UCL Anthropology



How many students do you accept?

We aim for yearly cohorts of 12-15 students with various academic backgrounds and nationalities.

How international is the student body?

UCL Anthropology is a diverse department. About half of each cohort is made up of non-UK students from nations such as Argentina, Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain or USA.

Can I take the course part-time?

Yes. Each year, 2-3 students are part-time students. Typically, in the first year, part-time students enrol in two mandatory modules, the statistics module, and one optional module. In the second year, part-time students complete the remaining optional modules and work towards their dissertation.

I do not have a biological background. Can I still apply?

Applications with a background in a non-relevant discipline will be passed on to the programme tutor for consideration. We explicitly welcome applicants from a variety of backgrounds as long as they have a strong interest in, and sufficient understanding of, evolutionary theory. Normally, such applicants have taken modules/classes in the wider field of evolutionary anthropology. We typically welcome 1-2 students each year with a degree in, for example, economics, philosophy, medicine or psychology.

Which first degrees are deemed to be in a non-relevant field?

We are unable to consider applicants without a science background at degree-level (i.e. you must have taken science-based modules/classes as part of your university degree). We do not consider science qualifications in secondary schools.

My first degree is a 2:2 – can I still apply?

Applicants with a first degree below 2:2 will not be accepted. However, we will consider applicants with a 2:2 degree in a relevant discipline with additional relevant work experience e.g. in the museum sector, veterinary Sciences, animal management, archaeological consulting or other science-related fields.

Can I take more than the prescribed number of modules?

No, you cannot take more than the prescribed number of modules. While individual tutors may allow students to audit their modules, this is at the tutor’s discretion. This is a full-time programme and our experience tells us that most students will not have capacity to audit additional modules.

Can I take modules from outside the programme diet?

No, you are limited to the modules listed in the programme structure. You cannot enrol on any other module.

How do I identify a suitable topic for my dissertation?

Students should carry out an original research project for their dissertation. High quality student projects will often be published in respected scientific journals or edited volumes. You should think about your research project throughout term 1, and contact a potential supervisor by the beginning of term 2. Students can come up with their own project idea, or they can select a project suggested by staff members in term 1. Your dissertation supervisor is usually a member of staff who teaches on the programme. Dissertation supervisors will advise you on the suitability of the project, and provide guidance on how to manage and carry out your independent research. During term 2, you will further develop your research idea and formalise a research plan. In late March, all students deliver a formal presentation of their project plans. Research work will typically start by early April, or sometimes earlier if students plan to carry out primary data collection and require ethical approval. Part-time students have more flexibility with respect to this timeframe, given their 2-year schedule.

I might want to do fieldwork for my project. Is there funding for this?

The department often offers competitive bursaries of a few hundred pounds to facilitate fieldwork, but this is not guaranteed. The bulk of the cost is normally borne by the student. As an example, the total cost for a three-month stint of fieldwork in Asia, Africa or South America between April and June will typically be under £2,000, including travel costs.

What are my chances of doing a PhD afterwards?

With our research-focused programme, our MSc is a perfect lead-in to a doctorate degree. Many of our graduates successfully enrol onto a funded PhD programme – although this may not happen immediately after the degree is conferred. Some of our alumni have become well-known academics.

What non-academic career options are opened up by this degree?

There is no “standard career” for somebody with an MSc in anthropology, and the career opportunities are diverse. Graduates from this course, for example, now work in the media (TV, radio, publishing), NGOs (community development, nature conservation), government organisations (national statistics, health programmes), zoos and museums (curators, research coordinators), their own businesses (consultancies) or education.

What does the timetable look like?

The exemplary timetable below is close to the actual one. However, it is not possible to predict the exact schedule until a new session starts. While most courses will be taught by the listed academics, changes to the timetabling might be necessitated by staff changes, sabbaticals or buy-outs when grants have been obtained. Moreover, to enable maximal free choice, the timetabling aims to avoid overlap between modules – although some clashes are unavoidable, given the considerable number of options.