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Course content

-Would you like personalised supervision from the very first week of study?
-Do you want a course that links with Visual Anthropology and uses our ethnographic film-making facilities?
-Are you interested in the series of pathways offering specialist knowledge of different areas?

The objective of this programme is to communicate an anthropologically-informed understanding of social life in both Western and non-Western societies. By confronting students with the remarkable diversity of human social and cultural experience, its aim is to encourage them to question taken-for-granted assumptions and to view the world from a new perspective.

Through a set of core modules, comprising about a third of coursework credits, students are provided with a comprehensive grounding in classical as well as contemporary debates in social anthropology and are introduced to the distinctive research methods and ethical positions associated with the discipline. Students then complete their coursework credits by choosing from a broad range of modules offered around the Faculty of Humanities.

Through these options, students apply the social anthropological theories and methods learnt on the core modules to particular substantive themes and topics. Diploma students complete their coursework in May and formally graduate in July. Over the summer vacation, MA students carry out research for a 15,000 word dissertation that is submitted in September. They then would normally expect to graduate formally in December.

Most of the coursework optional modules have been organized into pathways based on particular themes and topics. If they wish, students are able, on the basis of past experience and/or future goals, to select a pathway shortly after registration in consultation with the programme director. MA students' dissertation topics will normally also relate to this pathway. In total, there are currently 5 pathways.

Teaching and learning

In each semester, students take two 15-credit core modules, and a selection of optional modules that they select shortly after arrival. Many optional modules are worth 15 credits, though some are worth 30 credits. In total, students are required to achieve 120 coursework credits. Over the summer vacation, students are required to write a dissertation which is worth a further 60 credits.

In total, some 50 optional modules are available, not only in Social Anthropology but in a broad range of other disciplines across the Faculty of Humanities, including Visual Anthropology, Archaeology, Museum Studies, Latin American Studies, Development Studies, History, Sociology and Drama. Drawing on this broad range of disciplines, a number of pathways have been devised in order to maximize the academic and timetabling coherence of the options chosen by students. However students are not obliged to select one of these pathways and, provided the course director and tutor are in agreement, may follow their own 'customized' selection of modules.

Part-time students complete the full-time programme over two years. There are NO evening or weekend course units available on the part-time programme.

You must first check the schedule of the compulsory modules and then select your optional modules to suit your requirements.
Updated timetable information will be available from mid-August and you will have the opportunity to discuss your module choices during induction week with your Course Director

Coursework and assessment

Most modules are assessed by means of an extended assessment essay. Typically, for 15 credit modules, these must be of 4000 words, whilst for 30 credit courses, they are normally of 6000 words. Certain options involving practical instruction in research methods, audiovisual media or museum display may also be assessed by means of presentations and/or portfolios of practical work. In addition, all MA students are required to write a 15,000 word dissertation.

Career opportunities

Past graduates of the MA in Social Anthropology have gone on to many different careers both inside and outside academic life. As it is a 'conversion' course aimed at those who want to explore anthropology after undergraduate studies in another field, or at least within a different anthropological tradition, it often represents a major change of career direction, opening up a wide range of different possibilities.

About 20% of our graduates carry on to do a doctorate, be it here or elsewhere. But the MA in Social Anthropology also represents a very appropriate preparation for careers in which an informed awareness of the implications of social and cultural diversity are important. Some past students have been drawn to the voluntary sector, either in the UK or with development agencies overseas, others have gone on to work in the media or cultural industries or in education at many different levels. Others again have found opportunities in business or the civil service, where ethnography-based methods are increasingly popular as a way of finding out how people - from consumers to employees - interact with their everyday worlds.

The MA in Social Anthropology also trains students in a broad range of transferable skills that are useful in many walks of life, including social research methods and the ethics associated with these, effective essay-writing, oral presentational skills in seminars and other contexts, basic computing skills, using the internet as a research tool and conducting bibliographic research.

Visit the Social Anthropology - MA/PGDip page on the University of Manchester website for more details!

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