Course information

Department

Anthropology

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

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?

Why study MA Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths

  • Whatever your disciplinary background, you’ll have the opportunity to build a solid base in social anthropology, its theoretical foundations, methodology and ethnographic diversity.
  • You'll learn from leading academics in the Department of Anthropology, which has been rated top 10 in the UK for anthropology in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.
  • You’ll be able to choose from a variety of option modules, which means you can tailor the degree to your own theoretical or regional interests.
  • You can choose to study topics including gender, sexuality and the body, religion and symbolism, political economy, psychological perspectives in anthropology, the anthropology of rights, and visual anthropology.
  • You’ll join a diverse group of students with a range of educational backgrounds and interests, so you’ll be exposed to many different perspectives.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Alice Elliot.

What you'll study

Compulsory modules 

You take two compulsory modules (60 credits) that will familiarise you with the most important theoretical positions within anthropology and will introduce you to key methodological questions. You also complete a dissertation (60 credits).

 

Module title Credits
Anthropological Theory 30 credits
Anthropological Research Methods 30 credits
Dissertation 60 credits

Option modules

You then choose 60 credits of optional modules from a list provided annually by the department. Recent optional modules have included:

Module title Credits
Anthropology and Gender Theory 30 credits
Material Culture 30 credits
Ethnographic Film and Cinema Studies 30 credits
Digital Anthropology (PG) 30 credits
Anthropology of Religion 30 credits
Economic and Political Anthropology 1 30 credits
Economic and Political Anthropology 2 30 credits
Borders and Migration 30 credits
Learning from Social Movements 30 credits
Anthropology of Rights 30 credits
Anthropology of Art 30 credits

Assessment

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

Download the programme specification.

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

What our students say

Sarah El Hadj

Supportive professors

My favourite part about studying at Goldsmiths was the support and kindness my professors provided. I have chronic health conditions that affected me throughout my time studying, and they were always patient and understanding.

This is something I especially appreciate after working in jobs or circumstances where I haven't felt supported. Their reassurance has allowed me to complete my research without feeling overwhelmed.

Creative approaches

I also love the fact that Goldsmiths welcomes creativity and uniqueness in conjunction with academia. There is a safe and open-minded atmosphere at Goldsmiths. My professors consistently chose readings and resources from various authors and time periods, fostering a broadened perspective and room for us to develop our own opinions and ideas.

Being a part of the Department of Anthropology felt like a genuine community and I am grateful for the friendships and connections I have made.

Electric environment

I've grown up in various boroughs in London, but what I love about the Goldsmiths campus is that New Cross has more of an electric and inclusive atmosphere than other areas of London.

You’ll make friends from all over the world. There are many cafés and pubs to study at or visit with friends and it's easily accessible on various public modes of transport.

Advice for future students

Take advantage of the campus and facilities whilst studying, as time goes by much quicker than you'd imagine. Use the library and visit the student union and cafés on campus.

Oana Borlea-Stancioi

Developing new perspectives

Studying for my MA in Social Anthropology opened new perspectives for me and provided me with a new environment to expand my intellectual curiosity. I also found inquisitive minds to challenge my view of the world and a vibrant community. 

Going to university and, generally, exposing oneself to various environments at different stages in one's life expands the horizons and helps contour a better understanding of the world.

Expanding horizons

London is such a vast place, that if one doesn't have a chance to exit the zone they live in or go beyond the immediately reachable area it can create bubbles. So having a chance to explore beyond where I lived and where I worked was very enjoyable. 

Advice for future students

Ask questions, even if they sound silly. Question and challenge your way of thinking, explore, and experience as much as possible. 

Go to class, speak in seminars, do the things that scare you. Speak to colleagues, peers, lecturers, and anyone you can, and try to learn something from each interaction.

Judith Morrison

A transformative journey

I joined the MA in Social Anthropology aged 75 years old, graduating aged 77. I had not done a degree before, so Goldsmiths has transformed me from being academically very insecure (I was never an ‘A' stream student) to someone whose confidence raised a cheer at the Graduation ceremony.

A supportive and inclusive environment

My Course Leader and Dissertation tutors worked tirelessly to cope with my lack of academic skills. Tutorials were freely available using the online booking system (including through the Covid period) where staff gently directed me towards useful texts and writing skills.

Additional Wednesday evening lectures were open to all to attend to supplement the taught material. This enabled us to hear the views of speakers and students from other spheres and courses, widening our experiences.

All departments at Goldsmiths were professionally and personally helpful. Isaac on the IT Helpdesk; Angus, who had special responsibility for the Anthropology section of the library and the Disability staff recorded that I wore hearing aids.

Where possible, my tutor ensured that my lectures occurred in halls with a hearing loop. The excellent Centre for Academic Language and Literacy coaxed us through essay writing skills culminating in Dissertation Writing skills.

A thrilling experience

My dissertation on 50 years of living near Camden Lock Market, gave me the opportunity to step off campus, interview current users of the market (having done a quantitative study of those arriving on the underground) market traders, canal boat dwellers, friends who remembered the original market and local activists while delving into historical copies of the local newspaper from the Camden Local History Library.

Drawing anthropological threads together linking the arrival and growth of the market to the surrounding area was a new and very thrilling experience for me and I am grateful to my tutor for his help.

Goldsmiths has excellent non-academic facilities: the Student Union, cafes and spacious grounds. Public transport is excellent. 

A rich cultural history

I am a Londoner and enjoy exploring different areas. The area has a rich cultural history and many facilities.

The transport system is excellent too. There are buses, tube lines and the overground service immediately available, making it easy to attend.

Advice for future students

If you are thinking of it: Go For It!

Mature students have all to gain and nothing to lose by enrolling at Goldsmiths. We have an interest in a topic, the time to study (part-time or full-time), and grants are available to support your studies.

Goldsmiths have worked wonders for me - my adult children became quite emotional at the graduation as they knew how much this qualification meant to me.

See more profiles for this programme

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.

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2024/2025 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £10350
  • Home - part-time: £5175
  • International - full-time: £19520

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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 academic qualifications
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively a copy of your academic reference
  • Copies of your educational transcripts or certificates
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online. Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

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.

Careers

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.

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