MA in Social Anthropology

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

Are you interested in a career in anthropology, but haven’t studied the subject before? Have you studied anthropology in the past, but need to consolidate this experience before moving into anthropological research?

This MA offers students from all disciplinary backgrounds the opportunity to build a solid base in social anthropology, its theoretical foundations, methodology and ethnographic diversity.

You'll be able to explore fascinating topics including:

  • Gender
  • Sexuality and the body
  • Religion and symbolism
  • Political economy
  • Psychological perspectives in anthropology
  • The anthropology of rights
  • Visual anthropology

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Prof Rebecca Cassidy

Modules & structure


You take: 

  • Two core modules that will familiarise you with the most important theoretical positions within anthropology, and will introduce you to key methodological questions
  • Option modules to the value of 60 credits
  • Dissertation

Core modules 

Module title Credits
  Anthropological Theory 30 credits
  Anthropological Research Methods 30 credits

Option modules

You take option modules from a list that currently includes:

Module title Credits
  Anthropology and Cultural Politics 30 credits
  Anthropology of Rights I 15 credits
  Anthropology of Rights II 15 credits
  Critical Voices in Development 60 credits
  Anthropology and History 30 credits
  Anthropology and Representation 15 credits
  Anthropology and the Visual II 30 credits
  Anthropology of Art II 30 credits
  Anthropology of Health and Medicine I 30 credits
  Anthropology of Religion 30 credits
  Economic and Political Anthropology I 30 credits
  Economic and Political Anthropology II 30 credits
  Ethnographic Film and Cinema Studies 30 credits
  Environmental Anthropology 30 credits
  Indian and Peasant Politics in Amazonia 15 credits
  Social Anthropology of the Caribbean 30 credits
  Intercultural Film 30 credits
  Photography & Sound 15 credits
  Gender Theory in Practice 30 credits
  Violence & the Body Politic 30 credits
  Anthropological Perspectives on Tourism 15 credits


Dissertation; reports; take-home papers; options may require a presentation or production of visual material.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.


Anthropology at Goldsmiths is ranked 6th in the UK for the quality of our research**


Investigate a variety of fascinating areas that have real relevance to modern life.

As a department we’re interested in pushing the discipline forward. We’re known for pioneering new fields including visual anthropology and the anthropology of modernity. And we tackle other contemporary issues like urban planning, development, emotions and aesthetics, and new social movements.

Find out more about the Department of Anthropology.

**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings

Skills & careers


This programme is ideal if you're thinking of pursuing a career in the media, or in research, teaching, policy and many other fields.

Recent graduates have been employed by Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières, and the Royal Anthropological Institute.

The Masters also provides an excellent grounding for students interested in pursuing research in social anthropology – several have gone on to complete research degrees at Goldsmiths.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.



"I needed to be again in the place where ideas are constantly challenged and are put in movement."

"Studying a postgraduate degree was a necessity for me. After eight years working as a sociologist in different places but always in relation to the cultural realm – in its broader sense – it became evident that I needed to be again in the place where ideas are constantly challenged and are put in movement. Moreover, I felt the curiosity of knowing and understanding more about the latest theories to study the social and cultural phenomena, as well as in which ways the anthropological perspective is helpful in order to understand it. Both of my expectations were totally fulfilled in Goldsmiths and with the perspective that the Masters in Social Anthropology offers.  

So far I am very pleased with my academic results and this is partly due to the fact that I can dedicate more time to study, something that could not even be possible to think without having the scholarship that the University gave me. In other words, having the monetary support for me has been crucial to dedicate more time to really make the most of everything that being back in the university means."


"My time at Goldsmiths gave me massive confidence, as a woman from a working class family, in my intellectual abilities in particular."

"I helped to start this social enterprise in 2006 as a response to climate change and issues of social justice. I have largely set up what we do and now manage the company supported by a core team. We help people spend time in and with the natural world for health, learning and fun. We run events and activities, including a series of sessions for people we target – for example people with severe mental health problems and young people failed by society. We're also a training agency and research everything we do in collaboration with various universities. 
I took Social Anthropology MA in 1997 with Steve Nugent and Brian Morris (Environmental Anthroplogy) to complement my existing BSc in Plant Biology from Bangor, making me an ethnobotanist. My specific interests are the way we use plants for health and well being hence this is the focus of much of the work of the company. My time at Goldsmiths gave me massive confidence, as a woman from a working class family, in my intellectual abilities in particular. Specifically in the politics of global social justice and how this related directly to the plant sciences I had learnt in my first degree. I am still in regular contact with my tutor and fellow ethnobotanist Brian Morris.
I have been seeking funds to do a PhD since I left Goldsmiths. This year I hope to pilot a study with migrant women in Cornwall about the information they bring with them to the UK about plants for health and well being and how this can be integrated in to local healthcare practice.
My journey has been as a mature student and single mum on benefits, who was given a chance with a bursary from Goldsmiths and a supportive family. Having acheived my academic ambitions, for over 10 years I concentrated on making sure my daughter had the best possible start with her adult life and ended in middle management at the local authority. This sideways step gave me enough of my own material security to step into my new life in 2010. I now combine all my skills and learning to help others use the natural world to find their path in life and show them that persistence (stubborn!?) pays off. Nature Workshops has doubled in size year on year despite the recession, with volunteers beating a path to our door. As a social enterprise with a flat management system and holisitic approach to people, community and company development we 'walk the talk'."

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Find out more about tuition fees.

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