BA Anthropology and African Studies

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This course is in clearing

This course is in international clearing

The African continent is humankind’s original home. It is a continent of vast cultural and natural resources. The range of African societies today and in the past are enormous: from egalitarian communities to elaborately hierarchical empires. There are extremes of wealth and poverty; ancient oral cultures exist side by side with old traditions of literacy and state-of-the-art electronic media; successful local exploitation of Africa’s massive pools of biodiversity contrasts with the famines we are all too familiar from the news.

What is indisputable is the creativity of the continent. Whether in coping with massive urbanisation, in developing new kinds of politics, or in inventing original literary and theatrical genres, Africans have been active and resilient makers of their own fortunes. The Department of African Studies and Anthropology teaching programmes are grounded in Africans’ own views of the continent and the world.

Course fact file

UCAS code: LT65

Duration: 3 Years

Typical Offer: BBB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Details

Our Joint Honours Anthropology and African Studies degree programme allows you to gain an understanding of Africa, its history, cultures and societies, and also to focus critically and analytically on Anthropology.

African Studies and Anthropology has been ranked second among all Area Studies departments in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

The Department of African Studies and Anthropology is a small department, whose strong sense of community and support among its undergraduates, postgraduates and staff is well known in the University. 

This degree has the advantage of being distinctive, which will really help you to stand out from the crowd. Our graduates benefit from a higher than average rate of employability for the subject, with over 90% going into work or study within six months of graduation.

Why study this course

  • We will introduce you to the discipline of studies in Africa and social and cultural Anthropology.  We will help you to adapt to new ways of working and you will gain confidence in approaching unfamiliar topics.  As you progress in your studies, you will be able to follow up a range of topics in greater detail, culminating in your final-year dissertation. 
  • All our staff have lived and worked in Africa, so you get the benefit of their invaluable first-hand experience. 
  • Teaching programmes are grounded in the African people's own view of the continent and the world.  

Hear from our students

Open day talk

Modules

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

In the first year of a Joint Honours degree programme study is split equally between the two disciplines.  Following this you have the option to alter the balance of your study, meaning that you could change to a major-minor weighting.  In your final year you have the option to maintain your second-year balance, switch your major subject to your other discipline or revert to an equal balance.  If you wish, you can maintain an equal balance throughout your degree.  This flexibility allows you to tailor the course throughout your degree programme, once you have had the time and experience to consider where your strengths and interests lie.  The list of modules below are based on studying half of your modules (60 credits) in African Studies and half in Anthropology (60 credits). 

First year 

The first year provides a broad introduction to anthropological ideas and you will explore a wide range of issues relating to the African subcontinent from different academic perspectives.  

Compulsory modules

  • Focus on Studying Societies
  • Thinking Anthropolgically
  • African Societies

 African Studies and Anthropology Options (60 credits to be chosen)

  • Introduction to African Culture
  • Introduction to African History
  • Introduction to African Politics
  • Introduction to African Development
  • Introduction to Geography and Africa

Second year

In this year you take Theory, Ethnography and Research (40 credits), Perspectives on Africa (20 credits) which provides dissertation preparation, as well as 20 credits of optional modules that have an anthroplogical focus and two further optional modules available from the Department of African Studies and Anthropology.  

Compulsory modules 

  • Theory, Ethnography and Research
  • Perspectives on Africa 

Optional modules (choose 60 credits.  Examples of modules below)

  • Rural Livelihoods & Development Interventions in West Africa
  • Gender and Development
  • African Popular Culture
  • Religion and Ritual
  • South Africa in the 20th Century
  • South Africa in the 19th Century
  • Atlantic Slavery: West Africa Caribbean
  • From Colony to Nation: Ghana 1874-1966
  • Caribbean Challenges to the Modern World
  • Aid, NGOs and Development
  • Caribbean Challenges to the Modern World
  • Trajectories of Emancipation
  • Caribbean Literature (Poetry)
  • Independent Study 

 The option to study for a semester abroad

 You will have the option to study abroad in the either the first or second semester of your second year, so you will still be able to complete your degree in three years. Credits are gained in your subject area at the institution you choose. There is a wide variety of universities to choose from which are approved by the University of Birmingham's International Office with the Study Abroad and Exchanges Scheme. 

Third year

In your final year you will write a Dissertation (10,000 words, 40 credits).  You will be supported in a series of one-to-one meetings with your supervisor, and will present your research to other students and members of staff during a series of workshops.  In addition, you will take 80 credits of taught modules from a list of options.  

Compulsory modules 

  • Dissertation 

Optional modules in African Studies and Anthropology (80 credits – Choose four modules.  Examples of modules below)

  • African Popular Culture
  • African Religion and Ritual
  • Gender and Development
  • Trajectories of Emancipation
  • South Africa in 20th Century
  • South Africa in 19th Century
  • Atlantic Slavery: West Africa & the Caribbean
  • From Colony to Nation: Ghana 1874-1966
  • Rural Livelihoods & Development Interventions in West Africa
  • Independent Study
  • Caribbean Literature (Poetry)
  • Caribbean Challenges to the modern World 

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding
 
Scholarships
Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: BBB

International baccalaureate update

Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.

International students:

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com.

Learn more about applying.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Learning and teaching

Students in the Danford Room 

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
  • Academic Skills Centre - the centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Contact hours

These vary slightly according to your choice of modules. However, contact is timed carefully and we're very clear about what you should do during your independent study hours. During contact hours, you will have the opportunity to work in small groups, to build relationships with your tutors and fellow students, and to receive one-to-one feedback on your assignments.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

Employability

[Video above - Dr Maxim Bolt discusses careers and employability in the Anthropology and African Studies open day presentation]

 

As an African Studies and Anthropology student you will have an excellent opportunity to develop skills that are attractive to employers, including: 

  • Strong communication skills
  • The ability to research, analyse and interpret complex information
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Handling complex information
  • The ability to form concise and articulate arguments
  • Managing your time and prioritising your workload 

These are key skills that will enable you to pursue either further study in History or Anthropology disciplines or move into employment in a wide range of other careers.  

Our African Studies and Anthropology graduates have gone on to careers in:  

  • Accountancy
  • Charity work
  • Housing
  • Human Resources
  • International Development
  • Law
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Publishing
  • Politics
  • Retail Management
  • Teaching
  • Library and Archive work
  • Postgraduate study  

You will benefit from organised events in the department whereby our graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available to historians.  Many careers-orientated events are arranged in the department over the course of your time at Birmingham to enable you to gain skills so that you join the working world with confidence in your abilities.

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.