Department of Social Anthropology

Prospective undergraduates

A brief introduction to Social Anthropology

Social Anthropology explores and compares the ways different people live. Today anthropologists are as likely to study in a Western urban context as they are to work amongst Inuit or on the Amazon. Wherever they undertake research, by being sensitive to different social and cultural contexts, anthropologists hope to gain insights into the different ways of being human. Anthropologists try to understand how humans live and think by looking at all aspects of their experience; thus you find specialists in economic, political and cognitive anthropology as well as theorists who are concerned with kinship, art and aesthetics, cosmological notions or ideas of individual consciousness.

  • See our department home page, or Youtube, for a film made by St Andrews students and staff about these issues - 'What is Anthropology?'

Anthropologists use a specialised methodology called participant observation. This involves long periods of intensive field research during which the anthropologist tries to gain a deep understanding of the daily experiences of the people with whom he or she is living.

Anthropologists have distinct theoretical viewpoints and they work in very diverse settings, yet they all stress the importance of understanding other people’s, as well as their own, ways of life. It is this increased understanding that is the invaluable gift that anthropology has to offer.

Degree Programmes

  • Which University offers an independent view of the Social Anthropology programmes at St Andrews.

Single Honours

  • Social Anthropology

Joint Honours

  • Social Anthropology and Arabic, Ancient History, Art History, Classical Studies, Economics, English, French*, Geography, International Relations, Italian*, Mediaeval History, Middle East Studies, Modern History, Philosophy, Psychology, Russian*, Scottish History, Spanish*, Theological Studies
  • Social Anthropology with Geography
  • Economics with Social Anthropology
  • Geography with Social Anthropology

* available With Integrated Year Abroad

Asking Rates

Our usual 'asking rates' for undergraduate admission to study Social Anthropology are AABB at Scottish Higher, AAB at A level and 35 points at International Baccalaureate. Some Joint Honours combinations may require slightly higher grades. We also accept comparable international qualifications. Candidates for admission should note that we also pay close attention to their personal statements and their school or college reference.

The likely asking rates published here are based on the LIKELY MINIMUM GRADES which will be required for entry but candidates should remember that many factors are taken into account when making offers, including the Personal Statement and Reference on the UCAS application. No applicant is guaranteed admission on the basis of these grades alone. Actual offers may be higher or lower than the grades stated here. Candidates may also satisfy entrance requirements with other equivalent qualifications or by successful completion of recognised Access courses.