School of Social and Political Science

MSc Social Anthropology

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The application deadline for this programme is 4 July 2022.

A critical examination of the human condition

Informed by a rich and active research culture, this is a well-established degree providing 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 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 undergraduate 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


Taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years, the MSc in Social Anthropology is an intensive taught degree. Students complete six courses (four core and two optional) and an extended dissertation on a topic of their choice.  


The dissertation offers students the opportunity to explore in depth a topic of their choosing. Undertaken upon completion of taught elements, it is supervised by an appropriate member of academic staff.

Previous students have chosen to write dissertations on development, culturally specific notions of childhood, globalization, primitive art, the anthropology of gender, religion in Japan, cultural tourism, shamanism, and these are but a few examples.

Career opportunities

Past students of this programme have gone on to doctoral research in anthropology, while others have been very successful in securing places both in the UK and overseas in a wide variety of careers, from journalism to working in non-governmental organisations.

You will also develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication, independent research, and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.

How to apply

Fees and costs

Award Title Duration Study mode  
MSc   1 Year Full-time Tuition fees
MSc   2 Years Part-time Tuition fees