BA Anthropology and Political Science

The Joint Honours programme in BA Anthropology and Political Science gives you access to modules in both these subjects and enables you to build a degree programme that suits your interests. 

You will learn about human nature and be encouraged to take part in debates and to research different theories. 

You will learn from renowned experts in their field and develop skills that will be valued by employers. Our graduates are highly valued by employers and tend to have little difficulty finding interesting careers in a wide variety of fields. Over 90% of BA Anthropology and Political Sciences graduates are in work or study within six months of graduation. 

Dan Brunsdon

Dan Brunsdon

“Your first year at university is an amazing opportunity to meet people who you can create life-long friendships with, as well experience a lot more independence with your life. So make the most of it and don’t be shy! Outside of my studies I undertook a level 1 course in British Sign Language with the Talking Hands student society at the university, as well as a level 2 course in German through the free open access language course.”

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

First year

Anthropology:  In your first year you take three compulsory modules. Focus on Studying Societies is concerned with core study skills, taking you through all the steps of researching, planning and editing an essay, and enabling you to pursue a group investigation and present your findings orally. Thinking Anthropologically takes a series of core questions (e.g. What is work? What is dirt?) and shows how anthropologists study societies around the world, explaining how people can think very differently about questions that might initially appear simple or obvious.  African Societies allows students to see how core anthropological terms have been applied to specific societies in order to explain social structures, behaviours and beliefs. 

Political Science: You are provided with the basic knowledge and skills to study politics. You also have the opportunity to take other introductory social science courses.

Second year

Anthropology: In this year you take Theory, Ethnography and Research (40 credits). This module explains the history of anthropology and its major theories. It finishes with an ethnographic project in which students behave like anthropologists, and engage in close observation and analysis of the social behaviour around them. In addition, students choose 20 credits of African Studies optional modules that have an anthropological focus.

Political Science: You have the opportunity to develop specialised knowledge in areas that you find of greatest interest, such as political theory and analysis, European integration, British politics, American politics, comparative European politics, and political economy.

Third year

Anthropology:  In your third year, you may write a Dissertation (10,000 words, 40 credits) or take an Independent Study (5,000 words, 20 credits). However, if you are undertaking independent research on the other side of your degree programme, we allow you to choose mainly taught modules in Anthropology, so as to guarantee a reasonable amount of contact time. 

Political Science: In addition to choosing modules from a wide range of options, students undertake an independent research project on a topic of their own choosing.

Why study this course

Studying Anthropology will enable you to develop a distinctive set of skills and attributes. Like other students, you will learn how to search for, select from and evaluate sources of information, weigh up arguments, and present your findings effectively. As an anthropologist however, you will also become sensitive to the assumptions and beliefs that underlie behaviour in a range of social and cultural contexts, and this gives you a critical edge. The staff who teach Anthropology at Birmingham are based in the School of History and Cultures and the Department of African Studies and Anthropology. These members of staff have lived and taught in countries beyond Western Europe, and have a range of language skills acquired through intensive ethnographic field work. As part of s small cohort of students, you will benefit from being taught by practising anthropologists and learning about their research experiences. 

  •  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). 

A knowledge of politics helps you to understand and explain what governments do. It also teaches you a great deal about human nature. Politics is not only what political scientists study, but also an activity in which professional politicians, civil servants and ordinary citizens take part.

These degree programmes help you acquire important analytical skills. You learn to find your way among different arguments, rival theories and alternative explanations. You also learn about campaigns, elections, protest movements, policy issues and political ideals.

Open day talk

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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.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,000
  • Overseas: £13,860

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee; for 2016/17 this will be £1,350
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee; for 2016/17 this will be £6,930

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:

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 one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

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.

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


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.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we?ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

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.




Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers and Employability Service can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV's and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

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.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Student Experience Officers

Our Student Experience Officers 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.


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.