Our impact

Impact forms an integral part of research and teaching, through the work of both staff and students. The Department sees impact as those outcomes that bring about significant changes, locally in the lives of our field companions, extending outwards to regional, national and international institutions, governing bodies and corporations, and through research-led, innovative teaching that prepares our students for the skills they need in the wider world.

Impact activities have included intangible cultural heritage and skill preservation, economic, political and ethical impact, widening access to equality of opportunity and resources, and enhanced cultural understanding across disciplines and international boundaries.

Methods used to achieve impact include interdisciplinarity, collaborations, public engagement, knowledge exchange events, and teaching.

The Department is at the forefront of innovation in the field of collaborative anthropology – where anthropologists plan, implement and disseminate research projects in conjunction with research participants and local interlocutors.

The Department encourages a range of impact methods within the postgraduate environment through the Masters course, the MRes Anthropology, Art and Perception, which attracts students from diverse backgrounds including art colleges, design schools, art history and anthropology. The course curriculum includes sessions on collaboration, knowledge exchange and public engagement at postgraduate level, along with a special focus on sensory anthropology.

Teaching impact

The Department of Social Anthropology at St Andrews has long been celebrated for its teaching impact. The teaching staff include lecturers and professors, postgraduate researchers and tutors, as well as visiting scholars from across the world, all of whom combine to form a unique and intimate community of experts in the field.

The focus on research-led, innovative teaching prepares our students for a range of career paths through recognising the potential for anthropological thinking as a tool for engaging with the wider world.

The Department strives to create impact through teaching to all students, as well as the wider community through ongoing work with local schools and colleges, widening access events and supported pathways. We pride ourselves on receiving outstanding feedback from our students, as well as teaching and curriculum awards. Each year the Department maintains consistently high rankings for teaching excellence and student satisfaction. 


Students Association Teaching Awards

2022 Winner: Gabriela Manley (outstanding graduate teaching assistant)
2021  Winner: Karen Lane (outstanding teacher – evening degree) 
2020  Shortlist: Karen Lane (outstanding teacher, evening degree)
  Shortlist: Laura Roe (postgraduate student who tutors)
2018 Shortlist: Raluca Roman (outstanding teacher)
2017 Shortlist: Adam Reed (academic mentorship award)
2016 Winner: Paloma Gay y Blasco (excellence in teaching – honours)
  Winner: Nigel Rapport (postgraduate thesis supervisor)
  Shortlist: Daniel Knight (dissertation/project supervisor)
  Shortlist: Mhairi Aitkenhead (commitment by a support staff member)
  Shortlist: Michele Wisdahl (teaching excellence by postgraduate student tutor)

Sustainability in the Curriculum Prize

Awarded to Bridget Bradley, The Anthropology of Planetary Health – best new module addressing sustainability 2021

Golden Dandelion Prize 2021

Two of our Honours-level courses were recently recognised for their excellence in addressing topics of sustainable development: The Anthropology of Energy, taught by Dr Mette High, Dr Sean Field and Dr Pauline Destrée, and The Anthropology of Catastrophe, taught by Dr Richard Irvine.

University rankings

St Andrews is ranked in the top 3 best places to study anthropology in the UK, and considered the best for anthropology in Scotland, according to the Guardian University Guide 2023.

Our Department was also named top in the UK for student experience in the National Student Survey 2022.