Social Anthropology


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Wednesday 10 June 2020

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  • Study wide-ranging, thought-provoking topics on this Social Anthropology BSc, ranging from the cultural perception of illness, and the study of human-wildlife conflicts, to the role of biotechnology and new genetics.  
  • Undertake ethnographic fieldwork, either in the UK or abroad, including our hugely popular (student-funded) South Africa field course. 


Explore key debates and issues in contemporary anthropology on our exciting social anthropology degree. 

Social anthropology explores the diversity and complexity of human societies in both Western and non-Western contexts. This combined honours degree will give you critical insights into how people live, and how society is structured, in different cultures. 

What is the relationship between conservation and conflict? How is heritage and national identity politicised and mobilised in society? How do humans understand and conceptualise relatedness? Why do big pharmaceutical companies promote the medicalisation of contemporary societies? These are just some of the big questions you’re likely to delve into on this degree. 

More generally, the course focuses on classic anthropological themes, such as kinship, witchcraft and indigenous cosmologies, along with contemporary disciplinary concerns, such as migration, tourism, gender and sexuality, health and medicine, and knowledge and science. Theoretical and methodological issues, and the discipline’s policy applications, are also explored in detail.   

Study with us and you’ll join a highly dynamic course, taught by staff engaged in world-class research. We run some of the UK’s most innovative modules such as Being Human, which explores the human condition from social and biological perspectives; Fieldwork: Theory, Practice and Product, where experienced anthropologists explain how a project reaches fruition; and Cultural Politics on Tour, where you will study tourists, and their motivations and influences, through an exciting mix of field trips, films, lectures and discussion.

Read about the latest developments on the Anthropology blog. Find out about the Northern Ireland field trip as part of the module Cultural Politics on Tour.

Year one 

  • Begin exploring the theoretical traditions of the discipline, as well as its core subject areas, including the family, political systems, cosmological and belief systems.  
  • A focus on classical ethnographic field studies will help you to see how key areas of anthropology have developed. 

Year two 

  • Expand your knowledge of the discipline through a range of engaging core modules.  
  • Recent examples have included Kinship: Comparative and Contemporary Studies; Theory: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives; and Ethnographic Research Methods. 

Year three 

  • Embark on a small-scale supervised ethnographic project.  
  • Specialist modules at this stage might include Human-Animal Relations; Anthropological Aspects of Psychological Practices; and Cultural Themes and Beliefs Concerning Life and Death.

Here are examples of the modules we currently offer:

Year 1

Being Human
Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology
Fieldwork: Theory, Practice and Product

Year 2

Compulsory Modules
Kinship: Comparative and Contemporary Studies
Theory: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives
Research Methods in Anthropology

Optional Modules
Contemporary Urban Life
Sociology and Anthropology of Human Rights

Year 3

Optional Modules
Anthropology Dissertation
Anthropology Independent Study
Culture, “Madness” and Medicalisation
Anthropology of Life and Death
Hunter Gatherers and Human Evolution
Food and Society
Doing Social Research
Conservation, People and Wildlife: South African Field Course
Gender and the Body in Classical Art
Islam and Women


Compulsory and Required modules
Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Above is a list of modules offered this academic year.

Optional modules
Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.

You will leave with the practical skills and knowledge to follow a number of different career paths. Our graduates go on to work in non-governmental organisations (NGOs), environmental and nature conservation, politics, marketing, journalism and tourism. 

Our careers team is available to support you from the start of your studies until after you graduate. They will help you build your CV, prepare for interviews, and meet and learn from successful graduates working at the top of their careers. You’ll also have opportunities to work with our partners across London and beyond, and to attend a Roehampton jobs fair where you can find out about graduate opportunities and meet employers. 

Life at Roehampton

At Roehampton, we can offer all new students the opportunity to live in accommodation on our beautiful parkland campus, including affordable and high-end options.

We offer scholarships, provide hardship funding and help you find advice on managing your finances while you study.

We provide plenty of opportunities for you to get involved, through volunteering, playing sport or music, or joining one of our many active student societies.

Chat to one of our advisers online