Students arriving at St Andrews will take a number of Social Anthropology modules across their first two years. If successfully completing these modules and meeting the requirements for entry into Honours, students will have the opportunity to continue to take either Single Honours or Joint Honours in Social Anthropology (typically two per semester for Single Honours, or one per semester for Joint Honours) across the next two years. The honours modules reflect the research expertise of the department and allow students to choose and develop their own specialisms and interests within the discipline.


During the first two years of study at St Andrews, students will be introduced through lectures and tutorials to social anthropology’s scope, historical development, methods and theories. These are presented at an elementary level in the first year and in a more advanced way in the second year when students are also asked to apply their knowledge to developing an ethnographic project of their own.


During the last two years of study at St Andrews, students participate in the Honours programme, which builds on the grounding provided at sub-honours level. Meeting regularly for lectures, seminars and tutorial discussions, students will acquire in-depth, critical knowledge of anthropological theory and ethnography as well as a sophisticated understanding of the processes and issues involved in doing, writing, reading and debating anthropology.

The Honours syllabus is concerned with advanced and specialised work reflecting the research expertise of teaching staff. Optional modules may include:

  • Anthropology of Migration
  • Anthropology of Crisis
  • Anthropology of Economic Life
  • Anthropology of Religion
  • Sex and Gender
  • Anthropology and History
  • Colonial and Post-Colonial Representation
  • Methods in Social Anthropology
  • Living with Material Culture
  • Visual Anthropology
  • Anthropology, Literature and Writing
  • Perception, Imagination and Communication

As well as potential regional modules:

  • Anthropology of the West Indies
  • Anthropology of the Andes
  • Amerindian Language and Culture
  • Anthropology of Central Asia
  • Anthropology of West Africa
  • Melanesian Anthropology
  • Anthropology and Eurasia

Honours students also write a dissertation of about 10,000 words on a subject that relates to a particular social or cultural problem defined in an anthropological manner. The dissertation can be based on library or field research alongside directed reading, under the supervision of a member of staff.

Our class sizes are approximately as follows: First year: 350 in lectures, 10-12 in tutorial groups; Second year: 150 in lectures, 8-10 in tutorial groups; Honours class (third and fourth years): up to 30 in lectures/seminars, individual dissertation supervision.

In addition to the teaching that takes place at the University, the Department also organises, if possible, a two-day study trip each year for Honours students to The Burn.

Study options

Study abroad options are available to Honours students in Social Anthropology.

Undergraduates Research Assistantship Scheme is also available to undergraduate students. This programme offers undergraduate students the opportunity to gain experience doing independent research.