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Masters Degrees (Medical Anthropology)

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Brunel was the first university in Europe to establish a Master's degree in Medical Anthropology. Since then we have continued to develop our programme to reflect the changing world in which we live. Read more

About the course

Brunel was the first university in Europe to establish a Master's degree in Medical Anthropology. Since then we have continued to develop our programme to reflect the changing world in which we live.

In short, Medical Anthropology can be described as the study of cultural beliefs and practices associated with the origin, recognition and management of health and illness in different social and cultural groups.

Literally hundreds of students – doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and other medical professionals among them – can testify to the quality of our programme, having used it either to enhance their professional practice, to change career or to develop their research interests for future studies.

Anthropology at Brunel is well-known for its focus on ethnographic fieldwork: as well as undertaking rigorous intellectual training, all our students are expected to get out of the library and undertake their own, original research – whether in the UK or overseas – and to present their findings in a dissertation. Students take this opportunity to travel to a wide variety of locations across the world – see “Special Features” for more details.

Attendance for lectures full-time: 2 days per week - for 24 weeks
Attendance for lectures part-time: 1 day per week - for 24 weeks (in each of 2 years)

Aims

The degree aims to equip students with a broad, general understanding of anthropology and how it might be applied to medical and health-related problems.

You will develop a deeper understanding of how people’s ideas about the world, as well as the structural constraints within which they find themselves, have an impact on their understanding and experience of health, sickness and disease.

You’ll achieve this through close study of key texts in medical anthropology, the original fieldwork experiences of your lecturers, and through designing and undertaking your own research project.

If you’ve wondered about some or all of the questions below – all of which are addressed in the degree – this could be the course for you:

How does poverty contribute to the profiles of diseases such as diabetes and tuberculosis?
Why are some diseases, such as leprosy or AIDS/HIV, feared and stigmatized?
Why do some biomedical interventions seeking to control infectious and non-infectious diseases work, and others fail?
What might stop some patients seeking conventional treatments for cancers and other conditions – even when they are offered for free – despite the apparent efficacy of the medicines available?
How does one make the distinction between the healthy and the pathological? Is being ‘disabled’, for example, always a negative state, or might some consider it just another, equally valid, way of being?
What are the effects of political, economic and other social conditions on people’s experiences of what, from a biomedical perspective, might be considered the same diseases?
How and why is it appropriate to combine insights emerging from clinical and epidemiological research with ethnographic understandings of health, illness and disease?

The Brunel Medical Anthropology MSc addresses these issues and more in a lively and challenging way, through a programme of lectures, class discussions, and your own – personally directed – final dissertation research project.

Course Content

The main objectives of the course are to provide a rigorous grounding in key topics and perspectives in medical anthropology, and to equip candidates with a range of research skills to enable them to complete research successfully.

The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Full-time

Compulsory modules:

Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
Dissertation in Medical Anthropology
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
The Anthropology of Global Health
Applied Medical Anthropology in the Arena of Global Health
Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings

Optional modules:

The Anthropology of the Body
Anthropology of the Person
Kinship, Sex and Gender
Anthropological Perspectives of Humanitarian Assistance
Anthropological Perspectives of War
Ethnicity, Culture and Identity

Part-time

Year 1

Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings
Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
The Anthropology of Global Health
Applied Medical Anthropology in the Arena of Global Health

Year 2

Dissertation in Medical Anthropology
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
and optional modules

Assessment

Assessment is by essay, practical assignments (e.g. analysis of a short field exercise) and a dissertation of up to 15,000 words. This dissertation is based upon fieldwork undertaken by the candidate. There are no examinations.

Special Features

All our degrees (whether full- or part-time) combine intensive coursework, rigorous training in ethnographic research methods, and a period of fieldwork in the summer term (final summer term if part-time) leading to up to a 15,000 word dissertation.

Students are free to choose their own research topic and geographic area, in consultation with their academic supervisor. In all cases, the dissertation research project provides valuable experience and in many cases it leads to job contacts – forming a bridge to a future career or time out for career development.

In recent years, students have undertaken fieldwork in locations across the world, including India, Mexico, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, China, Nepal, Peru, Morocco, and New Zealand as well as within the UK and the rest of Europe.

Special scholarships

Cecil Helman Scholarship Fund
Set up to honour the life and work of leading light in international medical anthropology Professor Cecil Helman (1944-2009), the Doctor Cecil Helman Scholarship Fund provides fieldwork support for between two and four students on our MSc Medical Anthropology course.

Dr Helman taught at Brunel University London from 1990, and became a Professor of Social Sciences in 2005. In 2004, he was awarded the American Anthropological Association’s career achievement award, and the following year he won the Royal Anthropological Institute's Lucy Mair medal.

As well as leading the way in Medical Anthropology, Dr Helman exercised his artistic talents through his paintings, poems, fables, and short fiction – all of which revolved around a theme of the human side of medicine and the narratives that surrounded the doctor-patient relationship.

Scholarship
The Cecil Helman Scholarship Fund offers between two and four students up to £1,000 to help them to complete field research for their dissertations.

Selection
The scholarship will be awarded to MSc Medical Anthropology students who demonstrate excellent academic performance and the ability to undertake an original field research project.

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This MSc aims to provide sufficient knowledge of advanced medically related anthropology to enable students to utilise anthropological approaches in a range of research and professional roles. Read more

This MSc aims to provide sufficient knowledge of advanced medically related anthropology to enable students to utilise anthropological approaches in a range of research and professional roles. We train students in theoretical and applied aspects of the field, preparing them for careers that engage with and impact real-world contexts.

About this degree

Students new to social science develop an understanding of a social science approach to the experience of illness and health, and gain skills required in social anthropological field research and analysis. For students with previous social science training, the programme focuses on the dimensions particular to medical anthropology.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core module (45 credits), optional modules in three distinct fields (45 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

  • Clinical Ethnography
  • Medical Anthropology

Optional modules

  • Aspects of Applied Medical Anthropology
  • Anthropology of Science, Society and Biomedicine
  • Ritual Healing and Therapeutic Emplotment
  • Anthropology of Ethics and Morality
  • Anthropology and Psychiatry
  • *Students may also choose one module from among a variety of other options within and beyond medical anthropology

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, small-group presentations and discussion, tutorials, laboratory and practical work, independent directed reading, interactive teamwork, and video film and web based courses. Assessment is through one examination, two essays, optional module requirements and the research dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Medical Anthropology MSc

Careers

Medical Anthropology is a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field and graduates of our programme have gone on to develop exciting careers in academia, clinical services, social services, government, and non-governmental organisations.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Dentist, Whittington Health NHS
  • PhD Social Anthropology,UCL
  • PhD, The University of Manchester
  • Researcher, JWCH Institute
  • PhD Population Health Sciences, The University of Edinburgh

Employability

Our approach is broad and open-minded, encompassing analysis of diversity issues in clinical practice, critical medical anthropology, psychology/psychiatry, social impact of genetic technologies, demographics, ethics, and studies of traditional healing. UCL is ranked fifth in the QS World University Rankings and our students benefit from a wealth of resources.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Anthropology was the first in the UK to integrate biological and social anthropology with material culture into a broad-based conception of the discipline. UCL Medical Anthropology at UCL integrates interpretive, critical and applied perspectives.

Our excellent results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercises and 2014 Research Excellence Framework show that we are the leading broad-based anthropology department in the UK. We are also one of the largest anthropology departments in the UK, offering a breadth of expertise.

Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the wider anthropological community in London and the department's strong links with European universities and international institutions.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Anthropology

68% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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New for 2018/19, the. MSc in Biosocial Medical Anthropology. is for those wishing to gain proficiency and understanding of biosocial approaches in examining disease, health and medicine. Read more

New for 2018/19, the MSc in Biosocial Medical Anthropology is for those wishing to gain proficiency and understanding of biosocial approaches in examining disease, health and medicine. It draws from cross-disciplinary expertise in medical anthropology, human ecology and environment, and biological anthropology. It aims to equips students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to develop careers that engage with and make use of a biosocial approach.

 

About this degree

There are two pathways, A: 'Statistic Training Pathway' (for those without statistics training), or B: 'Open Pathway' (for those with demonstrable statistics training e.g. at A level or equivalent).

The programme consists of a core course (30 credits), one or two core modules (15 to 30 credits), two to three optional modules (30 to 45 credits), and a dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

Biosocial Medical Anthropology (two term module)

Anthropological Methods

Introduction to Statistics (compulsory if no statistics training)

 

Optional modules

Medical Anthropology

Aspects of Applied Medical Anthropology

Ecology of Human Groups

Population and Development

Evolution of Human Brain, Cognition and Language

Statistics and Causal Analysis for Qualitative Social Scientists

Anthropologies of Science, Society and Biomedicine

Reproduction, Sex and Sexuality

Human Behavioural Ecology

Anthropology and Psychiatry

 

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Biosocial Medical Anthropology.

 

Teaching and learning

Seminars, lectures and tutorials form a core part of the learning approach. Students will be encouraged to develop critical and independent thinking and to be able to engage and make use of cross-disciplinary perspectives on the biosocial topics related to health, medicine and disease. Assessment is through examination, essays, dissertation and optional module requirements.

Funding

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

Biosocial medical anthropology is a new and cutting-edge interdisciplinary approach that will equip students with the skills to think critically and engage with the biosocial contexts of health, disease and medicine. We expect graduates of this programme to be able to develop careers in academia, clinical research, public health, government and non-governmental organisations.

 

Employability

This programme will equip students for careers in research related to biosocial approaches to health, disease and illness and also for working across a wide range of health care arenas including public and global health, international development.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Anthropology was the first in the UK to integrate biological and social anthropology with material culture into a broad-based conception of the discipline. It is one of the largest anthropology departments in the UK in terms of both staff and research student numbers, offering an exceptional breadth of expertise.

Our excellent results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise and 2014 Research Excellence Framework show that we are the leading broad-based anthropology department in the UK.

Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the wider anthropological community in London and the department's strong links with European universities and international institutions.

Application dates

All applicants

Open: 11 January 2018

Close: 27 July 2018



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- Intercalating medical students, or students intending to pursue a medical degree. - Students with a degree in the social sciences or humanities wishing to acquire a broad understanding of medical anthropology with reference to Asia or Africa, but also including other parts of the world. Read more

Who is this programme for?:

- Intercalating medical students, or students intending to pursue a medical degree.

- Students with a degree in the social sciences or humanities wishing to acquire a broad understanding of medical anthropology with reference to Asia or Africa, but also including other parts of the world

- People with professional experience in medical practice who have an interest in cross-cultural understandings of health and illness.

- Students with a degree in social anthropology wishing to pursue more specialist topics in the anthropology of medicine.

- Students without a previous degree in Anthropology looking for an MA conversion degree to serve as a qualification for pursuing a further research degree in anthropology

- The two-year intensive language pathway is directed at students who want to engage with a country in a professional as well as academic way, as the intensive language courses will enable them to reach a near proficient knowledge of the language.

As one might expect of study at SOAS, our programme is unique in that we take a cultural and phenomenological approach to the anthropology of medicine. That is, we stress a truly cross-cultural method, one which unites all medical systems in a unified comparative perspective. This allows students to grasp the underlying principles and questions common to all therapeutic systems. Given the diversity of the School’s courses, students may choose options which strengthen either the humanities or the development studies aspects of their interests.

It can also be taken with an intensive language pathway over two years, therefore making this programme unique in Europe.

The Japanese pathway is available for students who have an intermediate level of Japanese. Students will be required to take a placement exam in the week before classes begin in order to determine if their level is suitable. Please contact Professor Drew Gerstle () for further information.

The Korean pathway is designed for beginner learners of Korean. Students with prior knowledge of Korean are advised to contact the programme convenor, Dr Anders Karlsson (). Students will take four course units in the Korean language, one of them at a Korean university during the summer after year 1.

The Arabic pathway is designed for beginner learners of Arabic. Students will take four units of Arabic, one of them at the Qasid Institute in Jordan or another partner institution during the summer after year 1. Programme convenor: Dr Mustafa Shah ()

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/anthropology/programmes/ma-medical-anthropology-and-intensive-language/

Structure

- Core course: Cultural Understandings of Health - 15PANC093 (1.0 unit).

- Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology - 15PANC999 (1.0 unit). This is a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with the Programme Convenor of the MA Medical Anthropology and the candidate’s supervisor.

- In addition, all MA Anthropology students 'audit' the course Ethnographic Research Methods during term 1 - this will not count towards your 4 units.

- Students without previous experience of anthropology must take the foundation course, Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1.0 unit).

Option Courses - Group A and Group B:

Students then choose TWO 0.5 unit courses from the Group A and B lists.

- AT LEAST ONE of the two 0.5 unit courses normally must come from Group A
- Students not taking Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology may then select their fourth unit (either a single 1.0 unit course or two 0.5 unit courses) from the Option Courses list.
- Alternatively, one language course may be taken from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures
- In the two-year language pathway, students take 2 intensive language units and Cultural Understandings of Health (1 unit) in their first year. During the summer, they will participate in a summer school abroad (location dependant on language). Upon their return, they will take one intensive language unit in their second year and two optional anthropology units. In the intensive-language pathway, the same rules apply as for the usual MA.

Programme Specification

MA Medical Anthropology and Intensive Language Programme Specification (pdf; 230kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/anthropology/programmes/ma-medical-anthropology-and-intensive-language/file93566.pdf

Teaching & Learning

Aims and Outcomes:
- All students are introduced to the types of problem and areas of questioning which are fundamental to the anthropology of medicine.

- Students new to the discipline are given knowledge of the general principles of anthropological enquiry

- All students develop advanced knowledge and understanding of the theoretical approaches which help form an anthropological perspective.

- All students gain an understanding of the practical methods by which this perspective is applied in field research.
All students will be provided with a near proficient ability in a language.

Knowledge:

- Students will be familiar with the foundational literature on the basis of which medical anthropology is linked to and emerges from broader disciplinary concerns.

- Students will have knowledge of the intersections linking medical anthropology to related fields, such as social studies of science, studies in bioethics, and critical approaches to public health

- Students will be familiar with the numerous ethnographic studies of health and illness.

Intellectual (thinking) skills:

- Students will learn to deploy an ethnographic kind of questioning – one directed toward teasing out of complex situations the sets of particular norms or principles which condition or shape them.

- As anthropologists, they will be trained to look for the specifically social in everything (even & especially in the “natural”)

- Students will learn how to form an anthropological problem – that is to distinguish an anthropological problem from a mere topic or area of interest.

Subject-based practical skills:

- Personal drive: Students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning

- Students will develop research skills: including location and adjustment to differing types of library collection, as well as locating organizations and people who hold significant information

- Listening & understanding: Students will be able to assimilate complex arguments quickly on the basis of listening – and to discuss or disagree constructively with points made by others.

- Planning and problem solving: students will be able to set targets and achieve them, and will be able to work well to deadlines.

- Working in a group: students will learn to lead by contributing to the development of consensus.

- In the two year intensive language pathway, to acquire/develop skills in a language to Effective Operational Proficiency level, i.e., being able to communicate in written and spoken medium in a contemporary language.

Transferable skills:

- Students will develop an ability to begin from a general question or issue and develop an appropriate research model and method.
- Ability to clearly represent a concise understanding of a project/problem and its solution.
- An ability to recognize and appreciate for what it is an unconventional approach or an unfamiliar idea
- An ability creatively to resolve conflict while working in a team; being able to see the other person’s point of view
- An ability to work and feel at ease in multicultural or cross cultural environments.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

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The MSc in Medical Anthropology offers a unique opportunity to engage with anthropological approaches to the study of health drawing on sociocultural, ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Read more

The MSc in Medical Anthropology offers a unique opportunity to engage with anthropological approaches to the study of health drawing on sociocultural, ecological and evolutionary perspectives. The course provides a strong grounding in ethnographic approaches to the study of health, the political ecology of health and the application of anthropology to contemporary public health concerns, as well as a diverse range of options in areas such as theories of the body and evolutionary medicine. Our unique biosocial approach to the anthropology of health is one of our key strengths and attracts a wide range of students, contributing to a stimulating and exciting learning environment. An emphasis on developing and applying research skills is also central to our degree. The course is taught by the academic researchers from our highly regarded Anthropology of Health Research Group http://www.durham.ac.uk/anthropology/research/health

Please see the website for further information on modules.

Course Learning and Teaching

The full-time course runs for a full year, from October to September. Full-time students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany), with further assessment in April and May (Easter Term), and then work, under the supervision of a specialist supervisor, to complete a dissertation by September. Core modules introduce the Anthropology of Global Health and Public Health Anthropology, and anthropological methods. Students can choose to focus on qualitative or quantitative methods or to train in both.

The programme is delivered through a mixture of interactive lectures, seminars, practical sessions and workshops, in addition to one-to-one dissertation supervision. Typically, lectures deliver key information on progressively more advanced themes and topics. Seminars provide an opportunity to reflect in more depth upon material delivered in lectures and gathered from independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hoursThey give students an opportunity to engage with academic issues at the cutting-edge of research in Anthropology, in a learning environment focused on discussion and debate of current issues.

Full-time students have on average 6-8 hours of formal teaching and learning contact per week, and are also expected to attend weekly departmental and Anthropology of Health Research Group research seminars, often given by prominent visiting speakers. Students also have the opportunity to present their work at the Department’s annual postgraduate conference, and to join activities with other universities, such as our annual advanced medical anthropology workshop with the University of Edinburgh. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are expected to devote significant amounts of time to reading, discussing and preparing for classes, assignments and project work.

Throughout the programme, all students meet fortnightly with the degree tutor, who provides academic support and guidance. Furthermore, all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis, or can be e-mailed to arrange a mutually agreeable time. Students work closely with leading academics to develop an original piece of research for their dissertation, and guidance on the dissertation is also provided by the dissertation leader. Before the academic year starts, we provide information on preparing for the course. On arrival we have induction sessions, including a field trip and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and the degree tutor for Medical Anthropology. Students also attend an introduction to our departmental research groups, including the Anthropology of Health Research Group.

Career Opportunities

Students with a postgraduate qualification in Anthropology pursue a diverse array of careers in areas such as conservation, tourism, public health, health research and management, captive primate care and zoological research management, local government research and management, education (secondary, further and higher), social care, social research, in addition to academia.



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The degree is suitable for students with an intellectual interest in anthropological approaches to the study of health as well as for those who work in health care in Africa and Asia. Read more

Who is this programme for?:

The degree is suitable for students with an intellectual interest in anthropological approaches to the study of health as well as for those who work in health care in Africa and Asia.

The MA Medical Anthropology comprises two pathways catering for candidates with or without anthropological training. Students come to the course from all over the world, following BA study, work and travel experience or after long careers in other fields. This combination of diverse experience and skills makes for an intellectually exciting atmosphere for both teachers and students.

The course is distinctive in its focus on medical and health issues pertaining to Africa, Asia and Latin America. It covers anthropological theory, cultural understandings of health, and various options. These include combinations of anthropology and food, gender, shamanism and therapy, psychoanalysis, religion and healing in South Asia, China and in Africa, and study of the language and ethnography of a particular region.

The programme consists of four elements, three examined courses and a dissertation of 10,000 words. The degree is suitable for students with an intellectual interest in anthropological approaches to the study of health as well as for those who work in health care in Africa and Asia. The aim of the degree is to provide:

- A phenomenological understanding of the body, which implies also subjective attitudes to notions of health, sickness, disease, recovery and personal vulnerability
- an understanding of these experiences within regional, political, economic and cultural contexts

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/anthropology/programmes/mamedanth/

Structure

Programme Overview
The programme consists of four units in total: three units of taught examined courses and a one unit dissertation of 10,000 words.

Core Courses:
- Cultural Understandings of Health - 15PANC093 (1.0 unit).
- Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology - 15PANC999 (1.0 unit). This is a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with the Programme Convenor of the MA Medical Anthropology and the candidate’s supervisor.
- Additionally all MA Anthropology students 'audit' the course Ethnographic Research Methods during term 1 - this will not count towards your 4 units.

Foundation Course:
- Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1.0 unit). This is compulsory only for students without a previous anthropology degree.

Option Courses - Group A and Group B:
- Students then choose TWO 0.5 unit courses from the Group A and B lists below.
- AT LEAST ONE of the two 0.5 unit courses must come from Group A.

Option Courses:
- Students not taking Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology may then select their fourth unit (either a single 1.0 unit course or two 0.5 unit courses) from the Option Courses list.
- Alternatively, one language course may be taken from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures.

Programme Specification

Programme Specification 2012/2013 (pdf; 209kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/anthropology/programmes/mamedanth/file49466.pdf

Employment

A Masters in Medical Anthropology at SOAS develops students’ understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised. This programme will also develop a specialist understanding of social processes and cultural representations of health, illness and the nursing/care practices associated with these. Over the years the SOAS department has trained numerous leading anthropologists who have gone on to occupy lectureships and professorships throughout the world. Equally, students gain skills during their degree that transfer well to areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.

Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including analytical and critical skills; ability to gather, assess and interpret data; high level of cultural awareness; and problem-solving. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website (http://www.soas.ac.uk/careers/graduate-destinations/).

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

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Research profile. This programme will enable you to join the key debates on contemporary medical anthropology, apply analytical tools drawn from social theory, select anthropological research methods for use in health-related settings and develop a research agenda. Read more

Research profile

This programme will enable you to join the key debates on contemporary medical anthropology, apply analytical tools drawn from social theory, select anthropological research methods for use in health-related settings and develop a research agenda.

Programme structure

You will follow taught courses, and receive hands-on training in social research skills. You will also complete an individually supervised project on a topic of your choice. Students often progress to a PhD in Social Anthropology, but the MSc can also be taken as a standalone degree.

The dissertation will constitute the main work in which you demonstrate your learning. It normally takes the form of an extended research proposal with the following components:

  • a literature review
  • an outline of the specific questions to be addressed
  • a statement of research design and methods to be employed
  • a discussion of the practical, political and ethical issues affecting the conduct of the research
  • a presentation of the schedule for the research, and its estimated budget

Where the programme is taken as a standalone degree, the dissertation normally includes a component of data collection and analysis, or selection of theoretical documents and analysis.

Career opportunities

This interdisciplinary MSc by Research is an opportunity to develop a specialisation in an area of medical sociology or anthropology.

On completion of the programme you will be able to articulate your own approach to theories and methodologies in medical sociology; think creatively about the social dynamics of health and healing in local and global perspectives; and think from both medical and social science perspectives.



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This programme studies health, illness and healing from a cross-cultural perspective. Read more

This programme studies health, illness and healing from a cross-cultural perspective.

With a focus on the understanding of health, illness and medicine in a globalised world, this programme allows you to engage with contemporary debates about old ills and emerging diseases, and explore both traditional forms of healing and modern medical technologies.

You’ll examine key questions in current medical anthropology from the perspective of both medical and social sciences, and address relevant issues, such as the way encounters between patients and professional healers are negotiated in varied cultural settings; the importance of political, economic and historical analysis to an understanding of the body; and the health-related effects of globalisation.

Intended for a diverse range of students, this distinctive and interdisciplinary programme will complement your background in anthropology or health sciences

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Health Academy and Global Development Academy:

Programme structure

Teaching combines lectures, seminars and tutorials, and you will produce essays and assessed coursework.

The programme works in close collaboration with the Global Public Health Unit and other subjects in the School of Social & Political Science.

You will complete two compulsory courses and four option courses. You are also encouraged to take the Development Research Methods course.

After the taught courses you will work towards your independently researched dissertation.

Career opportunities

You will gain the conceptual and methodological skills to understand contemporary health practices in a wider context of social, political, and economic problems, and be able to work in academic and applied health research.

The programme also acts as a conversion MSc for those without training in anthropology who wish to progress to a research career.

In addition, you will develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.



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Do our categories of behaviour – normal and abnormal – translate across cultures?. Why do ethnic minorities have different experiences of mental health?. Read more

About the course

Do our categories of behaviour – normal and abnormal – translate across cultures?
Why do ethnic minorities have different experiences of mental health?
Is there a ‘human nature’ underneath all the cultural differences?

Anyone interested in psychological processes, feeling and expression, memory and trauma, culture and personality, will have asked themselves questions of this kind. However, they are less likely to have asked themselves how (or if) we can recognise and analyse different emotions in other cultural settings.

In this new MSc degree, the first of its kind anywhere in Europe, we tackle these and other issues from an anthropological perspective, looking at the social and cultural dimensions of human experience.

By engaging with debates on these important topics and through the examination of world ethnography (including the UK), participants will learn about selfhood, emotion, madness and identity in cultural context.

Anthropology at Brunel is well-known for its focus on ethnographic fieldwork: as well as undertaking rigorous intellectual training, all our students are expected to get out of the library and undertake their own, original research – whether in the UK or overseas – and to present their findings in a dissertation. Students take this opportunity to travel to a wide variety of locations across the world – see “Special Features” for more details.

Attendance for lectures full-time: 2 days per week - for 24 weeks
Attendance for lectures part-time: 1 day per week - for 24 weeks (in each of 2 years)

Aims

This MSc gives candidates a solid grounding in key topics in psychological and psychiatric anthropology.

Through detailed consideration of cases from Britain and around the world, we explore the ways in which person, emotion, and subjectivity are shaped through cultural practices.

Candidates from backgrounds in health, therapy, social work and psychology will be able to challenge the categories and assumptions inherent in standard approaches to psychological and behavioural issues.

Course Content

The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Full-time

Compulsory modules:

Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
Dissertation in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
Themes in Psychiatric Anthropology
Themes in Psychological Anthropology

Optional modules:

Anthropology of the Body
Anthropology of the Person
Kinship, Sex and Gender
The Anthropology of Childhood
The Anthropology of Youth
The Anthropology of Global Health
Applied Medical Anthropology in the arena of Global Health
Anthropology of Education
Anthropology of Learning
Ethnicity, Identity and Culture
Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings

Part-time

Year 1

Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
Themes in Psychiatric Anthropology
Themes in Psychological Anthropology

Year 2

Dissertation in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
and optional modules

Assessment

Assessment is by essay, practical assignment (e.g. analysis of a short field exercise), and dissertation. There are no examinations.

Special Features

This degree looks at psychological and psychiatric topics from an anthropological perspective. There is an overlap with psychology and psychiatry in the things we look at (identity, consciousness, cognition, mental health, etc), but the approach is quite different; indeed, the findings can be startlingly different.

In all cases, we explore the point of view and experience of the insider, the ‘native’, in a range of cultures, we analyse this inside view in relation to the social and cultural environment. What we seek is a dynamic conception of human nature that is true to experience as well as illuminating broader social processes of which the individual may be only partly aware.
 
This degree challenges standard assumptions about normality and deviance, social and personal identity, the boundaries of the self, and the constituents of experience.

For those employed in the health, social and educational sectors, it will enhance professional practice and broaden understanding. But for every student it will open up new avenues.

The programme is run by experts in their field, who have worked in countries across the globe including Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, sub-Saharan Africa, Melanesia, India and Sri Lanka, as well as Britain.

All our degrees (whether full- or part-time) combine intensive coursework, rigorous training in ethnographic research methods, and a period of fieldwork in the summer term (final summer term if part-time) leading to an up to 15,000 word dissertation.

Students are free to choose their own research topic and geographic area, in consultation with their academic supervisor. In all cases, the dissertation research project provides valuable experience and in many cases it leads to job contacts – forming a bridge to a future career or time out for career development.

In recent years, students have undertaken fieldwork in locations across the world, including India, Mexico, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, China, Nepal, Peru, Morocco, and New Zealand as well as within the UK and the rest of Europe.

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Over the last ten years, global aspirations to reduce the suffering of the "bottom billion" have led to unprecedented attention on international development. Read more

About the course

Over the last ten years, global aspirations to reduce the suffering of the "bottom billion" have led to unprecedented attention on international development. International agencies, governments and NGOs are working more intensely than ever before to deliver appropriate policies and interventions.

Anthropology has played a key role in the emergence of new perspectives on humanitarian assistance and the livelihoods of populations caught up in extreme circumstances such as famines, natural disasters and wars.

On the one hand, this has led to a radical re-thinking of what has been happening, but on the other hand, it has led to anthropologists sometimes playing controversial roles in agendas associated with the "war on terror".

This course examines these contemporary issues and debates, and explores their implications. It also sets them in the context of anthropology as a discipline.

The course will appeal to graduates from a variety of backgrounds, including: anthropology, sociology, economics, politics, geography, law and development studies. It is suited for those interested in critically assessing the policies and practices of international development and humanitarian assistance to war-affected regions from an anthropological perspective.

It will provide the necessary training to enable students to seek employment with NGOs (such as Oxfam and Save the Children Fund), international agencies (such as the World Health Organisation and the World Food Programme) and the civil service (such as the UK Department for International Development).

It will also provide a useful stepping stone for those seeking to undertake doctoral research in international development.

Anthropology at Brunel is well-known for its focus on ethnographic fieldwork: as well as undertaking rigorous intellectual training, all our students are expected to get out of the library and undertake their own, original research – whether in the UK or overseas – and to present their findings in a dissertation. Students take this opportunity to travel to a wide variety of locations across the world – see “Special Features” for more details.

Attendance for lectures full-time: 2 days per week - for 24 weeks
Attendance for lectures part-time: 1 day per week - for 24 weeks (in each of 2 years)

Aims

You will discover how the apparent insights and skills of anthropologists have a long history associated with ethnographic work on economics, education, health, deprivation and conceptions of suffering dating back to the origins of the discipline.

Course Content

The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Full-time

Compulsory

Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory
Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
Anthropology of International Development
Dissertation in Anthropology of International Development and Humanitarian Assistance
Anthropological Perspectives of Humanitarian Assistance
Anthropological Perspectives of War

Optional

Dept. of Social Sciences, Media and Communications (Anthropology)
The Anthropology of Childhood
The Anthropology of Youth
The Anthropology of Global Health
Applied Medical Anthropology in the arena of Global Health
Anthropology of Education
Anthropology of Learning
Ethnicity, Identity and Culture
Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings
Dept of Politics, History and Law
Globalisation
Dept of Clinical Sciences
Global Agendas on Young People, Rights and Participation
Young Lives in the Global South
International Development, Children and Youth
Brunel Law School
Minority and Indigenous Rights
The United Nations Human Rights Regime
Theory and Practice of Human Rights
The Migrant, the State and the Law
Brunel Business School
International Business Ethics and Corporate Governance

Part-time

Year 1

Compulsory Reading Module: Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Anthropology of International Development
Compulsory Reading Module: Contemporary Anthropological Theory

Year 2

Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
Dissertation in Anthropology of International Development and Humanitarian Assistance
Anthropological Perspectives of Humanitarian Assistance
Anthropological Perspectives of War

Special Features

While its approach is anthropological, this degree offers genuine multi-disciplinary possibilities by drawing on modules from Politics, Health Sciences, Law and Business.

Students will have the opportunity to explore the multiplicity of issues arising from critical shifts in global policy across the following key themes:

The ways in which economic anthropologists have enhanced our understandings of livelihoods in ways that are dramatically different to dominant approaches in economics.
The hazards and limitations of relying solely upon biomedical interventions to alleviate suffering and sickness.
The ostensibly positive relationship between education and development, and the role of education as a vehicle for eradicating illiteracy and lowering fertility and mortality rates.

An exploration of such themes together will make it possible for students to think and engage in new and critical ways about the relationship between anthropology and development.

All our degrees (whether full- or part-time) combine intensive coursework, rigorous training in ethnographic research methods, and a period of fieldwork in the summer term (final summer term if part-time) leading to a 15,000 word dissertation.

Students are free to choose their own research topic and geographic area, in consultation with their academic supervisor. In all cases, the dissertation research project provides valuable experience and in many cases it leads to job contacts – forming a bridge to a future career or time out for career development.

In recent years, students have undertaken fieldwork in locations across the world, including India, Mexico, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, China, Nepal, Peru, Morocco, and New Zealand as well as within the UK and the rest of Europe.

Teaching and Assessment

Teaching

You will be taught via a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and film.

Assessment

Assessment is variously by essay and practical assignment (e.g. analysis of a short field exercise). A final dissertation of approximately 15,000 words based on fieldwork in the UK or abroad, is also required. There are no examinations.

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The Anthropology MRes offers students a thorough grounding in a wide range of biological or social science methodologies and methods, an advanced knowledge of contemporary questions in anthropology, and training in statistical and professional skills, which prepare graduates for doctoral research or employment as social science researchers. Read more

The Anthropology MRes offers students a thorough grounding in a wide range of biological or social science methodologies and methods, an advanced knowledge of contemporary questions in anthropology, and training in statistical and professional skills, which prepare graduates for doctoral research or employment as social science researchers.

About this degree

Students develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of topics in one of the sub-disciplines of anthropology (biological, social, medical or material culture). They are prepared for advanced level research through a general training in social science research methods and specialised research training in broad-based anthropological research methods and techniques.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (45 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a research dissertation (105 credits).

Core modules

  • Research Methods and Skills
  • Ethnographic Area: Critical Literature Review

Optional modules

The following is a selection of possible optional modules:

  • Anthropological and Archaeological Genetics
  • Art in the Public Sphere
  • Anthropological Theory
  • Primate Evolution
  • Anthropology of Socialist and Post-Socialist Societies
  • Anthropology of the Built Environment
  • Ecology of Human Groups
  • Evolution of Human Brain, Cognition and Language
  • History and Aesthetics of Documentary
  • Mass Consumption and Design
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Medical Anthropology and Primary Care
  • Palaeoanthropology
  • Population and Development
  • Practical Ethnographic and Documentary Filmmaking
  • Primate Socioecology
  • Risk, Power and Uncertainty
  • Ritual Healing and Therapeutic Employment
  • Social Construction of Landscape

Dissertation/report

All MRes students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 17,000 words (inclusive of notes).

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, small group presentations and discussion, tutorials, laboratory and practical work, independent directed reading, interactive teamwork, video, and film and web-based courses. Assessment is through coursework, unseen and take-home examination, laboratory books, posters and the dissertation.

Fieldwork

Students usually conduct fieldwork over the summer after the end of the third term. The research carried out will inform the final dissertation,

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Anthropology MRes

Careers

With the completion of the MRes, we expect students to be highly competent professionals, who will either continue to the MPhil/PhD level or who will be well equipped to apply their knowledge of social science methodologies and methods and their specific anthropological expertise in a range of settings.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Civil Service Resilience Officer, Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Research Analyst, Mind
  • PhD in Anthropology, University of Oxford

Employability

The MRes enhances the profile of students who already have a strong background in anthropology by training them in professional skills, statistics and various other social science methods. Exposure to positivist social science methodologies makes graduates attractive candidates for positions in NGOs or work in applied social science. Emphasis on research design and data collection through field research prepares graduates to be independent researchers. The general social science orientation of the degree qualifies students to apply for research positions on grants in various disciplines, and it opens the way to doctoral study in anthropology and other social science subjects.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Anthropology was the first in the UK to integrate biological, social, medical and material culture into a broad-based conception of the discipline. It is one of the largest anthropology departments in the UK in terms of both staff and research student numbers, offering an exceptional breadth of expertise.

Our excellent results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise and 2014 Research Excellence Framework show that we are the leading broad-based anthropology department in the UK.

Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the wider anthropological community in London and the department's strong links with European universities and international institutions.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Anthropology

68% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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The Social Anthropology MRes is a taught postgraduate degree that provides high quality training in anthropology and anthropological research. Read more

About the course

The Social Anthropology MRes is a taught postgraduate degree that provides high quality training in anthropology and anthropological research.

The course is of particular relevance for those who wish to use such training as a foundation for PhD study or who are keen to enhance their careers through the acquisition of advanced knowledge and research skills. Accordingly, the MRes can be completed as a qualification in itself, or as the first stage in a four-year PhD programme.

For students with no previous anthropological training, it can also act as a conversion course to anthropology.

A unique feature of this programme is that students can design, in collaboration with academic staff, Guided Study Modules to focus on their particular areas of research interest.

Anthropology at Brunel is well-known for its focus on ethnographic fieldwork: as well as undertaking rigorous intellectual training, all our students are expected to get out of the library and undertake their own, original research – whether in the UK or overseas – and to present their findings in a dissertation. Students take this opportunity to travel to a wide variety of locations across the world – see “Special Features” for more details.

Attendance for lectures full-time: 2 days per week - for 24 weeks
Attendance for lectures part-time: 1 day per week - for 24 weeks (in each of 2 years)

Aims

The MRes/MPhil/PhD programme marries the best aspects of the traditional apprenticeship system of anthropology - students work with a leading anthropologist in their geographical area of interest and undertake a formal training programme concerned with developing broader anthropological skills in the context of social science as a whole.

Our students have been or are being funded by the British Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme, the World Health Organization, national and local governments as well as NGOs.

Course Content

The MRes consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Full-time

Compulsory modules:

Ethnographic Research Methods 1
Ethnographic Research Methods 2
Dissertation in Social Anthropology Research

Optional modules:

The Anthropology of the Body
Anthropology of the Person
Anthropology of International Development
Kinship, Sex and Gender
Themes in Psychiatric Anthropology
Themes in Psychological Anthropology
The Anthropology of Childhood
Anthropological Perspectives of Humanitarian Assistance
Anthropological Perspectives of War
The Anthropology of Youth
The Anthropology of Global Health
Applied Medical Anthropology in the arena of Global Health
Anthropology of Education
Anthropology of Learning
Guided Study Module
Ethnicity, Identity and Culture
Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings

Part-time

Year 1

Option modules

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Assessment

Assessment is by essays, practical assignments (e.g. analysis of a short field exercise) and a dissertation of up to 15,000 words. This dissertation is based on fieldwork undertaken by the candidate. There are no examinations.

Special Features

Our course team has worked in countries across the globe including South, West and East Africa, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, as well as Britain.

All our degrees (whether full- or part-time) combine intensive coursework, rigorous training in ethnographic research methods, and a period of fieldwork in the summer term (final summer term if part-time) leading to a final dissertation of up to 15,000 words.

Students are free to choose their own research topic and geographic area, in consultation with their academic supervisor. In all cases, the dissertation research project provides valuable experience and in many cases it leads to job contacts – forming a bridge to a future career or time out for career development.

In recent years, students have undertaken fieldwork in locations across the world, including India, Mexico, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, China, Nepal, Peru, Morocco, and New Zealand as well as within the UK and the rest of Europe.

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Overview. The MA in Anthropology and Development is an advanced degree in socio-cultural anthropology with a particular emphasis on the Critical Anthropology of Development. Read more

Overview

The MA in Anthropology and Development is an advanced degree in socio-cultural anthropology with a particular emphasis on the Critical Anthropology of Development. During their studies students shall be provided with a sophisticated introduction to the theoretical underpinnings of socio-cultural anthropology, together with a block of modules that open up and explore the conceptual and methodological core of the discipline, and a series of specialised modules in the Critical Anthropology of Development. Students are also asked to write a thesis in the Anthropology of Development. This Masters programme is primarily a scholarly degree that aims to equip students for later doctoral research or for work in third sector roles that demand academic social-scientific knowledge or the particular skills of trained ethnographic researchers.

Course Structure

Students take a total of 90 credits over 1 year.

 

Compulsory Modules (70 credits)

AN651 Social Thought (10 credits)

AN653 Writing Cultures (10 credits)

AN649 Foundations of Anthropology & Development (5 credits)

AN652 Key Concepts in Anthropology (10 credits)

AN669 Topics in Anthropology & Development (5 credits)

AN634T Thesis (30 credits)

 

Optional Modules (subject to availability)

AN646 Foundations of Linguistic Anthropology (5 credits)

AN647 Foundations of Medical Anthropology (5 credits)

AN648 Foundations of Material Culture and Design (5 credits)

AN862 Ethnography Winter School (5 credits)

AN657 Ethnographic Ireland (5 credits)

AN630 Creole Culture (5 credits)

AN666 Topics in Linguistic Anthropology (5 credits)

AN667 Topics in Medical Anthropology (5 credits)

AN668 Topics in Material Culture & Design (5 credits)

PD606 Design Ethnography (7.5 credits)

GY621 Dublin Urban Laboratory (10 credits)

GY619 Public Engagement Research and Practice (10 credits)

GY627 Places, Landscapes, Mappings (10 credits)

Students complete an intensive course of four 6-week compulsory modules in anthropological theory (10 credits each) alongside four compulsory modules in Anthropology and Development (5 credits each), as well as two Saturday workshops. Students develop a proposal for a research project during the taught year in consultation with a member of the anthropology faculty, who will advise the student and mark the project. In the summer, students register for the 30-credit Thesis, which must be completed by early September.

Career Options

An anthropology degree provides an excellent preparation for a wide variety of fields in both public and private sectors, and is an especially good foundation for an international career. Anthropology has become increasingly important as a job skill in the context of globalisation, where a deeper understanding of cultural difference is crucial, both locally and internationally. Our graduates go on to employment in a wide variety of careers in community work, education, the health professions, product design, international aid and development projects, NGO work, business and administration, and more.



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Overview. Read more

Overview

The MA in Anthropology is an advanced degree in socio-cultural anthropology in which students are given a sophisticated introduction to the theoretical underpinnings of the discipline, a block of modules that open up and explore the conceptual and methodological core of the discipline, and a series of specialised modules that show the range of socio-cultural anthropology today. Students are also required to write a thesis. The MA in Anthropology is primarily a scholarly degree that aims to equip students for later doctoral research or for work in roles that demand academic social-scientific knowledge or the particular skills of trained ethnographic researchers.

Course Structure

In the autumn and spring semesters, students complete an intensive course of four 6-week compulsory modules in anthropological theory (10 credits each) alongside two professional development modules and two optional modules (5 credits each). The taught programme develops students’ core theoretical competence and combines this with the methodological tools necessary to successfully formulate an anthropological topic and carry out a research project. In the summer, students register for the 30-credit Thesis, which must be completed by early September.

Students take a total of 90 credits over 1 year.

 

Compulsory Modules (60 credits)

AN651 Social Thought (10 credits)

AN653 Writing Cultures (10 credits)

AN652 Key Concepts in Anthropology (10 credits)

AN634T Thesis (30 credits)

 

Optional Modules (subject to availability)

AN646 Foundations of Linguistic Anthropology (5 credits)

AN647 Foundations of Medical Anthropology (5 credits)

AN648 Foundations of Material Culture and Design (5 credits)

AN649 Foundations of Anthropology & Development (5 credits)

AN862 Ethnography Winter School (5 credits)

AN657 Ethnographic Ireland (5 credits)

AN630 Creole Culture (5 credits)

AN666 Topics in Linguistic Anthropology (5 credits)

AN667 Topics in Medical Anthropology (5 credits)

AN668 Topics in Material Culture & Design (5 credits)

AN669 Topics in Anthropology & Development (5 credits)

PD606 Design Ethnography (7.5 credits)

GY621 Dublin Urban Laboratory (10 credits)

GY619 Public Engagement Research and Practice (10 credits)

GY627 Places, Landscapes, Mappings (10 credits)

Career Options

An anthropology degree provides an excellent preparation for a wide variety of fields in both public and private sectors, and is an especially good foundation for an international career. Anthropology has become increasingly important as a job skill in the context of globalisation, where a deeper understanding of cultural difference is crucial, both locally and internationally. Our graduates go on to employment in a wide variety of careers in community work, education, the health professions, product design, international aid and development projects, NGO work, business and administration, and more.




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This Economic and Social Research Council approved MA provides training in research methods with a focus on methods used by researchers in anthropology. At the end of this course, you will be well-prepared to go on to do research in Anthropology or a related discipline. Read more

This Economic and Social Research Council approved MA provides training in research methods with a focus on methods used by researchers in anthropology. At the end of this course, you will be well-prepared to go on to do research in Anthropology or a related discipline. Most students expect to move on to a PhD. The course includes training in qualitative and quantitative methods needed by researchers in social sciences and draws on expertise within the Department of Anthropology to provide specialised training in either sociocultural anthropology, medical anthropology, the anthropology of development or cultural evolution (depending on your chosen pathway). It is affiliated to the Northern Ireland and North East Doctoral Training Partnership, which offers funding to British and European Union students interested in taking the course preparatory to moving on to a PhD at Durham.

The full-time course runs for a full year, from October to September. Students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany), with assessment in April and May (Easter Term), and then work, under the supervision of a specialist supervisor, to complete a dissertation in September. This is often a pilot project for a PhD project. 

Students take core modules on qualitative and quantitative methods. Further modules are chosen from within each specialist pathway.

Please see the website for further information on modules.

Course Learning and Teaching

The programme is delivered through a mixture of interactive lectures, seminars and workshops, in addition to one-to-one dissertation supervision. Typically, lectures deliver key information on progressively more advanced themes and topics. Seminars provide an opportunity to reflect in more depth upon material delivered in lectures and gathered from independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. They give students an opportunity to engage with academic issues at the cutting-edge of research in Anthropology, in a learning environment focused on discussion and debate of current issues. 

Full-time students have on average 8 hours of formal teaching and learning contact per week and are also expected to attend weekly departmental seminars and research group seminars (hosted by our Social Anthropology Research Group http://www.durham.ac.uk/anthropology/research/socialanthropology, our Anthropology of Health Research Group http://www.durham.ac.uk/anthropology/research/health and our Evolutionary Anthropology Research Group http://www.durham.ac.uk/anthropology/research/evolutionary, depending on their particular interests. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are also expected to devote significant amounts of time to reading, discussing and preparing for classes, assignments and project work. Throughout the programme, all students meet fortnightly with their degree tutor, who provides academic support and guidance. Furthermore, all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. Students work closely with leading academics (usually their expected PhD supervisors) to develop an original piece of research for their dissertation, and guidance on the dissertation is also provided by the dissertation leader. Before the academic year starts, we make provide information on preparation for the course. On arrival, we have induction sessions, including field trip, and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and the Degree Tutor for the MA. Students also attend an “Introduction to Research Groups in Anthropology”.

Career Opportunities

Students with a postgraduate qualification in Anthropology pursue a diverse array of careers in areas such as conservation, tourism, public health, health research and management, captive primate care and zoological research management, local government research and management, education (secondary, further and higher), social care, social research, in addition to academia.



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