Study Anthropology: A Comprehensive Subject Guide

Embark on a journey into the fascinating realm of anthropology, where the rich tapestry of human existence is meticulously woven together. Anthropology is far more than just the study of distant cultures and ancient civilisations; it’s a vibrant and ever-evolving discipline that peers into the depths of what it means to be human. Join us as we delve into this subject. 

Study Anthropology: A Comprehensive Subject Guide

Table of Contents

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the scientific exploration of humanity, offering a lens through which we examine the diverse tapestry of human cultures, behaviors, and societies. It seeks to unravel the intricacies of our past, present, and future, exploring questions about who we are, where we came from, and how we interact with the world around us. In essence, anthropology is a journey into the heart of human existence, uncovering the stories, traditions, and complexities that define us as a species.

Why Study Anthropology?

Studying anthropology offers a multitude of compelling reasons, each of which can have a profound impact on your personal and intellectual growth. Here are several key reasons why studying anthropology is valuable:

  1. Cultural Awareness: Anthropology provides a deep understanding of diverse cultures, promoting tolerance, empathy, and a global perspective. This knowledge is increasingly important in our interconnected world.
  2. Human Behaviour and Society: Anthropology explores the intricacies of human behaviour, social structures, and interactions. It sheds light on how societies function and adapt to change.
  3. Historical Context: Anthropology helps us understand our past, from early human ancestors to the development of modern civilisations. It offers insights into how societies have evolved over time.
  4. Global Challenges: Anthropologists tackle contemporary global issues such as climate change, migration, poverty, and healthcare disparities. Their research can inform solutions to these challenges.
  5. Cultural Sensitivity: Whether you’re in business, healthcare, or any field involving human interaction, cultural sensitivity is crucial. Anthropology equips you with the skills to navigate diverse environments effectively.
  6. Critical Thinking: Anthropologists employ rigorous research methods, critical analysis, and problem-solving skills. These are transferable skills applicable to various career paths.
  7. Career Opportunities: Anthropology opens doors to a wide range of professions, including academia, public policy, international development, human resources, and cultural preservation.

Best Universities for Anthropology in the UK

Here is a list of the top UK universities in this field according to the latest QS World University Rankings:

RankInstitutionEntry StandardsStudent SatisfactionResearch QualityContinuationGraduate prospects outcomesGraduate prospects on trackOverall Score
1University of Oxford1873.833.251009292100
2University of Cambridge1943.0299.3907699
3London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London1764.063.6194.8769097.1
4King's College London, University of London1863.883.497.6827296.1
5University of St Andrews1964.043.2798.994
6UCL (University College London)1764.063.1994.7907893.1
7University of Manchester1584.123.4398.4706890.7
8Durham University1723.793.2996.7748690.7
9University of Bristol1473.883.3999.2788090.1
10University of Aberdeen1714.143.09100907889.7
11SOAS University of London1403.913.4293968489.1
12University of Reading12543.3197.99086.2
13The University of Edinburgh1833.633.2397.9726486
14University of Birmingham1473.693.5693.2706883.8
15University of Sussex1373.963.3396.3647282
16University of Plymouth1243.863.1810080.1
17University of Exeter1543.943.1697.7545079.3
18University of Southampton1373.843.35606278.2
19University of Kent1193.813.2489.4647071.4
20Queen's University Belfast1453.722.9594.7484468.7
21Goldsmiths, University of London1273.223.2487.6605865.2
22Bournemouth University1073.773.2487.7566264.3
23Brunel University London4.233.0578.8565663.4
24University of Winchester3.612.2100606263.3
25Oxford Brookes University1053.762.9197.1525861.7
26Liverpool John Moores University1304.122.7990.3463459.8

Entry Requirements for an Anthropology Degree

Entry requirements for an anthropology degree in the United Kingdom can vary depending on the university and the specific programme you are applying to. Here are the typical entry requirements:

1. Academic Qualifications: Typically, you will need to have completed your secondary education with qualifications such as A-levels or equivalent qualifications.

2. A-levels or Equivalent Qualifications: Most universities in the UK require A-levels in specific subjects, and these subjects can vary depending on the programme and university. Anthropology A-level may be preferred or required by some institutions. Other relevant subjects might include sociology, biology, history, or geography.

3. UCAS Application: In the UK, university applications are typically made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). You will need to complete a UCAS application and list the universities and programmes you want to apply to.

Jobs for Anthropology Graduates

Anthropology graduates possess a versatile skill set that can be applied to various career paths. Here are some jobs and career opportunities for anthropology graduates:

  1. Anthropologist: This is the most direct career path for anthropology graduates. Anthropologists conduct research to understand cultures, societies, and human behaviour. They work in academia, research institutions, or for government agencies and NGOs.

  2. Archaeologist: Archaeologists study past human societies and civilisations by excavating and analysing artefacts, structures, and historical sites. They often work in cultural resource management, museums, or research organisations.

  3. Museum Curator: Museum curators manage collections of artefacts and artworks, design exhibits, and educate the public about cultural and historical objects. They work in museums, galleries, and cultural institutions.

  4. Cultural Resource Manager: These professionals work to protect cultural heritage and historical sites. They collaborate with government agencies, preservation organisations, and private companies to ensure that development projects don’t harm important cultural resources.

  5. Cultural Anthropologist: Cultural anthropologists specialise in studying contemporary human cultures. They may work in fields like urban planning, public health, or marketing, helping organisations understand cultural factors influencing their work.

  6. Linguist: Linguists study language, including its structure, evolution, and cultural context. They can work as translators, language teachers, or in fields like computational linguistics and natural language processing.

  7. Market Research Analyst: Anthropology graduates’ skills in understanding human behaviour and culture are valuable in market research. They analyse consumer behaviour, trends, and preferences to help businesses make informed decisions.

Anthropology Graduates Employment Rate

Anthropology graduates pursue a variety of career paths upon completing their studies. The most prevalent occupations for these graduates fall within the realms of business, research, and administrative professions, constituting a significant portion of their employment choices. Aside from these, anthropology graduates also venture into roles encompassing sales, marketing, associate professional positions, welfare and housing associate professionalism, teaching, care work, and administrative roles.

Analysing the post-graduation destinations of anthropology graduates, statistics reveal that 56.2% are employed, showcasing the practical application of their anthropological knowledge in the workforce. Additionally, 15.8% opt for further study, indicating a commitment to continuous academic and professional development. A notable 14.5% engage in the dual pursuit of working and studying, showcasing a dedication to balancing practical experience with ongoing education. Meanwhile, 6.2% find themselves in a period of unemployment, and 7.3% fall into other categories.

Breaking down the types of work anthropology graduates enter in the UK, a diverse range is observed. Business, HR, and finance collectively account for 16.8%, while clerical, secretarial, and administrative roles make up 15.9%. Positions in retail, catering, and customer service constitute 12.6%, and legal, social, and welfare roles encompass 12%. The remaining 42.7% fall into other categories, showcasing the adaptability and versatility of anthropology graduates in the UK job market.

Salary for Anthropology Graduates

Check out the average salary for graduates in this field: 

Low skilled: £18,000

Medium-skilled: £21,000

High-skilled: £25,000


Topics for Anthropology Dissertation

Below, we present a diverse array of research areas, each offering an opportunity to delve into the complexities of Anthropology and make a significant contribution to its advancement:

  1. Cultural Anthropology: Research the customs, beliefs, and practices of specific cultures to understand cultural diversity and social dynamics. Explore how societies adapt to globalisation, technology, and environmental challenges.

  2. ArchaeologyInvestigate the material culture and landscapes of more recent historical periods, shedding light on colonialism, industrialisation, and urbanisation. Study human skeletal remains to uncover information about health, diet, migration patterns, and social structures of past populations.

  3. Linguistic Anthropology: Research and develop strategies to preserve endangered languages and revitalise language communities. Investigate how language shapes and reflects cultural identity, social hierarchies, and power dynamics.

  4. Medical Anthropology: Analyse the social determinants of health and healthcare access, with a focus on marginalised communities. Evaluate the impact of global health programmes and policies on local communities.

  5. Environmental Anthropology: Study community-based approaches to sustainable resource management and conservation. Examine indigenous knowledge systems and practices in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

  6. Applied Anthropology: Apply anthropological methods to understand consumer behavior, organisational culture, and market dynamics. Collaborate with NGOs and government agencies to design and evaluate development projects with a focus on community involvement and cultural sensitivity.

  7. Visual Anthropology: Utilise film and multimedia to document and communicate cultural practices, rituals, and social issues. Investigate the use of photography as a tool for ethnographic research and representation.

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the UK

One of the most important things to consider is how much the degree is going to cost. Here is a general guide for 2023/2024:

  • For home students in England, universities can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree.
  • In Wales, institutions can charge up to £9,000 for home students. However, Welsh students can apply for a fee grant to cover some of the cost of their tuition fees. This grant is currently not repayable or income-assessed.
  • Northern Irish universities will charge up to £4,275 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK.
  • Scotland does not charge home students fees at the undergraduate level; however, students from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are expected to pay up to £9,250 per year. International students from outside of the UK will pay significantly more to study in Scotland.
  • International students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £26,000 annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees at universities across the UK. An undergraduate medical degree can cost overseas students up to £58,600 per year. As for postgraduate degrees, the average cost is estimated to be around £17,109 per year.
Besides the tuition fees, there are also several other cost considerations such as food, accommodation, phone bills, books, social life, memberships, and others. Remember to check out our free student budget calculator

Other Subjects to Consider

Given that you are interested in this subject area, you might also want to consider the following options: 

  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Biology
  • History
  • Art History
  • Sociology
  • Environmental Science

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider your interests, passions, and career goals. Research various degree programmes and their content to see which aligns best with your aspirations.

While earning potential is important, it’s also crucial to select a degree that you’re passionate about and suits your skills. A balance between your interests and potential career prospects is ideal.

Location can impact your overall university experience. Consider factors like cost of living, proximity to industry hubs, and personal preferences.

Evaluate tuition fees, available scholarships, and potential for part-time work. Create a budget to ensure you can manage your finances during your studies.

Consider combining your passions with practical skills. For example, if you love art but want job security, explore fields like graphic design or digital marketing.

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