Anthropology at Brunel is ranked 2nd in London (The Guardian University Guide 2018)
We regularly host online webinars to give you the chance to find out more about our courses and what studying at Brunel is like. For a playback of our recent Anthropology webinar, click here.
Brunel University London’s impact on the future wages of its graduates is among the best in the country compared to other universities, according to a new analysis of government data by The Economist (2017).
About the course
Anthropology offers a unique and powerful means for understanding cultural and social diversity in the modern world.
It is concerned with contemporary issues such as multiculturalism, identity politics, racism and ethnic nationalism, changing forms of the family, religious conflict, gender, and the political role of culture.
It also addresses perennial questions about human nature, such as: ‘What do we have in common with each other cross-culturally?’ and ‘What makes us different?’
If you are intrigued by these questions and want to study a discipline that will enrich your everyday life as well as equip you for a great variety of occupations, anthropology is the right course for you.
Anthropology is a cosmopolitan social science that takes human diversity for its subject, providing a unique means of understanding cultural and social differences. Students from a wide variety of backgrounds are welcomed.
Our course provides a broad based grounding in the wider social sciences, integrating key anthropological concepts with fieldwork based research. Fieldwork is an excellent preparation for work and a chance to make useful contacts.
You will gain a solid foundation in core anthropological topics such as politics, religion and kinship, and the chance to venture into new and cutting-edge areas, notably in medical anthropology and the anthropology of childhood, education and youth.
Level 1 offers a firm grounding in the central themes and debates in anthropology. It introduces students to the international work being carried out by the teaching staff and explores the practicalities of undertaking anthropological fieldwork.
At Level 2, you will take more advanced modules in the history and theory of anthropology, alongside modules covering topics such as kinship, ethnicity, religion, sex and gender, and regional ethnography.
At Level 3, in addition to training in contemporary anthropological theory, students can select from a range of topics as varied as personhood, the body, disability, medical anthropology, international development, childhood and youth, education, and psychological and psychiatric anthropology.
The BSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.
- Introduction to Anthropology: Themes
- Fieldwork Encounters: Thinking Through Ethnography
- Introduction to Anthropology: Beliefs and Ways of Thinking
- Research Methods in Anthropology
- Anthropology and Contemporary Debates
- Anthropology, Objects and Images
- Ethnicity, Culture and Identity
- Ethnography of a Selected Region
- Kinship, Sex and Gender
- Classical Anthropological Theory
- Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
- Global Communication
- Sociology of Everyday Life: Issues in Contemporary Culture
- Social Anthropology Dissertation
- Contemporary Anthropological Theory
- Anthropology of the Person
- Anthropology of the Body
- Understanding Childhood Youth
- Themes in Psychological and Psychiatric Anthropology
- Medical Anthropology in Clinical and Community Settings
- Anthropology of Education and Learning
- Ethnography of a Selected Region
- Anthropological Perspectives on War and Humanitarianism
- Anthropology of International Development
- Global Health in Anthropological Perspective
All students write a 10-15,000 word dissertation in their final year (which, on four-year degrees, usually draws on research conducted during the second Work Placement). This is on a topic of your choice. In past years, students have written on topics such as:
- A New Age Settler Colony in South India
- The Effectiveness of AIDS Education Programmes
- The Role of Indigenous Healers in a South African Village
- Migration and Social Investment in a Mexican Village
- Exploring Modern Urban Paganism
Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
Students who pursue the three-year degree in Anthropology undertake empirical research for their final year projects, gaining experience and contacts vital for future employment in a world that increasingly expects job candidates to offer something more than a degree certificate.
Brunel’s Anthropology graduates are amongst the most employable in the country.
The research and fieldwork, which forms such a major part of our degree course, will set you apart. These placements build up fantastic experience and connect you with organisations and people who will be invaluable when it comes to progressing your career.
Employers clearly value the skills you'll acquire. In recent years we've seen graduates go on to work at the World Bank, UNICEF, the NHS, NGOs and charities such as Oxfam and Save The Children, as well as local government, legal sectors and the media.
Students of Anthropology can go on to pursue both private and public sector careers including work with governmental organisations like the United Nations and with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Save the Children and Oxfam.
Others now work as teachers, journalists and research officers in the health and social sectors, and in other professions requiring knowledge of social and cultural processes.
Some pursue further research degrees in Anthropology and become academic anthropologists.
Students can choose to study either a three-year degree course or the four-year sandwich degree course. Students on our four-year sandwich course (with Professional Development) have the opportunity to gain professional work experience in a variety of settings. We have excellent links with a wide range of external organisations providing high quality placements. Students develop invaluable skills and in some cases have been offered graduate positions within the organisations where they undertook their work placements.
Around half of our Anthropology students carry out a placement or fieldwork abroad, in places as wide ranging as India, Nepal, Australia, South Africa, Papua New Guinea and Jamaica. Recent UK placement destinations include the Royal Anthropological Institute, Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, Amnesty International and the Department of Health.
The positive impact of a sandwich placement on graduate employment outcomes across Brunel is considerable. Those who have done placements are also much more likely to be in employment for which they their degree was a formal requirement or where they believe their degree gave them a competitive advantage in recruitment.
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Entry Criteria 2017/18
- GCE A-level ABB (all subjects considered).
- BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma D*DD in a related subject.
- BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in a related subject with an A-Level at grade A.
- BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in a related subject with A-Levels grade AB.
- International Baccalaureate Diploma 31 points.
- Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass a related subject Access course with 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher.
5 GCSEs to include Maths at Grade C and English.
Language at Grade C are also required.
Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSEs.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU Entry Requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 (min 5.5 in all areas)
- Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 65% (min 55% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.
Teaching and Assessment
Our courses are ethnographically grounded, covering a broad range of issues and societies across the world, from rural Java to the urban centres of South Africa. Our programmes are split into modules, each of which deals with a distinct topic.
We pursue excellence in both teaching and research. Our aim is to produce degree programmes that combine innovative and classical teaching methods with leading-edge research, and which recognise the value of practical work experience in the learning process.
We take great pride in both the quality of teaching and the extensive pastoral care of our students. As a student at Brunel you will also be assigned a tutor who will oversee your academic and personal development during your degree.
The latest thinking
You will be taught by an internationally respected team of anthropologists who have conducted fieldwork in five continents on religion, witchcraft, disability, memory, nationalism, political violence, social hierarchies, race, ethnicity, and ecology. Their innovative research feeds directly into teaching.
How will I be taught?
Like most social science subjects, anthropology is taught through a mixture of lectures and small discussion groups or seminars. For each module, you will usually attend one lecture and one seminar every week. You will need to spend much of the rest of your time in the library studying independently, or, depending on your assignments, out in the field conducting interviews or undertaking participant observation.
Lectures: Most modules involve one or two hours of lectures a week. These provide a broad overview of key concepts and ideas relating to your course and provide you with a framework from which to carry out more in depth study.
Seminars: These relatively small groups are used to discuss the content of lectures and issues arising from the modules. Seminar activities, based on both discussion of readings and small group work, are structured to ensure active student participation and to allow students to clarify their own ideas in an atmosphere of discussion and debate.
Tutorials: In addition to lectures and seminars, in the first year you meet weekly, usually in groups of three or four, with your personal tutor. These tutorials - unusual outside the Oxbridge system - provide an opportunity to develop academic skills in an informal and highly supportive context. They also help create a real sense of belonging within the department -- something our students tell us they really value.
Research work: All students take part in practical modules that engage directly with ethnographic methods, including participant-observation, interviewing, and other more specific research techniques. As you progress through the course, direction by staff over the design and implementation of projects is reduced.
One-to-one: You will have one-to-one supervision on your final year dissertation and at all levels you will have a tutor who is available to discuss personal and academic problems.
When you go on placement, you will also be allocated a tutor who will monitor your progress and provide further support if you need it. Lecturers are usually available to answer particular queries outside of scheduled hours – either in one-to-one tutorials or by email.
Each of your modules will be assessed through a mixture of essays, examinations and other projects and tasks. Exam results from Level 1 do not count towards your final degree mark but you have to pass this level to continue with your degree. Level 2 is worth a third and Level 3 is worth the rest. The final year dissertation is worth a third of Level 3 marks.
We want each of our students to fulfil their potential. Brunel also offers great advice and support to help you develop your study skills and we are active in supporting students with dyslexia and other disabilities.
- Brunel Anthropology is ranked 2nd in London (The Guardian University Guide 2018)
Best of both worlds
Brunel offers you a foundation in core topics such as politics, religion and kinship, and the chance to venture into specialised areas like medical anthropology, psychological anthropology and the anthropology of childhood, education and youth, and international development.
Fieldwork based research for dissertations and work placements abroad
All our students undertake fieldwork for their dissertations. Projects have included work in a Nepalese monastery, a South African women’s refuge, the Police Complaints Authority (on the Stephen Lawrence case), as well as in schools and charities.
Uniquely for a British university, studying anthropology at Brunel will always mean applying what you have read to what you discover in real-life situations. Half of our students on the four-year degree spend their second placement abroad, doing research in countries like South Africa, Botswana, India and Nepal. Find out about some of our students’ experiences on the Anthropology work placements page.
International exchange programme
You will have the opportunity to study abroad at one of a number of European universities.
Brunel Anthropology Society
Brunel has a thriving Anthropology Society which organises talks, socials, pub quizzes, film screenings, fieldtrips and other events - a great way to meet people and take anthropology beyond the classroom. For the latest events, see Brunel Anthropology Society Facebook page.
Best employment rates
As a result of the unique profession-enhancing research experiences we offer, Brunel’s anthropology graduates have one of the best employment rates in the UK. Our graduates find jobs in education, NGOs, international development, the charity sector, medical and health professions, film, journalism and business.