Postgraduate study

Social Anthropology PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Social Anthropology

Our Social Anthropology group forms an international centre of excellence for postgraduate training, recognised as one of the premier research departments in the UK.

Applied research includes policy-related work on asylum seekers, non-governmental organisations, sustainable development and participatory rights. Our regional expertise is not confined to Scotland and the UK but includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and North and South America.

Particular research strengths include:

  • law and justice
  • politics, governance and the state
  • nationalism and citizenship
  • war, violence and displacement
  • medicine and health
  • science and technology studies
  • history and theory of anthropology
  • development and environment
  • kinship and relatedness
  • death and the limits of the body
  • material culture, identity and memory
  • contemporary hunter-gatherers
  • linguistic anthropology
  • urban anthropology
  • anthropology of landscape

MScR option

We’ve updated our portfolio of programmes. Individual MSc by Research programmes have been replaced with MSc by Research Social & Political Science.

The PhD programme combines work on your thesis project, usually based on long-term fieldwork, with systematic training in anthropological and social research skills. Research training is also available in the form of our MSc by Research.

The Graduate School provides a suite of ESRC-recognised research training courses for social science students across the University. We are developing an exciting package of flexible web-based training courses in line with the increased emphasis on ongoing training throughout the course of doctoral studies.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, and a UK masters degree with an overall mark of 65% or its international equivalent.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDSocial Anthropology3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDSocial Anthropology6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
14 September 2020 6 July 2020

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

We encourage PhD applicants in particular to contact potential supervisors before applying to discuss their research proposal so we can ensure there is adequate supervision.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD