Social anthropology is the study of the peoples of the world and how they live. Understanding our social and cultural diversity helps us think about major issues affecting our planet today.
3 years full-time
Our BA Anthropology degree is designed to give you a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of social anthropology situated in relation to wider disciplinary approaches, including biological 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 social 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 dissertation project and take part in our 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.
Peoples and Cultures provides an introduction to the peoples and cultures of the world from an anthropological perspective and prepares you for further critical study of the discipline.
Human Evolution and Diversity introduces the biological basis of human diversity and the key areas of study as well as the key methodologies used within biological/evolutionary anthropology. The module also provides you with the basic vocabulary, concepts and theories which will prepare you for further study of biological anthropology.
Being Human: An Introduction to the History and Practice of Anthropology teaches you about the history of anthropology, including the major theoretical developments and debates, and their legacies for the present day practice of anthropology.
Doing Anthropological Research highlights the importance of the relationship of data to anthropological theory and allows you to experience the process of collecting and analysing data, and creating anthropological knowledge. This will prepare you for fieldwork, and ensure you develop academic and transferable skills for your degree and beyond.
Health, Illness and Society promotes the value of a multidisciplinary perspective to the study of health and illness, and gives insight into how social, cultural, biological and evolutionary factors interact in the field of health and disease. You will learn the potential for medical anthropology and evolutionary medicine in contributing to health policy and planning in diverse human societies.
Anthropological Research Methods in Action provides opportunities for inquiry-based learning by addressing key anthropological themes and issues beyond the classroom. You will learn to develop and apply research skills relevant to the different areas of anthropology. The module gives you practical experience of conducting field-based research and prepares you for the Anthropology Field Course module.
Research Project Design builds upon previous methods training by providing the skills necessary to develop independent dissertation projects.
Kinship and Religion builds introduces social anthropology theory and methods. It explores in greater depth themes which fall under the broad headings of kinship and religion.
Politics and Economics introduces important topics related to key themes in the anthropology of politics and economics. It explores key issues and theory essential to a social anthropology education.
Examples of optional modules:
Biology, Culture and Society
Global Health and Disease
Sex, Reproduction and Love
Evolution, Variation and Adaptation
Our Place in Nature
Environment, Climate and the Anthropocene.
In your final year, you will design and carry out your own Dissertation which will develop your skills of independent research and project management by pursuing a substantial research project in a topic of your choice.
You will also take part in our Anthropology Field Course module, an intensive 7-day fieldwork experience at one of the department’s residential field schools, or online as a Virtual Field Course.
Anthropology, Art, and Experience
Poison, Pollution and the Chemical Anthropocene
Capitalism in Ruins
Social Anthropology of Hormones
Anthropology of Ethics and Morality
Anthropology of Sport.
Students on the Anthropology BSc can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year. Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.
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 final year, you will visit one of our residential field schools to carry out project work, and put your qualitative and quantitative research skills into practice.
The Anthropology Department has a skeletal collection, a fossil cast collection, a material culture collection and other practical resources that are used in relevant modules. You may also be able to use these independently to supplement your learning or for project work.
We use a wide range of assessments including essays, examinations, presentations, research projects, podcasts, museum displays and outreach activities.
In your final year you will produce a 12,000-word dissertation which makes up one-third of your final-year marks.
A level offer – AAB.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD.
IB Diploma score – 36 with 665 in higher level subjects.
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
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.
International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.
|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.
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
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.
(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 herewww.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)
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.
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.
The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!