BA Anthropology

UCAS codeL600
Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAB-ABB; IB: 34-32
Location Streatham (Exeter)


This BA programme is designed to tackle the fundamental questions about society and culture in the present and in the past, and explore the rich diversity of human life across the globe. You will explore both the empirical work that anthropologists have produced as well as the exciting theoretical debates that drive the discipline. You will learn about anthropological ideas concerning, for example, ritual, kinship, witchcraft and ethnicity, but also how anthropologists have contributed to debates on important current issues, such as health, war and violence, science and technology, consumption and the environment.

You may also be interested in our BSc pathway which balances the study of social anthropology with physical anthropology, considering how human anatomy and behaviour may continue to adapt into the future. The degree has a strong focus on developing the skills and methods required for the collation and analysis of evidence including archaeological techniques.

Programme variations

Nothing prepares you for the working world quite like having to produce high quality work in a short space of time, and a social science degree teaches you how to think critically and develop your own viewpoint from a range of sources. That never stops being useful. From Anthropology, I learnt the value of being sceptical and inquisitive, and an awful lot of good dinner-table conversation. Everyone likes learning about tribes. I also had a great relationship with the Anthropology department throughout my time in Exeter; from the start they were interesting, personable and really welcoming.

Hugh Pickering, BA Anthropology graduate.

It’s fair to say that by studying Anthropology my assumptions were challenged and my horizons broadened. The programme structure makes you question your perception of how people think and behave, giving you an invaluable multicultural perspective. What really appealed about this degree was the diversity of topics that are relevant to current day issues as well as being analytical of historical events. I have come to the conclusion that Anthropology is a discipline for those with a thirst for understanding the human condition, and my Exeter experience helped shape my own identity and my understanding of what it means to be human.

Samuel Lunn-Rockliffe, BA Archaeology and Anthropology.

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

The Anthropology degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.

Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.

Please note that modules offered are subject to change, depending on staff availability, timetabling, and demand.

Year 1

The first year gives you a foundational knowledge of anthropological theory and concepts, and how to think critically about the key challenges of studying diverse human societies. You will also be introduced to the fundamentals of the archaeological study of human society in the past, and gain important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks.

Compulsory modules

ANT1004Introduction to Social Anthropology-Theorising the Everyday World 15
ANT1005Introduction to Social Anthropology: Exploring Cultural Diversity 15
ANT1008Imagining Social Worlds: Artefacts 15
ANT1003Imagining Social Worlds: Texts 15
ARC1010Themes in World Archaeology15
ARC1020Essential Archaeological Methods15

Optional modules

Students should take 30 credits of year one Anthropology Modules, examples below. You may also take up to 30 credits in another subject, in agreement with the programme director.

ANT1006Cultures: Food15
ANT1007Media and Society15
ANT1034Contemporary Research in Sociology and Anthropology0

Year 2

In the second year you will advance your grasp of anthropological knowledge and methods through a set of compulsory modules. You will learn about the current issues and problems that attract anthropologists’ attention, and acquire the research methods that anthropologists use in their studies; you will even develop your own small research project where you can put these skills to the test. Optional modules enable you to develop specialist knowledge on a range of topics.

Compulsory modules

ANT2002Ethnography Now 15
ANT2003Current Debates in Anthropology 15
ANT2005Current Debates in Anthropology: Practice 15
ANT2004Into the Field15

Optional modules

Students should take 60 credits of year 2 modules:

ANT2010Human-Animal Interactions15
ANT2009Living Cities: Migration, Place and the Politics of Identities15
ANT2011Anthropology of Africa: Histories, Politics and Perspectives15
ANT2012The Human Condition: Classic Readings in Anthropology 30
ANT2013Visual Anthropology: Methods and Perspectives15
ANT2029Sociology and Philosophy of Globalisation15
ANT2032Culture and Perception15
ANT2078Eat: The Social Self as Consumer15
ANT2085Health, Illness and Bodies in Contemporary Society Part 1: Medicine and Social Control15
ANT2087Disability and Society15
ANT2088Health, Illness and Bodies in Contemporary Society: Part 2: Bodies in Society15
ANT2089Cultures of Race, Ethnicity and Racism15
ANT2090Sound and Society15

Year 3

The centre-point of the final year is the dissertation. This provides you with the opportunity to explore an area of interest and to demonstrate what you have learned over the previous years of your degree. You will also take specialist modules to create a programme of work fully reflecting your interests.

Compulsory modules

ANT3040Anthropology Dissertation 30

Optional modules

Students should take 90 credits of year 3 modules 

ANT3002Childhood 15
ANT3004Living cities: Migration, place and the politics of identities15
ANT3005Human-Animal Interactions15
ANT3006Anthropology of Africa15
ANT3029Sociology and Philosophy of Globalisation15
ANT3085Health, Illness and Bodies in Contemporary Society Part 1: Medicine and Social Control15
ANT3086Addiction 30
ANT3087Disability and Society15
ANT3088Health, Illness and Bodies in Contemporary Society: Part 2: Bodies in Society15
ANT3089Cultures of Race, ethnicity and racism15
ANT3090Sound and Society 15

Entry requirements 2017

Typical offer

AAB-ABB; IB: 34-32

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programmes.

Further information

Please read the important information about our Typical offer.

For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.

Learning and teaching

We aim to convey anthropology as a dynamic and reflexive mode of social scientific inquiry, in order to impart knowledge and understanding of the cultural practices, beliefs and knowledge of people living in different societies across the globe. We encourage independent study and assist the development of anthropologically informed critical judgement and thinking based on comparative cross-cultural insight.

You'll learn through lectures, seminars and practical exercises, with an increasing emphasis on seminar discussion and project work in the second and third years. You should expect around 10 contact hours per week and will need to plan additional hours of private study per module. Your total workload should average about 40 hours per week during term time.

You’ll have regular tutorials where you’ll meet to discuss oral and written assignments with your tutor, together with a small group of other students. These personal contacts are very important in developing staff-student relations and for getting to know your fellow students. Our programmes help to develop skills and understanding so that you can take increasing responsibility for your learning in more specialised seminar-based modules.

We’re actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. You can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the discussion forums.

The Student-Staff Liaison Committee gives you the chance to discuss and review the degree programmes, including existing and planned module content, through regular meetings with departmental staff.

Research-inspired teaching

Our programmes are based on teaching that is inspired by research and are designed to offer expertise within a framework that brings out the skills of communication, analysis, information handling and interpretation of evidence, which will make you both a desirable employee and an informed and critical citizen. You'll have the opportunity to work closely with academic staff who are at the cutting edge of research and academic debate and you'll benefit from an innovative curriculum inspired by leading research. All staff teach options which are linked to their own interests which include the study of childhood, human/animal interactions, addiction, anthropology of Africa, city life, health and disability, music, religion, resource extraction and the environment.

Academic support

All students have a Personal Tutor who is available for advice and support throughout their studies. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students' Guild Advice Unit. You can find more information about all the services in the University's undergraduate prospectus or on the University’s website.


We use diverse methods of assessment to support our emphasis on presentation, teamwork and projects/dissertations, as well as essay writing and exams. The ratio of assessment by coursework to assessment by exam varies according to which modules you take, but on average is about 50:50. You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but the results do not count towards your degree classification. For three-year programmes, the assessments in the second and third years contribute to your final degree classification. For four-year programmes the assessments in the second, third and fourth years all contribute to your final degree classification.


You will be introduced to methods of field work-based inquiry that are strongly featured within the qualitative traditions of sociology and anthropology. The Ethnography Now module, for example, focuses on learning through practical experimentation with ethnographic research which you’ll undertake within a field that you already inhabit-namely, the University campus.

You will also have the opportunity to participate in the Anthropology field trip to Skanda Vale, a Hindu and Multi Faith ashram and monastery in Wales.

The Anthropology field trip was a life changing experience for me. Beforehand, I was sceptical about the religious aspects of the community we lived among, questioning their escapism from the ‘real’ world. However, participating in everyday life alongside the monks and nuns was eye-opening; after a few days of getting used to their routine, and taking part in prayer sessions and community activities, I began to reflect on my own lack of belief and understand the importance of religion to them. It was also interesting to investigate their position on gender and equality which is typically different to what we experience in 21st-century Britain. It is hard to do justice to the experience of the field trip in words, so my advice would be to go and do it for yourself.

Isabelle Hoole, BA Sociology and Anthropology


Your brilliant career

Find out how we can help you build your brilliant career.

Our programmes give you an excellent all-round education, where you’ll learn to understand other people's points of view, to communicate your own position clearly and to argue effectively. You'll also learn to collect, assess and present evidence and to work independently and in groups.

Our programmes are demanding and encourage initiative and open-mindedness, helping to ensure that you'll be well equipped with a range of academic, personal and professional skills, all of which will prepare you for future employment or research in a wide variety of fields. Many of our graduates choose to follow their degree with employment or further study in people-focused fields, whereas others choose to use their skills in business or public sector administration.

Many students from the department take part in the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award. These schemes encourage you to participate in employability related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.

Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Many employers target the University when recruiting new graduates.

Examples of the destinations of recent Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology graduates


  • Family Enterprise Consultant
  • Student Support Worker
  • Sales Manager
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Graduate Library Trainee
  • Audit Assistant
  • Legal Service Manager


  • National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy
  • Scholastic
  • Bodleian Libraries
  • National Skills Academy
  • KPMG
  • Deloitte

Examples of further study followed by our graduates

  • MA Philosophy and Sociology of Science, University of Exeter
  • MA International Relations, University of Exeter
  • MA Gender Studies, University College London
  • Graduate Diploma in Law, College of Law, Guildford

For further information please visit the University's employability website.

You will be encouraged to research and reflect on a range of work-related questions such as the nature of an organisation and your role within it,  employment practices including induction, health and safety procedures, self-appraisal and continuing professional development.

By practising specific skills for employment, including the writing of CVs, application forms and supporting statements, you will become better prepared for the world of work beyond university.

Nothing prepares you for the working world quite like having to produce high quality work in a short space of time, and a social science degree teaches you how to think critically and develop your own viewpoint from a range of sources. That never stops being useful. From Anthropology, I learnt the value of being sceptical and inquisitive, and an awful lot of good dinner-table conversation. Everyone likes learning about tribes. I also had a great relationship with the Anthropology department throughout my time in Exeter; from the start they were interesting, personable and really welcoming.

Hugh Pickering, BA Anthropology graduate

Contact us


Phone: +44 (0)1392 723192

Website: Visit the Anthropology web pages