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Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level AAB
International Baccalaureate 36

Course details

Our BSc Anthropology degree is designed to give you a broad understanding of humanity, from our evolutionary origins to our present day behavioural and cultural diversity. Biological anthropology is closely related to archaeology and primatology, and so you will also gain an appreciation of how humans are related to other species, living and extinct.

You will study biological anthropology in the context of a broad approach to the subject including social anthropology as well as interdisciplinary perspectives on health.

In the first year, you will receive a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of anthropology in the broadest sense, addressing the core disciplines of social and biological anthropology as well as interdisciplinary perspectives on health.

In your second year, you will develop a deeper and more complex grasp of biological and evolutionary anthropology and continue to gain ‘hands-on’ experience of conducting research through a series of local field trips and activities.

In your final year, you will design and carry out your own research project for your dissertation and take part in our residential Field Course Module, an intensive 7-day experience at one of several European destinations, or online as part of our Virtual Field Course.

As you move through your degree, you will shift from being a consumer to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. You can also apply to add a placement year or a year abroad to your degree, increasing the course from three years to four.

Course structure

Year 1

In your first year, you will receive a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of anthropology in the broadest sense, addressing the core disciplines of social and biological anthropology as well as interdisciplinary perspectives on culture, society and health. Currently, students take five modules in anthropology and select one elective module offered by another department, including the option to study a module in a modern foreign language.

Core modules:

  • Peoples and Cultures
  • Human Evolution and Diversity
  • Being Human: An Introduction to the History and Practice of Anthropology
  • Doing Anthropological Research
  • Health, Illness and Society.

Year 2

In your second year, you will develop a deeper and more complex grasp of biological and evolutionary anthropology and continue to gain "hands-on" experience of conducting research through a series of regional field trips and activities that form our Anthropological Research Methods in Action module.  You will also begin preparation for your dissertation through modules that are designed to support you to follow either a more social or biological pathway as you design your own research project, in addition to a core module that will help you develop plans for your dissertation and prepare to do your own research. You will also take two elective modules that will enable you to pursue your interests in specific topics from the wider anthropological discipline.

Core modules:

  • Anthropological Research Methods in Action
  • Research Project Design
  • Evolution, Variation and Adaptation
  • Our Place in Nature
  • Biology, Culture & Society
  • Reading Ethnography

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Kinship and Religion
  • Politics and Economics
  • Global Health and Disease
  • Sex, Reproduction and Love.

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a Year Abroad)

In your final year, you will design and carry out your own dissertation project and take part in our Anthropology Field Course Module. The Field Course usually takes place in the September prior to your final year and offers an intensive two-week fieldwork experience at one of the department’s residential field schools.  You have a choice of up to six advanced optional taught modules, and you can take an elective option from another department if you wish.

Optional modules are generally based on the research expertise of staff, and reflect the University’s ideal of research-led education. Options available in the Department cover the full disciplinary spectrum, from the entirely biological to the entirely socio-cultural, or a mixture of anthropological sub-disciplines. Options change slightly from year-to-year, with a minimum of 18 different options to choose from every year.

Throughout your degree you are also invited to attend the regular round of departmental research seminars given by visiting scholars or Durham-based researchers and can participate in a key forum for current innovative research.

Core modules:

  • Field School Module
  • Dissertation 

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Evolution of Cooperation
  • Comparative Cognition and Culture
  • Cultural Evolution of Music
  • Technological Primates
  • Decolonising Anthropology
  • Primates in Peril
  • Primates, Predators and the Ecology of Fear
  • Homo Narrans: Evolutionary Anthropology of Fiction
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Palaeoanthropology and Palaeoecology
  • Anthropology in the Contemporary Middle East
  • Anthropology, Art, and Experience
  • Poison, Pollution and the Chemical Anthropocene
  • Exhibiting Anthropology
  • Capitalism in Ruins
  • Social Anthropology of Hormones
  • Anthropology of Ethics and Morality
  • Anthropology of Sport
  • Anthropological Skills for Climate Change Survival
  • Power and Governance
  • Violence and Memory
  • Anthropology of Tobacco
  • Anthropology of Health Inequality
  • Anthropology of Physical Activity and Health
  • Evolutionary Medicine: Maternal and Infant Health
  • Human Reproductive Ecology
  • Development, Conflict and Crisis in the Lower Omo


You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.


As a student on the BSc Anthropology degree, your learning will be supported by formal teaching sessions, such as lectures and smaller-group teaching in seminars and practical classes.

Our curriculum places a strong emphasis on inquiry-based learning, with a particular focus on carrying out field-based research. At the start of your second year, you will visit one of our residential field schools to carry out project work, and put your emerging qualitative and quantitative research skills into practice.

The Anthropology Department also has anthropometric equipment, a skeletal collection, a fossil cast collection, a material culture collection and other practical resources that are used in relevant modules, and you may also be able to use these independently, to supplement your learning or for project work. As you move through your BSc Anthropology degree, you will shift from being a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. To help develop this independence, you will spend part of your time engaged in self-directed study, which will include reading, project work and preparation for classes. In your third year, you will undertake a dissertation on an anthropological topic of your choice, giving you the chance to engage in a major piece of independent work.

Assessment on the BSc Anthropology degree varies by module, but may include written examinations, podcasts, museum displays and outreach activities, coursework in the form of essays or research projects, and presentations. 

You will be given a Year Tutor when you start your degree, and will normally keep the same tutor for the duration of your studies. Year Tutors are there to support your academic work by providing advice about such things as study skills, module choices, dissertation topics, and applications for further study or employment. As well as discussing your academic work with your nominated tutor, you are encouraged to make use of the drop in hours provided by academic staff during term-time. These drop in hours give you the opportunity to discuss your work with module tutors, for example, to seek clarification on complex ideas, get suggestions for additional readings, and receive further feedback on assessments.

As a student in the Anthropology Department, you will be welcomed into the wider departmental community and can attend an extensive programme of research-focused departmental and research group seminars where academic staff, postgraduate students and visiting scholars present their cutting-edge research, which may provide inspiration for your dissertation topic and even future study or employment. 

Entry requirements

A level offerAAB.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended DiplomaDDD.

IB Diploma score36 with 665 in higher level subjects.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
  • If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £25,000 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £25,000 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities


With a degree in Anthropology, you will be equipped with a diverse and practical knowledge base, including highly transferable skills in designing and carrying out research projects. Employers worldwide value this skill set, particularly where creativity, curiosity and the ability to understand human culture and society are at a premium.

Our graduates apply their knowledge directly in fields such as health, community work, conservation, education, international development, culture, and heritage. Many progress into careers that require a broad understanding of human society and behaviour as well as the interpersonal, organisational, problem solving and independent thinking skills that come with the discipline. Such careers include advertising, publishing, journalism, teaching, human resource management, public relations, finance, law, consultancy and marketing.

A significant number of graduates progress onto higher level study with many pursuing anthropological research. Others take up professional postgraduate programmes in both related and non-related fields.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 85% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 70% are in high skilled employment 
  • With an average salary of £24,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found

Department information


Join a diverse and welcoming Department that takes a distinctly broad-based approach to the study of humanity. Each year around 120 undergraduate students join one of our single or joint honours degree courses. We are among the largest Anthropology departments in the UK and one of the few to combine the study of the social, biological and medical aspects of anthropology. This gives you the chance to explore humanity from multiple perspectives, covering our species' evolution over millions of years up to the present day diversity of human societies.

The academic team are passionate about teaching the next generation, with many lecturers actively involved in research and teaching in numerous areas that overlap with other subjects, including culture, environmental issues, evolution, genetics, forensics, language, literature, health, music, politics, primate behaviour, religion, reproduction, skeletal anatomy and many others still. And with a research-led approach, our teaching is constantly evolving to incorporate the latest developments into the curriculum.

Our flexible courses offer the opportunity both to explore the breadth of Anthropology and to specialise in one of our sub-disciplinary areas. We offer a residential field course to all our undergraduate students, providing hands-on experience of varied anthropological methods in practice.

For more information see our department pages.


  • 23rd in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023.
  • 8th in The Complete University Guide 2024.


For a current list of staff, please see the Anthropology pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 45% of our research was rated as world-leading (REF 2021)


The Anthropology department is housed in the Dawson Building. It is conveniently located next to the main library, and close to lots of other departments and university services.

The Department’s state-of-the-art research facilities include a skeletal collection, a fossil cast collection, a material culture collection and many other practical resources.

We also house a number of research centres and laboratories including an Infancy and Sleep Centre which investigates infant and child sleep; the Physical Activity Lab to monitor physical activity levels in our everyday lives and an Ecology and Endocrinology Laboratory which is equipped to analyse human samples.

More information about our facilities and equipment.


Find out more:

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