Diversity and openness
PhD students come to Brunel from diverse cultural backgrounds and belong to a genuinely international anthropology department. (The Times Higher Educational Supplement recently described Brunel as “the most international university”.) Brunel’s teaching and research reflect this diversity. Our supervisors have expertise in a wide range of topics and countries and our students have carried out research in five continents. Unlike some departments where students are expected to follow the research agendas of their supervisors, we are open to any proposal where we think we can help PhD students fulfil their objectives. Glance at a list of recent Brunel PhDs to confirm this. The diversity in our student cohort lies partly in the fact that many of our PhD students come to us mid-career – perhaps taking time off from work in the health or social sectors. Others have recently obtained their Masters at Brunel and want to research more deeply into their chosen field. There is an established path from career break to a Brunel Masters to PhD and back into career - usually at a higher level. For example, a Thai dentist came to us to study an MSc in Medical Anthropology. For her PhD she spent a year in Northern Thailand studying the relation between health and kinship. She has now returned to Thailand where, in addition to dentistry, she lectures on medical anthropology.
A multidisciplinary ethos in a leading centre of social sciences
Socially and culturally diverse, Brunel anthropology also benefits from its position within a multidisciplinary social sciences school in which students are able to take modules in the sister disciplines of psychology, social psychology, and sociology/communications. (Even if, as a PhD candidate, you do not want to opt for a psychology module, you may find it stimulating to sit in on lectures in the evolutionary psychology series or catch the odd distinguished visiting lecturer.) Anthropology students join with other social sciences students in the Graduate Research Skills and Professional Development module which helps them with presentation skills, and gives them the know-how necessary to get research published and make the most of career opportunities.
A friendly and supportive research environment
Added to Brunel’s diversity and openness is the friendly and supportive atmosphere of its anthropology department: something not possible in a large impersonal institution. In a middle-sized department, what we can offer is a high level of personal attention, with training and supervision tailored to the interests of individual students. You will be assigned two supervisors, often with complementary expertise, but you will of course benefit from the broader range of knowledge in our anthropology team.