Anthropology of Food, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
University rank #401 ,
The SOAS MA programme in the Anthropology of Food offers students the opportunity to explore historically and culturally variable foodways, from foraging to industrial agriculture, from Europe and North America to Africa, Asia and South America.
  • Overview
  • Programme outline
  • Key facts
  • Admission requirements
  • Fees and funding


Food is a fundamental human necessity, essential to the sustenance of the human body. At the same time, food may be associated with pleasure, passion, even luxury. Food is also essential to the social body. Who eats what, who eats with whom, and whose appetites are satisfied and whose denied, are all profoundly social dynamics through which identities, relationships, and hierarchies are created and reproduced.

The SOAS MA programme in the Anthropology of Food offers students the opportunity to explore historically and culturally variable foodways, from foraging to industrial agriculture, from Europe and North America to Africa, Asia and South America. The programme asks students to trace the passage of food from plant to palate, and to examine who benefits, and who suffers, from contemporary modes of food production, exchange, preparation, and consumption. Students examine food policy at national and international levels, as well as the role played in its formation by the food industry.

Focus is given to the study of famine and the controversial role of food aid in securing food supplies. Debates over the impact of agricultural biotechnology on agrarian livelihoods and knowledge systems, as well as on the natural environment, are assessed. Movements toward organic agriculture, fair trade, and slow food are also analysed.

An anthropological approach to the study of food draws upon and challenges the perspectives of other disciplines, whether agronomy or nutritional science, economics or law, history or literature. Dependent upon individual interests and experiences, graduates of the programme may pursue research degrees in any number of academic disciplines, or find employment in food-related government ministries, international organizations, development agencies, or non-governmental associations, as well as in the fields of public health, education, and media, or in the catering industry.

Programme Structure

The programme consists of four units in total: three units of examined courses and a one unit dissertation of 10,000 words.

Core Courses:
  • The Anthropology of Food - 15PANC013 (1.0 unit).
  • Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology - 15PANC999 (1.0 unit). This is a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with the Programme Convenor of the MA Anthropology of Food and the candidates supervisor.
  • Additionally all MA Anthropology students 'audit' the course Ethnographic Research Methods during term 1 - this will not count towards your 4 units.
Foundation Course:
  • Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1.0 unit). This is compulsory only for students without a previous anthropology degree.
Option Courses:
  • The remaining unit(s) of your programme, either 1 unit of option courses (if taking Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology) or 2 units (if exempted from Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology), may then be selected from the Option Courses list below.
  • Your 1 or 2 total units may be made up of any combination of 0.5 or 1 unit option courses.
  • However, courses without a "15PANxxxx" course code are taught outside of the Anthropology Department. No more than 1 unit in total of these courses may be selected.
  • Alternatively, one language course may be taken from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures.

Programme Detail

Core Courses

  • The Anthropology of Food - 15PANC013 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology - 15PANC999 (1 Unit) - Full Year

Foundation Course

  • Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1 Unit) - Full Year

Option Courses Anthropology Option Courses

  • Anthropological Approaches to Agriculture, Food and Nutrition - (0.5 Unit)
  • Directed Practical Study in the Anthropology of Food - 15PANH045 (0.5 Unit) - Full Year
  • Culture and Society of China - 15PANC089 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Culture and Society of Japan - 15PANC086 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Culture and Society of South Asia - 15PANC087 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Culture and Society of South East Asia - 15PANC088 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Culture and Society of the Near & Middle East - 15PANC097 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Culture and Society of East Africa - 15PANC084 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Culture and Society of West Africa - 15PANC083 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Perspectives On Development - 15PANH033 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
  • Therapy and Culture - 15PANH027 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
  • African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World - 15PANH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
  • African and Asian Cultures in Britain - 15PANH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
  • Issues in the Anthropology of Film - 15PANH022 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
  • Comparative Media Theory - 15PANH028 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
  • Anthropology of travel and tourism A - 15PANH051 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
  • Anthropology of travel and tourism B - 15PANH052 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
  • Anthropology of Urban Space, Place and Architecture - 15PANH029 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013
  • Media Production Skills - 15PANH050 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
  • Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives A (Masters) - 15PANH047 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
  • Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives B (Masters) - 15PANH048 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013 - Must be taken with the first term course - 15PANH047 Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives A (Masters)

Courses taught outside the Department of Anthropology

These courses are available subject to approval by the course convenor. Students may take no more than one full unit of courses taught outside of the Department of Anthropology. A language unit taught in the Faculty of Lanuages & Cultures may be taken.

  • Political economy of development - 15PDSC002 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Globalisation and development - 15PDSC005 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty - 15PDSH026 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
  • The working poor and development - 15PDSH030 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
  • Civil society, social movements and the development process - 15PDSH001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
  • Gender in the Middle East - 15PGNH001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
  • Gendering migration & diasporas - 15PGNH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
  • Famine and food security - 15PDSH022 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
  • Intellectual property rights and development - 15PLAC113 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Jainism: History, Doctrine and the Contemporary World - 15PSRC024 (1 Unit) - Full Year
  • Non-Violence in Jain Scriptures, Philosophy and Law - 15PSRC062 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013 - Please note that from September 2011 this course unit will be named "Non-Violence in Jain Scriptures, Philosophy and Law"

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Full-time duration 12 months
  • Study intensity Part-time, Full-time
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Part-time variant
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus
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English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score: 7

    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score: 105

    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class BA degree (or equivalent) in the humanities or social or natural sciences, or significant experience in a relevant food- and/or agriculture-related career.

English language requirements

In order to ensure that SOAS students have a sufficient standard of English to study effectively, we require overseas students to submit evidence, during the application process, of their current level of proficiency.

Score for Unconditional Entry

  • IELTS: Overall 7+ with at least 7 in all sub scores
  • TOEFL: iBT105+ with at least 25 in all sub scores
  • Pearson Test of English - Academic: Score of 75 or above with at least 70 in all sub scores

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • GBP 16090 International
  • GBP 7260 EU/EEA


Scholarships and Bursaries

There are some scholarships and bursaries available for postgraduate students. These are very competitive and early application is advised.

  • The Ahmad Mustafa Abu-Hakima Bursary (programme must include studying the history of the modern Arab world)
  • AKS Postgraduate Bursary (in Korean Studies)
  • Bernard Buckman Scholarship (MA Chinese Studies, for UK/EU fee paying students)
  • The Canon Collins Scholarships at SOAS. There are two scholarships available available in 2013-14 for study at SOAS. These scholarships are for Masters study in any subject field. Open a national of and resident in one of the following countries:
    Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe. The application process normally opens in December and closes in February, for study commencing in September the following year. Please go to the Canon Collins website and click "Apply for A Scholarship" and then "Canon Collins Scholarship for Masters Study in the UK" for further information on how to apply.
  • Commonwealth Shared Scholarship (for students from African Commonwealth countries)
  • D.G.Hall Scholarship (Taught Masters programmes at SOAS, for applicants holding a Burma/Myanmar passport)
  • Felix Scholarships (for Indian students)
  • Ferguson Scholarships (for African nationals from an African Country)
  • HSBC SOAS Scholarships (MA Sinology & MA Chinese Literature, for UK/EU fee paying students)
  • Kamran Djam Scholarships (MA Iranian Studies)
  • Professor Stuart Wilson Scholarship (MA South East Asian Studies)
  • Standard Chartered Scholarships (for a range of full-time Taught Masters programmes. The programmes relate to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East/NorthAfrica)
  • Tibawi Trust Awards (for Palestinian students currently enrolled in a programme at SOAS)
  • SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Arts & Humanities - (for any full-time taught masters programme in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities)
  • SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Language & Cultures (for the full-time MA Gender Studies, MA Postcolonial Studies, MA Linguistics, MA Applied Linguistics & Language Pedagogy, MA Language, Documentation and Description, MA Translation Theory and Practice (Asian and African Languages)
  • SOAS Master's Scholarships- Faculty of Law and Social Sciences (for any full-time master's programmes in the Department of Development Studies, Economics, Law, Politics & International Studies and Financial & Management Studies)
  • Tallow Chandlers and M. W Beer scholarship (MA) (MA Anthropology of Food, for UK/EU fee paying students)
  • William Ross Murray Scholarship (LLM, for students from a developing country)

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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