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 and builds particular strengths in the study of societies of East and West Africa, the Pacific, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia. The Department has a distinctive orientation that combines interpretative, experiential, philosophical and historical research that is politically engaged, reflexive and critically aware.


Undergraduate - 2019 entry

Social Anthropology MA (Hons) 

Joint degree options

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

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.

International Foundation programmes

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 - 2019 entry


Anthropology, Art and Perception MRes
Social Anthropology MRes
Social Anthropology and Amerindian Studies MRes
Social Anthropology with Pacific Studies MRes


Please contact a supervisor in your research area to inquire about PhD 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 25 September 2019
  • Wednesday 2 October 2019
  • Wednesday 16 October 2019
  • Wednesday 23 October 2019
  • Wednesday 30 October 2019

Visit us


Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 13 November 2019

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Social Anthropology research areas

There are a number of academic specialisations within Social Anthropology, backed up by field work conducted across the globe. The four main research areas are:

Social Anthropology research centres

There are three research centres related to Social Anthropology at St Andrews:


Cosmopolitan Studies is an ontological project, endeavouring to define the human, its capacities and liabilities as universalities beyond differences of social, cultural and historical condition.

CAS conducts research into the history, languages and ethnography of South America and the Caribbean.

The objective of the CPS is to encourage study of the Pacific and Melansia regions with an emphasis on anthropological research.

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. Students with a degree in Social Anthropology have also proceeded to a wide range of careers, including the diplomatic service, social work, law and business.

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.

Graduates have gained successful employment in areas such as:

  • 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


Social Anthropology at St Andrews was ranked first in Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2019 for teaching quality, student experience and graduate prospects.


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

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2977

Social Anthropology website Social Anthropology research portal