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Course content

This course is designed for students with an undergraduate degree in a subject other than anthropology who would like to prepare for research in socio-cultural anthropology or for a career requiring expertise in anthropology.

High profile social anthropologist researchers at Durham, with experience of conducting fieldwork all around the world, introduce students to both classical and contemporary writing and research in the discipline. There is equal emphasis on theoretical and methodological questions, and plenty of opportunity to apply this new knowledge to issues of pressing social concern.

The full-time course consists of two terms of teaching, during which students are introduced to the range of research questions and methods used in social or cultural anthropology, and a dissertation, involving the design, development, and implementation of an independent research project. Students work closely with academic staff from our highly respected Social Anthropology Research Grouphttp://www.dur.ac.uk/anthropology/research/socialanthropology receiving enhanced levels of support as part of the ‘conversion’ to anthropology, including fortnightly small group meetings with the programme tutor, and have the opportunity to become involved in active research projects.

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 6-8 hours of formal teaching and learning contact per week, and are also expected to attend weekly departmental and Social Anthropology Research Group research seminars, often given by prominent visiting speakers. 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 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 the MA in Sociocultural Anthropology. Students also attend an “Introduction to Research Groups in Anthropology”, including the Social Anthropology 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.


Visit the Sociocultural Anthropology - MA page on the Durham University website for more details!

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