M.A. Social Anthropology and Computing

School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent

Application deadline: as soon as possible
Tuition fee:
  • £ 5,100 / Year (EEA)
  • £ 12,450 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Credits (ECTS): 90 ECTS
Credits: 180
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time
More information: Go to university website
Intensity: Flexible
Duration part-time: 24 months
Part-time variant: Flexible

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Anthropology prides itself on its inclusive and interdisciplinary focus. It takes a holistic approach to human society, combining biological and social perspectives.

Kent has pioneered the social anthropological study of Europe, Latin America, Melanesia, and Central and Southeast Asia, the use of computers in anthropological research, and environmental anthropology in its widest sense (including ethnobiology and ethnobotany). It maintains an active research culture, with staff working in many different parts of the world.

Our regional expertise covers Western and Southeast Europe, Europe, the Middle East, Central South East and Southern, Central and South America, Amazonia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Polynesia. Specialisation in biological anthropology includes forensics and paleopathology, osteology, evolutionary psychology and the evolutionary ecology and behaviour of great apes.

Higher degrees in anthropology create opportunities in many employment sectors including academia, the civil service and non-governmental organisations through work in areas such as human rights, journalism, documentary film making, environmental conservation and international finance. An anthropology degree also develops interpersonal and intercultural skills, which make our graduates highly desirable in any profession that involves working with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.


The following Master’s programmes are recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as having research training status, so successful completion of these 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.

Please note that modules are subject to change. Please contact the School for more detailed information on availability.

This programme applies computer-based methods to anthropological research at a relatively advanced and creative level, usually requiring computer programming skills and/or a broad understanding of computing at the applications level. 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.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

SE802 - Research Methods in Social Anthropology

SE806 - Research Methods in Social Anthropology II

SE834 - Computational Methods in Anthropology

SE998 - Dissertation: Anthropology

SE833 - Computing Applications

SE801 - Contemporary Problems in Social Anthropology

Learning outcomes

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.

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.


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.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6.5

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per 6 April 2015 only the English language tests from IELTS and Trinity College London are accepted for Tier 4 Visa applications to the United Kingdom. Other tests (including TOEFL, TOEIC, Pearson, City & Guilds) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. Since the Trinity College London language tests must be taken in one of their exam centres in the UK, IELTS is now the only language test accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK that can be taken worldwide.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

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