SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

BA Social Anthropology and ... (2018 entry)

  • Combinations
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


The BA Social Anthropology Combined Honours Degree (4 years when combined with a Language) focuses largely on the study of the developing world, from remote communities to more recent urban development. We are curious about the world and innovative in our approach to finding new solutions to recurring problems. Studying the programme at SOAS is unique as it draws from our expertise in a plethora of humanities subjects including sociology, philosophy, linguistics, literature, and history. If you are interested in nurturing a better understanding of what it is to be human in the complex world in which we live, then this discipline is suited to you. Additionally, the nature of the Combined Honours degree enables you to develop a specialist niche for yourself by studying a second subject.

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.

Why study Social Anthropology Combined Honours at SOAS?

  • our Anthropology Department is among the most respected in the field of social and cultural anthropology in the UK
  • draw on the exceptional regional expertise of our academics in Asian, African, and Middle Eastern languages and politics, many of whom joined us with a practical working knowledge of their disciplines
  • our alumni and academics have an impact on the world outside of academia including within law, politics, media and the arts
  • we are specialists in the delivery of languages. Your command of a language at SOAS will set you apart from graduates of other universities
  • allows you to develop a specialist niche alongside your history degree by utilising the global expertise of one of our other departments

Apply now via UCAS or visit our upcoming Open Day.

Find out more about how to apply.

Find out more on our Anthropology and Sociology department page.

Programme Code: See May Be Combined With

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • Mature students may be considered on the basis of alternative qualifications and experience. We do not require applicants to have particular disciplinary backgrounds.
  • Subjects Preferred: None
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

Featured events

3 or 4 years - combined honours degree


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)
  • Burmese ++, (LT6H BA/SABU)
  • Chinese+, (LT61 BA/SACH)
  • Development Studies, (LL96 BA/SADVS)
  • Economics, (LL16 BA/SAEC)
  • Georgian, (LT69 BA/SAGN)
  • Hebrew+ , (LQ64 BA/SAHE)
  • History, (LV61 BA/SAH)
  • History of Art/Archaeology (V350 BA/HAR)
  • Indonesian++, (LTPH BA/SAI)
  • 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)
  • Swahili+, (LTQ5 BA/SWSA)
  • Thai++, (LTQJ BA/THSA)
  • Tibetan++ , (LTPJ BA/SAT)
  • Turkish+, (LTP6 BA/TUSA)
  • Vietnamese++, (TLJ6 BA/VSA)

+ 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


Programme Overview

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.

Programme Detail


All students are expected to take the following core modules, totalled at 60 credits.

Module Code Credits Term
Anthropology in and of the World: An Introduction 151801001 30 Full Year
Module Code Credits Term
Social Theory 151801003 30 Full Year

All students take 60 credits according to the programme structure of the second subject.


All students are expected to complete the following compulsory module, totaling 60 credits.

Module Code Credits Term
Anthropology Through History 151802033 30 Full Year


Choose module(s) from Year 2 Option List below to a total of 30 credits



All students take 60 credits according to the programme structure of the second subject



Choose module(s) from Year 3 Option List below to a total of 30 credits



Choose a total of 30 further credits from the Year 3 Option List and/or any related Language or Non-Language Open Option modules

Please note that final year students may not take any introductory level modules, including languages



All students take 60 credits according to the programme structure of the second subject

Option Modules (subject to availability)
Ethnography of a Selected Region Modules
Module Code Credits Term
Ethnography of China 151802079 15 Term 2
Ethnography of East Africa 151802080 15 Term 2
Ethnography of Japan 151802081 15 Term 1
Ethnography of Near and Middle East 151802082 15 Term 1
Ethnography of South Asia 151802083 15 Term 2
Ethnography of South East Asia 151802084 15 Term 1
Ethnography of West Africa 151802085 15 Term 2
Year 3 Option List
Module Code Credits Term
African and Asian Diasporas. Migration, Space, Identity (UG) 151802052 15 Term 1
Anthropology of Globalisation 151802077 15 Term 2
Anthropology of Human Rights 151802075 15 Term 1
Ethnography in Practice 151802086 15 Term 2
Ethnography of China 151802079 15 Term 2
Ethnography of Japan 151802081 15 Term 1
Ethnography of South Asia 151802083 15 Term 2
Ethnography of South East Asia 151802084 15 Term 1
Ethnography of Near and Middle East 151802082 15 Term 1
Ethnography of East Africa 151802080 15 Term 2
Ethnography of West Africa 151802085 15 Term 2
New Religious Movements in Africa, Asia and the Middle East 151802073 15 Term 1
Contemporary Trends in the Study of Society 151802041 45 Full Year
Independent Study Project in Social Anthropology 151802039 30 Full Year
Mind, Culture and Psychiatry 151802017 15 Term 1

Programme Specification

Important notice

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 and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 30 or 15 credits. They are taught over 10 or 20 weeks. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others. In the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, most undergraduate modules have a one- or two-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar every week. 

More information is on the page for each module.

The modules are taught by lectures and group discussions, the two often being taken by different teachers to provide a variety of angles on the subject. Students become active in class through their reading and essay-writing as well as their participation in discussion groups. Ethnographic studies of China, Japan, South East Asia, South Asia, the Near and Middle East, West Africa and East Africa are available.


Modules are typically taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials, usually one hour a week of each. Sometimes, one follows the other in a two-hour bloc. Sometimes, the tutorial is at a different time or on a different day than the lecture.

Tutorials are sessions in which students are expected to present reports and take a lead in discussions.

Depending on the size of the class, some intermediate and advanced level modules are less strictly divided between a formal lecture and a tutorial discussion, and instead, the topic is briefly introduced by the lecturer, followed by a seminar discussion. Advanced level modules, which are usually taught in one two-hour bloc, often take this format.

The Independent Study Project (ISP)

These can be taken by final-year students only. Like the Special Subject dissertation, 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 too involves no formal classes and is assessed by a single 10,000-word dissertation (including notes but excluding bibliography).

Learning Resources

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

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.


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.

Find out more about Anthropology Graduate Destinations.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of NGOs, charitable and voluntary sector organisations including:

  • Deloitte
  • 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
  • Journalist
  • School and College Relations Officer
  • Junior Analyst
  • Radio Production Assistant

A Student's Perspective

The professors' investment in their courses and accessibility outside them; theĀ camaraderieĀ among similarly passionate students; the number of events on campus and nearby--and indeed the opportunity to live and study in London--all delivered on my greatest hopes.

Juliet Tempest

Find out more