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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

Social Anthropology is no longer accepting new applications.

Prior to beginning my PhD, I'd heard a lot about how PhDs could be lonely and isolating journeys.  So, I feel particularly fortunate that the four years of my PhD were truly some of the best in my life. The PhD programme at the Department of Social Anthropology offers just the right amount of structure. We had regular PhD seminars--always led by a senior faculty member-- in which we analysed academic writing, experimented with different research methods, and eventually critiqued each other's early drafts. These regular meetings kept me grounded, helped me get to know the many wonderful members of the Department, and also created the sense of belonging to a cohort. 


My relationship with my supervisor, also contributed tremendously to my experiencing my PhD journey as enjoyable, exciting, and relatively stress free. Particularly after I returned from fieldwork, my supervisor gave me complete freedom to decide the pace and the manner in which I wanted to go about analysing and developing my material. We would meet every few weeks to discuss emerging themes, ideas, literature, outlines of chapters, and finally, drafts of chapters themselves. My supervisor never imposed a vision for the project on me, but had an uncanny ability to quickly grasp my developing ideas and help me think through what I was finding. I always left our meetings feeling a bit more confident and excited about my work.

Dr Sazana Jayadeva (2010 cohort) (April 2019)

I found the Social Anthropology Department a uniquely friendly place to do a PhD. I felt warmly welcomed by the academic staff, fantastic administrative office, and my fellow students from the off and have continued to find it not just an impressive academic environment but also a place of friendship. In particular, I found immensely helpful the writing up seminar - an incredibly supportive weekly discussion with other students about someone’s work in progress, chaired by a senior member of the Department. Everyone I participated in it with agreed that it was astoundingly helpful to our academic development and to supporting each other through the difficult period of writing up. It would be hard to overestimate what I learnt from being around so many leading anthropologists, especially through having a dedicated supervisor read so much of my writing that they got to know my research inside out and could have long discussions with me about it.

Dr Patrick McKearney - 2012 cohort (April 2019)

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Social Anthropology

Course – related enquiries

Application – related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
April 30, 2021
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2021

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2020

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2021, Lent 2022 and Easter 2022.

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