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Course options

  • Qualification

    MSc - Master of Science

  • Location

    University of Oxford

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date


  • Duration

    12 months

Course summary

About the course

Social anthropology considers people, through and through, as social beings. Everything that all of us do, in whatever society or culture at whatever period of history, rests on assumptions, which usually are not stated but which are largely shared with our particular neighbours, kin, friends, or colleagues.

Everything social is open to question, including solidly held beliefs and attitudes and ideas about causality, the self in society, and nature and culture. Learning to relate different versions of the world to each other is learning to be a Social Anthropologist and is what we hope you will learn over the course of your degree.

The MSc in Social Anthropology aims to provide a solid background in analytical and methodological issues as they apply to social anthropology. You will critically read key intellectual contributions to the discipline and you will be introduced to ethnographic methods and experiences of living among, and writing about, people. You will learn how to comparatively study what makes humans simultaneously similar and yet different. You will follow both core and option courses in social anthropology and may also consider doing a little fieldwork over the summer for your MSc dissertation if appropriate (and the School approves). Core teaching covers the major theories, approaches and themes in social anthropology, plus comparing cultures, anthropology in the world, and fieldwork theories and methods. Option courses offered vary from year to year, but are chosen from around twelve to fifteen that are available, with topics ranging from specific areas of geographical focus, to current anthropological themes.


The MSc is examined in two stages. Assessment is by coursework as well as timed unseen examination, constituting Part One of the assessment process, completed by the end of June. Part Two is the MSc dissertation (of 10,000 words) which is submitted in late August. You receive support from your tutors in devising a viable dissertation project, including discussion of relevant literature, questions of methodology and research implementation, but the actual writing of the dissertation is unsupervised providing you with an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and qualities as an independent researcher.

Graduate destinations

Research and teaching, though this often requires a doctorate, recruitment to public bodies, the larger private companies, development agencies, NGOs etc.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 29,160per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University of Oxford

  • University League Table


  • Campus address

    University of Oxford, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2JD, England

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    1st out of 29 1

  • Entry standards

    / Max 212
    191 96%


  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    95.0 95%


  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5

Suggested courses

Durham University

Socio-Cultural Anthropology MA

Durham University

Anthropology league table

SOAS University of London

MA Social Anthropology

SOAS University of London

University league table


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