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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

The SOAS Anthropology Department was rated 3rd behind Cambridge and Oxford in the Guardian University Guide 2012.

Since its foundation in 1948, the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS has maintained a distinctive identity. As part of the largest concentration of Africa and Asia scholars in the United Kingdom, we benefit from close working relations with experts in Asian and African languages, as well as on the full range of arts and social sciences applied to Africa and Asia. Our students have access to a research library that is unparalleled in the UK, and to the extraordinary range of seminars and lectures that take place at SOAS.

Our staff members are expected to be both regional specialists and social anthropologists. To learn more about their individual interests in their own words, simply click on the name of a staff member in the staff list. Research groupings of staff share theoretical interests that are also represented by our family of MA degrees in social anthropology, the social anthropology of development, medical anthropology, the anthropology of media, the anthropology of diaspora, the anthropology of travel, tourism, and pilgrimage and the anthropology of food, as well as an MA in Anthropological Research Methods, preparatory to undertaking research degrees.  The Department hosts two Research Centres with School-wide membership: the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies and the SOAS Food Studies Centre. Over the years the SOAS department has trained numerous leading anthropologists who have gone on to occupy lectureships and professorships throughout the world.

The Times Higher Education RAE "Table of Excellence 2008" placed the SOAS Anthropology Department 2nd equal with LSE.


The results of the 2008 United Kingdom Research Assessment Exercise took the form of profiles spread across four grade levels. Hence, there are different ways to present them and to rank the departments. In their published tables, the Times Higher and the Guardian Education chose to use an average of the profile or GPA (Grade Point Average); both rankings placed the SOAS Department of Anthropology equal second, just behind Cambridge, and sharing a GPA of 2.95 with the LSE. This is a particularly significant achievement given that SOAS is the only top-ranked department to specialize, more or less exclusively, in the peoples and diasporas of Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East.

The SOAS Department of Anthropology was the 3rd highest rated Anthropology Department in the 2012  Complete University Guide

Top UK Universities for Anthropology

A programme of postgraduate research training and research supervision leading to the award of the University of London doctorate attracts students internationally. The department has students supported by both the major UK funders (ESRC and AHRC), as well by the School and by overseas funders. Additional funding for research students undertaking fieldwork can be sought from The University of London Central Research Fund, and from the Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf Fund, established in memory the department’s founder, which particularly supports two of his areas of interest (in South Asia and in visual anthropology).

The Department also enjoys a lively cohort of undergraduate students who have decided to take the 'SOAS experience' rather than apply to a more conventional university. Typically they are strongly committed to Asian or African studies and therefore attracted to the prospect of an undergraduate life with kindred spirits.

Department Ethics Statement:

The Department of Anthropology has established review procedures designed to assure its members that all research undertaken by us, whether as staff or students, and the funding streams drawn upon to carry out that research, are ethically acceptable to us as a community of concerned scholars.

Applicants should be aware that we monitor the funding environment closely and reserve the right collectively to decide when we do not wish to participate in particular funded initiatives


For further information contact the Arts & Humanities Faculty Office

Telephone +44 (0)20 7898 4020

Fax +44 (0)20 7898 4699

E-mail: anthropology@soas.ac.uk