Anthropology with a Year in Europe - BSc (Hons)

UCAS code L603

2018 See 2017 entry

Anthropology addresses the big question – what makes us human? It is the study of human beings: how we evolved, why we live in different sorts of societies around the world and how we interact with one another and the environment. An anthropology degree can give you a new perspective on the human world, providing a depth of insight into social and cultural difference and giving you an understanding of the history and behaviour of your own species.


The BSc in Anthropology at Kent is one of the few anthropology degree programmes in the UK that offers a mixture of biological anthropology, medical anthropology and social anthropology throughout the degree to give you a broad picture of what it means to be human. It is the perfect degree if you are interested in the study of primates, human evolution, disease, nutrition, skeletal biology or genetics, and want to combine this with the study of social and cultural aspects of being human. Whether you come from a humanities, social sciences or science background, you will find this programme interesting and exciting.

The year in Europe provides an excellent opportunity to experience another culture and a different learning environment. Students who engage in 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. Opportunities are currently available in Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain (subject to change). If you are interested in this programme then visit our Year Abroad webpage which includes students talking about their experiences of their Year Abroad programme.

To find out more about this programme visit the School of Anthropology website.

Independent rankings

In the National Student Survey 2016, Anthropology was ranked 7th in the UK with 96% of our students stating they were satisfied with their programme and 99% agreeing that staff are good at explaining things.

Course structure

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 ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Year abroad

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 courses in anthropology at one of our partner university in Denmark, Finland or the Netherlands, where courses are taught in English. Students are required to have obtained a Stage 2 average of 60% or above, before commencing their year abroad. If the requirement is not met, you will be transferred to the equivalent three-year 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.

Stage 3

Possible modules may include Credits

In SE533 Project in Anthropological Science, students will be expected to conduct original research into some aspect of scientific anthropology and present their research findings in the form of a 10,000 — 12,000 word dissertation, and a moderated oral presentation. They will also have to submit a project participation file. For the project they can collect and analyse their own data, analyse previously published data in an original manner, or combine the two approaches. In most cases the research will include collecting/analysing quantitative data. Students will be assigned an individual supervisor who will advise them on their choice of topic and your research strategy. The participation file will document the progress of the research and related research training. There is no word limit, as exact content will depend on the project topic. At a minimum it should include: A diary of the research, a log of the meetings with the supervisor, notes from supervisions or from consultations with the supervisory team, notes from data collection and analysis, notes from wider reading, and any draft methods of data collection (questionnaires etc.).

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Much of the material presented in this course forms part of the relatively new academic discipline of evolutionary psychology/anthropology. The goal of this course is to discover and understand the principles of evolutionary psychology and other complementary paradigms. The module explores human behaviour (primarily human sexual behaviours) from an evolutionary perspective. Topics covered are reproductive and mating strategies, parenting behaviour, kinship, cooperation, survival, status striving, jealously, and aggression. The course will provide an excellent understanding of the deeply biological nature of human behaviour, and develop skills in critical thinking. Students will be encouraged to bring relevant questions and observations to seminars and time will be allocated to deal with them.

Lecture and seminar topics will include:

• The origins of human nature and evolutionary anthropology

• Why does sex exist, what does it mean to be a particular sex, and why don’t men breast-feed?

• What aspects of our personalities are determined by our biological need to reproduce?

• Why are human beings so intelligent?

• Viewing humans as a species of ape. What can we learn by studying chimpanzees about ourselves and our ancestors?

• Human mating strategies. Male and female long and short term strategies. The essence of beauty.

• Do men and women differ in their natures? If so, are these differences genetic?

• Adultery. What’s love got to do with it?

• Why do humans have a concealed (not advertised) ovulation?

• Why is there a menopause?

• Sexual conflict and jealousy

• Why do we make friends, and what are they good for?

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The study of the human skeletal system is basic to the discipline of biological anthropology. This module will examine the fundamentals of human osteology. Students will learn to identify and analyse human bone and evaluate and interpret major research in biological anthropology that has as its basis the analysis of bone.

Seminar/practical topics will include:

A detailed consideration of the basic properties of bone growth, development, and function in the human body.

An examination of all major skeletal structures and the morphological features associated with them. The focus will be on the function of these structures within the body as well as the identification of fragmentary remnants of them in a forensic or archaeological context.

Major techniques used in biological anthropology to analyse human bone, such as estimation of age at death, estimation of biological sex and stature.

Critical evaluation of major research studies in biological anthropology involving analysis of human bone.

Consideration of ethical issues in the collection and curation of human bone.

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This module is an advanced treatment of current topics and debates in evolutionary anthropology including those in anthropological genetics, palaeoanthropology, evolutionary psychology, bioarchaeology, cultural evolution and primatology. The module will help students understand the role of research and publication in anthropological science. Students will be exposed to a broad series of topics, opinions, methodologies and journals.

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This module introduces students to the discipline of behavioural ecology, with particular reference to non-human primates. The module looks at the patterns and principles that can be generalised from the variation in behaviour and ecology across primate species. Set within an evolutionary behavioural-ecological framework, this module combines established findings with the latest research. It emphasises the importance of direct observations of primate behaviour and the use of theoretical models with which to make sense of these data. The module covers social and reproductive behaviour within primate groups, the nature and evolution of primate societies, and cognition and communication, as well as interactions between primates and their environments: primates as foragers, predators and prey. The module will make particular use of multi-media technology to allow students to see and hear primates in their natural habitats.

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Genetics forms the basis of the diversity of life on earth, and is fundamental to biodiversity, speciation, evolutionary ecology, and has become recognized to be vital to the successful restoration of endangered species. An understanding of the evolutionary processes that foster biodiversity and genetic diversity is essential for modern conservation biologists, across timescales ranging from a few generations to millions of years. Students will gain an understanding of the importance of genetic processes and evolutionary mechanisms within the context of conservation.

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If behaviour has been shaped by natural selection, then those behaviours must have some biological basis. This module explores the extent to which hormonal mechanisms provide such a biological explanation of behaviour in humans and our primate cousins. Students will learn the basics of the endocrine system, and consider both how hormones affect behaviour and how behaviour may affect hormones. This module will examine the role that hormones play in the differentiation of behaviours between females and males, as well as the evidence that sexual, parental, aggressive, and affiliative behaviours are influenced by hormones. Students will thus complete this module with a greater appreciation of the hormonal underpinnings of the complex sociality that characterizes humans and other primates.

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This module is a general introduction to visual anthropology. It includes treatment of cross-cultural cognition and symbolic analysis, the social history of still photography and film relating to ethnographic subjects, the study of national and regional cinematic traditions (outside Europe and America), the comparative ethnography of television and broader consideration of issues of social representation and political ideology in visual imagery, combining empirical ethnographic analysis of these issues with the alternative (complementary) contributions of scholars of visual imagery from a literary and humanistic tradition of interpretation. It includes a short practical introduction to different visual media, but extended practical experience is available only through the project modules.

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Within the Anthropology degree programme this module represents an optional component of Part II studies, namely the practical study of visual representations. It assumes that students will be taking SE554 Visual Anthropology Theory as a prerequisite. Its distinctiveness relative to the other module is that it focuses principally on the exploration of theoretical issues, through the development of an ethnographic project, focussed on either photography or video and delivered as multimedia. The module requires the making a visual project (a photographic essay, a short ethnographic film) with practical instruction in developing, editing and mounting procedures.

Students will be introduced to basic techniques of visual production and presentation. The practical component of the course cannot attempt to provide qualified instruction in professional photographic or video production expertise, and we are narrowly constrained by the limited equipment and technical support available. The visual project is intended to give practical experience of general techniques of visual communication that should critically inform understanding of more theoretical topics dealt with in the module. Techniques of camera use, instruction (theoretical and practical) on research methods, practice and demonstration of visual presentation will all be taught sequentially, and linked to students practical experience in formulating and producing their projects.

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The module will begin with (locally timetabled, formative) training sessions for the students (2x3hours) in the Autumn term. These will include sessions on the sections of the national curriculum that are degree specific, the relationship with the teacher, how to behave with pupils, as well as how to organise an engaging and informative session on an aspect of the specific degree subject drawn from the national curriculum. These sessions will be run by the local module convenors, the academic schools' Outreach Officers (though this may be the same person) and members of the Partnership Development Office.

After training the student will spend one session per week for six weeks in a school in the Spring term (this session includes time to travel to and from the School, preparation and debrief time with the teacher and 'in class’ time with the teacher and pupils – 3 hours in total). Generally, they will begin by observing lessons taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Later they will act somewhat in the role of a teaching assistant by working with individual pupils or with a small group. They may take ‘hotspots’: brief sessions with the whole class where they explain a topic or talk about aspects of university life. Finally the student will progress to the role of "teacher" and will be expected to lead an entire lesson.

The student will be required to keep a weekly log of their activities. Each student will also create resources to aid in the delivery of their subject area within the curriculum. Finally, the student will devise a special project (final taught lesson) in consultation with the teacher and with the local module convener. They must then implement and evaluate the project.

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The diversity and complexity of primate sociality is reflected in the diversity and complexity of their communication strategies. This module will build on SE580 (Primate Behaviour & Ecology) by examining the ways in which primates communicate with one another through olfactory, tactile, visual, and acoustic signals. We will address fundamental questions in animal communication including: Is it appropriate to characterize such communication in terms of information transfer? How does communication evolve? What maintains signal honesty, and under what conditions can deceptive communication can evolve? The module will cover the physical and biological bases of signal production and perception. We will explore the extent to which studies of primate communication can provide a window into their minds. Finally, we will delve into the question of the relevance of primate communication for understanding the evolution of human language.

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Teaching and assessment

On average, you have four hours of lectures and six hours of seminars and/or lab sessions each week. For the Project in Anthropological Science, you receive regular one-to-one supervision.

The School of Anthropology and Conservation has a specialist teaching lab that provides equipment and specimens for teaching and research use. This lab has a completely integrated audiovisual system, providing cutting-edge lectures, and is primarily used by BSc students. You have access to an excellent fossil cast collection with more than 50 casts of extant and extinct primates and hominins, including an entire Homo erectus skeleton.

We are associated with the nearby Quex Museum, which has one of the largest collections of primate skeletal remains in the world, as well as an extensive collection of cultural artefacts to which undergraduates have access. We have dedicated computing facilities within the School, in addition to the general University IT provision, a darkroom, and an ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant material.

Many of the core modules have an end-of-year examination which counts for 50% to 100% of your final mark for that module. The remaining percentage comes from practical or coursework marks. However, others, such as the Project in Anthropological Science are assessed entirely on 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.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • develop critical, analytical problem-based learning skills
  • provide students with the skills to adapt and respond positively to changes in the discipline
  • acquaint students with theoretical and methodological issues relevant to understanding anthropology
  • demonstrate the relevance of anthropological knowledge to an understanding of local, national and international biological and social phenomena arising from the changing nature of human organisation in the distant past and in the contemporary world
  • provide a broad range of knowledge in the discipline of anthropology, stressing the need for a biological approach, and showing how it is closely linked to other academic disciplines
  • provide a grounding in human and primate biological variation and demonstrate the links between biological and sociocultural processes
  • ensure that the research of staff informs the design of modules, their content and delivery in a manner that is efficient, reliable, and enjoyable to students
  • prepare graduates for employment and/or further study in their chosen careers through developing students’ transferable skills.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will develop knowledge and understanding of:

  • the principles relevant to the study of human biology, evolution and sociality
  • human diversity and an appreciation of its scope
  • the fossil evidence of human evolution
  • the similarities and differences between humans and other primates
  • biological perspectives on human ecology
  • the ethical implications of human biological diversity
  • the principles of Mendelian and population genetics, as well as molecular biology
  • the relevance of anthropology to understanding everyday processes of social life
  • social anthropology as the comparative study of human societies
  • specific themes in social anthropology such as religion, politics, kinship and religion
  • several ethnographic regions of the world.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • general learning and study skills
  • critical and analytical skills
  • the ability to express ideas orally and in writing
  • communication and IT skills
  • statistical analysis
  • practical skills specific to the scientific study of anthropology
  • hypothesis testing.

Subject-specific skills

You gain specific skills in the following:

  • the ability to describe and analyse aspects of biological diversity
  • to identify the relationship between environmental and cultural influences in human ecology
  • the ability to engage in intelligent debate on the process of human evolution
  • to design and carry out a research project in the field of scientific anthropology
  • an understanding of the processes involved in the development of human variation, including a working knowledge of the principles of classical genetics and molecular biology
  • a general knowledge of human biology, and an appreciation of how biological processes interact with behaviour and culture in humans
  • the ability to compare and contrast the morphology and behaviour of humans to that of other animals, specifically primates
  • the ability to understand how people are shaped by their social, cultural and physical environments
  • the ability to perceive the way in which cultural assumptions may affect the opinions of oneself and others
  • to be able to make rational sense of cultural and social phenomena, which may appear at first sight incomprehensible.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • the ability to make a structured argument
  • how to make appropriate reference to scholarly data
  • time-management
  • familiarity working with equipment in a scientific laboratory
  • knowledge of IT
  • oral presentations and methods of communication including poster and PowerPoint presentations
  • working in a team.


Studying 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, to analyse complex data and to present your work with clarity and flair.

Our graduates have gone on to careers in advertising; education; social work; town and country planning; housing and personnel management; journalism, film production, or research for radio and television programmes; consultancy in overseas development and relief agencies; science journalism; museum work; forensic science; business and the Civil Service.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

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.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level


Where the year abroad is taught in a foreign language then an A level in the relevant language (grade B or above) is required.


Mathematics grade C, single or double science grade B.

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.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 points at HL including 4 in mathematics at HL or SL (Mathematics Studies 5 at SL) and plus science 4 at HL or SL. There will also be language requirement for varients taught in a foreign language.

International students

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.

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 advise 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 2018/19 entry tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, the 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £16480

UK/EU fee paying students

The Government has announced changes to allow undergraduate tuition fees to rise in line with inflation from 2017/18.

In accordance with changes announced by the UK Government, we are increasing our 2017/18 regulated full-time tuition fees for new and returning UK/EU fee paying undergraduates from £9,000 to £9,250. The equivalent part-time fees for these courses will also rise from £4,500 to £4,625. This was subject to us satisfying the Government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the access regulator's requirements. This fee will ensure the continued provision of high-quality education.

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.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact

Fees for Year Abroad/Industry

The 2018/19 tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, UK/EU/International students on an approved year abroad for the full 2017/18 academic year pay an annual fee of £1,350 to Kent for that year. Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Please note that for 2017/18 entrants the University will increase the standard year in industry fee for home/EU/international students to £1,350.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.


General scholarships

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. 

For 2018/19 entry, 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.

Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

I like the fact that one day I am learning about a remote tribe in the Trobriand Islands and the next studying human evolution

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact

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