Postgraduate study

Social Anthropology MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Social Anthropology

This programme offers an intensive introduction to contemporary social anthropology.

We provide a programme of study that will enable you to engage reflexively with the particularities of your own cultural and social context as well as with the possibilities inherent in cross-cultural comparison.

Working within a rich and active research culture, we shall explore the distinctive nature of social anthropology and its contribution to a critical and informed understanding of the contemporary world - a world reflected in the diversity of our research and teaching interests.

Courses range from those offering an overview of anthropological theory to those examining specific issues such as kinship, gender, development and religion.

Who this programme is for

It is primarily intended for graduates with little or no previous training in anthropology. These may be either students contemplating future doctoral research in the subject or students who wish to acquire anthropological expertise to supplement their existing range of professional skills.

Whether your aim is to explore the possibilities of doctoral research or add anthropological expertise to your existing professional skills, this MSc offers an intensive introduction to social anthropology.

The programme will be delivered through:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • group work
  • guided independent study

You will complete four compulsory courses and two option courses then work towards an independently researched dissertation.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

You will gain an advanced understanding of the distinctive nature of social anthropology and its contribution to a critical and informed understanding of the contemporary world.

You will also develop an advanced understanding of theoretical and methodological debates within social anthropology.

Past students of this programme have gone on to doctoral research in anthropology, while others have been very successful in securing places both in the UK and overseas in a wide variety of careers, from journalism to working in non-governmental organisations.

You will also develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication, independent research, and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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 Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

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
  • your tuition fee 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
12 September 2022 4 July 2022

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.

References are not usually required for applications to this programme.

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