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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


MSc in Social Anthropology

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The application deadline for this programme is 6 July 2020.

A message from the Programme Director

Informed by a rich and active research culture, this is a well established degree which endeavours to provide a programme of study which enables students to engage reflexively with the particularities of their own cultural and social context as well as with the possibilities inherent in cross-cultural comparison. Imaginative and wide-ranging in the questions it asks, the programme explores the distinctive nature of social anthropology and its contribution to a critical understanding of the contemporary world.

Whether they choose to do this degree in order to supplement their professional skills or because they contemplate future doctoral research in anthropology, past students of the MSc in Social Anthropology have been very successful - from securing places on doctoral programmes in the UK and overseas to pursuing a wide variety of careers (anything from journalism to working in the public sector or for non-governmental organizations).


The MSc/Diploma in Social Anthropology offers an intensive introduction to contemporary social anthropology. It is primarily intended for graduates with little or no previous training in anthropology; these may be either students contemplating future doctoral research in the subject or students who wish to acquire anthropological expertise to supplement their existing range of professional skills. The individual courses within the MSc programme range from those which offer a general overview of theories and theorists within social anthropology, to those concerned with the examination of specific issues like kinship, illness, politics, gender, or religion. As such it involves a combination of graduate-level seminar work with attendance in some undegraduate honours courses. By the end of the programme, all students would be expected to:

  • understand and be able to use core explanatory theories and concepts within the discipline of social anthropology
  • show awareness and critical appreciation of the ways in which anthropological studies can contribute to an understanding of broader issues in the study of human nature, society and culture

What Our Students Say

The taught MSc at Edinburgh enabled me to bridge the gap between my undergraduate and post-graduate studies, and to gain a solid understanding in both anthropological theory and methodology. The course offered not only a comprehensive overview of the discipline, but also provided ample opportunity to explore issues that were of personal interest. This one year degree is ideal for anyone who is contemplating switching careers or academic disciplines, and as preparation for further postgraduate study in social anthropology.

Tanya Kane, Canada

I had great time studying for my MSc in Social Anthropology at Edinburgh University. Friendly atmosphere, helpful and interesting academics, diverse subjects of interest, a well organized masters programme - a very good choice for gaining a broad understanding of a fascinating discipline. Also, the city of Edinburgh is great. For these reasons (and many more!), I have never regretted coming here for my post-graduate studies

Anastassis Panagiotopoulos, Greece

The Taught MSc in Social Anthropology has been an intensive and really enjoyable experience. The various topics covered within the course have been a great introduction to many aspects of the discipline. Although I hadnt ever studied the subject before, I can now vouch for social anthropology being one of the most interesting subjects to study

Kate Heighington, UK

Who to Contact

Dr Magnus Course, Programme Director
The University of Edinburgh
School of Social and Political Studies
Rm 5.24, Crystal MacMillan Building
15a George Square

How to Apply

Further guidance on how to apply and entry requirements, etc. is available on the Graduate School website. Please feel free to contact the Programme Director with any further queries.

Fees and Scholarships

  • Full fees information, including part time fees, is available here.
  • Information on how to pay is available here.
  • Information on funding and scholarships is here.

Bologna Compatibility

Like all University of Edinburgh Masters programmes, the degree is fully Bologna compatible, and is recognised across Europe and beyond under the principles of the Bologna framework. The programme comprises 180 Edinburgh credits, which are equivalent to 90 ECTS credits.


Edinburgh4Learning offers an intuitive and easy to use funding information tool which allows students to search using a series of handy drop-down lists. Students can access the Edinburgh4Learning portal direct from the Scholarships and Student Funding Services website. Registration requires a valid university of Edinburgh e-mail address and in a matter of moments students can access numerous funding opportunities to help them during their studies.

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