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Anthropology - MA, MSc

Course Description

Anthropology prides itself on its inclusive and interdisciplinary focus. It takes a holistic approach to human society, combining biological and social perspectives.

All of our Anthropology Master’s programmes are recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as having research training status, so successful completion of these courses is sufficient preparation for research in the various fields of social anthropology. Many of our students go on to do PhD research. Others use their Master’s qualification in employment ranging from research in government departments to teaching to consultancy work overseas.

We welcome students with the appropriate background for research. If you wish to study for a single year, you can do the MA or MSc by research, a 12-month independent research project.

If you are interested in registering for a research degree, you should contact the member of staff whose research is the most relevant to your interests. You should include a curriculum vitae, a short (1,000-word) research proposal, and a list of potential funding sources.

About the School of Anthropology and Conservation

Kent has pioneered the social anthropological study of Europe, Latin America, Melanesia, and Central and Southeast Asia, the use of computers in anthropological research, and environmental anthropology in its widest sense (including ethnobiology and ethnobotany).

Our regional expertise covers Europe, the Middle East, Central, Southeast and Southern Asia, Central and South America, Amazonia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Polynesia. Specialisation in biological anthropology includes forensics and paleopathology, osteology, evolutionary psychology and the evolutionary ecology and behaviour of great apes.

Course structure

The first year may include coursework, especially methods modules for students who need this additional training. You will work closely with one supervisor throughout your research, although you have a committee of three (including your primary supervisor) overseeing your progress. If you want to research in the area of applied computing in social anthropology, you would also have a supervisor based in the School of Computing.

Research areas

- Social Anthropology

The related themes of ethnicity, nationalism, identity, conflict, and the economics crisis form a major focus of our current work in the Middle East, the Balkans, South Asia, Amazonia and Central America, Europe (including the United Kingdom), Oceania and South-East Asia.

Our research extends to inter-communal violence, mental health, diasporas, pilgrimage, intercommunal trade, urban ethnogenesis, indigenous representation and the study of contemporary religions and their global connections.

We research issues in fieldwork and methodology more generally, with a strong and expanding interest in the field of visual anthropology. Our work on identity and locality links with growing strengths in customary law, kinship and parenthood. This is complemented by work on the language of relatedness, child health and on the cognitive bases of kinship terminologies.

A final strand of our research focuses on policy and advocacy issues and examines the connections between morality and law, legitimacy and corruption, public health policy and local healing strategies, legal pluralism and property rights, and the regulation of marine resources.

- Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology

Work in these areas is focused on the Centre for Biocultural Diversity. We conduct research on ethnobiological knowledge systems and other systems of environmental knowledge as well as local responses to deforestation, climate change, natural resource management, medical ethnobotany, the impacts of mobility and displacement and the interface between conservation and development. Current projects include trade in materia medica in Ladakh and Bolivia, food systems, ethno-ornithology, the development of buffer zones for protected areas and phytopharmacy among migrant diasporas.

- Digital Anthropology: Cultural Informatics, Social Invention and Computational Methods

Since 1985, we have been exploring and applying new approaches to research problems in anthropology – often, as in the case of hypermedia, electronic and internet publishing, digital media, expert systems and large-scale textual and historical databases, up to a decade before other anthropologists. Today, we are exploring cloud media, semantic networks, multi-agent modelling, dual/blended realities, data mining, smart environments and how these are mediated by people into new possibilities and capabilities.

Our major developments have included advances in kinship theory and analysis supported by new computational methods within field-based studies and as applied to detailed historical records; qualitative analysis of textual and ethnographic materials; and computer-assisted approaches to visual ethnography. We are extending our range to quantitative approaches for assessing qualitative materials, analysing social and cultural invention, the active representation of meaning, and the applications and implications of mobile computing, sensing and communications platforms and the transformation of virtual into concrete objects, institutions and structures.

- Biological Anthropology

Biological Anthropology is the newest of the University of Kent Anthropology research disciplines. We are interested in a diverse range of research topics within biological and evolutionary anthropology. These include bioarchaeology, human reproductive strategies, hominin evolution, primate behaviour and ecology, modern human variation, cultural evolution and Palaeolithic archaeology. This work takes us to many different regions of the world (Asia, Africa, Europe, the United States), and involves collaboration with international colleagues from a number of organisations. We have a dedicated research laboratory and up-to-date computing facilities to allow research in many areas of biological anthropology.

Currently, work is being undertaken in a number of these areas, and research links have been forged with colleagues at Kent in archaeology and biosciences, as well as with those at the Powell- Cotton Museum, the Budongo Forest Project (Uganda) and University College London.

Kent Osteological Research and Analysis (KORA) offers a variety of osteological services for human remains from archaeological contexts.


Higher degrees in anthropology create opportunities in many employment sectors including academia, the civil service and non-governmental organisations through work in areas such as human rights, journalism, documentary film making, environmental conservation and international finance. An anthropology degree also develops interpersonal and intercultural skills, which make our graduates highly desirable in any profession that involves working with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Many of our students go on to do PhD research. Others use their Master’s qualification in employment ranging from research in government departments to teaching to consultancy work overseas.

Visit the Anthropology - MA, MSc page on the University of Kent website for more details!

Student Profiles

Hong Kong Alumni Scholarship - Deadline 31/05/16 - 3 Awards

The scholarship aims to assist academically outstanding students from mainland China and Hong Kong to study at the University of Kent.The scholarships will be awarded to student admitted to study at the University of Kent. The value of the scholarship will cover full payment of the annual tuition fees plus part payment of accommodation and living expenses.Applicants should be either passport-holders of the People’s Republic of China or permanent residents of Hong Kong not currently registered on an undergraduate course at the University of Kent. Applicants should have received an offer of a place at the University of Kent for 2015 entry three postgraduate students for 1 year of study on taught postgraduate degree courses.Criteria: Candidates for the scholarships should normally fulfil the following requirements:
have been assessed as overseas for fee purposes
have made an application for a postgraduate (taught) degree course at the University of Kent (any location of study is permissible)
have received an unconditional offer of a place on such a degree course.
the University must have received confirmation of the applicant's firm acceptance of the offer by the deadline date.
Students who choose Kent as their insurance place will not be eligible for the scholarship

Value of Scholarship(s)

full payment of the annual tuition fees and contribute towards payment of accommodation and living


The scholarship is available to full-time postgraduate students enrolling either on a postgraduate taught programme or a postgraduate research programme (3 years maximum). See scheme details for eligibility criteria.

Application Procedure

For details of how to apply please visit the website.

Further Information



Santander Scholarships - CLOSED - No. of awards TBC

Santander is offering scholarships of £5,000 each to support students from Iberian and Latin American countries studying for a full-time taught or research Master’s degree at the University of Kent. The Scholarships:
•are for the forthcoming academic year only (2014-15), the start date cannot be deferred;
•are for one year only (12 months full-time);
•may be used at any of the University of Kent’s locations – Canterbury, Medway, Brussels, Paris, or Athens.CriteriaThe awards are not available to students that already have, or are already studying for, a Master’s degree. Candidates must:
• be a national of one of the 11 countries of the Iberian and Latin American Santander Universities network: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Mexico, Portugal, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela;
• have graduated or be studying at one of partner universities within the Santander Universities network: Argentina, Brazil , Chile, Columbia, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, Spain, USA, United Kingdom, Uruguay;
• be resident in one of the countries within the Santander Scheme.
• have been offered a place to study a full-time Master’s degree at Kent;
• have achieved a First or a 2:1 or equivalent at undergraduate level.
• In addition to excellent academic achievement, demonstrate excellence in an area of their life; this may include: ◦extra-curricular activities, such as sports, music, managing events or societies;
◦significant achievement gained either in their working life or through volunteering and service to others.

Value of Scholarship(s)



See scheme details for eligibility critera.

Application Procedure

For application details please visit the website

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A good honours degree (2.1 or above) in anthropology or other associated fields. For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages (View Website).Find out how to apply here - View Website

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