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Social anthropology entails a profound understanding of how and why people do the things they do. As a Social Anthropology student at Kent, you explore how people work, use technologies and negotiate conflicts, relationships and change in different societies around the world.
The School of Anthropology and Conservation offers a friendly and cosmopolitan learning community with students from over 70 different nationalities and 45% of staff from outside the UK. Our flexible degree provides diverse and relevant module choices where you are taught by enthusiastic academic staff, who produce inspired field research.
Social Anthropology with Italian provides an excellent opportunity to develop your language competence throughout your degree as well as spending a year studying language and anthropology at one of our partner institutions. Students who undertake a year abroad often comment on how their experiences significantly shape their future plans, their academic insight and feel the opportunity enhances the overall university experience.
Our degree programme
In the first year, you take modules that give you a broad background in the subject. The programme begins with an introduction to the history of anthropology, the foundations of biological anthropology, anthropology and conservation, and global perspectives on relatedness. Additionally you take a compulsory module in Italian.
In your second and final years, you take compulsory modules that develop your language and specialised anthropological knowledge and skills. You can also choose further modules from a wide range of options.
Modules expand across the full range of our research expertise from traditional anthropology (The Anthropology of Amazonia; The Anthropology of Business) and current anthropological thinking (Theoretical Perspectives in Social Anthropology) to ideas impacting today's societies (Islam and Muslim Lives in the Contemporary World; The Anthropocene – Planetary Crisis and the Age of Humans).
Our degree also gives you the unique opportunity to study visual anthropology, with modules on the anthropological use of photography, film and video, including practical classes and visual anthropology projects.
Your third year is taken abroad at one of our partner institutions where teaching is in Italian. Modules are primarily anthropology or related subject modules however you also undertake relevant language modules and are allowed the equivalent of one 'wild module' per term.
If you’re interested in this programme then visit our Year Abroad webpage which includes students talking about their experiences of their Year Abroad programme.
Alternatively, you can take our three-year Social Anthropology degree, our four year Social Anthropology with a Year Abroad or four-year Social Anthropology with a Year in Professional Practice.
A number of our modules include opportunities for learning and experiences outside of the classroom through field trips in the UK and abroad. Potential excursions are:
- Paris, the Musée du quai Branly and Musée de l'Homme
- The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge
- London Chinese temple
- London financial district
- Impact Hub Westminster
- Canterbury Cathedral and Canterbury Mosque.
These may change from year to year and may incur additional costs. See the funding tab for more information.
For more details about field trips, including reports from students who went on our recent trips to Cambridge and Paris, visit Social Anthropology Field Trips.
The School of Anthropology and Conservation has excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:
- refurbished computer suite with 32 PCs with HD screens
- an integrated audio-visual system to help provide stimulating lectures
- a state-of-the-art visual anthropology room
- an ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant material
- student social spaces
- a teaching laboratory with first-rate equipment
- an excellent fossil cast collection with hundreds of casts, including multiple entire skeletons of extant and extinct primates and hominins.
The Anthropology Society is run by Kent students and is a good way to meet other students on your course in an informal way. There are also many national societies, which are a great way to meet people from around the world and discover more about their countries and cultures.
The School of Anthropology and Conservation puts on many events that you are welcome to attend. We host two public lectures a year, the Stirling Lecture and the DICE Lecture, which bring current ideas in anthropology and conservation to a wider audience. We are delighted that these events attract leading anthropological figures from around the world; in 2017 we hosted paleoanthropologist Professor Lee Berger, one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people.
Each term, there are also seminars and workshops discussing current research in anthropology, conservation and human ecology.
In The Guardian University Guide 2019, over 86% of final-year Anthropology students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.
Over 93% of final-year Modern Languages and Linguistics students were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2019.
Teaching Excellence Framework
All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.
Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.
Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.
Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.
You spend a year between Stages 2 and 3 taking modules at one of our partner universities, where courses are taught in Italian. Students must achieve specified requirements before being permitted to proceed to the next stage. Students must have achieved at least a 60% average in Stage 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad. Students who fail to qualify for progression to Stage 2 or the Year Abroad will transfer to the 3-year version of the programme.
Examples of modules available during your year abroad are available from the School of Anthropology and Conservation website.
In the unlikely event that force majeure prevents us from placing every student who meets the academic requirement, for example if a partner university is forced to terminate an exchange unexpectedly, and places become limited, the School/Schools concerned will weigh up applicant' academic performance, attendance and individual merit in order to decide who is placed. Individual merit would cover such things as commitment to the degree programme, participation and motivation.
The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.
For full details of the year abroad opportunities available to University of Kent students please visit our Go Abroad website.
Teaching and assessment
In our most recent national Teaching Excellence Framework, teaching at Kent was judged to be Gold rated. Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.
Our teaching is research-led as all our staff are active in their fields. Social and biological anthropology staff have been awarded national teaching awards, reflecting the quality of the undergraduate programmes.
Anthropology at Kent uses a stimulating mix of teaching methods, including lectures, small seminar groups, field trips and laboratory sessions. For project work, you are assigned to a supervisor with whom you meet regularly. You also have access to a wide range of learning resources, including the Templeman Library, research laboratories and computer-based learning packages.
Assessment ranges from 80:20 exam/coursework to 100% coursework. At Stages 2 and 3, most core modules are split 50% end-of-year examination and 50% coursework. Both Stage 2 and 3 marks count towards your final degree result.
The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and does not contribute towards your final degree classification.
For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours. The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
The programme aims to:
- provide a broad knowledge in the major sub-divisions of anthropology, showing how it is linked to other academic disciplines
- explore theoretical and methodological issues
- demonstrate the relevance of anthropological knowledge to an understanding of many local, national and international issues
- develop students’ transferable skills and prepare them for employment and/or further study
- provide modules informed by the School's research.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- social anthropology as the comparative study of human societies
- specific themes in social anthropology, such as religion, politics, kinship, nationalism and ethnicity
- human diversity and an appreciation of its scope
- several ethnographic regions of the world including central, West and east Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia in particular Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines
- the history of anthropology as a discipline
- the variety of theoretical approaches contained within anthropology
- the process of historical and social change
- the application of anthropology to understanding issues of social and economic development throughout the world
- the relevance of anthropology to understanding everyday processes of social life anywhere in the world.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- general learning and study
- critical and analytical abilities
- expressing ideas in writing and orally
- group work
- the ability to review and summarise information
- data retrieval.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- understanding how people are shaped by their social, cultural and physical environments while retaining a capacity for individual agency
- recognising the pertinence of an anthropological perspective to understanding major national and international events
- interpreting texts and performance by locating them within cultural and historical contexts
- using anthropological theories and perspectives in the presentation of information and argument
- analysing the significance of the social and cultural contexts of language use
- devising questions for research and study which are anthropologically informed
- perceiving the way in which cultural assumptions may affect the opinions of others and oneself
- the ability to make sense of cultural and social phenomena which may, at first sight, appear incomprehensible.
You gain transferable skills in:
- communication – the ability to organise and summarise information; respond critically to written information; make a structured argument
- problem solving – the ability to identify problems; formulate ways of problem solving; evaluate alternative solutions
- improving your own learning – the ability to manage time; develop personal learning strategies; conduct independent research; assess your own strengths and weaknesses
- information technology – the ability to access information on the internet; produce documents; use databases; use technology for oral presentations and online portfolio development
- group work – the ability to participate in joint learning and communication; share ideas and skills; understand group dynamics.
Studying social anthropology gives you an exciting range of career opportunities. We work with you to help direct your module choices to the career paths you are considering. Through your studies you learn how to work independently, analyse complex data and present your work with clarity and flair.
Our recent graduates have gone into areas such as:
- overseas development and aid work
- media research or production (TV and radio)
- film production
- social work
- international consultancy
- work with community groups
- town and country planning
- civil service
- further research in social anthropology
- social sciences research.
Help finding a job
The School offers an employability programme aimed at helping you develop the skills you'll need to look for a job. This includes workshops, mentoring and an online blog featuring tips, advice from employers, job adverts, internship information and volunteering opportunities.
The University’s friendly Careers and Employability Service offers advice on how to:
- apply for jobs
- write a good CV
- perform well in interviews.
Through your studies you learn how to work independently, analyse complex data and present your work with clarity and flair. Alongside such specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers look for, including the ability to:
- think critically
- communicate your ideas and opinions
- work independently and as part of a team.
You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.
It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.
New GCSE grades
If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.
|Qualification||Typical offer/minimum requirement|
Grade B / 6 in a Modern European language except English
|Access to HE Diploma||
The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis.
If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.
|BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)||
The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.
34 points overall or 16 points at HL
The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.
However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.
Meet our staff in your country
For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.
English Language Requirements
Please see our English language entry requirements web page.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.
General entry requirements
Please also see our general entry requirements.
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.*
Your fee status
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
Fees for Year in Industry
For 2019/20 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385.
Fees for Year Abroad
UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2019/20 academic year pay £1,385 for that year.
Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.
General additional costs
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.
The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence
At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.