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Anthropology

BSc (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

L600

Start dates

September 2020 / September 2021

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: up to 6 years

UCAS Tariff Points

104

Overview


Do you want to become an expert on the most pressing issues facing human societies today? When you choose Anthropology at Oxford Brookes, you’re choosing to study everything from the evolutionary origins of human cooperation, to the politics of global inequality while gaining the skills for a fantastic career.  

You’ll be taught by expert researchers, who are active all over the world. Our unique blend of Biological and Social Anthropology gives you a rich, broad expertise, which is attractive to employers. 

You’ll enjoy exciting field trips, from visiting the primates at Apenheul Primate Sanctuary, to examining contemporary and ancient cultures at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Whether you're studying human behaviour at festivals or exploring how to save primates from extinction, you’ll follow your own interests, and gain the skills to succeed in your degree. 

Combine this course


You can study this course as part of a combined honours degree. This course can be combined with:

How to apply


Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27

BTEC: MMM

Further offer details

If you accept a Conditional offer to this course as your Firm choice through UCAS, and the offer does not include a requirement to pass an English language test or improve your English language, we may be able to make the offer Unconditional. Please check your offer carefully where this will be confirmed for each applicant.

For combined honours, normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions: admissions@brookes.ac.uk

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

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English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to confirmation, September 2020)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to confirmation, Sept 20)

International / EU full time
£14,300

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to confirmation, September 2020)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to confirmation, Sept 20)

International / EU full time
£14,300

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

We do not expect students to purchase any compulsory course books, as they are all available in the library. If students wish to purchase additional books to supplement their reading this is at their own discretion.

Learning and assessment


Your learning is informed by our staff’s active research, meaning you’ll always be taught by an expert. In Years 1 and 2, you’ll gain a strong understanding of social and cultural anthropology, and biological anthropology. You can then specialise in: 

  • social anthropology
  • biological and archaeological anthropology
  • a mix of both 

You’ll focus everything from Japanese pop culture to primate conservation, through your modules in Years 2 and 3. 

For Social Anthropology, you’ll look at: 

  • Religion and ritual in cultures 
  • Political and economic forces in societies 
  • Migration and identity
  • The research of peoples and their cultures (ethnography)
  • Family and relatedness.

For Biological Anthropology, you’ll look at:

  • the biological characteristics and variation of human populations
  • disease patterns in human history and future infectious disease concerns 
  • the journey of human evolution over the last 7 million years
  • the interaction between humans and their environment
  • how humans compare to non-human primates. 
Students sitting around table listening to the tutor

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Anthropology of Relatedness

How do people in different societies conceptualize, organize and negotiate social relationships? In this module, you’ll examine human relatedness and kinship. You’ll draw on studies from a range of historical and contemporary contexts to explore households and kinship networks. Your studies will reveal the often complex, ambiguous, and unequal relationships between men, women and children. As this module progresses, you’ll examine the impact that wider economic and political transformations have on shaping personal lives and the relationship between these intimate social relations across the contemporary world. 

Becoming an Anthropologist

This module aims to give students a sound grounding in the process of theory-based enquiry, desk-based research and scientific writing for the anthropological disciplines. The aims of the module are to provide students with the opportunity to develop key academic skills through a consideration of the concerns and practice of social and biological anthropology. Through ludic, practical and analytical activities, students are invited to explore the process of academic enquiry to investigate the nature and scope of anthropology, what critical issues its disciplines explore, and what the academic, educational and social value of these disciplines are.

Introduction to Biological Anthropology

What can biological evolution teach us about humans and other primates? In this module, you’ll build an awareness of key evolutionary principles. You’ll explore the similarities and differences between humans and other primates, and what this suggests about how humans adapt. You’ll explore how biological and social factors affect human variation, and the way we relate to our environment. These include:

  • physical variation, growth and development
  • physical adaptation
  • dietary diversity and subsistence
  • disease ecology.

Deep History

In this module, you’ll dive into the prehistoric past. You’ll explore key developments in our species, world and human evolution. You’ll also gain key anthropological skills as you review the archaeological, fossil and palaeoenvironmental evidence for human communities. You’ll use a range of specialist research methods, and explore the links between:

  • archaeological
  • geographical
  • anthropological
  • research.

Introduction to Social Anthropology

In this module, you’ll gain the key skills you need to succeed in your degree, You’ll dive into the history and practice of social anthropology, and gain the core knowledge to study it at a more advanced level. You’ll explore the key approaches of anthropologists over the last 30 years.

Primate Societies

What’s the difference between humans, and the 600 other species of primates? In this module, you’ll explore humans through the diverse social behaviour of other primates. You’ll observe how primate societies interact and compromise to survive, looking at primate populations through time.You’ll gain the key analytical skills to succeed in your Anthropology degree, as you identify patterns of social interaction in primates in terms of:

  • ecology
  • energetic
  • demography
  • tradition 
  • phylogeny (the evolution of genetically related groups).

Optional modules

Contemporary Societies: Structure and Change

What’s the relationship between the economy, the state, and society? How have labour markets and welfare states changed over time? In this module, you’ll examine the issues that are shaping social and political developments in contemporary society. You’ll explore questions relating to power and politics, and will look at other topics such as international immigration patterns, the formation of ethnic minorities, the role of religion in modern society and the challenges posed by global environmental change.

Introduction to Physical Geography

In this module, you’ll be introduced to selective themes and topics in physical geography. Using climate change science as a disciplinary grounding, you’ll explore recent and future developments, as well as other areas that are inherently linked with climate change in physical geography (including environmental processes, systems and management).

Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture

In this module, you’ll get to grips with modern Japanese culture. We’ll look at patterns of human behaviour in Japanese society, through considering Japanese:

  • geography
  • religion
  • economy
  • modern history.

You’ll also investigate the cultural factors affecting human behaviour in Japan, including:

  • education
  • work and employment
  • religion and ritual
  • popular culture
  • minorities
  • marriage, family and kinship
  • the globalization of Japanese culture
  • social norms in various Japanese communities.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Human Evolutionary Biology and Geography

In this module, you’ll dive into human evolution. You’ll explore how the biological stages of human evolution link to changes in society and behaviour. You’ll gain specialist knowledge of the palaeoenvironmental (environment of a past age) and palaeogeographical ( geographical features of a past age) context of human evolution.

Methods and Analysis in Biological Anthropology

In this module, you’ll get to grips with the key methods and analysis in biological anthropology. You’ll core key scientific skills for your degree and dissertation. You’ll apply the scientific method (using testing to gain knowledge about the natural world) and hypothesis testing to biological anthropology. And you’ll observe the scientific methods of studying biological forms, including:

  • human diversity
  • forensics
  • skeletal analyses.

You’ll also explore:

  • Behavioural observation techniques
  • Population genetics
  • Evolutionary systematics.

Research Methods in Social Anthropology

In this module, you’ll gain fantastic research skills for your dissertation and other independent projects. You’ll develop a strong knowledge of the research methods that social anthropologists use. You’ll work in a small team on an independent research project, and discover the best research methods for your own dissertation.

Social Anthropology Theory

In this module, you’ll explore the rise of social anthropology as a science. You’ll dig into the main developments in social anthropology. You’ll look at nineteenth century social evolutionism - the belief that all societies start off as simple and primitive, and evolve to more complex states. You’ll also look at post-structuralism (the idea that if we’re to understand an object, we need to understand the environment that produced it), and feminism.

Optional modules

Anthropology in Action

In this module, you’ll kick-start your career, as you explore the wide range of career options open to Anthropology graduates. You’ll put anthropology into practice, using the skills you’ve gained in your degree to explore how anthropology contributes to:

  • business
  • conservation
  • development
  • human health and wellbeing
  • forensic investigations.

Anthropology of India

In this module, you’ll get to grips with India, and its cultural customs and habits. You’ll dive into key economic and political issues in India. You’ll look at how Indian and non-Indian anthropologists seek to understand the diversity of the country. And you’ll follow India’s social, political and economic change - from colonialism to postcolonialism, and then to free-market capitalism. And you’ll gain key insight into how India has been represented and imagined over time.

We often stereotype rituals as exotic, and about religion. However, you’ll enrich your perspective as you explore ritual in non-religious contexts. You’ll look at ritual within:

  • politics and power relations
  • social identities
  • social traditions.

Anthropology of Ritual

What are rituals, and why do we perform them? In this module, you’ll explore the key role of rituals in society. You’ll look at various human communities as you consider the origins of ritual, and its different definitions. You’ll gain valuable critical skills as you explore key anthropological concepts, including:

  • rites of passage
  • liminality
  • anti-structure
  • communities.

Becoming Independent Researchers

What does real-world research involve? How does academic publication work? What makes a good dissertation proposal? These are some of the questions you’ll discuss and find answers to in this module. You’ll discover more about the research activities of the biological anthropology staff and postgraduates. You’ll develop the motivation, skills and discipline you need to become a successful independent researcher, preparing you to tackle your Dissertation and Independent Study in Year 3.

European Societies

In this module, you’ll investigate European societies. You’ll apply classic concepts in studying societies as you look at European villages and urban neighbourhoods. You’ll then explore broader contemporary issues, including:

  • identity
  • nationalism
  • racism
  • how we use history
  • ceremonial issues
  • tourism
  • the EU.

Human Ecology

How do humans interact with their environments, past and present? In this module, you’ll explore two key themes - nutrition and disease - and what these can tell us about humans and their biological and social surroundings. You’ll gain a strong grounding in the principles of human ecology. And you’ll gain key critical skills as you explore humans and their evolution.

Personhood, Gender and the Body in Contemporary Japan

How do people define themselves as human beings in contemporary Japan? How do they view gender and the body? In this module, you’ll apply anthropological thinking to Japanese culture. You’ll also explore how the role of health and medicine in Japan, including:

  • medical systems in Japan
  • beliefs around reproductive technologies, end of life, and organ donation.

Primate Adaptation and Evolution

Are humans any different from other primates? In this module, you’ll dig into the relationship between humans and other primates. You’ll investigate:

  • structure
  • physiology
  • molecular biology
  • evolutionary history.

You’ll discover what marks us as human against other species. You’ll gain a detailed knowledge of other species, as you trace our inheritance and explore the reasons for our unique characteristics.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Anthropology Dissertation (compulsory for single honours, optional for combined honours)

This module gives you the chance to do research on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll have the support of expert tutors. This is an opportunity for you to showcase your passions, expertise and advanced learning in Social Anthropology.

Optional modules

Anthropology Independent Study

This module gives you the chance to do research on a question or issue that fascinates you. You can home in on any topic in social or biological anthropology, with the support of expert tutors. You’ll enhance the key skills needed for a research project, gaining vital experience for the world of work:

  • planning
  • explaining a problem in depth
  • carrying out primary research
  • collecting and analysing data
  • structuring and presenting a major piece of work.
     

Anthropology of Development

In this module, you’ll explore the changing relationship between anthropology, and international development (the idea that different countries have different levels of development). You’ll gain a strong grounding in international development. You’ll gain key analytical skills as you dive into debates on the relationship between anthropology and development. You’ll explore key issues for anthropologists working in international development, including:

  • gender relations
  • environmental issues
  • health
  • youth
  • religion.

You’ll compare ideas and practices in international development. You’ll look at approaches to social policy, inequality and well-being in the UK. And you disrupt the lines we draw between North and South, developed and underdeveloped, or advanced and emerging economies and societies.

Becoming Independent Researchers

In this module, you’ll develop fantastic, transferable skills for work, and gain the research skills to succeed in your degree. You’ll develop the knowledge and expertise to become an independent researcher. You’ll enjoy access to the research in our internationally acclaimed department, the current work of staff.

Cognitive Evolution

In this module, you’ll dive into human intelligence and its evolution. You’ll gain fantastic research skills as you evaluate the evidence for the development of cognitive traits such as:

  • language
  • Culture
  • tool use
  • symbolism.

You’ll uncover fossil and archeological records for evidence of human intelligence and its development. You also draw on:

  • evolutionary psychology
  • cognitive science
  • philosophy
  • linguistics
  • primatology (the study of intelligent mammals).

Culture and Care

How do our brains make us care - for children, the elderly and the vulnerable? How do different cultures encourage people to nurture others? In this module, you’ll look at the evolutionary and ecological reasons for care, nurturance and social support. You’ll dive into the care practices of other cultures, as you look at how they approach:

  • religion
  • healing
  • child care
  • elder care.

You’ll also look at how we care for non-human living things and the planet as a whole. You’ll gain key analytical knowledge as you apply what you learn to yourself, your community and pressing social issues.

Dawn of Civilisation

How did humans change from nomadic hunter-gatherers to the pioneers of enormous changes in technology, subsistence and organisation? In this module, you’ll look at human history from 10,000 until 1,000 BC that led to an avalanche of development. You’ll gain key critical skills as you review:

  • archeological data
  • geography
  • the environmental record
  • mythology from the world’s first civilisations.

Material Lives: Money and Livelihoods in Contemporary Africa

In this module, you’ll explore key themes in African cultures - from the colonial era to today. You’ll reflect on core economic arguments, asking how far theories of modernisation can shed light on African social and economic transformation. You’ll dig into detailed, ethnographic (the study of people and their cultures) accounts of people’s everyday lives, reflecting on:

  • the shifting nature of kinship
  • gender issues
  • intergenerational tensions
  • economic morality.

Through these intimate stories, you’ll explore broader issues of vulnerability and marginalisation. We’ll discuss what anthropology can tell us about global impoverishment. And we’ll discuss how men and women navigate fragile livelihoods in shaky economies. 

Minorities and Marginality in Contemporary Japan

We often assume that only the Japanese live in Japan. In this module, you’ll meet Japan’s ethnic minorities and marginalised groups. You’ll understand their experiences - both historically and today. You’ll gain key analytical skills as you relate minorities in Japan to broader concerns with:

  • ethnic and cultural identity and conflict
  • class structure
  • nationality
  • hybridity in cultures
  • diaspora (people living outside their original homeland).

Palaeopathology

In this module, you’ll analyse human bones from archaeological sites. You’ll get to know the ancient diseases that we can understand through human and animal bones. You’ll gain key practical skills through lab-based sessions and through researching primary material. You’ll also learn how palaeopathology can help us understand different populations.

People and Other Animals

As humans, we’ve lived closely with other animals since the dawn of time. We have a long history of interacting with each other. In this module, you’ll examine the complex and contradictory elements in people-animal relations, including:

  • animals as food
  • companion animals
  • animals as nature.

Primate Conservation

From forest loss to climate change, living primates (including humans) are facing huge threats to their environment and conservation. In this module, you’ll get to know the impact of humans on non-human primates, including hunting for trade to the issues of co-existence.You’ll discover why our non-human primate relatives are at greater risk of extinction now than ever before. You’ll understand the major challenges facing primates, how international legislation protects them, and how we can help the world’s most threatened species.

Subjectivities and Social Transformation

In this module, you’ll explore social transformation in humans. You’ll gain key analytical skills, as you study the culture, habits and differences of people through three core areas of study. You’ll also investigate the relationship between:

  • the material
  • the structural
  • the subjective.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Through our Anthropology modules, you’ll have access to the latest thinking. All of our modules are based on staff research interests, which include: 

  • The earliest human settlements in the Middle East, and their archaeology 
  • Research on primates in Africa and Asia 
  • Aging and care in Japan
  • Artisan economies in South Asia

You’ll be taught through a mixture of: 

  • lectures
  • illustrated lectures
  • films
  • seminars
  • tutorials

Some modules also include:

  • practical classes
  • group work

You’ll enjoy practical, lab-based classes on:

  • human and non-human primate evolution
  • anatomy
  • molecular anthropology
  • prehistoric archaeology.

You’ll also gain key research and IT skills for work, through our specialised training sessions. 

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Placement
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.)

Year 1

  • Lectures and seminars - 20%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 80%

Year 2

  • Lectures and seminars - 21%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 79%

Year 3

  • Lectures and seminars - 17%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 83%

Learning and teaching percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

In Year 1, you’ll be assessed by both coursework and examination. 

In Years 2 and 3, you’ll continue to be assessed largely through coursework and examinations. Our assessment methods include: 

  • exams
  • coursework essays
  • in-class tests
  • group and individual presentations
  • laboratory practical workbooks
  • participation in seminars.
  • Written exams
  • Coursework
  • Practical exams

Year 1

  • Written exams - 25%
  • Coursework - 75%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 2

  • Written exams - 15%
  • Coursework - 85%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 3

  • Written exams - 15%
  • Coursework - 85%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Assessment method percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Study Abroad


You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

After you graduate


Career prospects

Anthropology gives you a broad intellectual foundation and discipline for many careers that involve numeracy, literacy, communication, problem-solving and a comparative perspective. The interdisciplinary approach gives you flexibility and a wider view of the world which often proves attractive to employers.

Our graduates have succeeded in a wide variety of careers, for example in the fields of branding and marketing, recruitment consultancy, medicine, environmental maintenance, urban planning, personnel management, tourism, education and development aid. A number of our students choose to continue their studies at master's level and beyond.

Further study

Many of our graduates are currently engaged in further study in Anthropology and also in a range of other subjects, such as Education, Archaeology, Geography, International Relations, Security and Society, History, and Primate Conservation, with many choosing to continue these studies at Oxford Brookes.

Student profiles


Our Staff


Professor Anna Nekaris

Professor Anna Nekaris is a Professor in Anthropology and Primate Conservation studying the unique group of evolutionary distinct primates known as the Asian lorises. Her studies cover all eleven species, including six she named or elevated from subspecies. Anna is the Course Tutor for the highly acclaimed MSc Primate Conservation, Director of the Little Fireface Project and Convenor of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group.

Read more about Anna

Dr Sam Smith

Sam is an expert in the study of chipped stone tools and his work includes typological, technological and use wear analysis of stone tool assemblages from many regions and periods.

Read more about Sam

Dr Thomas Chambers

Thomas Chambers is a Lecturer in Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom. His research focuses on labour, migration, craftwork and Muslims in India. Thomas has publications in press with Modern Asian Studies on imagination and migration in India and the Gulf and a Special Issue contribution, again with Modern Asian Studies, on urban space, marginalisation and conviviality in India.

Read more about Thomas

Free language courses


Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Information from Discover Uni


Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.