Social Anthropology allows you to study human societies and carry out research with cultural and critical awareness.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
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