Social Anthropology MA (Hons)
2017 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.

Although Social Anthropology involves studying a full variety of human contexts, at St Andrews the chief focus is on societies in East and West Africa, the Pacific, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia. 

UCAS code

L600

Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AABB
GCE A-Levels AAB
IB points 35

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.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of Social Anthropology is required.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.  

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Social Anthropology is a four-year course run by the Department of Social Anthropology. 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.

In the first two years, you will be introduced to the wide variety of societies that anthropologists study and some key theoretical approaches. This is a good opportunity to explore a number of different anthropological topics and to see where your interests lie.

During your final two years, you will build on what you have already learned and be able to advance into topics that suit individual interests. Specialist subject areas may include:

  • visual anthropology
  • language and culture
  • anthropology and history
  • sex and gender
  • anthroplogy, literature and art
  • migration
  • resource extraction and energy.

Modules in anthropological theory and research methods will prepare you to undertake a 10,000-word dissertation in your final year on a topic of interest chosen in consultation with teaching staff.

Graduates in Social Anthropology from St Andrews can expect to have a thorough grounding in the anthropological discipline, to have a broad learning of non-Western societies, and to be able to explore a variety of important themes in depth.

Find out more about studying Social Anthropology at St Andrews.

Modules

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 to two Social Anthropology modules 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 at the following compulsory first-year module:

  • Ways of Thinking: concentrates on the modes of thought and systems of belief of non-Western cultures and on the social significance of language in human communication in societies across the world.

Students will take both of the following second-year modules: 

  • The Foundations of Human Social Life: examines the social relationships, groups and categories which constitute the foundations of human life in the full variety of societies.
  • Ethnographic Encounters: explores the emergence of fieldwork practice in social anthropology, and reflexively considers the social, methodological and theoretical relations produced through ethnography.

If you decide to take Social Anthropology in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules which allow you to explore societies in regions such as Latin America, the Pacific, Britain and West Africa.

Social Anthropology Honours modules which have been offered in previous years include:

  • Perception, Imagination and Communication
  • Colonial and Post-Colonial Representations
  • Living with Material Culture
  • Anthropology of Religion
  • The Anthropology of Migration
  • Melanesian Anthropology
  • Contemporary Issues
  • The West Indies and the Black Atlantic.

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 modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take 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. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

 Undergraduates

Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2017.

  • Wednesday 27 September 2017
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017

Teaching

Teaching format

Social Anthropology sub-honours modules are primarily delivered through formal lectures (100 to 250 students) complimented by small group tutorials (10 to 12 students), workshops and ethnographic film screenings.

At Honours level, instruction is predominately through seminars (max 30 students) which combine elements of lectures, films, presentations and discussions.

Assessment

Modules in Social Anthropology are assessed by a combination of coursework (at least 40%) and written exams. Coursework includes:

  • essays
  • projects
  • take-home exams
  • student diaries and learning journals
  • creative writing
  • tutorial participation.

Written examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The Department provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2017 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £20,570

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Faculty of Arts scholarships

The Dr Lawrence M Wodehouse Scholarship provides financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours Degrees

You can take Social Anthropology as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects:

"With" degrees

You can take Social Anthropology as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first named subject.

Your future

Careers

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. Graduates from Social Anthropology have entered into a wide range of careers including the diplomatic service, social work, law and business.

Popular career paths for Social Anthropology graduates include:

  • civil service
  • human rights
  • humanitarian aid
  • international or non-profit organisations
  • journalism.

In your degree, you will also gain a number of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers across all sectors. These include the ability to:

  • understand how human beings are shaped by and interact with the social, cultural and physical environments.
  • read and interpret texts within their historical, social and theoretical contexts.
  • express ideas in writing, summarise arguments and distinguish between them.
  • use skills in information technology and oral and written communication.
  • recognise the politics of language, indirect forms of communication, forms of power, theoretical statements and claims of authority.

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

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Social Anthropology students may be interested in joining the Anthropology Society, which aims to foster enthusiasm and curiosity towards studying humans around the world. The group hosts a range of events including lectures, workshops and socials.

The Department of Social Anthropology is located at the centre of the University in a three-storey building dating back to the 15th century. It is only a minute’s walk to the University Library and St Salvator’s College. Most of your lectures, seminars and tutorials will be held here or in nearby buildings.  

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact

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

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2977
Email: socanth@st-andrews.ac.uk

Social Anthropology website