Social anthropology

Examine the diverse ways human beings establish and live social lives. From Western urban cities to indigenous cultures in the Amazon, you will learn to understand how humans live and think by looking at all aspects of their experience.

St Andrews has particular strengths in the societies of:

  • East and West Africa
  • the Pacific
  • South America
  • the Caribbean
  • Europe
  • Central Asia.
PhD supervisor with a student


Postgraduate taught

Postgraduate research

The Department of Social Anthropology offers PhD and MSt (Res) research programmes. Alongside deep local knowledge in the Americas, Africa, Eurasia and the Pacific, the Department conducts research in areas such as:

  • energy and climate change
  • history and temporality
  • health and disease
  • art and ethics.

To apply, you should first identify and contact a potential supervisor you would like to work with in your intended research area. Find out how to contact a research supervisor.   

“I chose Social Anthropology as a part of my degree as it is the study of what it is to be human. What makes the anthropological study at St Andrews special are the staff. It is a fantastic experience to study with them. Their research (to list a few) includes literary, linguistic, or feminist anthropologies.”

- Kolobrzeg, Poland


First in Scotland and fourth in the UK for anthropology and archaeology

Guardian University Guide 2023

First in Scotland for anthropology

Complete University Guide 2023

92% of research activity rated 3* or 4*

Most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021)