Our BA Social Anthropology Degree explores what it is to be human in a complex and changing world.
You will study the great variety of beliefs and practices that exist around the world, from remote communities to global cities. You will learn theoretical frameworks and question your own assumptions, helping you to think creatively about how to address global problems.
Bridging the humanities and social sciences, anthropology offers a unique approach grounded in real-world research allowing for a greater understanding in cultural differences, political dynamics, social conflict, and human creativity.
Studying at SOAS is unique as it draws from the regional expertise of our academics in Asian, African, and Middle Eastern languages and societies. If you are passionate about understanding human society and behaviour, and want to learn to think critically about the world around you, then Anthropology at SOAS is for you.
See our Virtual Classroom and taster lectures.
Why study Social Anthropology at SOAS
- our Anthropology Department is ranked 6 in the UK and 16 in the world in the 2019 QS World University Rankings
- we draw on the exceptional regional expertise of our academics in Asian, African, and Middle Eastern languages and politics, many of whom have joined us with a practical working knowledge of their disciplines
- you will be joining our thriving community of alumni and academics who have an impact on the world outside of academia
- you will be able to flexibly structure your programme using our optional modules and/or optional modules from other departments, including the opportunity to learn a regional language
- we are specialists in the delivery of languages. Your command of a second language at SOAS will set you apart from graduates of other universities
This programme has a first-rate graduate employability record, with graduates having moved on to work for a range of organisations such as Deloitte, The New York Times and the British Council.
What subjects can you combine it with?
- 3 year combined degrees: African Studies, Bengali, Development Studies, Economics, Geography, Georgian, History, History of Art/Archaeology, Law, Linguistics, Music, Persian, Politics, Sinhalese, South Asian Studies, South East Asian Studies, Study of Religions, Tamil, Turkis.
- 3 or 4 year combined degrees: Burmese, Hindi, Indonesian, Nepali, Thai, Vietnamese
- 4 year combined degree: Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Hausa, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Swahili.
Programme Code: See May Be Combined With
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
- Mature students may be considered on the basis of alternative qualifications and experience. We do not require applicants to have particular disciplinary backgrounds.
- A Levels:
- 35 (665 at HL)
View alternative entry requirements
Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
Scottish Highers: AAABB
Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
Euro Bacc: 80%
French Bacc: 14/20
German Abitur: 2.0
Italy DES: 80/100
Austria Mat: 2.0
Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects
- 3 or 4 years - combined honours degree
- UK/EU fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Undergraduate Tuition Fees page
Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.
May be combined with:
- African Studies, (TL56 BA/SAAF)
- Arabic+, (LT66 BA/SAA)
- Chinese+, (LT61 BA/SACH)
- Development Studies, (LL96 BA/SADVS)
- Economics, (LL16 BA/SAEC)
- Hebrew+ , (LQ64 BA/SAHE)
- History, (LV61 BA/SAH)
- History of Art/Archaeology (V350 BA/HAR)
- International Relations (LL26S09 BA/IRSA)
- Japanese+, (LT62 BA/SAJ)
- Japanese Studies (TL26 BA/JSSA)
- Korean+, (LTPL BA/SAKO)
- Law, (LM61 BA/SALW)
- Linguistics, (LQ61 BA/LGSA)
- Middle Eastern Studies (TL66 BA/MESSA)
- Music,(LW63 BA/SAMS)
- Persian+, (LTQ6 BA/SAP) ( + Compulsory Year Abroad which is split between 2 countries)
- Politics, (LL62 BA/SAPOL)
- South Asian Studies++ (3 years), (TL3Q BA/SASSA)
- South Asian Studies++ (4 years) +, (TLH6 BA/SASSA)
- South East Asian Studies, (TLHP BA/SASEA)
- Study of Religions, (LV66 BA/SRSA)
- Turkish+, (LTP6 BA/TUSA)
+ 4-year degree with (compulsory) one year abroad
++ 3 or 4-year degree with option of one year abroad
Key Information Set data
Click on a combined programme to load KIS data
Students take 120 credits per year composed of core and optional modules.
All students are expected to take the core and compulsory modules.
In years one and two, students will take 60 credits in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology and 60 credits in their second subject.
In year three, students are entitled to select up to 30 credits of open option modules. These modules are based in other departments within the School, either in another subject or a language option.
All students are expected to take the following core modules, totalled at 60 credits.
All students are expected to take module(s) at 60 credits from second subject
All students are expected to take the following core module, worth 30 credits.
Choose from List of Ethnography of a Selected Region module(s) below to the value of 30 credits
All students are expected to take module(s) at 60 credits from second subject
Choose from Option List Year 3 module(s) below to the value of 30 credits
Choose from Option List Year 3 module(s) below, or second subject to the value of 60 credits
Choose module(s) at the value of 30 credits
Choose from Option List Year 3 module(s) below, or second subject to the value of 30 credits
Please note that final year students may not take any introductory level modules, including languages
List of Modules (subject to availability)
Ethnography of a Selected Region Modules
Year 3 Option Units List
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching & Learning
The academic staff in the Department of Anthropology are dynamic, experienced teachers who are widely recognised for their expertise and enjoy working directly with students. Renowned scholars from other institutions also come to share their knowledge: nearly every day of the week, the SOAS Anthropology Department has a public lecture series running, including series in the general Social Anthropology, Anthropology of Food, Migration and Diaspora Studies, and Anthropology of Tourism and Travel.
In addition to these formal settings for learning, our students also learn from one another. Hailing from around the globe and bringing diverse life experiences to bear on their studies, all MA students in the Department of Anthropology can take courses together, making it a rich environment for intellectual exchange. Students also benefit from campus-wide programmes, clubs, study groups, and performances.
In the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, most undergraduate modules have a one or two-hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week. Lectures and seminars are often taken by different teachers to provide a variety of angles on the subject. The majority of the student’s time will be through their own independent study. Students become more active in class through their reading and essay-writing and should greatly enhance their participation in discussion groups.
The Independent Study Project (ISP)
These are taken by final-year students only, its aim is to provide an opportunity for students to conduct original historical research on their own initiative, to engage in in-depth analysis of particular subjects and to use a range of primary historical sources. It is assessed by a single 10,000-word dissertation (including notes but excluding bibliography).
Pre Entry Reading
- Balzani, Marzia and Niko Besnier, An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology, Routledge, 2016
- Delaney, Carol, An Experiential Introduction to Anthropology, Blackwell, 2004
- Eriksen, Thomas H., Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology, Pluto Press, 2015
- Herzfeld, Michael, Anthropology, Theoretical Practice in Culture and Society, Blackwell, 2001
- Kuklick, Henrika, A New History of Anthropology, Blackwell, 2008
- Kuper, Adam, Anthropology and Anthropologists, Routledge, 1996
- Monaghan, John, and Peter Just, Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2000
- Moore, Henrietta L. (ed.), Anthropological Theory Today, Polity Press, 1999.J La Fontaine, What is Social Anthropology
- Edward Arnold, 1985 - An introduction explaining the scope, methods and aims of social anthropology and clears up some popular misconceptions, as well as providing a practical guide to available courses and the kinds of jobs open to a qualified anthropologist
- M Carrithers, Why humans have cultures: explaining anthropology and social diversity, OUP, 1992
- A Cheater, Social Anthropology: an alternative introduction, Routledge 1989, 2nd edition
- E R Leach, Social Anthropology, Fontana Masterguides (1976) - A personalised introduction, giving one anthropologist's view of his subject and leading the reader through theory; humanity and animality; kinship; debt; power relationships; marriage and alliances thus formed; cosmology
- I M Lewis, Social Anthropology in Perspective, Penguin 1976, 2nd edition - Clear introduction to modern social anthropology as a comparative study of the beliefs and customs of alien societies as well as those more familiar native communities. The underlying theme is the social setting and cultural expression of identity.
- D Pocock, Understanding Social Anthropology, Teach Yourself Series, Hodder and Stoughton, 1975 - This book introduces anthropology by promoting an awareness of the assumed notions that each one of us has about social values, and encouraging a consciousness and questioning of such values through the use of anthropological approaches and data.
- J Hendry, An Introduction to Social Anthropology: other people's worlds, Macmillan 1999 - A good general introduction with useful explanation of jargon and clarification of many of the subject's main themes.
Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.
Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year.
|BA, BSc, LLB
|BA/BSc Language Year Abroad
Application Deadline: 2019-04-30 00:00
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
A degree from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at SOAS will develop your understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised.
Skills gained include:
- methods of social anthropological investigation
- linguistic familiarity
- choosing to study a combined degree programme will increase the breadth of your knowledge, and will develop additional skills
- the ability to think laterally and employ critical reasoning
- analytical skills
- problem-solving skills
- the ability to formulate sound arguments
- ability to interpret and explain complex information clearly
Graduates go on to work in areas such as information and technology, government service, teaching or work in the media and tourism. Others are interested in specialising further through postgraduate studies.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of NGOs, charitable and voluntary sector organisations including:
- The New York Times
- British Council
- Social Mobility Foundation
- IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development)
- Action on Hearing Loss
- Hackney Migrant Centre
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
- Gender Violence Outreach Worker
- Film Editor
- Dance Therapist
- Web Developer
- Food Bank Organiser
- Project Officer
- School and College Relations Officer
- Junior Analyst
- Radio Production Assistant
Find out more about Anthropology Graduate Destinations
A Student's Perspective
SOAS is a brilliant place to study social anthropology. The broad range of ethnic backgrounds means I can constantly be in touch with many of the issues and topics raised in my study.