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Social Anthropology

BA (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

LL66

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 diverse human societies? When you choose Social Anthropology at Oxford Brookes, you’re choosing to explore everything from labour migration to religious practices, while gaining the skills for a job market that increasingly demands expertise in person-centered, and culturally informed perspectives. 

You’ll be taught by world-class, published academics in Social Anthropology. You’ll join a tremendously supportive and dynamic department, where you’ll have access to the latest thinking, and develop excellent research skills. Whether you’re investigating the cultural impacts of digital technology, or the relationship between humans and animals, we’ll help you to unlock your potential as you pursue your own research interests. 

You'll benefit from our distinctive integration of social, biological and archaeological perspectives, and the opportunity to take modules in related disciplines like sociology, geography, and international relations. 

Students chatting in the John Henry Brookes Building

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. There is an optional visit of the Apenheul Primate Sanctuary in Apendhorn, Holland. This trip is optional and therefore not included within the course fees.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment


Your learning is informed by the research of our leading staff, so you’ll always be taught by an expert. 

In Year 1, you’ll gain the core concepts and skills you need for your degree. You’ll take six compulsory modules, which will give you a strong grounding in the key topics and perspectives of Anthropology. 

In Year 2, you’ll expand your understanding of some key theories and research skills in Social Anthropology and you’ll have the chance to choose specialized modules on particular regions or topics. 

In Year 3, you'll advance to honours modules, where you'll sharpen your research skills and get experience in public engagement and applications of Social Anthropology. Your dissertation gives you the chance to design and undertake research on a topic that fascinates you with the support of an expert tutor.

Student holding a tablet

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Anthropology of Relatedness

In this module, you will learn about one of the central themes in Social Anthropology: the study of family and kinship relations. You will look at studies from historical and contemporary contexts, and explore how people in different societies think about, and negotiate family relationships. You will also examine how these intimate social ties are shaped by wider economic and political transformations around the world.

Becoming an Anthropologist

In this module, you'll gain essential study skills that you will use throughout your degree. You’ll explore the process of academic enquiry to investigate the nature and scope of anthropology, and the academic and social value of the discipline. You'll learn about academic writing and data analysis, you’ll try some key social research methods, and you’ll discover how to make the most of feedback from your lecturers. You'll also visit Oxford's amazing anthropology museums, handle real stone tools, and learn about fieldwork through classroom-based games. 

You will be taught by both biological and social anthropology staff so you’ll learn the key skills of research, analysis and writing used in both of these subfields.

Introduction to Social Anthropology

In this module, you’ll gain the key skills you need to succeed in your Anthropology 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.

Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture

In this module, you’ll investigate life in Japan today, through a range of anthropological perspectives. 

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

  • religion and rituals
  • popular culture
  • marriage, family and kinship
  • the globalization of Japanese through the export of its products and culture

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 gain key research skills for your degree, as you use specialist research methods to explore the links between archaeological, geographical and anthropological research.

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.

Optional modules

Contemporary Societies: Structure and Change

What’s the relationship between the economy, the state and society? How have labour markets evolved over time and what impact has this had on welfare states? In this module, you’ll explore a range of social and political developments that have shaped contemporary society. You’ll examine key issues such as international migration patterns, the formation of ethnic minorities and the role of religion in modern society. And, you’ll be encouraged to develop your own critical awareness of a range of social issues and the global context in which they take place.

Death, Disease and Doctors: Medicine and Society

In this module, you’ll examine the history of sickness and healing in society. You’ll look at how people have viewed medicine and disease, from 1650 to 2000. In seminars, we’ll investigate issues such as:

  • quackery
  • war and medicine
  • forensic medicine
  • disease control
  • public health
  • madness and society
  • sexual health
  • the patient’s view.

This module builds on your material from other level 4 modules. You’ll gain key critical skills as you identify links between other periods and subjects you’ve studied.

Foundations of Social Theory

What is social theory? Who are the major social theorists, and what do they have to say about power, beliefs and values, capitalism, feminism and much more? In this module, you’ll explore key concepts and theories in classical and contemporary sociology. You’ll also immerse yourself in current debates, developments and approaches to social theory. You’ll encounter theories such as:

  • Functionalism
  • Marxism
  • Symbolic Interactionism
  • Feminism
  • Postmodernism
  • Post-structuralism
  • Postcolonial theory. 

Theory of Knowledge

What does it mean to know something? How is knowing something different from believing something? What have the great philosophical thinkers of the past, such as Plato, Descartes, Hume, Locke and Berkeley said about these issues? In this module, you’ll explore some of the most fundamental questions concerning knowers and knowledge. You’ll consider the nature of perception and whether we can acquire knowledge by hearsay. You’ll also examine whether we can have knowledge of the world out there (rather than just knowledge of our own minds) and whether there can be a scientific account of knowledge.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

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 gain a strong knowledge of social anthropology theory. You’ll engage with abstract theories, and learn how to apply them to different contexts. You’ll use ethnography (the study of people and their cultures), and real life examples to understand how ideas in social anthropology apply to everyday life. You’ll look at the time and place in which key theories are produced. You’ll gain core analytical skills as you grasp how social anthropology theory is shaped by everyday experiences, and their historical and geographical contexts.

Reading Contemporary Ethnography

In this module, you’ll get to grips with reading and writing ethnographic monographs. These are written accounts of a society or culture. You’ll explore ethnography: the method that social anthropologists use to analyse cultures, and the style and concepts behind it. You’ll:

  • explore how authors connect arguments and evidence 
  • debate the ethical issues of writing about other cultures
  • the effectiveness of different aesthetic styles. 

You’ll also explore the range of styles in ethnography today that addresses current topics of concern. 

Anthropology of Ritual (Alternative Compulsory)

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 explore key anthropological concepts, including:

  • rites of passage
  • liminality
  • anti-structure
  • Communitas 

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 the role rituals can play in:

  • politics and power relations
  • expressing social identities
  • enabling political resistance

Optional modules

Anthropology in Action (Alternative Compulsory)

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 and development
  • human health and wellbeing
  • forensic investigations.

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 

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.

Personhood, Gender and the Body in Contemporary Japan

From tattooed gangsters and drag queens to salarymen and hostesses, how does gender and the body affect Japanese society? In this module, you’ll question your assumptions about femininity and masculinity, and gain core critical skills as you explore topics such as: 

  • LGBTQ+ rights
  • the ethics of organ donation
  • abortion
  • end of life care
  • martial arts
  • religious practice.

You’ll explore the topics that fascinate you in greater depth, through:

  • student-led seminars
  • group work
  • a research essay 

Gender and Society

In this module, you’ll look at gender and its central role in society. You’ll explore the social processes that affect the lives and roles of men and women in society. We’ll consider the centrality of gender in everyday life, and how society reflects and reproduces gender relations.

'Race', Ethnicity and Inequality

Why do we exclude some ethnic groups from society? In this module, we’ll explore race, ethnicity and racism through:

  • employment
  • education
  • housing
  • migration
  • policing
  • the impact of anti-discrimination legisilation.

You’ll engage with pressing debates on race, ethnicity and racism. You’ll explore the experiences of minority ethnic groups and you’ll explore the factors which exclude them from mainstream society. We’ll focus on the UK, but also consider ethnic minorities in other cultures. We’ll highlight the complexities of social constructions of race and other social inequalities.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Social Anthropology Dissertation

This module gives you the chance to do research on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll have the support of expert tutors. Whether you’re exploring contemporary dance in Kampala or Neolithic development in Southwest Asia, your dissertation is an opportunity for you to showcase your passions, expertise and advanced learning in Social Anthropology.

Optional modules

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. 
 

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).

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. 

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 explore how anthropology can shed light on experiences of social and economic transformation across the continent. You’ll dig into detailed 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.

Culture and Care

Why is care so fundamental to human survival and adaptation? In this module, you’ll focus on care as an alternative to anthropological accounts of conflict, competition, and violence.

You will begin by debating 

  • the evolutionary basis for care
  • the evidence of care in prehistoric times
  • notions of empathy, sympathy, and altruism. 

You’ll also examine how different cultures care for children, the disabled and the elderly. You’ll look critically at whether current social institutions deliver care, as well as cure. You will look at how we care for non-human life and the planet. And you’ll gain core research skills for your future career, as you investigate care in the world around you through fieldwork assignments and contribute to the class blog to share your work with the world.

Anthropology Independent Study

This module gives you the chance to do independent study on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll dive into any anthropological topic you choose, with the support of expert tutors. We offer great flexibility in how you present your research. This could include:

  • an essay
  • annotated bibliography 
  • ethnographic fieldwork journal
  • video / film.

Subjectivities and Social Transformation

In this module you will explore the relationship between material change, forms of social transformation and shifts in individual/communal subjectivities of people themselves. In exploring these intersections you will have the opportunity to think about, for example, the role of industrial capitalism, urbanization, neoliberalism, migration and shifting understanding of time and temporality.

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

Our teaching staff are award-winning experts in their fields and are all active researchers. This means that your learning will benefit from the latest thinking and research in social anthropology. You’ll learn through a variety of methods, including:

  • interactive lectures
  • documentary films
  • student-led seminars.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

Because social anthropology recognizes and embraces the complexity of human life, it is best assessed through a variety of methods. Each of our assessment methods has been chosen to build your proficiency in research design, analysis and communication for different audiences. These include: 

  • research essays
  • critical reviews and short reports
  • annotated bibliographies
  • reflective journals
  • individual and group presentations
  • self and peer assessment of work
  • blogs and video diaries
  • independent research projects

As well as individual and written feedback in modules, we also offer assessment support, including: 

  • one-to-one assessment guidance
  • essay clinics
  • online support.
     

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.

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.