Find a course


Social Anthropology

BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code


Start dates

September 2020



Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: up to 6 years


Department of Social Sciences

UCAS Tariff Points



On our Social Anthropology degree you will study humans as social beings. You will explore the limits of their variety and seek to uncover what is common to us all.

You will learn to hold a powerful mirror up to your own cultural norms. And learn to appreciate and respect the customs and beliefs of other societies. You will also explore the fascinating history and practice of social anthropology, culture, and change.

Our teaching staff are acknowledged experts in their fields. So you’ll learn from published, active researchers.

Students and staff come to Oxford Brookes from over 40 countries around the world. This means you will be exploring this fascinating subject in a truly international environment.  

You can join our active student-led Anthropology Society. And you can attend a range of seminars featuring guest speakers. These include:

  • the Anthropology departmental seminar series
  • the Europe Japan Research Centre seminar series.
Students chatting in the John Henry Brookes Building

How to apply

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29


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

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:

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


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

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time

Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

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

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

Home/EU full time

Home/EU part time
£750 per single module

International full time

Home/EU full time
£9,250 (subject to agreement by Office for Students)

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

International full time

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.

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.

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

In Year 1 four compulsory modules provide a sound understanding of the key concepts and core disciplinary and transferable skills.

In Year 2 you will take three compulsory modules.

In addition, in Years 2 and 3 you must take at least one of the alternative compulsory modules dealing with some key topics in social anthropology. These are complemented by a range of acceptable modules from within anthropology and closely related modules taught outside of anthropology. 

In Year 3 you will take a total of at least six honours modules, including the compulsory Social Anthropology Dissertation, which is a double module. For the dissertation you will carry out research project on a topic of your choice, under the guidance of a supervisor.

Student holding a tablet

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Anthropology of Relatedness

Becoming an Anthropologist

Introduction to Social Anthropology

An introduction to the history and practice of social anthropology as a basis for more advanced study in the field, providing an overview of the key theoretical approaches and concepts created by anthropologists over the last 30 years.

Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture

An introduction to the study of modern Japanese society and culture, primarily from an anthropological perspective, but also incorporating overviews of Japan’s history and religions. Topics covered include the cultural basis of Japanese patterns of behaviour; marriage, family and kinship; work and employment; and popular culture.

Deep History

This module provides an introduction to the study of the prehistoric past, exploring the key developments which have shaped both our species and our world. We will examine core themes in human evolution and review the archaeological, fossil and palaeoenvironmental evidence for the prehistoric development of human communities. Throughout this module we will explore the interdisciplinary nature of archaeology, investigating the close links between archaeological, geographical and anthropological research.

Introduction to Biological Anthropology

A basic module that examines key issues in understanding humans and other primates within the context of biological evolution. It builds an awareness of evolutionary principles and considers the similarities and contrasts between humans and other primates and their significance for human adaptive success.

Optional modules

Contemporary Societies: Structure and Change

Death, Disease and Doctors: Medicine and Society

Theory of Knowledge

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Research Methods in Social Anthropology

A practical module involving reading about methods used in social anthropology, but also considerable independent study in investigating appropriate methods for the student's own dissertation or other project.

Social Anthropology Theory

The emergence of social and cultural anthropology as a separate discipline is examined by reference to key works of leading contributors to the development of anthropological theory.

Reading Contemporary Ethnography

introduces students to a variety of approaches to reading and writing ethnography, the primary method used by social anthropologists for documenting and analysing culture and society.

Anthropology of Ritual (Alternative Compulsory)

Ritual is often considered as exotic and as primarily related to religion. However, the anthropological approach requires that ritual be situated not only in religious but also in secular contexts, including for instance: politics and power relations, the construction of social identities and the reproduction and invention of 'tradition'.

Optional modules

Anthropology in Action (Alternative Compulsory)

Students will be strongly encouraged to extend their knowledge and understanding of anthropological concerns and debates to consider how and when anthropology can make a significant contribution to a variety of different areas. The module will demonstrate to students the wide range of possible future careers open to anthropology graduates.

European Societies (Double Alternative Compulsory Module)

The module shows the relevance of an anthropological approach to the study of European societies. It starts with the investigation of classic anthropological concepts at predominantly village or urban neighbourhood level. It then broadens out into wider more contemporary issues such as identity, nationalism, racism, the uses of history and ceremonial, tourism and the EU.

Anthropology of India (Alternative Compulsory)

This module offers students an in depth examination of everyday life in contemporary India through a focus on ethnographic material.

Personhood, Gender and the Body in Contemporary Japan (Acceptable)

This module introduces anthropological perspectives on personhood, gender and the body and examines these with reference to ethnographic material from Japan.

Gender and Society (Alternative Acceptable)

Provides an opportunity to put gender at the centre of social analysis. An understanding of the social processes that shape women's and men's lives in contemporary societies will be developed by exploring a range of theoretical approaches.

'Race', Ethnicity and Inequality (Alternative Acceptable)

Explores questions of ‘racial’ and ethnic identity and the way in which ethnic origin shapes the experiences of ethnic minorities in the UK in a variety of different spheres including employment, education and the criminal justice system.

Fantasy and the Supernatural in Japanese Culture (Acceptable)

This module examines the supernatural in Japanese popular culture The aim is to use the supernatural as a window into the role of imagination and narrative in the formation of social and historical knowledge. One thread of this module will be the development of Japanese cultural anthropology and its roots in native folklore studies. Another thread will be the ways that the anthropological revival of tales of ghosts and monsters became an important expression of the changes happening during Japanese modernization and internationalization. Continuing this line of thought we will explore contemporary popular narratives of the supernatural and fantastic as expressed in anime, manga, gaming, etc., as well as in rituals, fortune-telling, and new age beliefs. Students will gain a more nuanced understanding of popular depictions of Japanese culture and learn how to examine myth and folklore from anthropological perspectives.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Social Anthropology Dissertation (Compulsory Double Honours Component)

An opportunity for students to explore one topic in order to produce a dissertation demonstrating independent study at an advanced level.

Optional modules

Anthropology of Development

Minorities and Marginality in Contemporary Japan

People and Other Animals (Acceptable Honours Component)

Humans and other animals have a long history of interacting with each other. In this module we examine some of the complexities and contradictions evident in people-animal relationships through topics such as animals as food, companion animals and animals as ‘nature’

Material Lives, Money and Livelihoods in Contemporary Africa (Acceptable Honours Component)

considers what anthropology can tell us about global processes of impoverishment, and discuss the strategies men and women in Africa adopt, as they seek to navigate fragile livelihoods through precarious economies.

Culture and Care (Acceptable Honours Component)

Explores anthropological approaches to the human capacity for various kinds of care, nurturance, and social support.

Anthropology Independent Study (Acceptable Honours Component)

Offers students a flexible opportunity to explore an anthropological topic. Outputs can vary considerably and could include one or more of: an essay, annotated bibliography, ethnographic fieldwork journal, video/film or a long report.

Subjectivities and Social Transformation

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

Anthropology at Oxford Brookes has a long established reputation for high quality and innovation in teaching and learning.

Teaching draws on current research by our teaching staff, and includes:

  • lectures
  • illustrated lectures or films
  • seminars
  • tutorials.

Training sessions on analysis (eg statistical analysis) are also provided to help you develop learning, research and IT skills. 

Uniquely, the expertise of the teaching staff includes sociocultural and biological anthropology as well as archaeology and primatology. These subfields, usually taught in isolation, are brought together in order to improve understanding across disciplinary boundaries.


Assessment methods used on this course

A variety of methods are used to assess the learning outcomes of this course. 

These include:

  • written essays
  • critical reviews and short reports
  • annotated bibliographies
  • reflective journals
  • written examinations
  • individual and group presentations
  • self and peer assessment of work.

Typical modules will provide general, individual and written feedback and other structures for assessment support. This can include:

  • one-to-one assessment guidance
  • essay clinics
  • assessment preparatory classroom based activities (e.g exam workshops).

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, with its interdisciplinary and comparative perspective, as well as its emphasis on inter-cultural understanding, gives you flexibility and a wider view of the world which often proves attractive to employers. Our graduates have made successful careers in a wide variety of professions, including government civil service, international aid and international development, non-governmental organisations, charity organisations, environment and conservation organisations, management, human resources, marketing, teaching, lecturing, film and journalism, advertising, museum and heritage management. Students also often go on to post-graduate study.

Visiting speakers from various employment sectors including government, international development, non-governmental organisations and charities, environmental conservation, are invited to deliver lectures and seminars. Researchers from national and international institutions are invited to weekly seminar series hosted by our Faculty Research Centres which include The Anthropology Centre for Conservation, Environment and Development, The Europe Japan Research Centre, The Centre for Global Politics, Economy and Society, and the seminar series hosted by the Primate Conservation MSc course.

Students also have access to the events hosted by the University Careers and Employment Centre.

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

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

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.