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Course content

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.

Visit the Social Anthropology - MRes page on the Brunel University London website for more details!

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