Our MA Social Anthropology programme is designed on a modular basis offering different pathways to suit three categories of students:
- students with a degree in social anthropology wishing to pursue more specialist topics and/or more regional and language-based study
- students with little or no previous knowledge of social anthropology wishing to acquire a broad knowledge of the discipline
- students with little or no previous knowledge of social anthropology wishing to take the degree as a conversion course before proceeding to a research degree in anthropology
Why study MA Social Anthropology at SOAS
- our Anthropology Department is ranked 6 in the UK and 16 in the world in the 2019 QS World University Rankings
- we 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
- you will be joining our thriving community of alumni and academics who have an impact on the outside world of academia
- you will be able to flexibly structure your programme using our optional modules and/or the 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 language at SOAS will set you apart from graduates of other universities
This programme has a first-rate graduate employability record, with graduates moving on to find employment in lectureships and professorships throughout the world in areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.
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Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)
- One calendar year (full-time) Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)
We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.
The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.
- 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
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.
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 are required to take 30 credits from the Anthropology and Sociology options.
All students can select the remaining credits from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology or relevant options from other departments or a language module. See below for a detailed programme structure.
Students must complete a Dissertation (10,000 words) worth 60 credits.
For students WITHOUT previous Anthropology degree
Choose modules from the List of Anthropology & Sociology modules below to the value of 60 credits
Choose modules from the Postgraduate Open Options List to the value of 60 credits.
For students WITH previous Anthropology degree
Choose modules from the List of Anthropology & Sociology modules below, OR from the Postgraduate Open Options List, to the value of 30 credits
Choose modules from the List of Anthropology & Sociology modules below to the value of 60 credits
Choose modules from the Postgraduate Open Options List to the value of 60 credits
List of Modules (subject to availability)
Anthropology and Sociology
Religions and Philosophies
South East Asia
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
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 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.
During the academic year, teaching is centred mainly around lectures and seminars. For the core module in the first term, there is a one hour thematic lecture, followed by a 1 hour tutorial. Lectures and seminars are often taken by different teachers to provide a variety of angles on the subject. The majority of the student’s time will be through their own independent study. Students become more active in class through their reading and essay-writing and should greatly enhance their participation in discussion groups.
These are taken by final-year students only, 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 is assessed by a single 10,000-word dissertation (including notes but excluding bibliography).
The Language Entitlement Programme
While you may take a language module 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.
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%.
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Intensive Language only
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
A Masters in Social Anthropology helps you to understand the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised.
This programme will endow you with specialist understanding of producers, audiences, and other cultural and social aspects of mass media. Over the years the SOAS department has trained numerous leading anthropologists who have gone on to occupy lectureships and professorships throughout the world. Equally, students gain skills during their degree that transfer well to areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.
Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including analytical and critical skills; ability to gather, assess and interpret data; high level of cultural awareness; and problem-solving.
A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
Alastair Coey Architects
Bank of America, Tokyo branch
Department for Culture
Foreign Commision Office
General Medical Council
Institute of Ismaili Studies
|Leonard Cheshire Disability
MMMF, the World Bank Group
Oriental Institute, University of Oxford
Salaam Bombay Foundation and Samaskaara
Street Children Africa
The Freud Museum
The Prince's Youth Business International
University of Gadjah Mada
World Society for the Protection of Animals
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Global Client Service Associate
Secretary for the Minister for Communications
International Trusts Manager
Overseas Programmes Director
Director - Network Expansion
Health Promotion Consultant
Online Marketing Officer
For more information visit our Graduate Destinations for this department.
A Student's Perspective
I’m from Haiti, and my experiences there have helped me become sensitive to social and class struggles and political turmoil, which are topics that Anthropology provides tools for analysing.