You will complete your Professional Experience Year in Year 3 extending your degree to four years, before returning to University to finish your final year.

Your degree title will include 'with Professional Experience'.

Teaching and learning

Course units feature formal lectures supported by smaller tutorials or seminars where you explore the contents of lectures and recommended reading in greater depth.

Tutorials and seminars are key to improving your written and oral communication skills through group discussions, essay-writing, and presentations.

You are assigned an Academic Advisor who can advise you on selecting course units and career opportunities.

Coursework and assessment

The range of methods is designed to promote in-depth learning and understanding, including:

  • essays, coursework, and other mid-term evaluations allow development and feedback on your knowledge and understanding;
  • dissertations promote the development of argument and understanding of academic material, and test how you work independently;
  • presentations or group projects promote the development of teamwork and communication skills.

Course content for year 1

Course units for year 1

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
Anthropology of Art, Sound and Images SOAN10090 20 Mandatory
Power and Culture: Inequality in Everyday Life SOAN10301 10 Mandatory
Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective SOAN10312 10 Mandatory
Key Ideas in Social Anthropology SOAN10321 10 Mandatory
Intro to Ethnographic Reading SOAN10322 10 Mandatory
Regional Studies of Culture: 1 SOAN10331 20 Mandatory
Regional Studies of Culture: 2 SOAN10352 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Business Anthropology: Consumers, Companies and Culture SOAN10361 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

Course units for year 2

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
Anthropological Theory SOAN20830 20 Mandatory
The Ethnographer's Craft SOAN20842 20 Mandatory
Anthropology of Kinship, Gender and Sex SOAN20802 20 Optional
Anthropology of Religion SOAN20812 20 Optional
Political and Economic Anthropology SOAN20821 20 Optional
Materiality and Representation SOAN20852 20 Optional
The Human and the Digital SOAN20871 20 Optional

Course content for year 4

If completing a year abroad, you will take the Year 3 course content in Year 4.

Course units for year 4

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
Dissertation A SOAN30610 40 Mandatory
The Anthropology of Health and Wellbeing SOAN30251 20 Optional
Anthropology of Childhood, Youth and Education SOAN30372 20 Optional
Ethnographies and Adventures in Manchester SOAN30381 20 Optional
Anthropology of Displacement and Migration SOAN30452 20 Optional
Pharmaceutical Worlds: Markets, Medicines and Metaphors SOAN30462 20 Optional
Dissertation B - 20 credit dissertation SOAN30600 20 Optional
Dissertation A SOAN30610 40 Optional
Black Identities and Cultures in Latin America SOAN30661 20 Optional
Screening Culture SOAN30791 20 Optional
Anthropology of Vision, Senses and Memory SOAN30811 20 Optional
Food and Eating: The Cultural Body SOAN30882 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 12 course units for year 4

What our students say

Read profiles of our students to find out more about studying Social Anthropology at Manchester.

Disability support

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