Undergraduate Course

BA Social Anthropology

BA Social Anthropology

Overview

The details
Social Anthropology
LL36
October 2022
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus
Sociology

What motivates so many people to migrate from their own societies to others? Why are some cultures so different from each other? Our course combines sociological and anthropological approaches to the study of society, exploring how humans understand their social worlds in different ways.

At Essex we investigate what connects people with each other, as well as what divides them. We consider every aspect of our daily lives, from how we relate to politicians, celebrities and friends, to how we define ourselves, our families, and others. You study topics including:

  • Witchcraft, potlatch ceremonies in North America, and the aesthetics of Nomadic people
  • Anthropological approaches to gender, ethnicity, race and kinship
  • Sociology of migration, religion belief, and multinational corporations
  • Birth, sex and death

You also receive training in sociological methods – how to design a survey, conduct an interview, and use quantitative analysis from basic statistic to big data – in order to ask the difficult questions, and can complete a supervised dissertation on a topic that inspires you.

We are 2nd in UK for research power in sociology (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021) and ranked 9th in the UK for Sociology in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2022).

Why we're great.
  • Our teaching is underpinned by research - new ideas and theories are tested in the classroom.
  • You acquire a range of skills valued by employers including research, interpreting data and debating.
  • You develop the critical and inventive thinking skills necessary for many graduate jobs.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Our expert staff

You may already be familiar with our academics before you meet them in lectures.

Our academics believe in doing research that matters and makes a difference; whether it’s the battle between big data and human rights or the policing of sex workers, we embed our innovative and sometimes controversial research into your course.

As well as publishing core texts and bestselling books, our academics often appear on TV and radio. Recent examples include Professor Mike Roper on The Psychology of War for the BBC World Service and Professor Pam Cox in her BBC TWO series Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter. Others engage with politics and policy making, such as those running our specialist centres for Migration Studies and Criminology.

Specialist facilities

  • A unique Student Study Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
  • The common room is open all day Monday-Friday, has a hot drinks vending machine, water cooler and microwave as well as a small number of lockers available
  • Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
  • Our students’ Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates

Your future

A good sociology course, especially one from a recognised centre of excellence like Essex, opens many doors.

Our students are in demand from a wide range of employers in a host of occupations, including local and central government, NGOs, social work, market research, project management, fundraising, auditing, marketing, case-work, youth and community work, voluntary sector management and lobbying.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • The Institute of Public Finance
  • Guardian Professional
  • United
  • Synergy Healthcare Research

We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

For courses with Counselling skills, please note that a satisfactory enhanced DBS check will be required prior to starting any placement(s) for this course. This will be organised by the University. A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS Check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
If you select Essex as your firm choice, you will be able to take advantage of a flexible offer. This offer will specify alternative entry requirements to those published on our website.

If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Structure

Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Introduction to Social Anthropology
(30 CREDITS)

How do you study culture? We analyse the history, methods, and theories of social anthropology, using a range of ethnographic and case studies (from witchcraft to the aesthetics of nomadic people). Develop a critical awareness of how your own culture, and that of others, can be studied.

View Introduction to Social Anthropology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Researching Social Life I
(30 CREDITS)

What research methods do sociologists use? And what are the methodologies underpinning them? Wish to learn how to critically evaluate social research? And receive training in collecting quantitative and qualitative data? We study the principles of social science investigation and how to carry out original research.

View Researching Social Life I on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Introduction to Crime, Law and Society
(30 CREDITS)

What are different forms of crime? What is the role of criminal justice? And how effective are penal sanctions? We provide a critical introduction to the problem of, and responses to, crime. You examine the history of criminological ideas, Britain’s criminal justice system, and current debates on crime and control.

View Introduction to Crime, Law and Society on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Career Development and Making a Difference
(0 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment
(30 CREDITS)

How have contemporary societies been shaped by the legacies of the Enlightenment, colonialism, and the different phases of capitalism? This interdisciplinary module helps you to critically understand some of the key forces and processes that have shaped the challenges we face in the 20th and 21st century. It is divided into three broad themes; Empire, The Self, and Nature. We’ll be examining processes of ‘othering’ that were intrinsic to colonialism; changing conceptions of the self; as well as both the causes of and potential solutions to the ecological crisis we are confronting today. The module is co-taught by academics from Art History, ISC, LiFTs, Philosophy, Psychoanalytic Studies and Sociology.

View The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Ethnographic Explorations of the City
(30 CREDITS)

In the past few decades an unprecedented demographic change has taken place. For most of human history that vast majority of the world`s population lived in rural areas. Now, over half of the world's population lives in cities, and the United Nations predicts that this proportion will increase to over 70% by 2050. This development raises a fundamental challenge to ethnographic practice and anthropological theory, which has historically focused on the life ways and societies of rural areas. Increasingly anthropologists have to come to terms with highly complex urban assemblages that are, paradoxically both longstanding and deeply unstable. Cities are contested spaces. They are sites of intense social, political and economic struggles, which are waged by coalitions of actors representing a wide variety of sometimes complimentary and sometimes contradictory set of interests, with battle lines being continually drawn and redrawn in relation to a shifting social terrain. By utilising a wide range of readings and examples including both the global north and the global south, this module will ask how we are to understand these developments anthropologically.

View Ethnographic Explorations of the City on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Ethnographic Research Methods
(30 CREDITS)

What research methods do anthropologists use and why? When is participant observation appropriate and what are the ethical issues involved? Gain an introduction to the research methods and practical issues that revolve around anthropological fieldwork, as well as building your understanding of the theoretical and ethical implications.

View Ethnographic Research Methods on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Career Development and Making a Difference
(0 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

American Society: Ethnic Encounters in the Making of the USA
(30 CREDITS)

What is it to be an American Indian today? Has the slavery legacy contributed to contemporary debates on criminal justice? What are the politics for a Latino presence? Examine social, political and economic encounters between European settlers, American Indians, African-Americans and Latinos that shaped the USA, from colonisation to today.

View American Society: Ethnic Encounters in the Making of the USA on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Dangerous Places: Intercultural Meetings In Film, Exploration and Anthropology
(15 CREDITS)

What did the first anthropologists, discovering places outside Europe, say in their biographies? How does this contrast with contemporary anthropologists? What did the first explorers put in their travel reports? Or early missionaries in their diaries? Study primary source materials, plus films, to learn more about depictions of other societies.

View Dangerous Places: Intercultural Meetings In Film, Exploration and Anthropology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Visual Cultures: the Social Meanings of Photography and Art
(15 CREDITS)

This module examines how photography and other forms of visual art provide meanings and interpretations of societies.

View Visual Cultures: the Social Meanings of Photography and Art on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

SC340-6-FY or SC390-6-FY or SC832-6-FY or CS316-6-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

Sociology or outside option(s)
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY

Career Development and Making a Difference
(0 CREDITS)

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about modules on your year abroad.

Teaching

  • Teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience, with a focus on discussion and problem-solving
  • Lab sessions to improve technical research skills

Assessment

  • Assessed through a combination of written coursework and end-of-year examinations
  • Weighting is 50% coursework and 50% examinations
  • Complete a supervised dissertation on the topic that most inspires you

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£17,700

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Applicant Days

If you are an undergraduate student from the UK who has received an offer to study with us in October 2022, you will receive an invitation to attend an Applicant Day. Our Colchester Campus Applicant Days run from December to May on various Wednesdays and provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. For further information, please head to our Applicant Days webpage.

If you are an EU or International student, or can’t make any of our Applicant Days, we’ll be running a series of virtual events called Experience Essex Online throughout the year. To find out more, check out our Visit Us webpage.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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