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Postgraduate Admissions

4 courses offered in the Department of Social Anthropology

The MPhil is a 9-month full-time taught course which can be taken as a freestanding qualification or as a route to the PhD. It is a demanding course that enables students to develop their knowledge of social anthropology to a high level of specialization within a short time. It is designed for graduate students who have a strong background in social anthropology, either on its own or as part of a joint degree; and who want to engage directly and more deeply than before with debates in contemporary social anthropology. The course provides specialist social anthropological training in a dynamic programme of research-led teaching and professional development.

In addition to individual supervision to support their dissertation and essay writing, students attend a core course seminar and seminars on specialist modules. The core course covers contemporary themes in social anthropology as well as professional and skills development. Specialist modules cover research methods and themes related to staff research interests, with topics that vary each year. Please see the Department website for planned modules for 2022-23.

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The Cambridge MPhil by advanced study in Social Anthropology is an intensive 11-month course (early October to end August). The course is intended for graduate students who are studying the subject for the first time, who have studied Anthropology in the context of a more general degree, and for those with little knowledge of the tradition of British Social Anthropology.

The degree can be a free-standing qualification or a route to the original research involved in a PhD, or a means to acquire knowledge of anthropology for use in other fields and professional contexts.

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This ESRC recognised course provides intensive research training in social anthropology, social science research methods more generally, and the opportunity to complete a research dissertation under academic guidance.  It is ordinarily expected that MRes students will progress directly to registration for the PhD course and fieldwork, subject to excellent results in their MRes. However, the MRes can also serve as a free-standing project if a student wishes to pursue advanced study and to acquire additional research skills without proceeding to the PhD programme.

It is expected that applicants for the Social Anthropology MRes will have a first-class Honours degree or strong High Pass in a Master's degree in Social Anthropology.

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The PhD in Social Anthropology is intended for students who already have full training at undergraduate and/or Master's level in the methods and perspectives of Social/Cultural Anthropology. The course includes intensive fieldwork training in the first year, a research period of 12 to 18 months, and a further year for writing the dissertation (a maximum of four years is allowed in total). Students work under the guidance of a principal Supervisor and a Faculty Advisor, and are supported also by a general research training curriculum and extensive programme of department seminars and workshops.

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1 course also advertised in the Department of Social Anthropology

From the Department of History and Philosophy of Science

The MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society is a full-time 9 month course run jointly by the Departments of History and Philosophy of Science, Sociology and Social Anthropology. It introduces students from a range of backgrounds to research skills and specialist knowledge relevant to their research interests, and provides them with the opportunity to carry out focused research under close supervision by senior members of the University. Students will develop a critical and well-informed understanding of discourses of history, philosophy, sociology and anthropology of health and medicine, and those intending to go on to doctoral work will learn the skills needed to help them prepare a well-planned and focused PhD proposal.

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Department Members


Professor James Laidlaw
Head of Department

  • 13 Academic Staff
  • 17 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 93 Graduate Students
  • 90 Undergraduates

http://www.socanth.cam.ac.uk/

Research Areas