Social Anthropology, MRes

Social Anthropology, MRes


Social Anthropology allows you to study human societies and carry out research with cultural and critical awareness.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January
Location of Study

Anthropology is the comparative study of human societies in all their diversity. It seeks to understand cultural life broadly, in a wide range of social activities. Anthropologists carry out their research through long-term, in-depth fieldwork in different regions of the world.

We are interested in various aspects of people’s everyday lives, whether ordinary day-to-day activities or special festivals and events. Researchers observe these events and activities to learn more about other societies and to reflect on their own.

Such observations and analysis provided by anthropologists are important and generate knowledge about remote cultures or help address urgent issues in communities nearby.

Anthropology helps understand current developments in our changing world too and contributes to critical reflection on these processes, whether it is the refugee crisis or social consequences of a disease outbreak, for instance.

The MRes programme introduces students to the work anthropologists do, the methods they use to conduct fieldwork, to past and current anthropological research in perspective. The programme encourages critical reflection on the problems and possibilities entailed in and presented by anthropological research.

Students on the programme will learn how to access research material, conduct ethnographic fieldwork, apply research methods (participant observation, interviewing and recording), and adhere to the ethics of anthropological research.

Students who complete the programme are prepared to undertake further research towards the PhD in Social Anthropology or to enter employment as trained researchers in the public or private sectors.

Available Programmes of Study

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

How You'll Study

Assessment Methods

Assessment will be based on extended essays for each individual course module and the dissertation.

Why Study Social Anthropology?

• To understand cultural and social diversity of the world
• To understand social and cultural contexts
• To be able to design and conduct a research project
• To understand social and cultural implications of current processes around the world.
• To work with anthropologists in the department who conduct their research in North and South America, Iceland, Scotland, Scandinavia, Siberia, Africa, Tibet and the Himalayas.
• To join our enthusiastic cohort of postgraduate students.
• To study at the university that produces research of the highest quality.
• To learn to write clearly and effectively.
• To learn to think critically.

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Applicants for admission will normally be expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with a 2:1 standard from a recognised university or body.

Applicants without this qualification may be admitted subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of work experience appropriate to the field of study. Also taken into careful consideration is the trajectory of results, an applicant without an overall 2.1 but with 2.1 results in their final two years of study may be admitted.

The MRes is a research degree in the sense that, alongside courses in research methods, students work out their own specific research topic under the supervision of the department. Many students, but not all, intend to go on to study for a PhD, in which case the dissertation written at the end of the MRes serves as a PhD research proposal. To apply for MRes, please include a short outline of your intended research theme. This need not be very detailed, up to about 1000 words in length.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
Reference x 2
two reference letters, one of which should be from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employers, or other professional individuals


There will be many career options open to you after graduating in Anthropology. Recent postgraduate researchers in Anthropology from Aberdeen have gone to work in a range of top universities around the world and in other organisations including governments and museums.

What our Alumni Say

Iliana Papangeli

Iliana Papangeli

Iliana Papangeli

Job Details
Graduated 2017

“For me, Aberdeen was a turning point, a new direction towards what it is like to do anthropology. The department and staff were friendly, supportive and inspiring all the way. I am grateful for the opportunity to do the MRes in Social Anthropology with these wonderful people and I would strongly recommend Aberdeen to anyone thinking of doing Master’s degree in Anthropology.”

Dr Donatas Brandišauskas

Dr Donatas Brandišauskas

Dr Donatas Brandišauskas

Job Details
Associate Professor in Anthropology
Graduated 2004

“The MRes programme is an important training which provides all necessary tools to conduct fieldwork successfully and start writing your thesis. MRes programme helps students make first steps as independent researchers.”

Maddi Dorronsoro Olamusu

Maddi Dorronsoro Olamusu

Maddi Dorronsoro Olamusu

Job Details
PhD Student
Graduated 2018

“I chose Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen because I wanted to study in Scotland and liked the research profile of the department. The MRes programme in anthropology was a perfect transition from my undergraduate to PhD. This programme has a nice balance between taught and research elements. I have learned a lot in this past year, this Department has an incredibly friendly and warm atmosphere, which made me feel supported and cared throughout my Masters."

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr Johan Rasanayagam

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


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Sir Duncan Rice Library

Sir Duncan Rice Library

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Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX