Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time
Who is this programme for?:
The degree is suitable for students with an interest in anthropological approaches to diverse aspects of tourism as a cultural force in the contemporary world, from sustainable development to cultural heritage. Our students come from all over the world, following BA study, a masters degree in another field, or work and travel experience. This combination of diverse backgrounds and skills creates a uniquely stimulating intellectual environment. Many of our graduates go on to a PhD; others pursue careers in research and consulting; NGOs; museums and other cultural institutions; travel-writing; alternative tourism enterprises; and government agencies.
The SOAS MA Anthropology of Travel and Tourism enables students to pursue specialist interests in global voluntary mobility while gaining advanced training in social and cultural anthropology in a world-leading department. Combining a rigorous set of core courses with options to suit each student’s unique interests, the programme is designed to accommodate students with or without a prior degree in Social Anthropology.
Students will develop expertise in anthropological theory and practice; learn to undertake ethnographic research; and gain comprehensive grounding in the anthropological study of travel and tourism, including issues of development, political economy, cultural change, heritage, cross-cultural encounter, representation and meaning, space and place, commodification, and interconnections between diverse histories and cultures of travel worldwide. Learn about the Anthropology modules (courses) for this programme.
Tourism is not only a culturally and historically shaped form of travel, but a complex social field that spans the globe, comprised of diverse actors, institutions, activities, and modes of interaction that overlap with and cross-cross other forms of global interconnection. As a whole, it comprises the world's largest industry and the single greatest peacetime factor moving people around the globe.
Both a manifestation and a medium of globalisation, tourism has profound significance in multiple realms of human life—economic, environmental, material, social, and cultural. This makes it an ideal lens through which to explore core themes in contemporary social anthropology, such as identity and alterity, political economy, development, heritage, locality, representation, imagination, commodification, and the global circulation of people, objects, ideas, images, and capital.
The MA programme draws upon:
- the emerging body of theoretically sophisticated, ethnographically rich work involving tourism and travel;
- a thorough grounding in the history and contemporary theoretical trends of social-cultural anthropology;
- close engagement with noted and rising scholars in the field, via the programme's Colloquium Series in the Anthropology of Tourism and Travel, as well as opportunities for informal dialogue with visiting anthropologists and sociologists of travel/tourism/mobilities;
- other areas of expertise in the Department of Anthropology, including anthropology of development, migration and diaspora, museums and material culture, anthropology of food, global religious movements, anthropology of media, human rights, and anthropology of globalisation;
- the unparalleled concentration of area expertise among SOAS' academic staff, covering Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, together with their diasporas;
- the opportunity to engage with numerous other units at SOAS, such as the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, the Food Studies Centre, the Centre for Ethnographic Theory, and the Centre for Media Studies, among many others; and
- the vibrant intellectual and cultural life of the School, the University of London, and the city of London itself—a global tourist destination inviting study on a daily basis.
View a sampling of past MA dissertation titles
View profiles of alumni and current students
Beginning in 2018-19, the MA programme will also be available as a 2- or 4-year (full- or part-time) MA Anthropology of Travel and Tourism with Intensive Study of Arabic, Japanese, or Korean (other languages likely to be added).
All SOAS MA students, regardless of department or degree, are entitled to register for one language course for free through our Language Entitlement Programme (LEP). This course is additional to your regular syllabus and is not for credit. Languages normally available include Arabic, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu. Others are often offered. You must sign up before instruction begins and space fills quickly. Learn more and reserve your place here: Language Entitlement Programme
Email: Dr. Naomi Leite, email@example.com
The programme consists of 180 credits in total: 120 credits of modules and a dissertation of 10,000 words at 60 credits.
All students are expected to take the core and compulsory modules listed below, except for students with a previous Anthropology degree, who are not required to take the Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology module but may wish to select this as part of their 120 credits from the options lists.
All students must audit the compulsory module, Ethnographic Research Methods during term 1. This will not count towards the 180 credits. Students will be expected to attend only lectures and do not attend seminars or submit any assessments. Students may choose to take this module (worth 15 credits) as part of their 120 credits from the option lists.
Students with a previous Anthropology degree will be required to take 30 credits from the Anthropology and Sociology options list.
All students can select the remaining credits from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology or relevant options from other departments or a language module. Note that students are NOT limited to the modules in other departments listed below; additional options may be available on approval. See below for a detailed programme structure.
Language Entitlement Programme:
Many students choose to pursue language study through the SOAS Language Entitlement Programme (LEP). Languages normally available include Arabic, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu. Others may also be offered.
Students without a previous Anthropology degree are required to take all the compulsory modules, totalled at 90 credits. Students with a previous Anthropology degree are not required to take the Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology module, totalled at 60 credits. All students are required to audit the Ethnographic Research Methods module. This will not count towards your 180 credits.
All students must take the core module worth 30 credits.
Students with a previous Anthropology degree: 30 credits of your programme must be selected from the Anthropology and Sociology list. All students can select the remaining 60 credits from Anthropology and Sociology or other departments a language module.
Anthropology and Sociology
Centre for Media Studies
History of Art and Archaeology
Politics and International Studies
Religions and Philosophies
South East Asia
For a list of language modules, please go to the Faculty of Languages and Cultures webpages - https://www.soas.ac.uk/languagecultures/courses/ - and view the options under the postgraduate modules section for each department.
This is the structure for 2017/18 applicants
If you are a current student you can find structure information on Moodle or through your Faculty.
Teaching & Learning
The learning environments making up the MA programme in Anthropology of Travel and Tourism run the gamut from lecture halls to intimate seminar rooms, suiting a wide range of learning styles. Study a language; take a course (or two) in anthropology of human rights, development, globalisation, religion, or gender, among many others; choose a course in another department that catches your interest and contributes to your dissertation plans, from world music to development studies. Learn more about available Anthropology modules (courses).
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, of course, 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.
Many students in the MA Anthropology of Travel and Tourism opt for hands-on learning via the half-unit Directed Practical Study in Anthropology of Tourism course, with placements in leading UK-based NGOs like Equality in Tourism and Tourism Concern, among others, as well as in private tour operator firms, providing background material for future research.
While students in the MA Anthropology of Travel and Tourism may take a language course for credit, all SOAS MA students, regardless of department or degree, are also entitled to register for non-credit free courses in a single language through the Language Entitlement Programme (LEP). Languages normally available include Arabic, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu. Others may also be offered.
Pre Entry Reading
All incoming students will be expected to have read at least two of the following. These are paperbacks written for newcomers to the discipline, widely available used online and relatively affordable to purchase new.
- Erikson, Thomas Hylland. What is Anthropology? Pluto Press, 2004.
- Hendry, Joy and Simon Underdown. Anthropology: A Beginner's Guide. Oneworld, 2012.
- Erikson, Thomas Hylland. Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology, 4th ed. Pluto Press, 2015. (*3rd edition also ok)
- Hendry, Joy. An Introduction to Social Anthropology: Sharing Our Worlds. Palgrave, 2008.
Further readings in anthropological theory and method:
- Agar, Michael. The Professional Stranger: An Informal Introduction to Ethnography, 2nd ed. Emerald Group Publishing, 2008.
- Gay y Blasco, Paloma and Huon Wardle. How to Read Ethnography. Routledge, 2006.
- Rapport, Nigel and Joanna Overing. Social and Cultural Anthropology: The Key Concepts, 3rd ed. Routledge, 2015. (*2nd edition also ok)
Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.
This is a Band 1 tuition fee.
Fees for 2018/19 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year.
||Part-time 2 Years
||Part-time 3 Years
Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00
Application Deadline: 2018-01-29 00:00
Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00
Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00
Application Deadline: 2018-02-20 17:00
Application Deadline: 2018-06-05 00:00
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
Please see our Alumni Profiles.
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
My course has opened up the possibility of lots of exciting career paths; I am currently considering the option of travel writing, trainee journalism with the BBC, or digital marketing.