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MA Anthropology of Food
Overview and entry requirements
The MA Anthropology of Food with a two-year intensive language pathway is directed at students who wish to combine knowledge of the anthropology of food with expertise in a regional language. It prepares students to apply their anthropological knowledge in a specific region by achieving proficiency in a language.
Our MA programme in the Anthropology of Food offers you the opportunity to explore historically and culturally variable foodways, from foraging to industrial agriculture, from Europe and North America to Africa, Asia and South America.
You will study the passage of food from plant to palate, and examine who benefits, and who suffers, from contemporary modes of food production, exchange, preparation, and consumption. You will also explore the role of food in human migrations, the formation of regional and national cuisines, and food fears and food safety and concerns over ‘nutrition transition’.
Debates over the impact of agricultural biotechnology on agrarian livelihoods and knowledge systems, as well as on the natural environment, are assessed. Movements toward organic agriculture, veganism and vegetarianism, fair trade, and slow food are also analysed.
An anthropological approach to the study of food draws upon and challenges the perspectives of other disciplines, whether agronomy or nutritional science, economics or law, history or literature.
Combine Anthropology of Food with Intensive Language
Language pathways: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian, South East Asian languages (Indonesian, Vietnamese), Swahili, Turkish.
Why study MA Anthropology of Food and Intensive Language at SOAS
- SOAS is ranked 5th in the UK in the 2022 QS World University Rankings for Anthropology, and 10th in the world
- the Department of Anthropology and Sociology has been ranked 4th overall in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, with 42.4% of our research output rated at 4* (world-leading)
- 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
- thriving community of alumni and academics who have an impact on the world outside of academia
- 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
- first-rate graduate employability record, with graduates moving on to find employment in food-related government ministries, international organisations, development agencies, or non-governmental associations.
This two-year intensive language pathway is directed at students who want to engage with a country academically and/or professionally, as the intensive language courses will enable them to reach near proficiency in the language.
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
See Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- We will consider all applications with a 2:2 (or international equivalent) or higher in social science of humanities subject. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application such as supporting statement. References are optional, but can help build a stronger application if you fall below the 2:2 requirement or have non-traditional qualifications.
Please see our 'postgraduate entry requirements' page for Overseas and EU qualifications and equivalencies.
- 2 year full-time or 4 years part-time. The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.
- Home students fees:
- Overseas students fees:
Fees for 2022/23 entrants. This is a Band 1 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found on the Postgraduate tuition fees page
May be combined with:
MA Anthropology of Food can be combined with the following Intensive Language pathways:
Students on this two-year Intensive Language programme must take 315 credits in total, comprised of 255 taught credits (45 of which are taught abroad as part of a Summer School) and a 60-credit dissertation as outlined below.
In their first year, students on this two-year Intensive Language programme take 60 credits of intensive language instruction and 60 credits in the discipline. During the summer, they participate in a Summer School abroad. In the second year, they take another 30 language credits as well as 60 credits in the discipline; they also complete their dissertation in the discipline.
The structure of the programme can be adjusted for those who wish to take the programme part-time over a period of four years and/or for those who have a previous background in Anthropology. For more information email: email@example.com
The structure of the four-year part-time version of the programme is detailed in the MA Anthropology of Food & Intensive Language programme specification (PDF).
The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics offer information on the Intensive Language part of the programme.
Year 1 (two years full time)
Students take 60 credits in the selected language.
Students participate in a Summer School abroad for the selected language.
Year 2 (two years full time)
Guided module(s) from the lists below, OR from the Postgraduate Open Options List, to the value of 45 credits.
Students take 30 credits in the selected language.
Students must complete a Dissertation (10,000 words) worth 60 credits.
List of modules (subject to availability)
Anthropology and Sociology
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
Course teachers Johan Pottier, Harry G. West, and Jakob Klein were awarded the 2009 Excellence in Instruction Award by the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society. The SOAS MA in the Anthropology of Food was named a Finalist in the Best Food Initiative category in the BBC Food & Farming Awards in 2015.
During the academic year, modules are delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and/or seminars. Students can expect an average of two hours of classroom time per week for each module. Outside of the classroom, students explore topics of the module through independent study and through personal exchanges with teachers and fellow students. In some cases, modules are taught by several teachers within the department to provide students with an array of perpsectives on the subject. All modules involve the active participation of students in the discussion of ideas, viewpoints and readings.
The MA Anthropology of Food and Intensive Language culminates in a 10,000-word dissertation, based on original research on a topic of the student's own choosing and developed in discussion with a supervisor.
All students participate in a Summer School abroad for the selected language.
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.
Fees for 2022/23 entrants, per academic year (Band 1 tuition fee)
Please note that fees go up each year. Two-year full-time programmes have 2 years of full-time fees; the fee in the second year will be higher than the fee for the first year (the full time fee above is for the first year only).
For full details of tuition fees, see our postgraduate tuition fees page.
Application Deadline: 2022-01-28 15:00
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
Students from SOAS’ Department of Anthropology and Sociology develop an in-depth understanding of the world. Employers value our graduates’ cultural awareness and global perspective, as well as their skills in analysis, data interpretation and problem-solving.
Recent Department of Anthropology and Sociology graduates have been hired by:
- Allen & Overy
- British Council
- Hackney Migrant Centre
- IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development)
- IOM- UN Migration
- Media 52
- New York Times
- Social Mobility Foundation
- The Week
- United Nations Development Programme
- World Bank Group
Find out about our Careers Service.
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’.