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Anthropology BSc

Subject area: Anthropology Campus tours: Book your place How to apply
Mode of study

3-year full-time; 4-year thin-sandwich


L601, L602 with Professional Development

Start date


Anthropology BSc

Placement Offered This course has a Professional Development option


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.

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.


Admissions and Course Enquiries
Web: Admissions Enquiries Information
Tel (before application): +44 (0)1895 265599 (Course Enquiries)
Tel (after application): +44 (0)1895 265265 (Admissions Office)
Contact Admissions or Course Enquiries Online

Admissions Tutor:Dr Will Rollason

Course Content

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.

Level 1


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

Level 2


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

Level 3


Social Anthropology Dissertation

Contemporary Anthropological Theory


Anthropology of the Person

Anthropology of the Body

Anthropology of Childhood and 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.

Special Features

  • Brunel Anthropology has once again topped the league tables for student satisfaction, coming first in the UK (National Student Survey 2015)
  • We are also first for student satisfaction in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2016

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.

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.

Our approach

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.


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.


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.

Work Placements

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

Fees for 2016/17 entry

UK/EU students: £9,000 full-time; £1,000 placement year

International students: £14,100 full-time

See our fees and funding page for full details of scholarships available to Brunel applicants


The Government has proposed changes to allow tuition fees for UK and EU students to rise by inflation. These changes are currently subject to approval, but if approved, would result in tuition fees of £9,250 per year from 2017/18.

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.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.