Introduction

Anthropology and English at Aberdeen is a great combination of subjects. This programme will add to your thorough grounding in what it means to ‘be human’ and offers in-depth studies of language – in all its glorious variety of expression. Your will develop skills in critical thinking, communication and analysis through two highly-rated programmes at a recognised centre of excellence for both – which will appeal strongly to employers in business and many other fields.

This programme is studied on campus.

Anthropology – for which we boast 100% student satisfaction – will give you a thorough grounding in humanity, the differences in human cultures and communities and how they have developed. You will gain a unique insight into behaviours, beliefs and attitudes all over the world and find connections between aspects of life such as family, economics, politics and religion.

English at Aberdeen gives you the opportunity to learn in a creative hub, rated second in the UK for the quality of its research. You will be inspired by enthusiastic teachers and researchers, themselves acclaimed authors and poets and be encouraged to develop your own creative writing skills while studying every period from Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton to contemporary English, Scottish, Irish, European and American writing. You will also learn about the cultural and critical impact of powerful and controversial modern works.

You will thrive in our dynamic international environment, at a historic university with an award-winning library, priceless literary treasures and in a region rich in tradition and heritage that also celebrates today's diverse cultures. You will gain the core writing, research, technical and presentation skills to open up a wide variety of careers as diverse as publishing, teaching, research, journalism, or any sector of business.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
LQ63

What You'll Study

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Academic Writing for Social Sciences (AW1006)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

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Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.

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Introduction to Anthropology: Peoples of the World (AT1003) - Credits: 15

Anthropology is the comparative study of human ways of life through the study of societies and cultures around the world. In this course we introduce some of the key topics of contemporary anthropological inquiry: What is Anthropology? What do anthropologists do? What is ethnography? How can we see the diverse world of societies and cultures around us, not by looking from the outside, but by looking at how people themselves make their own lives and meanings?

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Acts of Reading (EL1009) - Credits: 15

This course introduces students to the study of English by exploring the dynamic relationship between author, reader and text in a series of classic works of fiction and poetry. It covers a broad historical range (from Folk Tales and ballads to 21st century postmodernity) and offers a basic grounding in key elements of literary theory, literary history and the varieties of literary form.

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Introduction to Anthropology: Questions of Diversity (AT1502) - Credits: 15

In this course students will be offered an extended introduction to social anthropology and will focus on topics: language and culture, belief and religion, gender and sex, kinship, and race. Students will develop and refine their understanding of major issues in the discipline of social anthropology through staff lectures, tutorials, and ethnographic films.

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Controversial Classics (EL1513) - Credits: 15

Literature can provoke, offend and disturb as well as entertain. This course considers some of the most powerful and controversial works of modern literature. It examines the circumstances of publication, the nature of the controversy, and the cultural and critical impact of each work. The course shows how poems, plays and novels can raise searching questions about national, racial and personal identity, and looks at the methods used by writers to challenge their readers, as well the responses of readers to such challenges.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Political Anthropology (AT2005) - Credits: 15

How do human beings relate to one another at a communal level? What holds human societies together? This course examines the basic forms of human solidarity that anthropologists have identified that bind us together as people: race, class, ethnicity, kinship, gender. In each case, these core ideas will be examined not just as descriptions of social life, but as forms of power and identity. The course introduces students to what these terms mean, how they have been used in understanding human societies, and what they look like in a cross-cultural context.

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Anthropological Approaches to Religion (AT2006) - Credits: 15

This course helps students to understand critically the phenomenon of religion. There are two main aims. Firstly, four contrasting approaches to religion that have been influential in anthropology and beyond will be introduced. These include religion as a social phenomenon, religion as a cultural phenomenon, Marxist perspectives on religion, and religion as embodied experience. Secondly, students themselves will engage with the question of what religion is, compare and contrast different answers to this question, and develop their own, informed, understanding.

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Encounters with Shakespeare (EL2011) - Credits: 30

So you think you know Shakespeare? This course invites you to think again. Studying a range of plays we get behind the mythology of Shakespeare, and rediscover the dynamic inventiveness of the Elizabethan theatre. Shakespeare and his contemporaries were the principal players in a period of literary experimentation that reinvented the possibilities of literature. Encounters with Shakespeare is your chance to find out more.

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Reimagining Colonialism (AT2515) - Credits: 30

This course will explore contemporary colonial expressions from an anthropological perspective. It will be split into two main themes: Material Histories; and Mediated Histories. Within these themes it will address topics such as the "capturing" of cultures in museums, kinship and politics, gendered colonialism, economic development, media, aboriginal rights and contemporary resistance movements.

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The Tragedy of Knowledge (EL2512) - Credits: 30

This course traces the use of key Western myths from antiquity to the present to examine the way knowledge is often presented as both dangerous and compelling. As well as introducing students to a range of historical, social, and formal variations on the theme of knowledge, the course also highlights the role of storytelling and adaptation in the formation of knowledge and understanding.

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Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Anthropological Theory (AT3027) - Credits: 30

This course explores theoretical issues and key debates in contemporary anthropology. We begin with the questioning of the central concepts of culture and society in anthropology during the 1980s. Following this, we ask: how can anthropology proceed if the targets of its investigation can no longer be understood as objective entities? How can anthropology proceed if the anthropologist themselves is inevitably implicated in and part of those very targets? To look for possible answers, the course examines current anthropological interest in power and history, political economy and phenomenology, experience, embodiment and practice, ontology and things that speak.

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Page and Stage: Renaissance Writings 1500 - 1640 (EL30CP) - Credits: 30

This course explores the poetry, drama and prose of a period often referred to as the golden age of English literature. A period which saw Shakespeare and his contemporaries produce innovative new literary works in which the language of desire took centre stage.

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American Insurrections: Writing, Self and Nation, 1776 - 1865 (EL30HK) - Credits: 30

This course follows the development of American literature in English from the printing of the Declaration of Independence, the defining document of the American Revolution, in 1776, to the end of the Civil War, in 1865. It focusing on the idea of America, both as the subject of American writing, and as the context in which that writing was produced. Among the authors studied in the course are: Benjamin Franklin, Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.

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American Innovation (EL3009) - Credits: 30

This level-three course offers an introduction to American literature and culture between 1850 and 1950, a century in which the United States was transformed from a rural economy to an industrialised super-power. You will learn about the key writers of this period, the issues that sparked their imaginations, and the literary strategies which they adopted, or at times invented, to express their response to the changing world around them. This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars.

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States of Mind: Contemporary Irish and Scottish Writing (EL30IH) - Credits: 30

This course explores a range of contemporary Scottish and Irish texts and looks at the key developments in the literatures of the two nations; indeed, new modes of urban writing, working-class writing and women's writing have altered the landscapes of Scottish and Irish literature. The course looks at 'states of mind' in a dual sense: imaginative projections of the 'nation' and psychological explorations of the mind.

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Art and Atrocity: Representations of Violence and Trauma (EL30UT) - Credits: 30

How is the artist to respond when the virtual becomes the real and when words cannot carry the weight of trauma? How can an author avoid the accusations of voyeuristic prurience or crass opportunism when he or she attempts to re-present events of public violence? This multi-disciplinary course examines work from a wide range of modes, including fiction, poetry, film and graphic art, and looks at the difficulties of inscribing trauma and the ethics and praxis of remembrance. Key events covered include the Holocaust, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, 9-11, the Gulf War and the conflict in the Balkans.

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Knights, Virgins and Viragos: Chaucer and Medieval Writing (EL35DQ) - Credits: 30

An introduction to late medieval-literature, challenging modern assumptions about the medieval and exploring the diverse range of medieval literary culture, from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to the autobiographical narrative of Margery Kempe and surprising profanity of medieval lyric.

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Classical Epic (EL35EH) - Credits: 30

This course is your opportunity to study four of the most influential and gripping texts of world literature. We begin in the oral culture of ancient Greece, with the Iliad's stark meditation on war and death, and the Odyssey's consolatory reflections on divine justice, poetry and love. In imperial Rome, we see the genre transformed into a monument to political power in Virgil's Aeneid, then thrown into disarray by Ovid's irreverent anti-epic, the Metamorphoses. We end by considering some of the ways these texts have been exploited and adapted across the intervening centuries, in poetry and prose, art and film.

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Mind and Monstrosity: Realism and the Gothic in the Long 19th Century (EL35GK) - Credits: 30

Exploring connections between Gothic monstrosity and psychological realism, this course investigates an exciting range of texts and contexts from the long nineteenth century. Focusing on novels from 1789-1914, with some attention to other genres and adaptations, we ask what it means to be human, and how cultural anxieties and scientific/technological developments have affected literature (and vice versa). From doubling to degeneration, madness to the metropolis, villain to vampire, empire to the threat of extinction, we examine the work of writers such as Mary Shelley, Dickens, Poe, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells.​

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Union, Enlightenment and Modernity: Scottish Literature 1750 - 1850 (EL3507) - Credits: 30

The period from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century was a time of rapid social and political transformation and high cultural achievement in Scotland. The 1707 Union of Parliaments had made the country part of the new polity of Great Britain and the century and a half that followed witnessed a steady growth in Britain's global power. Scotland played a leading role in these developments and Scottish writers responded in diverse ways to the challenges of modernity. The course examines how these challenges are imagined in key poetic, fictional and philosophical texts.

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Romanticism (EL35XR) - Credits: 30

The Romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th century transformed received modes of writing, redefined the role of literature, and gave new prominence to ideas of originality, creativity and self-expression. This course traces the development of the Romantic aesthetic in the context of the social and political upheavals of the Age of Revolution. Analysing the work of major poets – Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron and Keats – as well as political writers, novelists and essayists such as Burke, Paine, Wollstonecraft, Austen, and De Quincey, the course examines the literature and thought of Romanticism across a range of genres.

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Creative Writing: Creativity and Craft (EL35YB) - Credits: 30

This course offers students the opportunity, through lectures and interractive workshops, to develop their understanding of, and practical skills in, the writing of prose fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. Taught by widely published, award-winning writers, it provides a thorough, practice-based understanding of creative process and of the technical challenges involved in developing an original idea into a completed literary artefact, presented to a professional standard. It also contributes to students' future career potential, whether as ‘creative’ or other kinds of professional writers/communicators.

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Perversion of the Interior: Women's Fiction 1925 - 1975 (EL35KM) - Credits: 30

Gothic, Romance, Autobiography: these are the central topics of mid-twentieth-century fiction by and for women, and yet have often been critically neglected. Looking at a range of women's fiction in this period, including popular and middlebrow titles as well as literary classics, this course looks at what women wrote, what women read, and who deemed these works important. This course especially focuses on the relation between physical space (the home, the village) and psychological space (including representations of mental illness) in order to discuss the space of women's writing.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 30 credit points from Level 3 courses in Anthropology.
  • Select a further 60 credit points from Level 3 courses in English.
Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Independent Study In Anthropology (AT4036) - Credits: 30

This course is open to joint honours students in anthropology. Having chosen a topic for their study, students will be allocated a supervisor and carry out readings, research and writing under the guidance of their supervisor. Students will write a 10,000-word dissertation based on library research.

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English Dissertation (EL4502) - Credits: 30

Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within English literature.

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Course Availability

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.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course.
  • Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course.
  • Written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Anthropology and English?

  • Aberdeen is one of the fastest-growing Anthropology departments in the UK - our core staff specialise in regions as diverse as Canada, the Central  Asian Republics, Iceland and Scandinavia, Siberia, Scotland and the UK, South America, Tibet and the Himalayas.
  • We offer innovative ideas and a fresh vision of the subject, with an emphasis throughout on work at the cutting-edge of the discipline and research.
  • A vibrant student anthropology society regularly organizes academic and social events bringing together undergraduate and postgraduate students with staff outside the classroom.
  • Attractive, in-depth courses covering all periods of English literature plus Scottish, Irish and American literature, and creative writing with our prize-winning and published creative writing team.
  • Friendly and committed teaching staff at the forefront of research in their field.
  • Excellent library resources built up over 500 years and located in the Sir Duncan Rice Library, combined with state-of-the-art IT facilities.
  • A range of teaching methods, from lectures and seminars to small-group tutorials and individual supervision.

Entry Requirements

You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, changing your subject, offers and advanced entry.

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5,5,5 at HL
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Tuition fee rates can be found on our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,000
All Students
International Students £13,800
Students admitted in 2016/17
International Students £14,300
Students admitted in 2017/18

Additional Fees

  • 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.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Undergraduate Open Day

Our next Open Day will be on

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Careers

  • Anthropology.
  • Museum Curator.
  • Conservation Work.
  • Outreach and Engagement.

Our Experts

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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Top in Scotland for Anthropology

Source: National Student Survey 2016

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Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

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Contact Details

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

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