Social Anthropology (MRes) 2016 entry
The MRes in Social Anthropology provides a firm foundation in the methods and methodologies of social anthropology and the human sciences, to serve as a basis for knowledgeable and skilled research in Social Anthropology.
Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Research (MRes)
One year full time
A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. We welcome applications from students with an undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology and from those with no previous anthropological experience.
If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.
UK and EU: £6,800
- sample of academic written work (2,000 words)
- two original signed academic references
- academic transcripts and degree certificates
- English language requirements certificate
- letter of intent (optional).
For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.
If you are looking to start this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Social Anthropology MRes page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in our archive.
- The programme combines opportunities for theoretical development and specialist interests with training in research methodologies.
- Small class sizes ranging from two to ten students encourages student-led seminars and discussion as well as more contact with supervisors.
- The course introduces cross-disciplinary connections and differences.
The MRes in Social Anthropology is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the Department of Social Anthropology within the School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies.
The programme provides a general introduction to social anthropology at the postgraduate level. The MRes includes various social science components, research and methodology training, and core social anthropology teaching.
Over two semesters, students take two compulsory and two optional modules. Teaching methods include formal lectures combined with seminar style teaching and student-led group work. Lecture class sizes range from five to ten students and tutorial sizes range from two to six students. Modules are assessed through coursework which includes essays, independent research-led assignments and group assessed oral presentations.
Over the course of the year, with particular focus during the summer months, you will devise a research project culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation. Every taught postgraduate student is assigned an individual supervisor from among the Anthropology staff who works with them closely to develop a topic and direction for the end of degree dissertation.
The Department of Social Anthropology provides postgraduates access to a museum collection of ethnographic objects and a common room that includes a general anthropological class library, providing a space that is shared by both staff and postgraduates. The departmental libraries, along with the main library which holds a fine anthropology collection, include materials from all ethnographic regions of the world.
Each module typically comprises:
- 25 contact hours including lectures, seminars and practicals
- 100% coursework assessment.
For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue.
Students may substitute up to 30 credits from 3000 or 4000 level modules, with the approval of the course coordinator.
- The Anthropology of Connections: Interdisciplinarity as Methodology: examines the relevance of other disciplines for social anthropology by working with methodologies and concepts drawn from history, social science, philosophy, language and the arts.
- Research Methods in Social Anthropology: examines the methodology of anthropological research through close attention to the relationship between method and fieldwork experience.
Students choose two optional modules, taking one in each semester. For the latest optional module information, see the module catalogue. Optional modules are subject to change each year, and attendance may be limited (see the University’s position on curriculum development).
- Being a Social Scientist: Skills, Processes and Outcomes: focuses on how to design and produce a research dissertation and addresses issues of professional development (e.g. ethics, careers, grant writing).
- Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences: introduces students to the basic theoretical approaches in the social sciences, covering the methodological and epistemological issues involved in conducting social scientific research.
- Qualitative Methods in Social Research: offers both a theoretical and practical introduction to the collection, analysis and writing of qualitative social science research.
- Quantitative Research in Social Science: an introduction to the fundamental concepts of quantitative analysis.
- Anthropology, Art and Perception 1 or Anthropology, Art and Perception 2
- Anthropology of the Pacific 1 or Anthropology of the Pacific 2
- Amerindian History and Ethnography or Special Subject (Amerindian Studies)
The modules listed ran in the academic year 2015-2016 and are indicative of this course. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2016 entry.
Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.
Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August.
If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MRes, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGCert or PGDip instead of an MRes.
The Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) consortium brings together social anthropologists from the Universities of St Andrews, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow to support innovation in research and teaching.
In addition to co-hosting international conferences and workshops, the consortium runs two free week-long residential training courses each year in anthropology for postgraduate students and early career researchers. The first course is for students at the pre-fieldwork level and the second is for those at an advanced stage of research writing.
After the MRes
In addition to the MRes, the School offers a two-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Social Anthropology degree option. Students with an advanced background in Social Anthropology may be permitted to enrol directly into the second year of the MPhil and receive the degree solely from the 40,000-word thesis.
Many of our graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere. The Department of Social Anthropology offers PhD supervision across a diverse range of theoretical interests and topics.
The Economic & Social Research Council offers studentships for UK residents which covers university and college fees as well as a maintenance element to contribute towards living costs.
Social Anthropology graduates have characteristics many employers seek and a Social Anthropology degree provides openings to a wide range of careers. Our graduates have gained successful employment in areas such as:
- wildlife conservation
- international policy
- journalism (BBC and The Independent)
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.
Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).
The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).