BA Anthropology and African Studies

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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 Joint Honours degree programme allows you to gain an understanding of Africa, its history, cultures and societies, and also to focus critically and analytically on Anthropology. It attracts students with an enthusiasm for, and interest in, Africa and Anthropology, but few have studied these subjects at school or college. The Department's student society is very lively and provides a full programme of activities, from sport to music.

Our BA African Studies and Anthropology has the advantage of being a distinctive degree that really helps 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.

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

In this programme, you study half of your modules (60 credits) in Anthropology and half in African Studies (60 credits)

First year

Anthropology: The first year provides a broad introduction to anthropological ideas in addition to a wide-ranging skills course. You will take Focus on Studying Societies (20 credits), Thinking Anthropologically (20 credits) and African Societies (20 credits).

African Studies: You will explore a wide range of issues relating to the African subcontinent from different academic perspectives. In the first year you take three foundation modules in the Department, to introduce you to the history, cultures, environments, societies and contemporary political situations of Africa.

Detailed descriptions of first year modules

 

Second year

Anthropology: In this year you take Theory, Ethnography and Reseach (40 credits), as well as 20 credits of optional modules that have an anthroplogical focus.

African Studies: In your second year you take Perspectives on Africa, which covers breaking news stories and provides dissertation preparation.  You also choose two other modules. 

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.

Detailed descriptions of second year modules

 

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. 

Detailed descriptions of third year modules

Why study this course

In the Anthropology half of your programme, we introduce you to the discipline of social and cultural anthropology. You learn the tools, methods, contents and contexts of classical social anthropology and contemporary theoretical debates, all of which provide a solid foundation for second- and third-year project and dissertation work.

African Studies is a broad degree programme which combines arts and social science approaches. The Department of African Studies and Anthropology is a small, friendly community of undergraduates, postgraduates, visiting scholars and staff.

  •  The Department of African studies and Anthropology (incorporating the Centre for West African Studies) at the University of Birmingham is the only one of its kind in the world.
  •  All 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.
  • Student satisfaction scores for African Studies at Birmingham are very high, with 93% of students reporting that they are satisfied with the quality of the course.
  •  The University of Birmingham is first for employability nationally for all African Studies degree courses. 86% of African Studies graduates who graduated in 2011 were in graduate-level jobs or further study six months after graduating.
  • African Studies and Anthropology has been ranked second among all Area Studies departments in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  •  The Danford Collection is a nationally important collection of African Art and Artefacts that celebrates and showcases the extensive array of cultural traditions and artistic expression from the countries in Africa. 
  •  CWASSOC is very active in organising social events, for example the biannual Afrika Jam. It also arranges excursions to places and events of interest (for example the Slavery Gallery at the Maritime Museum in Liverpool). 

Hannah Patterson (second year Joint Honours Anthropology)

African Studies, Anthropology and Development at Birmingham
June 2013 open day talk given by Dr Maxim Bolt

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

Additional information: Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry 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

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 African Studies open day presentation]

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.