SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

MA Anthropological Research Methods and Nepali (not running 2019/20) (2018 entry)

Please note that that this degree will NOT be running in 2019/20

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Please note that that this degree will NOT be running in 2019/20

This is the only Masters-level programme offered anywhere in the world that provides students who intend to proceed to conduct anthropological research (broadly defined) in Nepal with the necessary skills (disciplinary, linguistic, methodological).

What will this programme give the student an opportunity to achieve?

  • The ability to read, write, speak and understand Nepali to a level suitable for field research in Nepal
  • A grounding in the scholarly literature on Nepali history, society and culture
  • Expertise in anthropological theory and practice that will provide a basis for research in a Nepali context

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Who is this programme for?: Students who wish to conduct doctoral-level research in Nepal, or in preparation for professional employment in e.g. a government agency or international NGO.  

Entry requirements

  • Applicants will need to produce documented evidence of language learning ability (a language A level or equivalent, or successful completion of an undergraduate language course).

Featured events

2 years

Fees 2020/21

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2020/21 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 in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page



Year 1

Students take a Nepali language course (either Nepali Language 1 or Nepali Language 2); Culture and Conflict in the Himalaya; Theoretical Approaches in Social Anthropology (or other anthropology options, chosen in consultation with programme convenor, for students with equivalent anthropology training); Media Production Skills; and anthropology options.

Summer break between years 1 and 2

Two weeks of intensive Nepali language tuition at SOAS after the June exams, followed by two months in Kathmandu, attached to the Nepā School of Social Sciences and Humanities and the Bishwo Bhasa Campus of Tribhuvan University.  At the end of the summer students will be required to submit  a 5000-word preliminary fieldwork report and research proposal, accompanied by a 500-word abstract written in Nepali.

Year 2

Students take the following courses: Nepali for researchers; Anthropological Research Methods (Ethnographic Research Methods in term 1 and Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Social Research in term 2).  They also attend the compulsory weekly MPhil Research Training Seminar in anthropology and write a 15,000 word MA Dissertation.

Language courses will be assessed though a mixture of written papers and oral examinations.  

Non-language courses will be assessed on the basis of coursework essays and written papers.

Year 1
Taught Component
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Nepali Language 2 (PG) 15PSAC299 30 Full Year Not Running 2019/2020
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Culture and Conflict in Nepal 15PSAH017 15 Term 1
Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology 15PANC008 30 Full Year
Media Production Skills (Group B) 15PANH050 15 Term 2

Choose a module from the List of Modules below to the value of 15 credits

Year 2

Students must complete a Dissertation (10,000 words)

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology 15PANC999 60 Full Year
Taught Component
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Research Methods in Anthropology 15PANC011 30 Full Year
Study Abroad

During the summer students will participate in a summer school abroad to the value of 30 credits

List of Modules (subject to availability)
Module Code Credits Term Availability
African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World 15PANH010 15 Term 1
African and Asian Cultures in Britain 15PANH009 15 Term 2 Not Running 2019/2020
Directed Practical Study in the Anthropology of Food 15PANH045 15 Full Year
Issues in Mind, Culture and Psychiatry 15PANH032 15 Term 1
Issues in Anthropology and Film 15PANH022 15 Term 1
Issues in the Anthropology of Gender 15PANH024 15 Term 2
Perspectives On Development 15PANH033 15 Term 1
Therapy and Culture 15PANH027 15 Term 1 Not Running 2019/2020


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 Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. 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, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. 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. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.

More information is on the page for each module.

What methods will be used to achieve the learning outcomes?

  1. How to assess data and evidence critically from manuscripts and digital sources, solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations, locate materials, use research sources (particularly research library catalogues) and other relevant traditional sources.
  2. The Research Methods course focuses on teaching the various research methods associated with anthropological fieldwork including: participant observation, historical research, qualitative interviewing, quantitative data collection, Rapid Participatory Assessment, how to design questionnaires and, especially, on how to formulate a research question and design a project and consider the ethical issues involved. The Statistics courseworks on how to compile statistics, and how to critically assess statistics.
  3. The Research Training course, which is assessed by the Masters dissertation, works on students’ writing skills with an emphasis on thinking of the history of the discipline, writing to schedule, writing to requested word count, how to formulate a research question based on the material gathered, as well as how to do a presentation, how to comment on presentations and how to apply for funding.  Term three looks at the strategies for working on the Masters’ dissertation and how to be upgraded at the start of the MPhil year.
  4. A good grounding in the sociocultural and political history of and contemporary sociocultural and political issues in Nepal, and familiarity with the scholarly literature on these topics.
  5. Proficiency in spoken and written Nepali sufficient for the purposes of anthropological field research: ability to conduct conversations and interviews, and read and synthesise information from Nepali written sources.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
  1. Students should become precise and cautious in their assessment of evidence, and to understand through practice what documents can and cannot tell us.
  2. Students should question interpretations, however authoritative, and reassess evidence for themselves.  They should be able to design a research project, set a timetable, understand the principles of fieldwork, and consider questions of ethics.
  3. Students should learn to read each others’ work for both its strengths and weaknesses, develop their skills as public speakers, learn how to compose short abstracts of their project (for funding), be able to think critically and yet be open to being critiqued themselves.
Subject-based practical skills

The programme aims to help students with the following practical skills:

  1. Communicate effectively in writing, in both English and (at a less advanced level) Nepali
  2. Retrieve, sift and select information from a variety of sources in both English and Nepali.
  3. Present seminar papers.
  4. Listen to and discuss ideas introduced during seminars.
  5. Practice research techniques in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes.
  6. Be prepared to do fieldwork for an anthropology PhD.
Transferable skills

The programme will encourage students to:

  1. Write good essays and dissertations.
  2. Structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing.
  3. Understand unconventional ideas.
  4. Present (non–assessed) material orally.
  5. Function as a student and researcher in a radically different environment.
  6. Be able to apply for funding to do a PhD.
  7. Be prepared to enter an Anthropology PhD programme and to be upgraded from MPhil to PhD in the shortest possible time.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

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 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second & subsequent years of study will be higher. Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years Part-time 4 Years
Intensive Language only
£10,170 £20,930 £5,085 £10,460 £3,390 £6,975 £5,085 £10,460

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Studentships


Application Deadline: 2020-01-06 23:59

Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2020-01-31 15:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2020-01-31 15:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2020-06-05 15:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


Students who study MA Anthropological Research Methods and Nepali develop a wide range of transferable skills such as research, analysis, oral and written communication skills.  

The communication skills of anthropologists transfer well to areas such as information and technology, the media and tourism. Other recent SOAS career choices have included commerce and banking, government service, the police and prison service, social services and health service administration. Opportunities for graduates with trained awareness of the socio-cultural norms of minority communities also arise in education, local government, libraries and museums.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

Let me put it like this: studying South Asia at SOAS is a greatly enriching experience.

Michele Serafini (Italy)


How to apply

Please note that that this degree will NOT be running in 2019/20

You may be interested in one of our other Anthropology programmes.

If you still have any questions please contact us:

By phone: +44 (0)20 7898 4700
Or via our online form

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    Please note this programme isn't running for the 2019/20 session.