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What will I learn?

Course description

The objective of this course is to communicate an anthropologically-informed understanding of social life in both Western and non-Western societies. By confronting you with the remarkable diversity of human social and cultural experience, our aim is to encourage you to question taken-for-granted assumptions and to view the world from a new perspective.

Through a set of core course units, comprising about a third of coursework credits, you are provided with a comprehensive grounding in classical as well as contemporary debates in social anthropology and are introduced to the distinctive research methods and ethical positions associated with the discipline. You then complete your coursework credits by choosing from a broad range of units offered around the Faculty of Humanities.

Through these options, you apply the social anthropological theories and methods learnt on the core units to particular substantive themes and topics. Diploma students complete their coursework in May and formally graduate in July. Over the summer vacation, MA students carry out research for a 15,000 word dissertation that is submitted in September; normally expecting to graduate formally in December.

Teaching and learning

You will take three 15-credit core course units, and a selection of optional units that you select shortly after arrival. Many optional units are worth 15 credits. In total, you are required to achieve 120 coursework credits. Over the Summer vacation, you are required to write a dissertation which is worth a further 60 credits.

Part-time students complete the full-time course over two years. There are no evening or weekend course units available on the part-time course.

You must first check the schedule of the compulsory units and then select your optional units to suit your requirements.

Updated timetable information will be available from mid-August and you will have the opportunity to discuss your unit choices during induction week with your course director.

Coursework and assessment

Most units are assessed by means of an extended assessment essay. Typically, for 15 credit units, these will be 4000 words, whilst for 30 credit courses, they are normally 6000 words.

Certain options involving practical instruction in research methods, audio-visual media or museum display may also be assessed by means of presentations and/or portfolios of practical work. In addition, all MA students are required to write a 15,000 word dissertation.

Career opportunities

The MA Social Anthropology course trains you in a broad range of transferable skills that are useful in many walks of life, including assessing basic research reports, effective essay-writing, oral presentational skills in seminars and other contexts, basic computing skills, using the internet as a research tool and conducting bibliographic research.

Past graduates of the MA in Social Anthropology have gone on to many different careers, both inside and outside of academic life. As it is a 'conversion' course aimed at those who want to explore anthropology after undergraduate studies in another field, or at least within a different anthropological tradition, it often represents a major change of career direction, opening up a wide range of different possibilities.

Which department am I in?

School of Social Sciences

Study options

Full Time (9 months)

Tuition fees
£14,000.00 (US$ 19,269) Overall cost
The fees quoted will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

This is a fixed fee
Start date

Expected September 2022


The University of Manchester

Oxford Road,


M13 9PL, England

Entry requirements

For international students

UK 2:1 (or overseas equivalent, eg GPA 3.00+ in many North American systems) in an appropriate subject for direct MA entry. UK 2:2 (or overseas equivalent, eg GPA 2.70+ in many North American systems) in an appropriate subject for Postgraduate Diploma route entry. When assessing your academic record we take into account your grades, your academic references, and the standing of the institution where you studied. IELTS - overall score of 7, including 7 in writing with no further component score below 6.5; TOEFL IBT 103 with 28 in writing and no further score below 25 in each section. TOEFL code for Manchester is 0757. Pearson - overall 73 with 73 in writing and no further score below 66

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.