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L622 Anthropology MAnth Undergraduate 2012


UCAS code L622
Degree MAnth
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 4 years
Location Queen's Campus
Typical offers A Level
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Related qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 1612

Course Content


In your first two years, you will receive a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of anthropology in the broadest sense, addressing the core disciplines of social and biological anthropology as well as interdisciplinary perspectives on culture, society and health.

Socio-cultural anthropology is the study of social institutions and cultures. We examine the variety of forms of family, kinship and marriage, how gender roles work in society, why we have art and religion, the purpose of material culture, and the different forms political and legal structures take. We investigate how economic organisation differs from society to society, how humans understand and interact with their environments, and how the impacts of colonialism, globalisation and development affect contemporary societies and cultures. We also use evolutionary theory to explain aspects of social behaviour.

Before social and cultural diversity can be explained, however, it has to be described and documented in detail. Ethnography is the name given to this branch of anthropology, and whilst textbooks and documentary films are invaluable basic sources of ethnographic knowledge, vital experience comes from the first-hand research of our staff, who have expertise in the peoples of Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the United States, Latin America, East Africa, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

Biological anthropology is the study of human biological diversity in the past and present. It asks how the human species evolved and why we are the way we are. You will learn about the fossil record for human evolution, the behaviour and ecology of other primate species, and our evolutionary relationships with them. You will also study biological variation in humans today, in terms of the effects of climate and disease on human groups, and the importance of genetic variation among individuals, families, communities, and across continents.

Medical anthropology draws on socio-cultural anthropology, biology, psychology and medicine to develop a deeper understanding of the local and global interrelationships between health, welfare and contemporary issues. Our programme offers a multidisciplinary education in medical anthropology, seeking to integrate the cross cultural approaches of medical anthropology with a grounding in the social and biological sciences.

Many of our modules are interdisciplinary; they encourage you to think about how biology and culture interact. For example you will be introduced to debates such as those about learning and instinct in human behaviour, cultural variation in behaviour versus human universals, and the social context of medicine. Amongst UK Anthropology departments, we have led the way in researching and teaching about these controversial areas.

In your third year, you can tailor the course to your own maturing interests by selecting the modules that appeal to you most. You can specialise in biological, social or medical anthropology, depending on your degree, or continue to take cross-disciplinary courses or combinations. Your choice is particularly broad in this department. Students registered for any of the Anthropology degrees are free to take optional modules from across either campus in their final year as well as some third year modules in other departments. Third year modules are generally based on the research expertise of staff, and epitomise the University's ideal of research-led teaching. Students in their third year are also invited to attend the regular round of research seminars given by visiting scholars or Durham-based researchers, and thus can participate in a key forum for current innovative research.

On the four year integrated masters programmes offered at Queen's Campus you will have the opportunity to extend your study by undertaking an extended research project based on fieldwork or lab-based research under the supervision of an experienced member of staff.

Teaching and assessment details

We believe in blending a variety of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and practicals, not only to make learning enjoyable but also to give you communication skills vital after your degree (and during it!). You will also read and discuss texts and research papers, and take part in online learning activities through use of the Durham University Online (duo) learning environment.

Assessment is partly by exams at the end of every year, with second and third year exam results counting towards your final degree classification. Continuous assessment, based on essays and/or project work will also contribute to your degree outcome. As part of your final year's work, you will have the opportunity to work on a substantial piece of research on a topic chosen in consultation with staff. This may be based on fieldwork undertaken (sometimes overseas) during the previous summer, and/or on research carried out in the region at the start of the third year. Topics covered in recent dissertations include: the Linux community, the revolutionary church in Latin America, the study of ritual, the evolution of gossip, the genesis of skin colour, taste sensitivity, AIDS in South Africa, world music, Islamic shrines, human mate choice, and Shamanism in Southeast Asia.

Study Abroad

Department of Anthropology - Queen's Campus programmes

Study abroad or placement activities undertaken as part of a degree are not only enjoyable but can give a significant edge when it comes to employability. We are keen to facilitate work placements and ERASMUS exchanges for undergraduates. We currently have links with the University of West Bohemia (Czech Republic), the University of Iceland, the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and the University of Malta.

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. For more information please contact our Admissions Selectors.

If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multi-disciplinary programmes to prepare you for a range of specified degree programmes.

We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

English Language requirements

IELTS 6.5 (no component under 6.0); TOEFL iBT 92 (no component under 23); Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) Grade C; or Cambridge Advanced (CAE) Grade A

Requirements and Admissions

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Fees have not been set for this academic year.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

Department of Anthropology - Queen's Campus programmes

Durham Anthropology graduates have excellent employment prospects in a wide range of possible careers


Career Opportunities and Employability

Durham Anthropology graduates leave our programmes with excellent employment prospects. In the latest HESA survey [Guardian University Guide 2014] Durham Anthropology was recognised as having a 66% employment rate 6 months after graduation, the 2nd highest amongst anthropology departments in the UK returning such statistics.

With an anthropology degree our students acquire a knowledge base which is both fascinating and useful as well as having an unusual mix of intellectual and practical skills. This combination is much sought after by employers worldwide and particularly so where creativity, curiosity and the ability to understand human culture and society are at a premium - which, in practice, is in most situations.

Our graduates use their anthropology directly in fields such as health, community work, conservation, education, international development, culture and heritage. A significant number progress into careers which at first sight have no direct link to Anthropology but which nonetheless utilise the broad understanding of human society and behaviour and the many important transferable skills that come with the study of Anthropology. Employment fields falling into this category include advertising, publishing, journalism, human resource management, public relations, finance, law, consultancy and marketing.

The quality of teaching on our programmes is further underpinned by a wide range of opportunities for work placements, research internships, study abroad and fieldwork both the UK and abroad.

The Anthropology degree gives you a thorough grounding in anthropology: offering interesting optional modules enabling you to explore people's customs, health care systems and cultures all over the world both past and present. I feel lucky to have found a degree that grabbed my interest from the onset. Since graduating, I’ve qualified as a teacher and as a Careers Advisor working in graduate positions.
Jane Gemmel, BA (Hons) Anthropology

Of our most recent graduates:

  • 85% are in paid employment and/or further study 6 months after graduation

Of those in employment:

  • 65% are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £21,000 (compared to average UK salary for similar courses of £19,000)


A large proportion (30%) of our students progress onto higher level study following their degree in Anthropology. Many remain within their academic field of interest and pursue higher level anthropological research, notably at Durham but also other prestigious institutions including Imperial, University College London, London School of Economics, Manchester and York. Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in both related (development studies, international relations, public health, nursing, medicine, youth work, social work, human resource management, education, social policy, museum studies) and non-related fields (law, finance, marketing, management, journalism and publishing).


Employment Development Opportunities

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works with closely the department in facilitating student access to job and work experience opportunities, careers and employability events, employer workshops and presentations, skills programmes and tailored individual careers guidance. A dedicated Careers Adviser is available to support Anthropology students individually and collectively.

We're interested in talented students applying to us with strong academics, but just as important are your employability skills – including impact, drive, flexibility, curiosity, integrity and commercial awareness. The skills students develop throughout university shape their employability and our aim is to help students to understand how they can transfer these skills in to the workplace. Applicants who stand out are those who've done research and are well prepared. As a leading employer of graduates, we recognise the important role played by the Careers and Employability Centre at the University of Durham by encouraging students to meet local and national employers and producing high-calibre, motivated individuals who are ready to enter the world of professional services. We recruit a number of students every year onto our Insight and graduate programmes from Durham University.
Konica Stones, Senior Manager at PWC

Durham University Anthropology graduates progress into an incredibly diverse range of careers and employment sectors. Some graduates apply their academic study directly within a number of relevant sectors including health, community, conservation, education, international development, culture and heritage. A significant number progress into careers with no direct link to Anthropology but which utilise the transferable skills developed including advertising, publishing, journalism, human resource management, public relations, finance, law, consultancy and marketing. Examples of high profile recent employers of Anthropology graduates include Shell, NHS, Office for National Statistics, CST Advertising as well as interntaionally recognised organisations such as Save teh Children, Survival and Amnesty International.


Work Experience & Study Abroad

Via the Erasmus programme we have agreements with universities in Czech Republic, Iceland, France, Spain, Germany, Slovenia and Malta.

Students are encouraged to undertake fieldwork or appropriate laboratory work as part of research methods and dissertation modules on their degree courses. These activities give them valuable 'real world' experience. We also encourage our students to take advantage of volunteering and other opportunities whenever they can.

Read more about Study Abroad options for our undergraduate students.

As well as medical students on their community placements, Thrive Thornaby has benefited from the involvement of an Anthropology student working with Student Community Action. The arrangement has been beneficial to both parties. For Thrive, we have benefited from highly capable volunteers, 'self-starters' - capable of sourcing, developing and maintaining relationships with households on low-income who were deemed by other agencies as 'hard-to-reach'. From the students' point of view, the work offered them the opportunity to engage with people in poverty on terms they hadn't done so far and might not do in their future careers. They learned first-hand about the complex nature of debt, health and how people get by. This experience will stand them in good stead, whatever they go on to do, I'm sure.
Greg Brown, Director, Thrive Thornaby

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the very best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments and opportunities to explore college options they will provide a full experience of Durham University for any prospective undergraduates.

Pre-application open days at Queen's Campus, Stockton will take place on:

  • Friday 15 June 2012
  • Friday 22 June 2012
  • Friday 14 September 2012

Further details and information on how to book.

Campus tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

RAE results

Department of Anthropology - Queen's Campus programmes


Have you ever really thought what it means to be human?

If you have, and you want to learn more, then Anthropology is the discipline for you. Our degrees introduce you to the comparative and evolutionary study of humans and draw on a range of social, cultural and biological perspectives. This breadth makes our degrees distinctive; we cover everything from altruism to zygotes. Teaching is research-led and places a strong emphasis on inter-disciplinary perspectives.The department was ranked 7th in both the Times Good University Guide and The Complete University Guide for 2010. We have an excellent post-graduation employment record and were ranked 5th overall among UK Anthropology programmes for employability in the 2010 Times Good University Guide.

RAE results


The Department offers excellent facilities in both Durham City and Queen’s Campus. These include superb collections of primate/human skeletal material and fossil hominid casts, plus an impressive collection of ethnographic art and material culture items, as well as an expanding collection of on-line films and videotapes. You will benefit from modern, purpose-built facilities, including comprehensively equipped teaching laboratories and use of lecture theatres and classrooms with excellent audio-visual equipment.


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