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We offer a PhD degree in Social Anthropology which is based on a minimum of three years’ full-time study and independent research.

At St Andrews we have an intellectually vibrant and devoted community at postgraduate level and our PhD students form an essential part of this. Our programme has a strongly international character, with students from a range of cultural and academic backgrounds. Having been ranked first in both the 2014 National Student Survey of Teaching and the 2014 Guardian ranking of UK Universities, we have strong theoretical interests, regional expertise across the world along with four internationally recognised research centres.

We offer PhD supervision across a diverse range of theoretical interests and topics. Prospective PhD candidates have typically taken on projects that are daring, explorative and creative, yet nevertheless require intensive ethnographic fieldwork.

As well as supervising projects linked to our research centres, we especially invite project submissions for work on urban anthropology, migration, visual anthropology, postcolonial institutions, anthropology and literature, anthropology and history, new media cultures, apprenticeship, craftwork and material culture, economic anthropology, energy and climate change, Christianities, mining, and anthropology of ethics. Other regional strengths include a strong focus on African societies, Britain and Europe, and Central/Inner Asia.

For a list of our departmental research interests, see staff profiles.

To see research projects currently underway by our PhD students, see Our PhD students.

Research and the Postgraduate Community

Our PhD students are given ample opportunity to present and exchange ideas and writing drafts in a host of formal and informal settings.  Weekly departmental seminars along with reading and writing groups allow postgraduates to discuss and analyse theoretical, methodological and ethical issues pertaining to social anthropology. They have the opportunity to participate in and organise various conferences and workshops.  These often result in publication projects led by our postgraduates. There are also possibilities for tutoring in select undergraduate social anthropology and sustainable development modules. Additionally, MRes, Mst and PhD students take part in the Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR Programme), which brings together researchers from Edinburgh, Aberdeen, St Andrews and Glasgow before and after their fieldwork as part of their continuing education and skill building. In addition to co-hosting international conferences and workshops, STAR also jointly runs two intensive residential training courses in anthropological skills with distinguished international guests providing master classes.