Our MRes Social Anthropology programme focuses largely on the study of the developing world, from remote communities to more recent urban development. We are curious about the world and innovative in our approach to finding new solutions to recurring problems.
Studying the programme at SOAS is unique as it draws from our expertise in a plethora of humanities subjects including sociology, philosophy, linguistics, literature, and history. If you are interested in nurturing a better understanding of what it is to be human in the complex world in which we live, then this discipline is suited to you.
Why study MRes 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 world outside of academia
- you will be able to flexibly structure your programme using our programme optional modules and/or our Open Options 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 information and technology, the media, tourism, commerce and banking, government, the police and prison service, social services and health service administration.
Learn about the modules (courses) for this programme
The MRes is recognised by the ESRC.
Aims and Outcomes
The MRes is designed to train students in research skills to the level prescribed by the ESRC’s research training guidelines. It is intended for students with a good first degree (minimum of a 2.1) in social anthropology and/or a taught Masters degree in social anthropology. Most students would be expected to progress to PhD registration at the end of the degree. By the end of the program students will:
- have achieved practical competence in a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods and tools
- have the ability to understand key issues of method and theory, and to understand the epistemological issues involved in using different methods
In addition to key issues of research design, students will be introduced to a range of specific research methods and tools including:
- interviewing, collection and analysis of oral sources, analysis and use of documents, participatory research methods, issues of triangulation research validity and reliability, writing and analysing field notes, and ethnographic writing
- social statistics techniques relevant for fieldwork and ethnographic data analysis (including chi-square tests, the T-test, F-test, and the rank correlation test)
Discipline specific training in anthropology includes:
- ethnographic methods and participant observation
- ethical and legal issues in anthropological research
- the logistics of long-term fieldwork
- familiarisation with appropriate regional and theoretical literatures
- writing-up (in the field and producing ethnography) and communicating research results; and
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Social Anthropology. This Masters is designed for students wishing to pursue a PhD in Social Anthropology. Exceptionally this course may be taken as a conversion MA. Students who would like to take this path must demonstrate the regional and language expertise necessary for continuing onto a PhD.
- 1 year full-time or 2/3 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.
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: 90 credits of modules and a dissertation of 15,000 words at 90 credits.
All students are expected to take the core and compulsory modules listed below and must participate in the Research Training Seminar.
All students are required to take 30 credits from the Anthropology and Sociology list.
The remaining credits can be selected the Department of Anthropology and Sociology list or relevant options from other departments or a language module.
All students enrol in the dissertation module:
All students choose 30 credits from List C or any module from the School Open Options List
or a language
List of Modules (subject to availability)
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.
Students of the MRes Social Anthropology 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 visit Graduate Destinations for this department.
A Student's Perspective
You will establish and hone key analytical skills, amass a broad and in-depth knowledge of your chosen field and, from day one, befriend students from around the globe.