Coronavirus information and guidance

Postgraduate research courses in Social Anthropology


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

At St Andrews there is an intellectually vibrant and devoted community at postgraduate level, and PhD students form an essential part of this. The 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, the Department has strong theoretical interests and regional expertise across the world along with four internationally recognised research centres.

According to the National Student Survey 2019 and the Guardian University league tables 2020, our final-year Anthropology students are the most satisfied in all of the UK with both overall quality of course and our teaching.

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

Master of Studies by Research

For those with sufficient undergraduate experience in Social Anthropology (usually equivalent to a first class BA Hons degree in Social Anthropology), it is possible to apply to enter the Master of Studies (MSt) by Research.

This research degree has no credited taught modules but instead runs solely through individual supervision with a listed member of staff. The Master of Studies is assessed through a 30,000-word dissertation on a topic of the student’s choice, which is assessed by a team composed of an internal and external examiner.

Those interested in this research degree choice should contact the Department before applying in order to discuss the proposal topic and possible supervisor.

This degree runs for one year full time.


Department of Social Anthropology

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2977

“My PhD supervisors are incredibly supportive and the help provided by other lecturers has provoked a richer engagement with my material – whether discussing my research, lending books or suggesting new ideas to consider. The department is really responsive and supports us in voicing conference ideas, recommending speakers or adjusting postgraduate seminars to meet the needs we identify. It is an academically engaging environment and a place where I have encountered great mentors.”

Molly Rosenbaum
Molly Rosenbaum
- PhD student