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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

Studying the anthropology of health will expand your world, bringing together biological and evolutionary research into human genetics and physiology with comparative ethnographic approaches to the social, political, ideological and ecological contexts that shape health risks and treatments.

This degree will equip you with the skills to critically debate healthcare from an interdisciplinary anthropological perspective that draws together local, regional and international scales of analysis.

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, biological and health anthropology.

In your second year, you will begin to specialise increasingly in the anthropology of health while still being able to maintain a broader, more integrative approach if you wish.

In your final year, you will design and carry out your own dissertation project and take part in our Field Course Module. The Field Course offers 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

Core modules:

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 provides a grounding in scientific and ethnographic research methods. This module highlights the importance of the relationship of data to anthropological theory and allows you to experience the process of collecting and analysing data. This will prepare you for fieldwork, and ensure you develop academic and transferable skills for your degree and beyond.

Health, Illness and Society introduces the concepts, approaches and methods of the anthropology of health. The module 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.

Year 2

Core modules:

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.

Global Health and Disease gives a firm grounding in theories of medical anthropology from both social and biological perspectives, as applied to international health and disease.

Sex, Reproduction and Love provides both biological and social anthropological perspectives on sex, reproduction and love. Topics may include sexual behaviour, conception, infertility, new reproductive technologies, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, birth, post-natal period, romantic love, maternal love and infant attachment.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Biology, Culture and Society
  • Reading Ethnography
  • Kinship and Religion
  • Politics and Economics
  • Evolution, Variation and Adaptation
  • Our Place in Nature
  • Environment, Climate and the Anthropocene.

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement year or year abroad)

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. The 12,000-word dissertation is worth one third of your final year credits.

You will also take part in our Anthropology Field Course module. The Field Course offers an intensive 7 day fieldwork experience at one of the department’s residential field schools, or online as a virtual Field Course.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Anthropology of Ethics and Morality
  • Anthropological Skills for Climate Change Survival
  • Power and Governance
  • Anthropology of Physical Activity for Health
  • Evolutionary Medicine: Maternal and Infant Health
  • Comparative Cognition and Culture
  • Primates in Peril
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Palaeoanthropology and Palaeoecology
  • Anthropology of the Body
  • Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Livelihoods.

Additional pathways

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.


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


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.


We use a wide range of assessments including essays, examinations, presentations, research projects, podcasts, museum displays and outreach activities.

The assessment of your project work relies heavily on your ability to self-direct your study. There will be plenty of opportunities to gain hand-on experience on the course, for example through the Anthropological Research Methods in Action module in your second year.

In your final year you will produce a 12,000-word dissertation which makes up one-third of your final-year marks.

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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