Emily sitting on the steps of the University of Birmingham's redbrick Aston Webb building

Why I choose to study Social Anthropology and History...

The opportunity to study both subjects together really appealed to me as many other universities don’t offer this combination as a joint honours degree.

I didn't know much about Anthropology before I arrived, but the modules the department offered seemed very interesting, and persuaded me to want to study both Anthropology and History at the University of Birmingham.

I was also very impressed by how nice the campus and the accommodation that is available for first year students look, especially on the Vale!

My favourite thing about my course...

I have been able to gain new perspectives on things due to Anthropology modules, and learned more about the subject. I have been able to take these new perspectives into both History and Anthropology work, and the course has broadened how I think about the world and society in general.

This has been partly the result of the range of readings that I have had access to and then been able to discuss and explore in seminars. Being able to study history and anthropology together, without having to choose between the two has continued to be one of my favourite things!

What I found difficult...

One thing I found difficult was getting to grips with referencing properly and the style of university writing that is used. Whilst I had some practice with A-level course work, it was quite different at university level and therefore took some time to learn and carry out properly.

I overcame this by using reference guides provided by the university, and utilising staff office hours if I had any concerns. There is also the Academic Writing Advisory Service which has been great at providing lots of resources on writing and structuring your work.

My most memorable moment...

I would say within the course my most memorable moment so far has been the Sudanese Kitchen events. This has been something I’ve been able to take part in twice now and involves a trip to a culinary school. Here we learnt how to cook Sudanese foods and then enjoyed eating them together! Outside of the course I would just say meeting some of my best friends and enjoying life together at university has been a real highlight for me.

Anthropology students preparing food in the Harborne Food School for Sudanese Kitchen nights
Anthropology students in the Harborne Food School for Sudanese Kitchen nights

My favourite module...

I would say one of my favourite modules so far for History has been one of my second-year options, ‘There is black in the union jack’, which involved learning about black and South-Asian histories in Britain. This was a very eye-opening module and was also quite different from anything I had studied previously.

For Anthropology one of my favourite modules so far has been ‘Thinking Anthropologically’, which gave me a broad introduction into how thinking works across the discipline, and how anthropologists record their findings, through topics as diverse as pets and fashion.

My top tips...

If you're considering joint honours students, to not let the idea of having two subjects to tackle put you off. Whilst it might seem daunting, the workload is very manageable, and in my experiences being able to draw on what you have learnt in either subject is beneficial when it comes to assignments and course work!