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Undergraduate Courses 2017

Anthropology with a Year in Japan - BSc (Hons)



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 offer 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 Japan provides an excellent opportunity to experience Japanese 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. If you're interested in this programme then visit our Year Abroad web page which includes students talking about their experience of the Year Abroad programme. 

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.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

SE301 - Social Anthropology (30 credits)

Social Anthropology is a discipline which arose with other social sciences in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, social and cultural anthropology has made a speciality of studying 'other' peoples worlds and ways of life. With increasing frequency, however, anthropologists have turned towards 'home', using insights gained from studying other cultures to illuminate aspects of their own society. By studying people's lives both at 'home' and 'abroad', social and cultural anthropology attempt to both explain what may at first appear bizarre and alien about other peoples' ways of living whilst also questioning what goes without saying about our own society and beliefs. Or, to put it another way, social and cultural anthropology attempt, among other things, to challenge our ideas about what we take to be natural about 'human nature' and more generally force us to take a fresh look at what we take for granted.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SE302 - Foundations of Biological Anthropology (30 credits)

This module is an introduction to biological anthropology and human prehistory. It provides an exciting introduction to humans as the product of evolutionary processes. We will explore primates and primate behaviour, human growth and development, elementary genetics, the evolution of our species, origins of agriculture and cities, perceptions of race, and current research into human reproduction and sexuality. Students will develop skills in synthesising information from a range of sources and learn to critically evaluate various hypotheses about human evolution, culture, and behaviour. This module is required for all BSc and BA Anthropology students. The module is also suitable for students in other disciplines who want to understand human evolution, and the history and biology of our species. A background in science is not assumed or required, neither are there any preferred A-levels or other qualifications. The module is team-taught by the biological and medical anthropology staff

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SE307 - Thinkers and Theories: An Introduction to theHistory and Development of (15 credits)

The module introduces students to the major figures who have shaped the discipline of Anthropology (both socio-cultural and biological) and take them through the historical development of the discipline. Major thinkers such as Marx, Weber and Durkheim on the one hand, and Linnaeus, Lamarck, Darwin and Mendel on the other, are introduced, and their influence on and contribution to the discipline traced. The module will provide an historical outline of major schools of thought within Anthropology - evolution, diffusionism, functionalism structuralism, postmodernism, socio-biology, evolutionary psychology - in both Britain and the USA, and examine the relationship between socio-cultural anthropology and biological anthropology from an historical perspective.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE308 - Skills for Anthropology and Conservation (15 credits)

This module is designed to introduce students to the range of basic practical and technical skills required across the School's BA and BSc programmes. The following areas will be covered:

Literary skills - different types of academic writing, and when and how to use them.

Reading skills - how to read an academic paper, how to precis an argument, how to make notes on a book chapter.

Bibliographical skills - how to construct a bibliography and the use of the library, online databases and full-text journals.

Correct referencing and the use of Endnote/Refworks.

Data collection and handling - the use of spreadsheets for simple statistics and graphs.

Planning projects and fieldwork.

The use of appropriate specialist software.

Photography and video skills.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

SE582 - Comparative Perspectives in Primate Biology (15 credits)

This module will provide the fundamental theoretical and comparative perspective that lies at heart of biology, with a particular focus on the order Primates. Particular attention will be paid to the evolutionary history of the primates and comparative primate (skeletal) anatomy, both placed in an evolutionary ecological context (e.g. a consideration of dentition in relation to diet and feeding; post-cranial anatomy in relation to locomotion and phylogenetic trends). Extensive use of casts of primate skeletal material will provide hands-on ‘experiential’ learning. The module will provide a detailed treatment of natural and sexual selection as key components of evolutionary theory that shape the adaptations of organisms, and the way adaptations are used to make sense of the diversity of organisms with particular reference to the primates. It complements, and is complemented by, SE580 Primate Behaviour and Ecology.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE588 - Advanced Social Anthropology 1: Power and Economy (15 credits)

The module is a cross-cultural analysis of economic and political institutions, and the ways in which they transform over time. Throughout the term, we draw upon a range of ethnographic research and social theory, to investigate the political and conceptual questions raised by the study of power and economy.

The module engages with the development and key debates of political and economic anthropology, and explores how people experience, and acquire power over social and economic resources. Students are asked to develop perspectives on the course material that are theoretically informed and empirically grounded, and to apply them to the political and economic questions of everyday life.

The module covers the following topics: the relationship between power and authority; key concepts and theoretical debates in economic anthropology; sharing and egalitarianism; gift exchange; sexual inequality; violence; the nation state; money; social class; work; commodification; financialisation.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE589 - Advanced Social Anthropology II: Religion & Cosmological Imagination (15 credits)

This module is focused on a diverse range of approaches deployed by anthropologists to the study of religion, and belief and symbolic systems. It introduces a range of an-thropological insights to the ongoing transformations of religious traditions and belief systems vis-à-vis colonial encounters, post-colonial settings, as well as globalisation. The aim of the module is to familiarize students with the complex interactions between lived religious practice, religious traditions, and the ways in which these are intertwined with other domains of social life, politics, economics and ideology. The key topics covered in this module focus on ritual and sacrifice; witchcraft and sorcery; secularisation and fundamentalism; millennialism and conversion; cosmology and ideology; human and non-human relationships; modes of religiosity, rationality and belief; mediation and ethics. This module will develop students’ awareness of the strengths and limitations of anthropological insights compared to other disciplinary perspectives on religion such as theology, cognitive science or sociology.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE561 - Biology and Human Identity (15 credits)

The module is designed as a bridging module between more biological elements of the BSc programme and the more socio-cultural anthropology courses students take as part of that programme. Being largely a broad survey of human evolutionary biology and identity, it will serve to introduce the more biological students to arguments and materials that will place their biological understanding within a broader framework of ideas about what makes people who and what they are and encourage them to explore the socio-cultural aspects of biological science. For the more socio-cultural BA students the module provides an opportunity to consolidate biological understanding from the Foundations of Biological Anthropology module and learn how to assess the assumptions and limitations of biology in the understanding of human behaviour. We will cover topics such as the human fossil record, human variation, what makes us human and ecological adaptation. By the end of the module the student should have knowledge of the basic principles of biological anthropology, an understanding of human identity, and be able to relate those ideas to wider concepts in biology. The student will be given an overview of the hominin fossil record and its interpretation, and receive in depth study of the different biological and social aspects that define us as human and the evolution of human life histories. The student will be introduced to the genetic and phenotypic variation of the modern human species, how humans have adapted to particular environments, and the importance diet played in human evolution. The student will also acquire some of the practical skills of data collection currently used by biological anthropologists.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE567 - Methodology in Anthropological Science (15 credits)

This module will introduce students to anthropological research, as well as basic statistics and data handling, through a combination of seminars and practical classes on research methods, statistics, and instruction in the use of computer software to analyse data. The goal of this module is to provide students with an understanding of how anthropological research works, and how to design and undertake an independent research project. Topics covered include an introduction to parametric and non-parametric statistical techniques, how to use programmes such as SPSS, how to build and tests hypotheses, and anthropology-specific research methods.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA304 - Learning Japanese 1A: An Introduction to Elementary Japanese (15 credits)

The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity, at an introductory level, with everyday life, activities and culture in Japan.

Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing will include:

- everyday elementary level conversation skills including greetings and introductions, talking about oneself and getting to know each other,

- elementary skills useful to people visiting Japan including describing locations and shopping,

- topics related at introductory level to Japanese culture, geography including major cities, social interaction etc.

There will be a balance between communicative activities, and understanding of vocabulary

and grammatical structure.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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LA305 - Learning Japanese 1B: An Introduction to Upper Elementary Japanese (15 credits)

The curriculum content is intended to give students some familiarity, at lower A2 level, with everyday life, activities, describing objects/products, talking about past events, expressing likes and dislikes and culture in Japan.

Topics for listening, speaking, reading and writing exercises will include:

- everyday lower A2 level conversation skills including talking about oneself and getting to know each other in detail, and describing locations, likes and dislikes about food and leisure activities, etc.

- lower A2 level skills useful to people visiting Japan including making enquiries, asking for where shops are and, describing travel experiences, etc.

- topics related at lower A2 level to Japanese culture, festivals, geography including major cities, famous places, etc.

- the translation from Japanese to English and vice versa of lower A2 level vocabulary and sentences will be included.

There will be a balance between communicative activities, and understanding of vocabulary and grammatical structure.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE565 - Sex Evolution and Human Nature (15 credits)

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?

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE566 - Human Osteology (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE580 - Primate Behaviour and Ecology (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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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 Japan, 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.

Possible modules may include:

SE608 - Anthropology Year Abroad Mark (120 credits)

Students will spend one academic year studying in a University with whom Kent has agreements for such exchanges. The purpose of the Year Abroad is to give students an opportunity to further their anthropological experience by living in another culture, as well as studying in a new HE context. Students develop a learning agreement (i.e. list of modules to be taken) with the module convenor (Year Abroad Coordinator) before commencing the year abroad. Students are registered for this module during their Year Abroad. During the year abroad itself students will follow the modules in their learning agreements at their host universities, therefore the curriculum will vary for each student, depending on the host institution and modules chosen. All students are encouraged to take primarily anthropology modules, or closely related subjects but are allowed the equivalent of one 'wild module' per term, as well as one language module, if appropriate.

Credits: 120 credits (60 ECTS credits).

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Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

SE533 - Project in Anthropological Science (30 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.).

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SE541 - Palaeoanthropology (15 credits)

Hominins – the array of species of which ours is the only living representative – provide the clues to our own origins. In this module, the methods and evidence used to reconstruct their biology and behaviour are discussed. This module will provide students with an advanced knowledge of human evolution, as well as techniques used in the examination of behaviour and cognition in fossil hominins. Emphasis is placed on the study of both the fossil and archaeological evidence for human evolution. By the end of the module, students will be able to assess the importance of an evolutionary perspective to the human sciences.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE569 - Palaeopathology (15 credits)

Some diseases leave a characteristic signature on the human skeleton after death, which can be retained in the burial environment. Palaeopathology is the study of these diseases in human skeletons from an archaeological context to infer aspects of life in the past, such as childhood growth, as well as adult diet, activity, health, social interaction (caring, contact), and conflict.

The purpose of this module is to provide theoretical knowledge about the causes and manifestations of skeletal disease, and practical experience identifying and diagnosing palaeopathology. The relationship between skeletal growth and developmental disturbances are considered. Disease, activity, and diet are discussed. Skeletal responses to specific and non-specific infections, as well as neoplastic and traumatic events, are explored.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE570 - Current Issues in Evolutionary Anthropology (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE609 - Forensic Anthropology (15 credits)

This module examines the contribution of biological anthropology to the study of forensic science and provides students with a detailed understanding of the methods and theory of forensic anthropology. We cover topics such as biological profiling, field excavation and recovery, forensic taphonomy, identity, trauma and expert witness testimony. By the end of this module students will know how biological anthropology is applied in a forensic arena, and understand how human remains are recovered and analysed.

Students are introduced to concepts applied in forensic anthropology. Students learn how to correctly excavate a burial and recover human remains. Students are introduced to environmental factors influencing crime scene recovery and skeletal material and will learn about the importance of other forensic specialities such as forensic entomology, palynology, sedimentology and odontology. They are introduced to forensic anthropological recovery on a local scale and in mass disaster situations. Students also acquire an understanding of the role of a forensic anthropologist in the courtroom.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE614 - Afterlives of Socialism in Eastern Europe andCentral Asia (15 credits)

This module focuses on the afterlives of Soviet socialism in contemporary Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Throughout the 20th century, Soviet socialism provided the main economic and (geo)political alternative to Western capitalism and its forms of industrial modernisation. It was, however, also an internally-diverse social, political and cultural project that impacted all spheres of society and interpersonal relations, ranging from economic organisation, housing and consumption, to religious life. In 1989, this project collapsed with large-scale societal transformations across the Eurasian landmass and beyond. Starting from this point of rupture, the module addresses two sets of aims. Firstly, it will introduce students to the diversity of the afterlives of the 'actually living' Soviet socialism and postsocialism in contemporary Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Secondly, it will ask how ethnographic study of postsocialism can contribute to critical and comparative understanding of rapid and radical social changes. These aims will be explored by focusing on the themes studied by anthropologists (in a dialogue with historians and political scientists), including religious revival; memory and nostalgia; food and consumption; infrastructure and/of the state; nationalism; money and exchange networks; morality and personhood.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE752 - Anthropology of Creativity (15 credits)

This module critically surveys anthropological approaches to creativity and creative expression—selected from research on creativity itself, and on the anthropology of art and literature (both oral and written). We explore three fields of creative practice as they relate to contemporary anthropology. 1) We review classic approaches to the anthropology of art, in both non-Western and Western contexts. We assess recent breakthroughs which challenge the borders between artistic and ethnographic discourse, exploring how the ethnographic encounter can be rethought via dialogue with contemporary artists. 2) We review the anthropology of literature, and assess both pioneering forms of literary expression in the work of anthropologists, and the output of anthropological practitioners of literary fiction and poetry. 3) We examine how anthropology itself can be conceptualised as the creative expression of an encounter with others, lived experience, and the unknown, and explore the implications for anthropological modes of representation (including public anthropology). Students have the option to develop a creative project during the module that builds on this training, and can submit both academic and practice-led creative anthropological research as their assessment.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE605 - Hormones and Behaviour (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE575 - Medicinal Plants: Home Remedy, Pharmaceutical, Illicit Drug (15 credits)

This module is an introduction to ethnopharmacology, a multidisciplinary field of study that employs chemistry, ecology, biology, pharmacology and anthropology to evaluate and understand the use of plants (and other substances) in non-western medical systems. While students will be introduced to all of the disciplines involved in ethnopharmacological research, this module will have a heavy anthropological focus. Lecture and reading materials will address questions related to the actions of natural products in the human body, the ecological and evolutionary basis of medicinal plants use, the epistemology of non-western medical systems, the efficacy of medicinal plants and the development of pharmaceuticals based on traditional medicines. Topics discussed in class will provide ideas and models for student research projects. This module should appeal to students with interests in anthropology and/or medical care/research.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE579 - The Anthropology of Amazonia (15 credits)

Throughout the five hundred years of contact between Europe and the Americas, Amazonia has captivated the political, scientific and popular imagination of industrialized nations. To many people in our society, "the Amazon" epitomizes the mysterious, the wild, the uncivilized -- an image that anthropologists have variously exploited and criticized. Either way, they usually describe Amazonian societies as being either isolated from or opposed to "civilization" (i.e. the capitalist state). As Amazonians are incorporated into the nation-state and the global economy, however, it has become impossible to view them as either isolated or silent. Today, there is increased interest and concern relating to the place of humans in the environment and the future of indigenous peoples and the areas in which they dwell.

This course will employ several classic ethnographic studies of South America – by anthropologists, such as Claude Levi-Strauss, Pierre Clastres, Philippe Descola, William Fisher, Neil Whitehead and Michael Taussig – to examine how the Amazon has inscribed itself on the imagination of anthropologists, as well as how anthropologists have used their experiences in non-Western societies to contribute to broad debates in Western philosophy. Ethnographic case-studies will provide the basis for discussing issues of theoretical and topical importance, such as environmentalism; political ecology, ethnogenesis, gender relations, kinship and exchange. Ultimately, this engagement challenges some of the most basic categories of our discipline: "the state," "society," and "culture."

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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DI503 - Evolutionary Genetics and Conservation (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE549 - The Anthropology of Health, Illness and Medicine (15 credits)

A synopsis of the curriculum

The module addresses the causes, effects, treatments and meanings of health and illness. Health and illness are of major concern to most of us, irrespective of our cultural, social and biological contexts. In this module we will begin with an overview of the major theoretical paradigms and methods in medical anthropology. We will then focus on how and why different diseases have affected various human populations throughout history and the ways perceptions of what constitutes health and illness vary greatly, cross-culturally as well as within one particular cultural domain. This will be followed by an overview of ethnomedical systems as a response to illness and disease. Anthropological studies in the sphere of medicine originally tended to concentrate on other people's perceptions of illness, but have increasingly come to focus on the difficulties encountered when trying to define what constitutes health in general. Anthropology has also turned its attention to a critical examination of biomedicine: originally thought of as providing a 'value free, objective and true' assessment of various diseases (epidemiology), biomedicine is now itself the subject of intense anthropological scrutiny and is seen as the expression of a culturally specific system of values. The module will finish with the consideration of practical applications of medical anthropology.

Lecture and seminar topics may include:

Theoretical and Methodological Approaches in Medical Anthropology

Human Disease Evolution and Ecology

Epidemiology and Ethno-epidemiology

The Body in Medical Anthropology

Social Constructions of Health, Illness and Medicine

Ethnomedical Systems

Popular Medical Beliefs and Practices

Symbolic and Ritual Healing

The Hegemony of Biomedicine

Definitions of Disease and State Interventions

Applied Medical Anthropology

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE550 - The Anthropology of Gender (15 credits)

This module focuses on gender issues. The study of gender in anthropology developed in the 1970s, with the rise of the feminist movement in Europe and America. However, gender studies came to reflect a bias evident in most feminist discourses: an interest in gender was equated with an interest in women's issues, and the anthropological theories at this time replicated a bias similar to that of which male researchers had previously been accused. Not until recently has the study of gender come to incorporate an examination of the discourse of power, knowledge and social action generated through the interface between men and women in society. The module proposes to trace the developments of the theoretical debate in anthropology, while simultaneously providing ethnographic material illustrating the theoretical perspectives and the cross-cultural variations in the definition of gender identities. Concepts of sex and gender will be examined using anthropological material stemming from the study of religion, ritual and politics

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE551 - Anthropology and Language (15 credits)

An introduction to linguistic anthropology and a critical exploration of the relationship between language, culture, and social organisation. Topics covered will include language and thought in the history of anthropology, the rudiments of linguistic description, language as a social phenomenon, oratory and ritual speech, the significance of the written word and literacy, speech variation, the links between language, social structure and culture, linguistic aspects of symbolism, the relationship between words and categories, colour classification and universalist versus relativist theories.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE552 - Culture and Cognition (15 credits)

An introduction to cognitive anthropology and a critical exploration of theories concerning the relationship between cognitive processes, culture and social organisation. The topics covered will include the forming of categories, relations between categories, the symbolic construction of nature, the classification of natural kinds, the convergence of cognitive and symbolic approaches, the evolution of hominid cognitive processes, the development of second order representations, social cognition and classification, spatial orientation, time reckoning and the cultural construction of knowledge.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE554 - Visual Anthropology Theory (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE555 - Project in Visual Anthropology (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE556 - Social Sciences in the Classroom (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE557 - Primate Communication (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching & 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 gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • principles relevant to the study of human biology, evolution and sociality
  • human diversity and an appreciation of its scope
  • 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 anywhere in the world
  • social anthropology as the comparative study of human societies
  • specific themes in social anthropology such as religion, politics, nationalism and ethnicity
  • 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.

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
  • the ability 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
  • 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
  • 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 oneself and the opinions of others
  • openness 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
  • the ability to make appropriate reference to scholarly data
  • time-management
  • familiarity working with equipment in a scientific laboratory
  • knowledge of IT
  • communication, including written, oral, 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 the Admissions Office 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



Mathematics grade C, single or double science grade B

Access to HE Diploma

The University of Kent will not necessarily make conditional offers to all access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. If an offer is made candidates will be required 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 via the enquiries tab 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) plus science 4 at HL or SL.

International students

The University receives applications from over 140 different nationalities and consequently will consider applications from prospective students offering a wide range of international qualifications. Our International Development Office will be happy to advise prospective students on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about our country-specific requirements.

Please note that if you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes through Kent International Pathways.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
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 through Kent International Pathways.

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


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.

The Government has confirmed that EU students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support for the duration of their course.


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. The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications 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.

Enquire or order a prospectus


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The 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £16480

Fees for Year Abroad/Industry

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.

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 information@kent.ac.uk

Key Information Sets

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 information@kent.ac.uk.

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

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The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000

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