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School of Social Sciences

Canals in Manchester
MA Anthropological Research
Learn critical thinking and analytical skills that are crucial to understanding societies today.

MA Anthropological Research / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course description

  • Would you like to acquire research skills in both anthropology and ethnography?
  • Are you considering moving on to doctoral and research degree programmes?
  • Do you want a course that is part of the North West Doctoral Training College (NWDTC)?

This programme is designed to prepare students to carry out doctoral level research in Social Anthropology. It provides training in a wide range of research methods and teaches students how to develop a substantive research project in a theoretically and methodologically informed way. Although primarily intended as preliminary to doctoral research, the MA Anthropological Research programme is also available as a stand-alone taught MA degree for people who wish to improve their social research skills and gain an in-depth understanding of ethnographic methods and approaches.

Students on the MA Anthropological Research work closely with an expert supervisor in Social Anthropology, with further guidance from a second supervisor. All students attend the following core course units: Issues in Ethnographic Research I and II, Postgraduate Research Seminar, Independent Theoretical and Ethnographic Analysis I, and Introduction to Quantitative Methods. In consultation with their supervisor they also select three short, 5 credit modules in qualitative or quantitative research methods. Computer training is also available. Students then select two specialist course units, of which one must be within Social Anthropology (options vary from year to year) and one may be elsewhere in the University.


Programme Director: Dr Soumhya Venkatesan

Tel: 0161 275 3917


Teaching and learning


Part-time students complete the full-time programme over two years.  There are NO evening or weekend course units available on the part-time programme.  

You must first check the schedule of the compulsory modules and then select your optional modules to suit your requirements.  

Updated timetable information will be available from mid-August and you will have the opportunity to discuss your module choices during induction week with your Course Director

Coursework and assessment

Under the guidance of their supervisors, students are required to complete eight course units and a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation which is, in effect, a doctoral fieldwork research proposal. This is prepared over the summer period and presented in September. Most course units, including the postgraduate research seminar, are assessed by essays of up to 4,000 words. Some units also involve assessment of presentations and practical work.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Independent Theoretical & Ethnographic Analysis I SOAN60771 15 Mandatory
Independent Theoretical Ethnographic Analysis II SOAN60792 15 Mandatory
Issues in Ethnographic Research I SOAN70641 15 Mandatory
Issues in Ethnographic Research II SOAN70652 15 Mandatory
PG Research Seminar SOAN70940 15 Mandatory
Introduction to Quantitative Methods SOST70511 15 Mandatory
Archival Research POLI60251 5 Optional
Biography & Life History in the Social Sciences POLI60331 5 Optional
Interviewing Activists POLI70021 5 Optional
Medical Anthropology SOAN60021 15 Optional
An Anthropology of Science, Magic and Expertise SOAN60032 15 Optional
Anthropology of Development and Humanitarianism SOAN60111 15 Optional
Contemporary Issues in the Social Anthropology of the Middle East SOAN60122 15 Optional
Doing Interviews SOAN60201 5 Optional
Anthropology of Childhood and Education SOAN60371 15 Optional
Anthropology of Britain SOAN60382 15 Optional
The good life: an anthropology of ethics SOAN60391 15 Optional
Practising Participant Observation SOAN60892 5 Optional
Anthropology of Vision, Senses and Memory SOAN70591 15 Optional
Screening Culture SOAN70772 15 Optional
Black Identity and Culture in Latin America SOAN70782 15 Optional
Contemporary Debates in Social Anthropology SOAN70822 15 Optional
Creative Methods SOCY60192 5 Optional
Foundational and advanced perspectives on qualitative research SOCY60231 10 Optional
Narrative Analysis SOCY70722 5 Optional
Understanding Big Data For Social Research SOST60512 5 Optional
Displaying 10 of 26 course units


Social Anthropology, and the School of Social Sciences of which it is part, are based in a modern building which allows 24/7 access.

There is shared workspace available for research students within Social Anthropology including networked computers and printing facilities. There are also many work areas elsewhere in the building and in the University.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: