BA Social Anthropology and History

Start date
September
Duration
3 Years
UCAS code
LV61
Course Type
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined
Fees

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

Social Anthropology is the study of human social and cultural diversity. If you want to understand the past to prepare for your future in a changing world, studying History is the way forward.

This undergraduate degree course combines the contemporary, critical, and globally comparative perspective of social anthropology with historical study of modern, early modern and medieval Britain, Europe and the wider world. After a thorough grounding in both disciplines in the first year of your degree, you will be able to follow your interests by choosing from a wide range of optional modules in your second and third years. Your degree will culminate in a final year dissertation in either Social Anthropology or History.

Staff at Birmingham teaching Social Anthropology and History have an outstanding reputation for excellence in both teaching and research. This degree will provide you with valuable skills in analysis, research, reasoning, and time-management, equipping you to present yourself confidently orally and in writing, wherever your future takes you.  

Over the last three years I have studied a variety of topics including human remains, ritual activities and examined a medieval hunting lodge. Studying at the University of Birmingham has enabled me to challenge my understanding of social behaviours and explore ideologies and belief systems of differing cultures across millennia. I have developed a variety of transferable skills which means I'm well equipped to join the graduate job market.

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Why study this course?

  • Immerse yourself in a unique perspective - The Department of African Studies and Anthropology is the only one of its kind available at both undergraduate and postgraduate level allowing you to explore the disciplines in entirely new and exciting ways.
  • Exceptional learning resources – You will have access to a range of learning resources including environmental and material culture teaching collections at the University of Birmingham; the Eton Myers Collection and the Danford Collection of African art and artefacts.
  • Taught by the very best – You will study alongside some of the finest minds at university. Times Higher Education ranked the Department of African Studies and Anthropology 2nd in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise (based on grade point average). 
  • Present day application - We believe in history as a practical and engaged endeavour that speaks to questions of social inequality, community belonging and even climate change. As a Birmingham student you have opportunities to learn about the uses of history such as through a placement in the heritage sector on our Professional Skills module.
  • Unparallelled opportunities – Equipping you with skills that employers value is a priority for us. Make use of free language tuition, Arts Internships and the opportunity to Study Abroad. 

Open day talks

Two full videos on YouTube of recent undergraduate open day talks relevant to this course:

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.

Joint Honours flexibility

Every degree programme at the University is divided into 120 credits of study for each year of the programme. In the first year of a Joint Honours programme, you will study 60 credits in each subject as you learn the core elements of the disciplines. We recognise that students on Joint Honours programmes might come to favour one subject slightly more than another. To account for this, we have added more flexibility into the second and final years of our programmes. In the second year, you can stick with the 60-60 split between the two subjects or shift to a 80-40 credit weighting, effectively a major/ minor combination. You can either go back to 60-60 in the final year, maintain the same 80-40 split or reverse the major and the minor and go to a 40-80 weighting.

First year

Social Anthropology compulsory modules

  • Studying Societies: Social Anthropology (10 credits)
  • Around the World with Anthropology (10 credits)
  • Thinking Anthropologically (20 credits)

Optional modules

  • Students choose one of the following two modules: 

Urban Encounters: Anthropology in Birmingham (20 credits) 

OR

Writing Worlds: Ethnography as Craft (20 credits) 

Descriptions of first year Social Anthropology modules

History compulsory modules

  • Practising History (A): Skills in History (10 credits)
  • Practising History (B): Skills in History (10 credits)

Optional modules

  • In semester One, students choose one of the following two modules: 

Discovering the Modern World (20 credits)

OR

Making of the Modern World (20 credits)

  • In Semester Two, students choose one of the following two modules:

Making of the Contemporary World (20 credits)

 OR

History of Africa and Its Diaspora (20 credits)

Descriptions of first year History modules

Second year

Social Anthropology compulsory modules

  • Theory and Ethnography (20 credits)
  • Research in Practice (20 credits)

Optional modules

All optional modules are 20 credits.

  • Students taking 80 credits in Social Anthropology will choose TWO optional modules.
  • Students taking 60 credits in Social Anthropology will choose ONE optional module
  • Students taking 40 credits in Social Anthropology will take only the compulsory modules. 

Descriptions of second year Anthropology modules

History

  • Students taking 80 credits in History will choose FOUR optional modules, including ONE from the suite of Group Research modules, and History in Theory and Practice or a Skills module.
  • Students taking 60 credits in History will choose THREE optional modules, including ONE Autumn option and ONE from the suite of Group Research modules.

  • Students taking 40 credits in History will choose TWO optional modules, including ONE Autumn option and ONE from the suite of Group Research modules.

Descriptions of second year History modules

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

Anthropology

  • 80 credits; DASA Dissertation; optional modules including, if you wish, a Professional Skills module if not undertaken the previous year
  • 60 credits; DASA Dissertation; optional module including, if you wish, a Professional Skills module if not undertaken the previous year
  • 40 credits; optional modules

Descriptions of Anthropology final year modules

History

  • 80 credits; Dissertation and/or Special Subject modules; optional modules
  • 60 credits; Dissertation or Special Subject modules; optional module(s) 
  • 40 credits; Special Subject modules 

     

Descriptions of History 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:
ABB
Required subjects and grades:
A Level History, Medieval History, Ancient History or Early Modern History

IB Diploma:
6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall, including HL History / Medieval History / Ancient History / Early Modern History.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM, plus an A at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus an A at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A-level, including an A in the required A-level subject/s mentioned above.

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.

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.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

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 also 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; Joint Honours students may have timed or take-home examinations in their other department.

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

 

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 History student you will have an excellent opportunity to develop skills that are attractive to employers.

These skills include:

  • Strong communication skills
  • A deep understanding of the past
  • 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 History or Anthropology disciplines or move into employment in a wide range of other careers. Our graduates have gone on to careers such as: 

  • Adjudicator
  • Graduate Research Executive
  • Pensions Administrator
  • Teacher
  • Graduate Intern
  • Production Runner
  • Parliamentary Researcher
  • Event Manager
  • Postgraduate study

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 Advisers 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 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