Social Anthropology MA (Hons) 2021 entry
The MA (Hons) in Social Anthropology explores 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.
Social anthropology at St Andrews has a distinctive orientation that combines interpretive, experiential, philosophical and historical research that is politically engaged, reflexive and critically aware.
Although social anthropology involves studying a full variety of human contexts, at St Andrews the chief focus is on societies in Africa, the Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia.
Master of Arts (single Honours degree)
Four years full time
- Start date: 6 September 2021
- End date: 30 June 2025
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
- Standard entry grades: AAAB
- Minimum entry grades: AABB
- Gateway entry grades: BBBB
- Standard entry grades: AAB
- Minimum entry grades: ABB
- Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5)
- Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5)
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.
For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language, you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English language qualification.How to apply
Do I need to have studied this subject before?
No previous knowledge of social anthropology is required.
General entry requirements
All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.
More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.
The Department of Social Anthropology has a well-established record of research and publication, with particular regional strengths in African, Caribbean, European, Latin American and Pacific studies. Academic staff are actively involved in anthropological debates around cosmopolitanism, migration, ethics, new media, medicine, mental health, art and literature, human-animal relations, economics, energy and climate change.
The Department was ranked first in Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2021.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2020 as 92.7% of St Andrews final-year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
Find out more about studying social anthropology at St Andrews.
In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours), you will take the required modules in social anthropology alongside modules in at least one other subject.
Typically, you will take one social anthropology module per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours).
Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.
Students will take the following compulsory first-year module:
- Ways of Thinking: concentrates on the ways in which human beings think about their worlds and on the different modes of thought and systems of belief that are manifest in societies across the world. Covering a range of ethnographic areas of study, both classical and contemporary, the module aims to stimulate new ways of thinking anthropologically about human being and becoming.
Students can also take the following optional first-year module:
- Anthropology in the World: This module provides an introduction to some of the key issues and debates in social anthropology and what it means to be human in the 21st century.
Students will take both of the following second-year modules:
- Ethnographic Encounters: explores the emergence of fieldwork practice in social anthropology, and reflexively considers the social, methodological and theoretical relations produced through ethnography.
- The Foundations of Social Anthropology: explores the history of theory in anthropology that underlies our current understanding of anthropology as the comparative study of human social experience.
If you decide to take Social Anthropology in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options that cover a range of ethnographic areas and theoretical concerns. These will include modules that will allow you to explore societies in regions such as Africa, Europe, Central Asia, Latin America and the Pacific.
Social anthropology Honours modules which have been offered in previous years include:
- Anthropology of Catastrophe
- Anthropology of Latin America: Contemporary Issues
- Anthropology of Politics and Governance
- Anthropology of Religion
- Colonial and Post-Colonial Representations
- Contemporary Issues in Social Anthropology
- Melanesian Anthropology
- Perception, Imagination and Communication
- Sorcery and Conspiracy: The Anthropology of Alternate Realities
- The Anthropology of Crisis.
In fourth year, students also undertake a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. This research project enables you to independently explore a theme of your choice, which can include fieldwork in a selected community.
The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.
Joint Honours degrees
You can take Social Anthropology as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects:
“I chose Social Anthropology as a part of my degree as it is the study of what it is to be human. What makes the anthropological study at St Andrews special are the staff. It is a fantastic experience to study with them. Their research (to list a few) includes literary, linguistic, or feminist anthropologies.”
Dani (Kolobrzeg, Poland)