Social Anthropology

Social Anthropology is a constantly evolving, well-established discipline that asks the fundamental question of what it is to be human. It seeks to answer this by examining the diverse ways in which human beings establish and live social lives in the contemporary world.

Anthropology at St Andrews deals with a full variety of human contexts. It has particular strengths in the study of societies of East and West Africa, the Pacific, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia. The Department combines interpretative, experiential, philosophical and historical research that is politically engaged, reflexive and critically aware.


Undergraduate - 2020 entry

Social Anthropology MA (Hons)
Gateway to Arts Pathway
FE-HE Pathway to Arts Pathway

Joint degree options

You can take Social Anthropology MA (Hons) with another subject as part of a joint degree or a "with" degree.

Undergraduate - 2021 entry

Social Anthropology MA (Hons)
Gateway to Arts Pathway
FE-HE Pathway to Arts Pathway

Joint degree options

You can take Social Anthropology MA (Hons) with another subject as part of a joint degree or a "with" degree.

International Foundation programmes - 2020 entry

International Foundation programmes prepare international students for undergraduate study in the UK and at the University of St Andrews in particular.

Social Sciences and Humanities September Foundation
Social Sciences and Humanities January Foundation 

Postgraduate - 2020 entry


Anthropology, Art and Perception MRes
Social Anthropology MRes
Social Anthropology and Latin American and Caribbean Studies MRes
Social Anthropology with Pacific Studies MRes


Please contact a supervisor in your research area to inquire about research opportunities.

Visit St Andrews


If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day or talk and tour to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 1 April 2020
  • Wednesday 8 April 2020
  • Wednesday 15 April 2020

Visit us


Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 11 March 2020

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Research in Social Anthropology

Research in Social Anthropology at St Andrews specialises in deep local knowledge in the Americas, Africa, Eurasia and the Pacific. The Department has an international reputation for world-leading research in areas such as:

  • energy and climate change
  • history and temporality
  • health and disease
  • art and ethics.

The Department is also involved in a number of research centres and institutes

Careers for graduates in Social Anthropology

A degree in Social Anthropology is important for any career where knowledge of other cultures is vital, such as in overseas development or in community relations work in Britain. Any occupation that requires a sensitivity to different ways of life, or which demands the manipulation of theoretical ideas and detailed empirical data, benefits from the study of Social Anthropology.

Students with a degree in Social Anthropology have proceeded to a wide range of careers, including:

  • diplomatic service
  • social work
  • law and business
  • teaching
  • wildlife conservation
  • international policy
  • journalism (BBC and The Independent)
  • marketing.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Funding opportunities

There is a range of funding opportunities at all levels of study.


The following Faculty of Arts scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying within the Faculty who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.

Undergraduate scholarships

Postgraduate students

There are many potential scholarships and support schemes available to postgraduates.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

Find out about funding for PhD research.

Funding for PhD students


The Department of Social Anthropology was ranked first in Scotland and second in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2020.


Department of Social Anthropology
University of St Andrews
71 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2977
Undegraduate enquiries:
Postgraduate (taught and research) enquiries:


Social Anthropology website

Social Anthropology research portal