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Postgraduate taught courses in Social Anthropology

Whether students come to St Andrews because they are interested in supplementing their already acquired professional skills or because they are keen to pursue further doctoral research in anthropology, Masters graduates have generally been highly successful.

Some secure competitive places and funding on doctoral programmes in the UK and internationally while others choose careers in:

  • the civil service
  • international development
  • journalism
  • museums
  • heritage management.

For further information about the degree skills to be gained from studying Social Anthropology at St Andrews, see the University’s Careers Centre.

Masters of Research

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-accredited MRes in Social Anthropology provides students with an advanced understanding of human life in different social and cultural settings and equips them with a substantive range of methodological tools to apply when grappling with contemporary debates.

Two regional MRes pathways, the MRes in Social Anthropology and Amerindian Studies and the MRes in Social Anthropology with Pacific Studies, are geared towards students seeking anthropological specialisation in these regions.

The Department also offers an MRes in Anthropology, Art and Perception. This MRes provides students with practical and analytical training in postgraduate research into creativity, the anthropology of art, and visual expression. It takes perception as a starting point and draws on themes extending across the subject boundaries between art and anthropology.

Each MRes degree runs for one year full time.

The postgraduate community

Masters students are given ample opportunity to present and exchange ideas in a host of formal and informal settings. Weekly departmental seminars along with reading and writing groups allow postgraduate students to discuss and analyse theoretical, methodological and ethical issues pertaining to social anthropology. Additionally, MRes, MSt and PhD students take part in the Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) programme, which brings people together from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews.

At St Andrews there is an intellectually vibrant and devoted community at postgraduate level, and the Department attracts students from a wide variety of backgrounds from across the world. The Masters programmes offer students, with no necessary prior knowledge of anthropology, an intensive and comprehensive introduction to the subject. Some Masters graduates go on to pursue research work in the discipline while others intend to pursue other careers.

Visiting days

The University encourages prospective students to book a place on a visiting day to experience the University’s unique atmosphere. As part of this event, prospective students have the chance to visit the Department of Social Anthropology and learn more from the academic staff about what St Andrews has to offer.


“As an artist and textile designer I was not familiar with the key debates around anthropology. This made the course challenging and intense in the first semester. However, encouraging students to find their own voice and offer them excellent feedback on their work, the course gave me confidence in articulating my thoughts in discussions and knowledge of different cultures.

One of the highlights of studying the MRes in St Andrews is the one to one interaction and support I received from my lecturers and professors. This had a considerable impact on developing my own style of writing and I was pushed to explore my interdisciplinary background in design. The anthropology department at St Andrews is a vibrant, creative, and outward thinking place to study. Coming from a non-anthropology background, the department made the MRes an enriching, stimulating and rewarding experience, I highly recommend this place to study!”

Adil Iqbal
Adil Iqbal
- MRes student