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Social and Cultural Anthropology

Course Description

The MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology is a two-stage programme.

In the first stage, you are confronted with general questions such as "What is culture?" and "What is identity?". You will study many forms of human agency and consider different ways in which people across the world deal with social
problems. You will acquire insight into the basic concepts and theoretical approaches to anthropology, but also into the basic methodological principles of fieldwork. In this endeavour, we emphasise the acquisition of knowledge and skills on the one hand and the appropriation of an anthropological attitude on the other.You will learn to critically analyse the perspectives of others - and, in doing so, change your own.

During this first stage, you start developing your own research by looking for a topic and supervisor, developing a research focus and preparing empirical research to support your final master's thesis. Depending on your research topic, you will engage in qualitative research in Belgium or abroad, possibly in combination with an Erasmus exchange or a summer school.

You will deepen and further develop your research skills in the second stage of the programme while conducting research for your master's thesis and participating in the African Studies seminar or the Inter culturalism, Minorities and Migration seminar. Experienced professors and early-career researchers of the faculty's research units (IARA & IMMRC) will introduce you to the most recent developments in anthropology. Your own research interests and focus will inform your choice of electives to round out your programme.

[[1. Objectives]]
Through empirical research, social and cultural anthropology investigates the differences and similarities between cultures. Thus it wants to shed light on the historical, social political and cultural processes that shape society. This master programme wants to both introduce and specialize students into this fascinating domain. This double goal is reflected in the programme's structure. The latter further emphasises
- a) acquiring a critical, social-scientific and anthropological attitude;
- b) acquiring knowledge and skills specific to the discipline (anthropological methods, models, theories, ...). This also implies that students are able to put their specific knowledge and so-called emic perspective to use in an ever changing social debate.

[[2. Goals]]
A graduate in the Master of Science in Social and Cultural Anthropology is capable of designing and carrying out original research and communicating its findings. Also, s/he has the ability to critically evaluate existing research. To this purpose, s/he has a solid and active knowledge of anthropological methods and techniques, of the existing cultural and ethnological diversity and of past and current anthropological paradigms, themes and theories.

[[Career paths]]
Graduates of anthropology find employment in numerous areas including:

- education
- social services
- medical care
- NGO's
- international organisations
- development policy
- international policy
- business
- research.

Trained anthropologists are employed as:

- diversity consultants
- cultural and political formation consultants
- employees in non-profit organisations
- educational consultants
- healthcare workers
- political consultants
- researchers
- youth consultants
- professors
- directors of socio-cultural organisations
- journalists

Entry Requirements


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