The School of Anthropology and Conservation offers a friendly and cosmopolitan learning community with students from over 70 different nationalities and 45% of staff from outside the UK. Our flexible degree provides diverse and relevant module choices where you are taught by enthusiastic academics, who produce inspired field research.
Our Social Anthropology degree gives you the opportunity to spend a year in professional practice, invaluable in today's global job market. It demonstrates your ability to adapt to new situations, your sensitivity to other cultures (intercultural competence), and provides commercial awareness, a valuable asset for employers.
Our degree programme
In the first year, you take modules that give you a broad background in the subject. The programme begins with an introduction to the history of anthropology, the foundations of biological anthropology, anthropology and conservation, and global perspectives on relatedness.
In your second and final years, you take compulsory modules that develop your specialised knowledge and skills. You can also choose further modules from a wide range of options.
Modules expand across the full range of our research expertise from traditional anthropology (The Anthropology of Amazonia; The Anthropology of Business) and current anthropological thinking (Theoretical Perspectives in Social Anthropology) to ideas impacting today's societies (Islam and Muslim Lives in the Contemporary World; The Anthropocene – Planetary Crisis and the Age of Humans. Check out our YouTube video).
Our degree also gives you the unique opportunity to study visual anthropology, with modules on the anthropological use of photography, film and video, including practical classes and visual anthropology projects.
Year in professional practice
The year in professional practice is a wonderful opportunity to spend up to a year, between the second and final years, undertaking work placements with organisations relevant to your degree programme. You spend a minimum of 24 weeks on placement at one or more organisations. Placements can be at home or abroad and give you the opportunity to apply your academic skills in a practical context, offering you rare and unique experiences which will set you apart.
Alternatively, you can take our three-year Social Anthropology BA degree, without a work placement. For details, see Social Anthropology BA (Hons).
A number of our modules include opportunities for learning and experiences outside of the classroom through field trips in the UK and abroad. Potential excursions are:
Paris, the Musée du quai Branly and Musée de l'HommeThe Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, CambridgeLondon Chinese templeLondon financial districtImpact Hub IslingtonCanterbury Cathedral and Canterbury Mosque.
These may change from year to year and may incur additional costs. See the funding tab for more information.
For more details about field trips, including reports from students who went on our recent trips to Cambridge and Paris, visit Social Anthropology Field Trips.
The School of Anthropology and Conservation has excellent teaching resources including dedicated computing facilities. Other resources include:
refurbished computer suite with 32 PCs with HD screensan integrated audio-visual system to help provide stimulating lecturesa state-of-the-art visual anthropology rooman ethnobiology lab for studying human-related plant materialstudent social spacesa teaching laboratory with first-rate equipmentan excellent fossil cast collection with hundreds of casts, including multiple entire skeletons of extant and extinct primates and hominins.
The Anthropology Society is run by Kent students and is a good way to meet other students on your course in an informal way. There are also many national societies, which are a great way to meet people from around the world and discover more about their countries and cultures.
The School of Anthropology and Conservation puts on many events that you are welcome to attend. We host two public lectures a year, the Stirling Lecture and the DICE Lecture, which bring current ideas in anthropology and conservation to a wider audience. We are delighted that these events attract leading anthropological figures from around the world; in 2017 we hosted paleoanthropologist Professor Lee Berger, one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people.
Each term, there are also seminars and workshops discussing current research in anthropology, conservation and human ecology.
In our most recent national Teaching Excellence Framework, teaching at Kent was judged to be Gold rated. Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.
Our teaching is research-led as all our staff are active in their fields. Social and biological anthropology staff have been awarded national teaching awards, reflecting the quality of the undergraduate programmes.
Anthropology at Kent uses a stimulating mix of teaching methods, including lectures, small seminar groups, field trips and laboratory sessions. For project work, you are assigned to a supervisor with whom you meet regularly. You also have access to a wide range of learning resources, including the Templeman Library, research laboratories and computer-based learning packages.
Assessment ranges from 80:20 exam/coursework to 100% coursework. At Stages 2 and 3, most core modules are split 50% end-of-year examination and 50% coursework. Stage 2, year in professional practice and stage 3 marks count towards your final degree result.
Year in professional practice
Assessment is by means of a manager appraisal (10%), a written report by the student (80%) and a presentation by the student (10%); the manager appraisal is carried out by the manager within the placement host organisation whereas the report and presentation are assessed by SAC academic staff.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- social anthropology as the comparative study of human societies
- specific themes in social anthropology, such as religion, politics, kinship, nationalism and ethnicity
- human diversity and an appreciation of its scope
- several ethnographic regions of the world including Central Asia, the Mediterranean, Amazonia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific
- the history of anthropology as a discipline
- the variety of theoretical approaches contained within anthropology
- the process of historical and social change
- the application of anthropology to understanding issues of social and economic development throughout the world
- the relevance of anthropology to understanding everyday processes of social life anywhere in the world
- the way that an employee can contribute to the organisation in which they work
- specific areas of theory, policy or practice relevant to the host organisation(s) and the agreed placement task(s).
You develop intellectual skills in:
- general learning and study
- critical and analytical abilities
- expressing ideas in writing and orally
- group work
- the ability to review and summarise information
- data retrieval
- apply some of the above skills from the perspective of your chosen employment sector
- gain a broader perspective on your individual discipline.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- understanding how people are shaped by their social, cultural and physical environments while retaining a capacity for individual agency
- recognising the pertinence of an anthropological perspective to understanding major national and international events
- interpreting texts and performance by locating them within cultural and historical contexts
- using anthropological theories and perspectives in the presentation of information and argument
- analysing the significance of the social and cultural contexts of language use
- devising questions for research and study which are anthropologically informed
- perceiving the way in which cultural assumptions may affect the opinions of others and oneself
- the ability to make sense of cultural and social phenomena which may, at first sight, appear incomprehensible
- application in professional practice of one or more of the above skills.
You gain transferable skills in:
- information retrieval skills in relation to primary and secondary sources of information.
- communication and presentation skills (using oral and written materials and information technology).
- time planning and management skills.
- ability to engage in constructive discussion in group situations and group work skills
- the ability to work in a professional setting
- enhanced communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills
- enhanced ability for self-management, focus, and project management.
The programme aims to:
- provide a broad knowledge in the major sub-divisions of anthropology, showing how it is linked to other academic disciplines
- explore theoretical and methodological issues
- demonstrate the relevance of anthropological knowledge to an understanding of many local, national and international issues
- ensure that the research by staff informs the design of modules, and their content and delivery in a manner that is efficient, reliable and enjoyable to students
- prepare graduates for employment and/or further study in their chosen careers through developing students’ transferable skills
- offer students the opportunity to gain experience of work in a professional environment
- provide an opportunity to apply knowledge, understanding and skills acquired in stages 1 and 2 of their degree programme in a professional setting
- develop employment-related skills, including an understanding of how to relate to the structures and functions in an organisation
- develop the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of professionalism, independent thought, personal responsibility and decision-making.