Master of Social and Cultural Anthropology (MSc)


For more information about Master of Social and Cultural Anthropology at KU Leuven, please visit the webpage using the button above.

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How long you will study
2 Years

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About Master of Social and Cultural Anthropology at KU Leuven

Anthropology studies the socializing, meaning-making and world-building practices of humans in different places, networks and settings, all around the world. Social and cultural anthropologists study social processes from the perspectives of the actors involved. Combining an insider's and an outsider's point of view, anthropologists actively engage and theorize the differences and similarities between people across the globe.

What is the programme all about?

Anthropology researches the complex composition and interplay of economic, political, social and cultural dynamics, through the critical and reflexive engagement of the researcher.

As an anthropologist, you study the social and cultural processes of societies from a bottom-up, actor-centred and situational perspective. Doing fieldwork is at the heart of anthropological research and allows for a combination of multiple, specific qualitative methods such as participant observation, in-depth interviews, life histories, audiovisual data collection, etc. A critical and reflective attitude, from the moment you define a topic, throughout the writing process, is what makes anthropological research distinct.

Possible questions you may encounter: How do people shape their religious experiences by using contemporary social media and mobile technology? What is the legacy of colonialism and in what ways does it reveal itself in the contemporary world? How do people deal with physical, symbolic, structural and emotional violence and its consequences? What are the effects of superdiversity on the development of a city? How do newly arrived migrants create kinship relationships?


This 2-year master’s programme is divided into two key stages:

Stage one:

In the first stage, you are introduced to larger, more general questions such as "What is culture?" and "What is identity?". You study many forms of human and non-human agency and consider different ways in which people across the world deal with social problems, embedded in particular infrastructures.

You acquire insight into the basic anthropological concepts and theoretical approaches, as well as into the methodological principles and practice of fieldwork. At this stage, there is an emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge and skills as well as the espousal of an anthropological attitude which challenges you to critically analyse perspectives of others, and in doing so, change your own.

Stage two:

In the second stage of the programme, you further enhance your research skills while conducting research for your master's thesis. In the Research Seminar, experienced professors and early-career researchers of the faculty's research units (IARA & IMMRC) introduce you to the most recent developments in anthropology and guide you in the process of data analysis and writing. The electives in your individual programme, are informed by your particular research interests, but also allow you to explore new territories.


  • The programme trains you in empirical and comparative research methodologies, which challenge your familiar ways of being-in-the-world and the prejudices you hold about yourself and others.
  • Throughout the programme, you develop your own research focus through conducting fieldwork, critically analyzing data and writing on this particular topic in your final master's thesis. 
  • Depending on your research topic, students have the opportunity to engage in qualitative research in many different locations around the world, possibly in combination with an Erasmus exchange or a summer school.

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Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMScHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study2 years
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

For more fee information, please visit the tuition fee page.

Entry requirements

For more information about the entry requirements for this course, please visit the institution website or contact the institution.

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