SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

MA Anthropology of Food (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


Overview and entry requirements

The MA Anthropology of Food programme offers you the opportunity to explore historically and culturally variable foodways, from foraging to industrial food, from Asia, Africa and the Middle East to Europe and the Americas. You will examine the roles that food classification, production, distribution, exchange, cooking and eating play in social organisation, differentiation, religious practice and cultural identity and in mediating our relationships with non-human beings and surroundings. You will also explore the transregional and transnational movements of foods and culinary practices and the role of food in human migrations, as well as the formation of regional and national cuisines. 

As a student on the MA in Anthropology of Food, 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 address debates on the impact of contemporary food systems on food safety, dietary health, agrarian livelihoods and environmental sustainability and examine concerns over the alleged demise of family meals, traditional food knowledge and cooking skills.

Bird Seller

Food activism, including digital food activism and movements toward sustainable food production and against food waste, and movements advocating fair trade, veganism and vegetarianism are explored in diverse cultural contexts. You will also address initiatives to protect local and artisanal foods, including promotions of heritage foods and food tourism in rural development and nation-building. 

The MA programme in Food Anthropology is run in collaboration with the SOAS Food Studies Centre, an interdisciplinary research centre housed in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology. Students on the MA programme attend the Centre’s research seminar (the ‘SOAS Food Forum’) and other Centre events. The SOAS Food Studies Centre offers information about events, including links to recordings of SOAS Food Studies Centre Distinguished Lectures and other resources.

Chinese Dishes

This MA programme has a first-rate graduate employability record, with graduates moving on to find employment in food-related government ministries, international organisations, development and media agencies, or non-governmental associations. Other alumni work in the food, hospitality and tourism industries.

Why study MA Anthropology of Food at SOAS?

  • SOAS is ranked 5th in the UK for Anthropology and 16th in the world in the 2021 QS World University Rankings
  • 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
  • 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.

For more information email:


Applicants for the MA Anthropology of Food may be eligible to apply for Scholarships and Bursaries.


Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Featured events

One calendar year (full-time); two or three years (part-time, daytime only). The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.



Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.


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.

Students without a previous Anthropology degree will be required to take 30 credits from the Anthropology and Sociology options list.

The remaining credits can be selected from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology or relevant options from other departments or a language module. 


Compulsory Modules

All students take 60 credits of compulsory modules:

Module Code Credits Term
702 Ethnographic Research Methods 15PANH002 15
Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology 15PANC008 30 Full Year
722 Food, Place and Mobility 15PANH087 15 Term 1
723 Diet, Society and Environment 15PANH090 15 Term 2
Guided Options

All students choose 30 credits: minimum 15 from List A and up to 15 from list B:


Guided Module(s) from the lists below OR from the Postgraduate Open Options List, to the value of 30 credits.


Students must complete a Dissertation (10,000 words) worth 60 credits.

Module Code Credits Term
799A Dissertation (MA) in Anthropology 15PANC999 60 Full Year
Guided Options (subject to availability)
Anthropology and Sociology
Module Code Credits Term
725 African and Asian Diasporas: Culture, Politics, Identities 15PANH085 15 Term 2
724 Migration, Borders and Space: Decolonial Approaches 15PANH086 15 Term 1
729 Anthropology of Sustainability: Global Challenges and Alternative Futures 15PANH083 15 Term 1
Anthropology of Development and Sustainability: Knowledge, Power and Inequality 15PANH084 15 Term 1
752 Anthropology of 'Race', Gender and Sexuality 15PANH082 15 Term 2
750B Ethnographic Locations: East Asia 15PANH062 15
Culture and Society of Japan 15PANH065 15 Term 1
750A Ethnographic Locations: Sub-Saharan Africa 15PANH063 15 Term 2
750C Ethnographic Locations: Near and Middle East 15PANH067 15
797A Directed Practical Study in the Anthropology of Food 15PANH045 15 Full Year
731 How to Change Things 15PANH093 15 Term 2
730 Anthropology and Climate Change 15PANH070 15 Term 2
753 Mind, Culture and Psychiatry 15PANH032 15 Term 1
754 Medical Anthropology: Global Perspectives 15PANH089 15 Term 1
755 Anthropological Approaches to the Body and Embodiment 15PANH088 15
Development Studies
Module Code Credits Term
Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty 15PDSH026 15 Term 2
Energy Transition, Nature, and Development in a Time of Climate Change 15PDSH048 15 Term 2
Gender and Development 15PDSH010 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


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 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.

SOAS Library

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.



The MA Anthropology of Food programme has a first-rate employability record. SOAS graduates move on to find employment in various fields:

  • food-related government ministries
  • international organisations
  • development agencies
  • media agencies
  • non-governmental associations
  • food, hospitality and tourism industries

Find out where our Food Studies alumni are now and how their studies at SOAS helped them in their career.

For graduate destinations and career information, visit our Careers Service website 

A Student's Perspective

This approach to teaching in the Department, in which theory is balanced with real life examples often results in passionate and thought provoking debates. If you miss a class, you miss out on an experience.

Sabah Choudhry

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