Ground-breaking research exploring social and cultural worlds and relations between humans and their environments.

Study Information

At a Glance

Degree Qualification
MRes or PhD

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Aberdeen’s anthropology department was established at the turn of the millennium, initially with a specific focus on the Anthropology of the North, an orientation unique among UK departments. Our research has since expanded to encompass other ethnographic regions, from South America to Europe to Central and South Asia. It addresses a broad range of contemporary social and cultural themes, including religion, the state, human-animal relations, museums and indigenous politics.

Postgraduate research applicants to the Department can choose between two programmes:

MRes in Social Anthropology

Provides cutting-edge courses in anthropological theory, advanced training in anthropological research methods and the opportunity to develop a research project under the guidance of a supervisor. The MRes project may lead to PhD research.

PhD in Social Anthropology

Suitably qualified applicants develop and work on their own research projects under the guidance of supervisors with related research interests. PhD applicants are strongly advised to contact potential supervisors before applying to this programme.

Doctoral studies in The School of Social Science can be undertaken on a full or part-time basis and we would be happy to discuss the feasibility of distance study which will depend on the nature of the research project. For the session 2020/21 we can support all students to take up their PhD study at a distance and either remain as a distance student or complete their studies on campus in Aberdeen.

Image by Anthropology PhD student, Yu Han

Our Research

The Department attracts research students from all over the world, regularly holds workshops and exhibitions with international collaborators and weekly research seminars with invited speakers. In recent years it has hosted two major research projects, Arctic Domus and Knowing from the Inside.

Research Interests

Environment and Perception

Anthropology at Aberdeen is internationally renowned for its distinctive approach to environmental questions, founded on the idea that environments are never complete but continually coming into being, along with their inhabitants, in creative processes of life, growth and movement. We have a particularly strong interest in human relations with other species.

Experts: Prof. David Anderson, Dr Arnar Árnason, Dr Maggie Bolton, Dr Jo Vergunst, Dr Andrew Whitehouse, Dr Rob Wishart

Aberdeen Global Scholarship (EU)

The Aberdeen Global Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is a £2,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Postgraduate Masters students who are classed as International fee status and are domiciled in the EU, plus another £3,000 discount for eligible Postgraduate Masters students who would have previously been eligible for Home fees (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Aberdeen Global Scholarship

Entry Requirements

To apply for this programme applicants must have at least a good honours degree in anthropology or a related subject. Applicants intending to progress from the MRes to the PhD programme should also provide a short statement about their research interests.

PhD Programme

Applicants for this programme must have a good honours degree in anthropology or a related subject and must normally provide evidence of postgraduate training in anthropological research methods.

In addition, applicants must provide a detailed research proposal.


We are open to discussing all potential projects with applicants, including the possibility of undertaking these via distance learning.

Guidelines for writing a Research Proposal.

For both programmes, applicants must provide two academic references from their most recent academic institution. For further guidance on applying, please contact Maggie Bolton.

If English is not your first language you must also show evidence of attaining standards in English. View details of English language criteria.

International Applicants

Fees and Funding

View the tuition fee rates

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


Anthropology maintained its position in the World Top 100 subject ranking  ranks 10th in the UK on the academic reputation index and 12th on the employer reputation index. (QS World Uni Rankings 2020)


There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

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Contact Details

School of Social Science
University of Aberdeen
Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street
AB24 3QY