Social Anthropology and Computing, M.A.

  • N/A
    Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
University rank #301 ,
The aim of the MA in Social Anthropology with Computing from the University of Kent is to prepare you to apply appropriate computer-based methods to anthropological research at a relatively advanced and creative level.


At the University of Kent you can study the Social Anthropology and Computing programme.

In this joint programme with the School of Computing you develop the basics of research in anthropology – the design, planning, implementation and analysis of anthropological research – and learn to apply specialised computing methods that you develop or adapt to anthropological research and analysis, usually requiring computer programming skills and/or a broad understanding of computing at the applications level.

The School is one of the world's leading institutions in the field of the application of computing techniques to anthropology.

Why study with us?
  • One year Master's programme
  • Study an internationally unique programme at the world's leading institution in this field
  • Research-led teaching at the leading edge of anthropology and computing
  • Opportunities to develop advanced modelling and visualisation skills
  • Engage in tethered and online research approaches
National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Anthropology and Conservation was ranked 10th for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research impact and research power.

An impressive 94% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

In the latest Student Barometer survey 100% of our postgraduate students were satisfied with the academic content of their course and 97% said they found their programme intellectually stimulating.


The School has a very good record for postgraduate employment and academic continuation, 100% of our postgraduate students, who graduated in 2014, found a professional job within six months or continued on to a PhD, ranking Anthropology at Kent 1st in the sector. Studying anthropology, you develop an understanding of the complexity of all actions, beliefs and discourse by acquiring strong methodological and analytical skills. Anthropologists are increasingly being hired by companies and organisations that recognise the value of employing people who understand the complexities of societies and organisations.

As a School recognised for its excellence in research we are one of the partners in the South East Doctoral Training Centre, which is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This relationship ensures that successful completion of our courses is sufficient preparation for research in the various fields of social anthropology. Many of our students go on to do PhD research. Others use their Master’s qualification in employment ranging from research in government departments to teaching to consultancy work overseas.

Many of our alumni teach in academic positions in universities across the world, whilst others work for a wide range of organisations.

Programme Structure

Course structure
Students with no background in Java programming are required to take a special three-week module before the beginning of the academic year in September.
Please note that modules are subject to change. Please contact the School for more detailed information on availability.
  • Research Methods in Social Anthropology
  • Research Methods in Social Anthropology II
  • Computational Methods in Anthropology
  • Dissertation: Anthropology
  • Contemporary Problems in Social Anthropology
Teaching and Assessment
Assessment is by essays and the dissertation.
Programme aims
The programme aims to:
  • produce graduates equipped to play leading roles in support of computational anthropology, and the application of anthropology to technical environments, professions and public service.
  • prepare candidates who intend further study with the knowledge and skills to under take research programmes which would otherwise be impossible.
  • make accessible the knowledge and skills to equip candidates for a career in computational anthropology
  • develop candidates' ability to apply computational skills to the practice of anthropology
  • develop candidates' ability to apply anthropological skills to the practice of computing.
  • develop candidates' critical and analytical powers in relation to anthropology and computing.
  • develop the skills to adapt and respond positively to change.
  • develop critical, analytical problem - based learning skills and the transferable skills to prepare candidates for employment.
  • attract outstanding candidates, irrespective of race, background, gender, planetary origin or physical disability from both within the UK and from overseas.
  • develop new areas of teaching in response to the advance of scholarship and the needs of the community.
  • widen participation in higher education within the local region.
  • enhance the development of interpersonal skil ls.
  • provide opportunities for shared multidisciplinary learning with computer engineers, computer scientists and anthropologists.
  • assist the candidate to develop the skills required for both autonomous practice and team - working.
Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain a knowledge and understanding of:
  • the intersection of Anthropology and Environmental Conservation, as this becomes apparent in topics that address the interrelationship of (a) local populations (understood as socially or culturally distinctive groups) with (b) agents, pressure groups or institutions concerned with the protection of the environment (environmental groups, policy and legislation, Natural Parks, green development projects).
  • the social anthropological dimension of environmental conservation, as this relates to the theory and practice of the human-environmental relationship and environmental politics
  • specific themes that relate to the interrelationship of Conservation and Anthropology, e.g. environmentalism (its history and social constitution), social change among indigenous groups, human-animal conflicts, environmental politics, environmental disputes, indigenous development projects, the economics of environmental conservation.
  • socio-cultural and biological diversity and an appreciation of their mutual interdependency.
  • the intersection of Conservation and Society in diverse geographical regions and socio-cultural contexts.
  • the histories of Anthropology and Conservation as parallel disciplines and their relationship.
  • the application of Anthropology and Conservation to issues of social, economic, and environmental significance throughout the world.
  • the relevance of Anthropology and Conservation for facilitating processes of accommodation between human society and natural ecosystems.
  • the theory and methodology of Anthropology and Conservation, and their inter-disciplinary combination.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual skills:
  • ability to think critically about the interface of anthropology and conservation and develop original theoretical insights.
  • ability to solve socio-environmental problems through combined methodologies (from conservation and/or anthropology).
  • ability to articulate and sustain arguments about the human-environmental relationship in oral presentation and in writing.
  • ability to apply qualitative and quantitative research skills.
  • use of information technology including computers and library research.
  • ability to review and summarise published work and information.
  • group work skills.
  • research proposal writing skills.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:
  • ability to understand how conservation objectives are shaped by social, cultural and environmental factors, and appreciate the interrelationship of such factors.
  • ability to recognise the relevance of an anthropological perspective to understanding the parameters of environmental conservation.
  • ability to interpret problems in conservation by locating them within appropriate cultural and historical contexts.
  • high-level competence in using theories from anthropology and conservation in designing original research projects.
  • ability to analyse cases of environmental conservation with reference to their social ramifications and impact.
  • ability to perceive the way in which cultural assumptions may affect conservation and disputes over the environment.
  • an openness to appreciate the interdependency of social and environmental phenomena, which may appear at first sight to be incomprehensible or unrelated.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:
  • ability to make a structured argument.
  • ability to make appropriate reference to scholarly data.
  • time-management skills.
  • the ability to exercise initiative and personal responsibility.
  • independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.
Research areas
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: American Ethnologist; Current Anthropology; Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute; American Journal of Physical Anthropology; Proceedings of the Royal Society B; and Journal of Human Evolution.
Social Anthropology

The regional expertise of our staff has a global reach, with field sites in Europe (including UK), the Middle East, the Balkans, South Asia, Amazonia and Central America, Oceania and Southeast Asia. Themes of conflict, violence, the economic crisis and precarity form a major focus of our current work in these areas, alongside new research on austerity and its social impact, and charity. We have emerging interests in social inequality, work, and organised crime and corruption; and are internationally recognised for our work on ethnicity, nationalism, and identity.

Our research extends to intercommunal violence, diasporas, pilgrimage, intercommunal trade, urban ethnogenesis, indigenous representation and the study of contemporary religions and their global connections (especially Islam). History and heritage is another key theme, with related interests in time and temporality, and the School hosts the leading journal History and Anthropology. Other research addresses the anthropology of natural resources; anthropology of tourism; and post-socialist economy and society in Europe and Central Asia.

We research issues in fieldwork and methodology more generally, with a strong interest in the field of visual anthropology. Our work on identity and locality links with growing strengths in kinship and parenthood. This is complemented by work on the language of relatedness, and the cognitive bases of kinship terminologies

A final focus concerns science, medical anthropology and contemporary society. We work on the anthropology of business, biotechnology, and mental health. Related research focuses on policy and advocacy issues and examines the connections between public health policy and local healing strategies. Staff collaborations and networks extend widely across these regions and thematic interests, and Kent is well-known for its pioneering engagement with the anthropology of Europe.
Digital Anthropology: Cultural Informatics and Computational Methods
Since 1985, we have pioneered new approaches to digital anthropology. Achievements include advances in kinship theory supported by new computational methods. We are exploring cloud media, semantic networks, multi-agent modelling, dual/blended realities, data mining, and smart environments. Current work also addresses quantitative approaches for assessing qualitative materials; mobile computing; sensing and communications platforms, and transformation of virtual into concrete objects.
Visual Anthropology

Visual Anthropology offers a unique opportunity to explore traditional and experimental means of using visual and audio-visual media to research, represent and produce anthropological knowledge. Our pioneering use of multimedia in anthropology is now complemented by an innovative interest in public and collaborative anthropology, critical engagement with policy and the use of audio-visual and internet based media in advocacy and activism.

Grounded in and committed to practice-led theory in social anthropology the modules critically examines the relation of the visual to the other senses and the power of media to move people to action. It also seeks inspiration from outside of disciplinary boundaries for the purposes of engaging wider audiences.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Full-time duration 12 months
  • Study intensity Part-time, Full-time
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Duration part-time 24 months
    • Part-time variant
  • Credits
    90 ECTS 180 alternative credits
    • Total Kent credits: 180
    • Total ECTS credits: 90
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus
  • Partnership

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score: 6.5

    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.

    Take IELTS test

    StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more

  • Minimum required score (Grade B2): 176

    The CAE test – or the Cambridge Advanced English – is an exam for applicants who wish to get a Certificate in Advanced English. To receive the Advanced certificate, test-takers must score between 142 and 210 on the Cambridge English: Advanced test. Read more about CAE.

    Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

  • Minimum required score: 90

    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

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: Upper Second Class

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to Upper Second Class on the UK Honour scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on the UK Honour scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

  • A good honours degree (2.1 or above) in any social science field. In certain circumstances, we will consider students who have not followed a conventional education path. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies and the programme convenor.

Student Visa

Students from United States of America need a visa in order to study in the United Kingdom.
Read more about visa information and requirements for this country.

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • GBP 14670 International
  • GBP 6500 EU/EEA
Part-time fees:
  • UK/EU: £3250
  • Overseas: £7340


We have a scholarship fund of over £9 million to support our taught and research students with their tuition fees and living costs.

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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