Social Anthropology (MRes) 2023 entry

The MRes in Social Anthropology provides a firm foundation in the methods and methodologies of social anthropology and the human sciences, to serve as a basis for knowledgeable and skilled research in social anthropology.

Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2024
Duration
One year full time
School
School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies

Application deadline

Thursday 10 August 2023

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • CV 
  • personal statement (optional) 
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words) 
  • two original signed academic references 
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates 

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

English language proficiency

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. See approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MRes in Social Anthropology is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the Department of Social Anthropology within the School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies. 

The programme provides a general introduction to social anthropology at the postgraduate level, which includes enhancing existing anthropological knowledge and developing knowledge in those coming to anthropology for the first time. The MRes includes various social science components, research and methodology training, and core social anthropology teaching. 

Highlights  

  • The programme combines opportunities for theoretical development and specialist interests with training in research methodologies. 
  • Small class sizes encourage student-led seminars and discussion as well as more contact with supervisors. 
  • The course introduces cross-disciplinary connections and differences.  

Modules

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details about each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue, which is for the 2022-2023 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2023 entry. 

  • The Anthropology of Connections: Interdisciplinarity as Methodology: examines the relevance of other disciplines for social anthropology by working with methodologies and concepts drawn from history, social science, philosophy, language and the arts. 
  • Research Methods in Social Anthropology: examines the methodology of anthropological research through close attention to the relationship between method and fieldwork experience. 

Core social science training modules are listed below (descriptions of these modules are given on the 'Optional' tab). These are required for recognition of the MRes by the ESRC as a doctoral pathway. They are optional for non-ESRC funded students. 

  • Being a Social Scientist 
  • Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences 
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Research 
  • Quantitative Research in Social Science 

Non-ESRC funded students may substitute up to 30 credits from undergraduate Honours-level Social Anthropology modules, with the approval of the course coordinator. 

Students choose two optional modules, taking one in each semester. For the latest optional module information, see the module catalogue. 

Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered. 

  • Being a Social Scientist: focuses on how to design and produce a research dissertation and addresses issues of professional development (e.g. ethics, careers, grant writing). 
  • Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences: introduces students to the basic theoretical approaches in the social sciences, covering the methodological and epistemological issues involved in conducting social scientific research. 
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Research: offers both a theoretical and practical introduction to the collection, analysis and writing of qualitative social science research. 
  • Quantitative Research in Social Science: provides an introduction to the fundamental concepts of quantitative analysis - underlying principles, research design, sampling strategies, uncertainty and missing data, and some statistical approaches to data analysis. 
  • Anthropology, Art and Perception 1 or Anthropology, Art and Perception 2 
  • Anthropology of the Pacific 1 or Anthropology of the Pacific 2 

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development). 

Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August. 

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MRes, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MRes. 

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Over two semesters, students take two compulsory and two optional modules. Teaching methods include formal lectures combined with seminar-style teaching and student-led group work.

Lecture class sizes range from five to ten students and tutorial sizes range from two to six students. 

Over the course of the year, with particular focus during the summer months, you will devise a research project culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation. 

Compulsory modules are assessed through coursework which includes essays, independent research-led assignments and group-assessed oral presentations. 

Every taught postgraduate student is assigned an individual supervisor from among the Social Anthropology staff who will work with them closely to develop a topic and direction for the end of degree dissertation. 

The Department of Social Anthropology provides postgraduates with access to a museum collection of ethnographic material and a common room that includes a general anthropological library, providing a space that is shared by both staff and postgraduates. The departmental libraries, together with the main University library which holds a fine anthropology collection, include resources covering nearly all regions of the world. 

Events

The Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) consortium brings together social anthropologists from the universities of St Andrews, Aberdeen and Edinburgh to support innovation in research and teaching. 

In addition to co-hosting international conferences and workshops, the consortium runs two free week-long residential training courses each year in anthropology for postgraduate students and early career researchers. The first course is for students at the pre-fieldwork level and the second is for those at an advanced stage of research writing. 

Fees

Home
£11,120

Overseas
£23,530

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

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews is committed to attracting the very best students, regardless of financial circumstances. Find out more about the scholarships and postgraduate loans available.

All taught postgraduate scholarships

After your degree

Careers

Social Anthropology graduates have characteristics many employers seek, and a Social Anthropology degree provides openings to a wide range of careers. Graduates have gained successful employment in areas such as: 

  • international policy 
  • journalism (BBC and The Independent) 
  • marketing 
  • teaching 
  • wildlife conservation. 

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


Further study

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere. The Department of Social Anthropology offers PhD supervision across a diverse range of theoretical interests and topics. 

Postgraduate research

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Postgraduate virtual days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online visiting days.

Contact us

Phone
+44 (0)1334 46 2977
Email
pgpafs@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address
Department of Social Anthropology
71 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Department of Social Anthropology website