Social Anthropology - BA (Hons)

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Overview

Study everything from religion and politics, to gender, creativity, conflict, inequality, and the anthropology of business. You gain in-depth knowledge of today’s global cultures and challenges, and valuable skills that will help you to find your place in a changing world and make you more employable. If you're a creative and critical thinker, fascinated by every aspect of human life then our BA Social Anthropology is for you.


The University of Kent boasts one of the UK's largest groups of Anthropology lecturers. Each specialises in at least one geographical region and a number of fascinating research topics. This means that you gain an unusually diverse range of module choices, covering the usual core topics such as the study of politics and religion, but also more specialist or practical modules that help you to prepare for life after graduation. 

Social Anthropology was established at the University of Kent in 1965 and is one of the longest-running programmes in the United Kingdom. Kent plays an important role in pioneering new and innovative approaches to contemporary anthropology and our exciting range of expertise reaches across all regions of the globe. It is through drawing directly on this wealth of experience that we deliver a dynamic Social Anthropology programme.

Our degree programme

You learn to understand and address the challenges of our time and are given skills to contribute to society in a wide range of exciting careers after you graduate. 

  • Regional expertise and cultural literacy. Social Anthropology is the social science that specialises in cultural diversity. In no other subject will you have the opportunity to study so many different cultures. You may develop your cultural literacy further by taking one of our Year Abroad programmes (see below).
  • Understanding changing values and identity. Rapidly changing values and identities present one of the greatest areas of challenge for the world today—as well as exciting opportunities. Studying Social Anthropology at Kent provides you with opportunities to learn more about how these changes are affecting people in different societies and how social scientists have tried to understand them. 
  • Understanding the impacts of the planetary crisis. One of the biggest changes in the social sciences in the past ten years has been the growing interest in the relationship between human beings and their environment. You have the opportunity to study this relationship with researchers who are at the forefront of this trend. 
  • Ethnographic research skills. Across your degree programme, you have the opportunity to choose modules that offer training in ethnographic methods, including the possibility of undertaking your own research under the supervision of our expert staff, and writing a dissertation about your research in your final year. 
  • Using your creativity. You are trained to use your creativity to produce vivid accounts of social life. Most of these will be in writing, but you have the opportunity to choose modules that focus on other media, for example, by producing your own short documentary film.

You acquire these skills by taking a combination of compulsory core modules and a number of optional modules that you choose from a wide range.

In the first year, you take core modules that give you a broad background in the subject. The core modules in the second and final year of the programme cover the anthropology of politics, religion and economics, and introduce you to some advanced topics in social theory. These core modules also give you an understanding of the distinctive research method of Social Anthropology: ethnographic research. 

In each year you have the opportunity to pursue your own interests by choosing from a wide range of optional modules. These teach you more about specialist areas and develop corresponding skills. Some modules cover thematic issues, such as the anthropology of law or the anthropology of business. Others focus on particular regions of the world, such as China, Europe, South East Asia and Amazonia. You take at least two regional modules during the programme.

Year abroad

Studying Social Anthropology abroad for a year as part of your degree programme allows you to take your cultural expertise to the next level. You either study in English (Social Anthropology with a Year Abroad) or in the local language (Social Anthropology with French / German / Spanish / Italian). In recent years, our students have spent a year at our partner universities in countries including Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, as well as France, Spain and Italy. 

You don't need to make your mind up about studying abroad before you enrol at Kent, but certain conditions apply. See Social Anthropology with French / German / Spanish / Italian.

Year in professional practice

If you have specific ideas about how you would like your career to develop, you may be able to expand your degree into a four-year programme by adding a work placement between the second and final years. 

You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent, but certain conditions apply. See Social Anthropology with a Year in Professional Practice.

Study resources

Students studying BA Social Anthropology at the University of Kent enjoy world-class study resources including:

  • a recently renovated and expanded library with up-to-date collections, access to top journals, plenty of comfortable spaces providing for quiet individual work or group work
  • well equipped lecture and seminar rooms with integrated audio-visual technology
  • a state-of-the-art visual anthropology room with a suite of computers equipped for editing film and cameras made available for student use
  • an ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant material
  • a teaching laboratory with first-rate equipment
  • for students interested in taking Biological Anthropology we have an excellent fossil cast collection with hundreds of casts, including multiple entire skeletons of extant and extinct primates and hominins.

Extra activities

The University of Kent has an active Anthropology Society run by the students, which you are encouraged to join, as well as a wealth of other student clubs and associations to enjoy. 

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.

Student profiles

I studied in Japan. It was probably one of the best years of my life.

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. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made.Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

  • Certificate

    A level

    BBB

  • Certificate

    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.

  • Certificate

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit in an academic based subject. Other subjects such as Hospitality, Catering, Art & Design, Music, Photography and Dance will be considered on a case-by-case basis

  • Certificate

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 points at HL

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. 

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. 

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time

Like all degree programmes at Kent, the Social Anthropology programmes are based on a combination of core, optional and wild courses or 'modules'. 

Core modules build your background knowledge of the subject and provide you with training in its basic skills. After introductory courses in the first year, your core modules in the second and final year of the programme cover the anthropology of politics, religion and economics, while introducing you to some advanced topics in social theory. Your core modules also give you an understanding of the distinctive research method of Social Anthropology: ethnographic research. 

Optional modules provide an opportunity to learn more about specialist areas and develop corresponding skills. These modules are usually taught by a researcher who is actively contributing to knowledge in the field. In Social Anthropology you study two kinds of optional modules. Some modules cover thematic issues, such as the anthropology of law or the anthropology of business. Others focus on particular regions of the world, such as China, Turkey and the Middle East, Europe, South East Asia and Amazonia. You take at least two of these regional modules during your programme.    

Elective modules (also known as 'wild') are drawn from across the university and give you an opportunity to develop your own interests in subjects beyond your own degree programme.  

The list below is indicative of the core and optional modules offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

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.

Find out more about SE301

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, prehistoric archaeology, the evolution of our species, origins of agriculture and cities, perceptions of race, forensic anthropology, 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 primate and 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, biology, and behaviour of our species. A background in science is not assumed or required, neither are there any preferred A-levels or other qualifications

Find out more about SE302

This module introduces students to the major figures, theories and approaches that have shaped Anthropology, both Sociocultural and Biological, over the past two centuries. It presents an historical outline of the major schools of thought and discusses the historical relationship between social, cultural and biological anthropology. It focuses on two major figures (Charles Darwin and Émile Durkheim) and on their theoretical legacies, namely the central notions of "evolution" and “structure” that dominated thinking on human sociality throughout the twentieth century.

Find out more about SE307

This module introduces students to the range of basic academic and research skills required across the range of the School's BA and BSc programmes, whilst also introducing the key areas of school disciplinary expertise. Students work in groups to collaboratively create a video project that focuses on a theme that requires knowledge of the diverse disciplinary expertise of the school. They also independently carry out a quantitative analysis project on the same theme. The theme will change in relation to the contemporary concerns and research interests of the school. Lectures in the first part of the course introduce the key disciplinary and interdisciplinary resources on the theme. Other lectures and seminars are divided between the use of video, quantitative methods and the teaching of academic skills. The course concludes with an open screening of all video projects.

Find out more about SE308

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

You will study some of the key themes that have preoccupied social anthropologists through the history of the discipline, such as kinship, power, economic relations and religion. The module introduces these issues through theoretical approaches, but also through relevant ethnographic case studies. There will often be opportunities to understand the ways in which a social anthropological approach, grounded in ethnographic research, provides a different perspective on some of universal concerns that are shared by social science disciplines such as economics, politics and sociology.

Find out more about SE626

This module introduces ethnography and the ethnographic/documentary film as ways of understanding individual and social lives and the differences between cultures. The focus is critical and practical investigation of the research methods, production and communicative methods underlying them. Students will acquire both critical and practical training in these key ethnographic methodologies. The parallel histories of the development of ethnographic writing and visual anthropology will also be explored to facilitate integration between written and visual media. Indicative themes in the reading, analysis and practice of ethnography may include: (1) Critical and historical contextualisation and evaluation, (2) How to evaluate its contribution to key issues and topics in Social Anthropology; (3) Theoretical contributions; (4) Methodology and research methods; (5) The evaluation of the relationship between description and analysis (6) Examination of its structure, presentation and ability to communicate an understanding of a social and cultural group through the written word; (7) Ethnographies, photography and multi-media. Indicative themes in visual anthropology may include: (1) Collaborative and participatory media production (2) Photography, soundscapes and the senses (3) Cinema Verite and ethnographic film (4) Indigenous media, reception and publics (5) The transformative efficacy of video.

Find out more about SE627

Optional modules may include

This module aims to provide perspectives on the political anthropology of the Middle East with a particular focus on post-Ottoman and post-colonial territories such as Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and Egypt. It uses anthropological tools to explore the effects of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, its legacy and other colonial regimes on the constitution of different nation-states in the region. Drawing on historical and anthropological studies about multiple sovereign actors as well different forms of citizenship, this module will introduce students to the diversity of identities, political struggles, memories of violence, traumas, and hopes in the politically volatile Middle East. Through lectures and seminars, students will explore critically anthropological works in dialogue with historians and political scientists on the following themes: nation-building, Islamist movements, secularism, minorities, sectarianism, ethnic conflicts, forced migration and displacement, authoritarian regimes, and resistance movements.

Find out more about SE637

What has Anthropology had to say about Europe and what role has Europe played in Anthropology? In the heyday of empire, Anthropology looked overseas for its classic subjects of study; but immediately after WWII, a new Anthropology of Europe emerged that reflected the divide between a rich and democratic north and an impoverished and politically turbulent south, with a focus on the periphery. Finally, in the 1980s, as the European Union expanded, a new Anthropology of Europe arose that threw off the shackles of primitivism and turned to face the contemporary world in all its complexity. Our School is one of the first places in Britain where European anthropology thrived. Building on this tradition, this module focuses on both classic and key contemporary themes, such as: conflict, nationalism, and terror; tourism and heritage; religion and migration (e.g. Islam); the EU and BREXIT; and the Euroscepticism of the past decade, in particular the rise of populism and the impact of 'austerity' politics. In this way, we explore ethnographic vantage points from which students may creatively rethink the idea of ‘Europe’ and its meaning for the future.

Find out more about SE601

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, shamanism, gender relations, kinship and exchange. Ultimately, this engagement challenges some of the most basic categories of our discipline: "the state," "society," and "culture."This module covers themes relevant to human geography such as indigenous urbanisation, the 'demographic turn around', notions of space and place and cultural landscapes,

Find out more about SE579

Ethnicity' and 'nationalism’ are matters of contemporary urgency (as we are daily reminded by the media), but while the meanings of these terms are taken for granted, what actually constitutes ethnicity and nationalism, and how they have been historically constituted, is neither clear nor self-evident. This module begins with a consideration of the major theories of nationalism and ethnicity, and then moves on to a series of case studies taken from various societies around the world., and then moves on to examine a number of other important concepts—indigeneity, ‘race’, hybridity, authenticity, ‘invention of tradition’, multiculturalism, globalization—that can help us appreciate the complexity and dynamics of ethnic identities. The general aim of the module is to enable and encourage students to think critically beyond established, homogenous and static ethnic categories.

Find out more about SE573

Anthropology has an important role to play in the examination of our own organizational lives as embedded in various forms of capitalism. This module will allow students to gain anthropological perspectives on business formations, structures, practices and ideologies. Businesses – be they individuals, families, corporations, nation-states or multi-lateral corporations - have identities that are invariably distinct from one another and which are forged upon and promote particular social relationships. Ethnographic case-studies, with a strong emphasis on the stock market in the last third of the course will provide the basis for discussing how these social relationships that enact power, are embedded in broader cultural processes such as ethnicity, nationalism, migration, and kinship as well as ideologies of gender, aesthetics and religion among others. Acknowledging the multiple dynamic relationships between businesses, people and marketplaces will allow us to evaluate their roles as reactive producers, consumers and disseminators of cultural processes within our surrounding environments, extending from the local to the global.

Find out more about SE584

Students will learn about the significance of eating and healing in relation to biocultural evolution, globalisation, identity and health. The module will cover the evolution of primate diets and self-medication, different modes of food procurement, production and processing, and the relationship of 'drug-foods' to trade, colonial expansion and the process of globalisation. Moving from production and distribution to eating and healing specifically, the module will cover notions of identity at collective and individual levels in relation to food and medicinal plant consumption, as well as political and spiritual aspects of eating and healing with plants (e.g. food/health sovereignty).We will also look at various forms of disordered eating and drug misuse from a biocultural perspective.

Find out more about SE585

This is an introduction to anthropological approaches to the environment, and a critical exploration of theories concerning the relationship between culture, social organisation and ecology. The topics covered will include problems in defining nature and environment, cultural ecology, biological models and the concept of system, indigenous and local knowledge systems, the concept of adaptation, the ecology of hunting and gathering peoples, small scale agriculture and pastoralism, development and the SDGs, the anthropology of the environmental movement, multispecies ethnography, the more-than-human and the anthropology of climate and climate change.

Find out more about SE542

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 also consider practical applications of medical anthropology.

Find out more about SE549

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, with reference to selected cultural and artistic traditions and artworks. 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.

Find out more about SE752

This module emerges out of the fact that the human-environment nexus has, in recent years, become an area of intense debate and polarisation, both social and intellectual; a space in which many of the core categories within the natural and social sciences- be these the 'nature', ‘society’, ‘humanity’ or indeed ‘life’- are being reconsidered and reconfigured. By engaging with recent debates and case studies from different regions it seeks to critically assess, compare and contrast some of the key contemporary, at times controversial, debates that engage collaborators, colleagues and critics from diverse academic specialties and perspectives. Through the use of lectures, and student-led seminar discussions focused on specific papers and case studies it seeks to review and compare some of concepts and approaches used to research, analyze and theorise the intersecting and mutually constituting material, symbolic, historical, political dimensions of human-plant and human-environment relations. It also seeks to assess how such an understanding can better guide our attempts to address the complex socio-environmental problems facing our world and our future by explicitly addressing the issue of complexity and scale, both in space and over time.

Find out more about SE621

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Stage 3

Compulsory modules currently include

This module aims to develop the theoretical imagination of students by making them familiar with the central debates that have shaped anthropological theory from the early twentieth century to our contemporary debates. That is, we aim to instil the ability to apprehend theoretical issues and apply them with a critical and informed sense of the role of difference in the human experience. The module is not a 'history of theory' survey; rather, it will proceed by leading the students through the complex interrelations and cross references that have shaped anthropological theory over the past century. The module is organised around the theme of personhood, which will be used as a lens through which to view theoretical discussions within social anthropology as well as its appropriations from other disciplines.

Find out more about SE596

The module is of relevance for students of social anthropology, and a wide range of related disciplines preoccupied with the role of critical, anthropologically-informed thought and cultural literacy in today's transnational and multicultural world. It addresses the relationship between anthropological theory and the Contemporary World, and a series of themes that explore how anthropologists engage with the pressing political, social and environmental concerns and crises of their day. Through examination of key debates in public anthropology, and selected 'hot topics’ in the discipline, the module clarifies the relevance of anthropology for the world beyond the university, and educates students in how to adapt anthropological knowledge and skills to analysis of real world issues. Throughout, a key objective is to support students in developing and consolidating their understanding of contemporary anthropology and their own assessment of the wider utility of the social sciences.

Find out more about SE597

Optional modules may include

What has Anthropology had to say about Europe and what role has Europe played in Anthropology? In the heyday of empire, Anthropology looked overseas for its classic subjects of study; but immediately after WWII, a new Anthropology of Europe emerged that reflected the divide between a rich and democratic north and an impoverished and politically turbulent south, with a focus on the periphery. Finally, in the 1980s, as the European Union expanded, a new Anthropology of Europe arose that threw off the shackles of primitivism and turned to face the contemporary world in all its complexity. Our School is one of the first places in Britain where European anthropology thrived. Building on this tradition, this module focuses on both classic and key contemporary themes, such as: conflict, nationalism, and terror; tourism and heritage; religion and migration (e.g. Islam); the EU and BREXIT; and the Euroscepticism of the past decade, in particular the rise of populism and the impact of 'austerity' politics. In this way, we explore ethnographic vantage points from which students may creatively rethink the idea of ‘Europe’ and its meaning for the future.

Find out more about SE601

This module aims to provide perspectives on the political anthropology of the Middle East with a particular focus on post-Ottoman and post-colonial territories such as Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and Egypt. It uses anthropological tools to explore the effects of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, its legacy and other colonial regimes on the constitution of different nation-states in the region. Drawing on historical and anthropological studies about multiple sovereign actors as well different forms of citizenship, this module will introduce students to the diversity of identities, political struggles, memories of violence, traumas, and hopes in the politically volatile Middle East. Through lectures and seminars, students will explore critically anthropological works in dialogue with historians and political scientists on the following themes: nation-building, Islamist movements, secularism, minorities, sectarianism, ethnic conflicts, forced migration and displacement, authoritarian regimes, and resistance movements.

Find out more about SE637

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, shamanism, gender relations, kinship and exchange. Ultimately, this engagement challenges some of the most basic categories of our discipline: "the state," "society," and "culture."This module covers themes relevant to human geography such as indigenous urbanisation, the 'demographic turn around', notions of space and place and cultural landscapes,

Find out more about SE579

Ethnicity' and 'nationalism’ are matters of contemporary urgency (as we are daily reminded by the media), but while the meanings of these terms are taken for granted, what actually constitutes ethnicity and nationalism, and how they have been historically constituted, is neither clear nor self-evident. This module begins with a consideration of the major theories of nationalism and ethnicity, and then moves on to a series of case studies taken from various societies around the world., and then moves on to examine a number of other important concepts—indigeneity, ‘race’, hybridity, authenticity, ‘invention of tradition’, multiculturalism, globalization—that can help us appreciate the complexity and dynamics of ethnic identities. The general aim of the module is to enable and encourage students to think critically beyond established, homogenous and static ethnic categories.

Find out more about SE573

Students will learn about the significance of eating and healing in relation to biocultural evolution, globalisation, identity and health. The module will cover the evolution of primate diets and self-medication, different modes of food procurement, production and processing, and the relationship of 'drug-foods' to trade, colonial expansion and the process of globalisation. Moving from production and distribution to eating and healing specifically, the module will cover notions of identity at collective and individual levels in relation to food and medicinal plant consumption, as well as political and spiritual aspects of eating and healing with plants (e.g. food/health sovereignty).We will also look at various forms of disordered eating and drug misuse from a biocultural perspective.

Find out more about SE585

Anthropology has an important role to play in the examination of our own organizational lives as embedded in various forms of capitalism. This module will allow students to gain anthropological perspectives on business formations, structures, practices and ideologies. Businesses – be they individuals, families, corporations, nation-states or multi-lateral corporations - have identities that are invariably distinct from one another and which are forged upon and promote particular social relationships. Ethnographic case-studies, with a strong emphasis on the stock market in the last third of the course will provide the basis for discussing how these social relationships that enact power, are embedded in broader cultural processes such as ethnicity, nationalism, migration, and kinship as well as ideologies of gender, aesthetics and religion among others. Acknowledging the multiple dynamic relationships between businesses, people and marketplaces will allow us to evaluate their roles as reactive producers, consumers and disseminators of cultural processes within our surrounding environments, extending from the local to the global.

Find out more about SE584

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 also consider practical applications of medical anthropology.

Find out more about SE549

This is an introduction to anthropological approaches to the environment, and a critical exploration of theories concerning the relationship between culture, social organisation and ecology. The topics covered will include problems in defining nature and environment, cultural ecology, biological models and the concept of system, indigenous and local knowledge systems, the concept of adaptation, the ecology of hunting and gathering peoples, small scale agriculture and pastoralism, development and the SDGs, the anthropology of the environmental movement, multispecies ethnography, the more-than-human and the anthropology of climate and climate change.

Find out more about SE542

This module offers Stage 3 students the opportunity to design and execute a research project of their own devising. Students will be asked to choose in advance whether they wish to present the result of their research in the form of a written dissertation or ethnographic/ documentary film. The topic, and the way it is researched, will be of the student's own choosing, in agreement with the student's supervisor. All students will receive training in ethnographic methods, basic photography, interviewing and sound recording, feedback methodologies and interactive platforms. For those writing a dissertation, training will be given in dissertation design and ethnographic writing. For those creating an ethnographic film or documentary, training will be given in cinematography, camera movement and improvisation, the use of DSLR cameras, editing and post-production.

Find out more about SE534

This module emerges out of the fact that the human-environment nexus has, in recent years, become an area of intense debate and polarisation, both social and intellectual; a space in which many of the core categories within the natural and social sciences- be these the 'nature', ‘society’, ‘humanity’ or indeed ‘life’- are being reconsidered and reconfigured. By engaging with recent debates and case studies from different regions it seeks to critically assess, compare and contrast some of the key contemporary, at times controversial, debates that engage collaborators, colleagues and critics from diverse academic specialties and perspectives. Through the use of lectures, and student-led seminar discussions focused on specific papers and case studies it seeks to review and compare some of concepts and approaches used to research, analyze and theorise the intersecting and mutually constituting material, symbolic, historical, political dimensions of human-plant and human-environment relations. It also seeks to assess how such an understanding can better guide our attempts to address the complex socio-environmental problems facing our world and our future by explicitly addressing the issue of complexity and scale, both in space and over time.

Find out more about SE621

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, with reference to selected cultural and artistic traditions and artworks. 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.

Find out more about SE752

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Fees

The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £9250
  • International full-time £16200
  • Home/EU part-time £4625
  • International part-time £8100

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £9,250.

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.

Additional costs

Field trips

One day trips that are compulsory to a module are financially funded by the School. Optional or longer trips may require support funding from attendees.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

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.

Scholarships

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 (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.

Teaching and assessment

In the Government's recent Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) assessment of teaching at UK universities, Kent was awarded a Gold rating. 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. 

Teaching

Our teaching is research-led as all our staff are active in their fields. Social Anthropology staff have been awarded national teaching awards, reflecting the quality of the undergraduate programmes. Social Anthropology at Kent uses a stimulating mix of teaching methods, including lectures, small seminar groups, field trips and practical sessions. For project work, you are assigned to a supervisor with whom you meet regularly.

Assessment

Assessment varies according to module and to some extent you are able to choose your modules in order to maximise your preferred form of assessment. Some modules include a mix of an exam and coursework, many are 100% coursework based. We try to make coursework assessments varied in order to make the most of each student's unique strengths: some are essay based, others may involve project work or presentations. 

Fieldtrips

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
  • Fo Guang Buddhist Temple, London
  • City of London financial district
  • Impact Hub Islington
  • Canterbury Cathedral 

These may change from year to year and may incur additional costs. See the funding tab for more information.

Contact Hours

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.

Programme aims

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
  • ensure that the research by staff informs the design of modules, and 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:

  • 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 Asia, the Mediterranean, Amazonia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific
  • 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.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • general learning and study
  • critical and analytical abilities
  • expressing ideas in writing and orally
  • communication
  • group work
  • IT
  • the ability to review and summarise information
  • data retrieval.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific:

  • 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.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • information retrieval skills in relation to primary and secondary sources of information.
  • communication and presentation skills (using oral and written materials and information technology).
  • time planning and management skills.
  • ability to engage in constructive discussion in group situations and group work skills.

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.

Independent rankings

In The Guardian University Guide 2020, over 89% of final-year Anthropology students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Over 91% of final-year Anthropology students were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2020.

Of Anthropology graduates who responded to the most recent national survey of graduate destinations, 100% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE, 2017).

Careers

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.

Graduate destinations

Our recent graduates have gone into areas such as:

  • overseas development and aid work
  • media research or production (TV and radio)
  • journalism
  • advertising
  • film production
  • social work
  • education
  • international consultancy
  • work with community groups
  • town and country planning
  • business
  • 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.

Career-enhancing skills

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.

Apply

Full-time applicants

Full-time applicants (including international applicants) should apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system. If you need help or advice on your application, you should speak with your careers adviser or contact UCAS Customer Contact Centre. 

The institution code number for the University of Kent is K24, and the code name is KENT.

Application deadlines

See the UCAS website for an outline of the UCAS process and application deadlines. 

If you are applying for courses based at Medway, you should add the campus code K in Section 3(d).

Apply through UCAS

Apply now for part-time study

Social Anthropology - BA (Hons) - part-time at Canterbury

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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