MA Social Anthropology
Duration: One calendar year (full-time) Two or three years (part-time, daytime only) We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study. The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.
- 13 Nov Law and Social Sciences Postgraduate Open Evening
- 14 Nov Arts and Humanities Postgraduate Open Evening
- 19 Nov Languages and Cultures Postgraduate Open Evening
Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)
Start of programme: September intake only
Who is this programme for?: The programme is designed on a modular basis offering different pathways to suit, broadly, three categories of students: Students with a degree in social anthropology wishing to pursue more specialist topics and/or more regional and language-based study Students with little or no previous knowledge of social anthropology wishing to acquire a broad knowledge of the discipline Students with little or no previous knowledge of social anthropology wishing to take the degree as a conversion course before proceeding to a research degree in anthropologyThe Department of Anthropology and Sociology teaches the discipline of Social Anthropology with special reference to the societies and cultures of Asia and Africa, both past and present. The emphasis given to particular regions and approaches varies with current trends in the discipline and contemporary global developments.
Students come to the course from all over the world, following BA study, work and travel experience or after long careers in other fields.
Many of our students have not previously trained as anthropologists. This combination of diverse experience and skills makes for an intellectually exciting atmosphere for both teachers and students.
The MA degree programme in Social Anthropology is designed on a modular basis offering different pathways to suit, broadly, three categories of student:
- Students with a degree in social anthropology wishing to pursue more specialist topics and/or more regional and language-based study;
- Students with little or no previous knowledge of social anthropology wishing to acquire a broad knowledge of the discipline;
- Students with little or no previous knowledge of social anthropology wishing to take the degree as a conversion course before proceeding to a research degree in anthropology, who are required to pass all the examinations with appropriately high marks.
Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.
The programme consists of four units in total: three units of examined courses and a one unit dissertation of 10,000 words.
- Comparative Studies of Society and Culture - 15PANC073 (1.0 unit).
- Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology - 15PANC999 (1.0 unit). This is a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with the Programme Convenor of the MA Social Anthropology and the candidate’s supervisor.
- Additionally all MA Anthropology students 'audit' the course Ethnographic Research Methods during term 1 - this will not count towards your 4 units.
- Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1.0 unit). This is compulsory only for students without a previous anthropology degree.
- The remaining unit(s) of your programme, either 1 unit of option courses (if taking Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology) or 2 units (if exempted from Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology), may then be selected from the Option Courses list below.
- Your 1 or 2 total units may be made up of any combination of 0.5 or 1 unit option courses.
- Alternatively, one language course may be taken from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures.
- Comparative Studies of Society and Culture - 15PANC073 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology - 15PANC999 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Full Unit Anthropology Options
- Culture and Society of China - 15PANC089 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of East Africa - 15PANC084 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of Japan - 15PANC086 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of South Asia - 15PANC087 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of South East Asia - 15PANC088 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of the Near & Middle East - 15PANC097 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Society of West Africa - 15PANC083 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Half Unit Anthropology Options
- African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World - 15PANH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- African and Asian Cultures in Britain - 15PANH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Anthropological approaches to agriculture, food and nutrition - 15PANH053 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Anthropology of Human Rights - 15PANH058 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Anthropology of Law - 15PANH056 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Anthropology of travel and tourism A - 15PANH051 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Anthropology of Travel and Tourism B - 15PANH05 (0.5 Unit)
- Anthropology of Urban Space, Place and Architecture - 15PANH029 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Approaches to the Other in Horror and Science Fiction Films - 15PANH043 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Comparative Media Theory - 15PANH028 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Ethnographic Research Methods - 15PANH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Issues in the Anthropology of Film - 15PANH022 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives A (Masters) - 15PANH047 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives B (Masters) - 15PANH048 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015 - Must be taken with the first term course - 15PANH047 Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives A (Masters)
- Issues in the Anthropology of Gender - 15PANH024 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Religions on the move: New Currents and Emerging Trends in Global Religion - 15PANH055 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Perspectives On Development - 15PANH033 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Therapy and Culture - 15PANH027 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
Courses taught outside the Department of Anthropology
These courses are available subject to the approval of the course convenor and the agreement of the MA Social Anthropology programme convenor. Students may take no more than one full unit of courses taught outside of the Department of Anthropology. A language course unit in the Faculty of Languages & Cultures may also be taken instead. Alternatively, an approved Area or General course from the Music Department can be taken. See the Music Department’s website for details.
- Media Production Skills - 15PANH050 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Iranian Cinema - 15PMSH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Post-crisis Thai Cinema (1997-2007) - 15PSEH008 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- (Post) Colonialism and Otherness in South East Asia on Screen - 15PSEH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Genders and Sexualities in South East Asian Film - 15PSEH011 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Features of Buddhist Monasticism - 15PSRH014 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Buddhist Scriptures: Mahayana and Vajrayana - 15PSRH011 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- The Buddhist Conquest of Central Asia - 15PSRH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Buddhist Rituals - 15PSRH012 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Death and Religion - 15PSRC162 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2014/2015
- Culture and Practice of Warfare in Pre-Colonial Sub-Saharan Africa - 15PHIH004 (0.5 Unit)
- History and Doctrines of Indian Buddhism - 15PSRC059 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Culture and Conflict in the Himalaya - 15PSAC291 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Teaching & Learning
A Masters in Social Anthropology at SOAS develops students’ understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised. This programme will leave the graduate with an advanced understanding of behaviour in social groups, for instance the social organization of a particular person: customs, economic and political organization, law and conflict resolution, patterns of consumption and exchange, kinship and family structure, gender relations, childrearing and socialization and religion. Over the years the SOAS department has trained numerous leading anthropologists who have gone on to occupy lectureships and professorships throughout the world. Equally, students gain skills during their degree that transfer well to areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.
Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including analytical and critical skills; ability to gather, assess and interpret data; high level of cultural awareness; and problem-solving. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
Alastair Coey Architects
Bank of America, Tokyo branch
Department for Culture
Foreign Commision Office
General Medical Council
Institute of Ismaili Studies
|Leonard Cheshire Disability|
MMMF, the World Bank Group
Oriental Institute, University of Oxford
Salaam Bombay Foundation and Samaskaara
Street Children Africa
The Freud Museum
The Prince's Youth Business International
University of Gadjah Mada
World Society for the Protection of Animals
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Global Client Service Associate
Secretary for the Minister for Communications
International Trusts Manager
Overseas Programmes Director
Director - Network Expansion
Health Promotion Consultant
Online Marketing Officer
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
How to apply
How to apply
- How to Apply
- Online Application
- Request a prospectus
- Got a question - use our enquiry form (opens a new window)
- Funding options
- English language requirements
- Tuition Fees
- Admissions Contacts
Application Deadline: 2014-03-20 17:00
Application Deadline: 2014-03-20 17:00
Application Deadline: 2014-02-28 17:00
V P Kanitkar Memorial Scholarships
Application Deadline: 2014-03-20 17:00
A Student's Perspective
SOAS creates a unique atmosphere that I have never tasted before. I truly love the SOAS community, or what I termed anthropologically as ‘SOAS-ism’.