Anthropology and Sociology BSc
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
The Anthropology and Sociology degree is particularly suited to students who are curious about their own and other societies, and who are interested in understanding social processes and meanings in the world around them.
Rigorous training is provided in a range of methodologies and research skills appropriate to anthropology and sociology.
Anthropology at Brunel is one of the more outward-looking and cosmopolitan social sciences, its subject being the documentation and explanation of cultural diversity.
The course differs from Anthropology courses at other universities because of the broad social science perspective from which it is taught.
Our research has an international reputation, with particular expertise in child-focused anthropological research and medical anthropology.
A central theme of Sociology at Brunel is the study of the development of techno-cultural phenomena such as media and information technology, and environmental issues, which straddle traditional conceptual distinctions between the social, the natural, the technical and the material.
At Brunel, Sociology has developed a particularly close relationship with Communication and Media Studies, reflecting and emphasising the central and ever-increasing importance of the communications media within our culture.
Among the more specific interests of Brunel sociologists are, for example, social theory, celebrity culture, the influence of the media, environmental risk, media regulation, media discourses, and contemporary social structure and change, urban spaces, and addiction and deviance. These various interests strongly reflect the options available in Level 3 of our degree course.
Anthropology is a cosmopolitan social science that takes human diversity for its subject, providing a unique means of understanding cultural and social differences. Sociology, its sister discipline, looks at the foundations of social life and the big issues in contemporary society: inequality, racism, globalisation, and migration.
Take your knowledge of culture and society to the next level and equip yourself with a big range of practical and analytical skills for a changing world.
- You will apply anthropology ideas to practical issues and will gain a solid grounding in a broad range of social science topics, including sociology, social theory, social anthropology, psychology, communications and media.
- Special emphasis is placed on cross-cultural studies.
You will gain a broad social science training in your first year. This includes an introduction to key theoretical issues and practical training in research methods, such as interviewing and participant observation.
Anthropology modules introduce students to the history and theory of anthropology, and to some of the current issues in the fields of ethnicity, gender, religion and kinship. Sociology topics include sociological theory, methods and contemporary social institutions. You also continue your studies of research methods, and conduct your own research exercises.
You can choose from a wide range of advanced options in topics as varied as family, gender, kinship, ethnicity, medical anthropology and cultural patterns of consumption.
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
Introduction to Anthropology: Beliefs and Ways of Thinking
Research Methods in Anthropology
Anthropology, Objects and Images
Introduction to Sociology
Classical Anthropological Theory
Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology
Sociology of Everyday Life: Issues in contemporary culture
Sociology of Health and Illness
Ethnicity, Culture and Identity
Ethnography of a Selected Region
Social Anthropology and Sociology Dissertation
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
Contemporary Anthropological Theory
Ethnography of a Selected Region
Anthropological Perspectives on War and Humanitarianism
Anthropology of International Development
Global Health in Anthropological Perspective
Comedy, Culture and Media
Multiculturalism: "Race", Ethnicity and Difference
The Age of New Media
Forensic Science and Society
Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
- Brunel Anthropology has once again topped the league tables for student satisfaction, coming first in the UK (National Student Survey 2015)
- Brunel Anthropology is also first for student satisfaction in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2016
- Sociology at Brunel has an international reputation for research and excellence in teaching – we are proud to be the home of the first International Centre for Comedy Studies Research
Best of both worlds
Brunel Anthropology 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. Sociology provides a grounding in areas such as globalisation and social divisions.
Fieldwork based research for dissertations and work placements abroad
All our students undertake fieldwork for their dissertations. For Anthropology 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. Students can tailor their research to their specific interests.
Uniquely for a British university, studying Anthropology at Brunel University London 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. There is also a SocCom society.
Best employment rates
As a result of the unique profession-enhancing research experiences we offer, Brunel’s Anthropology and Sociology 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.
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
All our modules are run by lecturers who are actively conducting research and publishing on these issues, so you will be taught by real specialists in the field. Their innovative findings ensure that teaching is topical and interesting.
How will I be taught?
Like most social science subjects, Anthropology and Sociology 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 an Anthropology course 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 and Sociology graduates are amongst the most employable in the country.
Students of Anthropology and Sociology 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 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.