BA Social Anthropology

Start date
September
Duration
3 Years
UCAS code
L600
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours
Fees

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24:
£9,250 (UK)
£21,780 (International)
More detail.

Are you interested in contemporary social and cultural diversity? Social Anthropology gives you the tools you need to understand and analyse the contemporary world, in all its variety.

The BA Social Anthropology degree will allow you to explore alternative perspectives on topics such as:

  • migration
  • international development
  • religious coexistence
  • economic inequality
  • marginality
  • urban life
  • popular culture
  • family forms
  • gender and sexuality

Through cross-cultural comparison and in-depth study of particular societies and communities, you will learn to question taken-for-granted assumptions and to think differently about some of the biggest questions of our time.

Your degree will equip you with a grounding in social and cultural theory and provide opportunities for you to put your knowledge into practice through your own research projects. This practical focus begins from the first year, when you will apply an anthropological lens to the dynamic city of Birmingham, the UK's most ethnically-diverse city; it continues with more systematic and applied research methods training in your second year, and culminates in an individual dissertation project in your final year.

From Africa to Oceania, Europe to Asia and the Americas, anthropology teaching in the department is truly international. Our staff are all committed to long term, on the ground, research on matters of global importance and enjoy sharing their latest research with students through specialist optional modules and project supervision.

Over the last three years I have studied topics such as witchcraft and kinship in my first year, LGBT activism in my second year and the meaning of money and commodities in my third year. I even conducted my own anthropological research project on the social pressures that influence student fashion trends. By studying undergraduate anthropology at the University of Birmingham I have questioned all of my assumptions about what it means to be human.

Hannah

Why study this course?

  • Exceptional student experience - We provide opportunities for staff and students to get to know one another beyond the classroom. In recent years, for example, our first years have enjoyed a Sudanese food evening and second and third years have gone on trips to the Liverpool Slavery Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.
  • A global understanding - As Europe's youngest and most culturally-diverse city, Birmingham is the perfect place to pursue a Social Anthropology degree. You also have the option to experience a different society first hand by studying abroad with one of our 300 international partners as well as being able to study a foreign language for free.
  • Practical applications to the real world - Alongside practical research experience, you will gain critical and transferable skills that open up a broad range of career opportunities. In your second year, you may choose to take the Professional Skills module which includes a work placement in a field such as marketing, curation or event management. As the fourth most targeted university by the UK's Top 100 employers (The Graduate Market 2022), our anthropology graduates and alumni are equipped with the skills to pursue successful careers in a wide range of sectors.
  • Access to global collections - Our on-campus facilities give you access to over 3000 learning resources including environmental and material culture teaching collections in the Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology Museum; the Eton Myers Collection and the Danford Collection of African art and artefacts. Students also have the option to volunteer with the Archaeology and Eton Myers Collections to gain invaluable work experience in research, curation, heritage handling, marketing and more.
  • Taught by the very best – You will study alongside some of the finest minds in Anthropology, and the relatively small (homely!) size of our department's community means that you will get to know our academics on a personal level. With internationally diverse staff supporting you throughout your degree, you will be encouraged to follow your own research interests, wherever they make take you!

Modules

Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2023. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer-holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

First year modules

  • Studying Societies: Social Anthropology (10 credits)
  • Around the World with Anthropology (10 credits)
  • Thinking Anthropologically (20 credits)
  • Anthropology of Africa (20 credits)
  • Ethnographic Film (10 credits)
  • Anthropologists in the World (10 credits)
  • Writing Worlds: Ethnography as Craft (20 credits)
  • Urban Encounters: Anthropology in Birmingham (20 credits)

First year module descriptions

Second year modules

Compulsory modules

  • Theory and Ethnography (20 credits)
  • Research in Practice (20 credits)
  • 80 credits of Optional Modules including, if you wish, a Professional or Skills module

Second year module descriptions

Year Abroad

You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year, you will be eligible to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year. Find out more.

Final year

  • Dissertation in Social Anthropology (40 credits)
  • 80 credits of Optional Modules including a Professional Skills Module if not undertaken the previous year

Previous students' dissertation titles

Final Year Modules

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2023, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2023/24 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £21,780

Eligibility for 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 UK for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as International for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

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.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
General Studies:
Accepted.

IB Diploma:
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM plus B at A-level.
  • BTEC Diploma: DM, plus B at A-level.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus BB at A-level.

T Levels:
Merit overall with B in the Core Component; all subjects considered.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

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.

Students in the Danford Room 

You will be taught by a range of experts within our Department through a combination of lectures, workshops and small group seminar teaching. You will also receive individual supervision to help you develop, carry out, and write up your own research projects.

Contact hours

In your first year, you can expect to have 9-12 contact hours, depending on your module choices. These will consist of a mixture of lectures and small-group teaching. 

In your second year, you can expect to have 8-12 contact hours, depending on your module choices. These will consist of a mixture of lectures, small-group teaching, and supervision.

In your third year, you can expect to have 8.5-9.5 contact hours, depending on your module choices. As before, these will consist of a mixture of lectures, small-group teaching, and supervision. There are also many additional activities that are available to students. 

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, book reviews or projects
  • Group and individual presentations

There are no formal exams in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology. Students can receive one-to-one support as they prepare their assignments by visiting their tutors during their Student Hours and through the Academic Writing Advisory Service; students also have opportunities to discuss their marks and feedback with academic staff.

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within three weeks, so you can learn from each assignment.

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham. 

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 advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.

Wellbeing Officers –You will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or to talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.

Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to 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.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) provides guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too.

Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, including trips.

Year one

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Year two

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

Year three

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

As a Social Anthropology and African Studies student you will develop a wide range of 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 Social Anthropology or a related discipline or move into employment in a wide range of other careers.  

Graduates from our department have gone on to careers such as:

  • Adjudicator
  • Graduate Research Executive
  • Pensions Administrator
  • Teacher
  • Graduate Intern
  • Compliance Executive
  • IT Project Management Trainee
  • Production Runner
  • Parliamentary Researcher
  • Business Adviser
  • Caseworker
  • Event Manager
  • Postgraduate study  
  • Journalist
  • Social worker
  • Civil servant

Developing your career

The University of Birmingham is the 4th most targeted university by the country’s top graduate employers according to The Graduate Market 2022 report. Our Careers Network are here to offer you tailored, expert advice on your career plans and support you with finding and applying for jobs, internships and further study. There are hundreds of events to help you meet potential employers and learn more about the breadth of opportunities and career sectors available to you.

Support will be offered to you covering the whole job application process, including CVs, LinkedIn, application forms, interviews and assessment centres.  You can also email our experienced Careers Advisors and College Teams to review your applications or answer any careers related question, alongside our on campus and online 1:1 appointments.

We have a number of exclusive Internship Programmes such as our Cultural Internships, which will give you paid, professional experience to set you apart in the graduate market. We also offer work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships. 

First years can take part in The Birmingham Project, with themes including celebrating arts and culture and shaping a global society. There’s also a successful Mentoring Programme, where you can gain access to experienced Mentors who can empower, inspire and inform you about their experiences.  As a University of Birmingham student you will also be given access to LinkedIn Learning giving free access to real world training courses to kick-start your careers.

If you want to earn money WorkLink advertises convenient part-time job opportunities on campus to fit round your studies.  

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you may want to engage in extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and your network of contacts. Our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme.

There are more than 500 student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students (our Students’ Union) so you’re bound to find activities that you want to be involved in whilst meeting friends who share your interests.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities