Social Anthropology MA (Hons) 2018 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.

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UCAS code

L600

Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 10 September 2018
  • End date: 30 June 2022

If you started this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Social Anthropology page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive

Typical 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.

International applicants

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.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of this subject 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. 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 webpage.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Timetables

St Andrews students must meet with their advisor at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

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.

Alongside Social Anthropology, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about more about how academic years are organised.

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
  • anthropology, 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.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.

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 Social Anthropology: 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 sub-honours 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. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Teaching format

Social Anthropology sub-honours modules are primarily delivered through formal lectures (100 to 350 students) complimented by small group tutorials (10 to 12 students), workshops and ethnographic film screenings.

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

When not attending lectures, tutorials and workshops, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by a research-led teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Social Anthropology. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials under the supervision of the module leader. 

You can find contact information for all Social Anthropology staff on the Department of Social Anthropology website

In addition to your studies in the Department, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.

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, and aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.

Visit St Andrews

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

Undergraduates

Spring visiting days

Our spring visiting days will be announced shortly.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2018 entry

Scotland and EU Tuition fees for Scottish and EU applicants have yet to be set for 2018 entry. 
Rest of the UK £9,250 
Overseas £21,290

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

Accommodation fees for 2018 are yet to be set. Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017-2018.

Funding and scholarships

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

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 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