In this programme, you study half of your modules (60 credits) in Anthropology and half in Political Science (60 credits)
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.
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.
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.
Hear from our students
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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
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: ABB
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.
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
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