Bit of a controversial question, perhaps!


Where would you guys recommend I study anthropology in the UK?



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I'd like to give a simple answer, but the best place to study anthro in the UK depends on what kind of course you're interested in. A good place to start would be to search the UCAS website. You can also check rankings and league tables. Some universities offer a wide variety of anthro sub-categories, like development, tourism, archaeology, biological or medical anthropology, while others might offer only social anthropology or forensic anthropology. Some offer language training and study abroad in other countries as part of the course. Since a lot of undergrads I know tend to choose the subject for travel opportunities or because they're fresh off a gap year skipping around the world, this might be appealing. 


For an undergraduate, it would probably be a good idea to seek out a department with a diverse array of specialists in different areas so you can use those years to explore lots of different things. Unless, of course, it's one thing in particular you're really hoping to study ... but sometimes you don't know that in advance. For instance, I did my BA at Kent and originally registered for the BSc in Biological Anthro thinking that "hard science" was more for me. I quickly learned that Social Anthro was the right choice. If I hadn't had had more options to switch between, I'd have been stuck. Once you have a short list that meets your requirements (i.e. location, cost, amenities and other practical concerns), be sure to check the anthro homepages of those universities, including course offerings, staff and student pages, etc. League tables can be misleading, so keep an open mind and go for the program that ticks the most boxes.


Hi Will,

I agree with Francine's reply to you. It really does depend on your interests. Once you select a few universities that you are interested in, i would suggest that you visit them, (if you have the chance), or get in touch with some anthropology students there to hear of their experiences. Although reaching undergrads through email is  difficult, postgraduate students in general have a personal university profile page with their email. From my experience, most will not mind that you contact them about this. From my part i have studied at Goldsmiths (London) and Sussex University (Brighton) and I loved both experiences.

Wishing you all the best,


The best departments are UCL, LSE and Cambridge. Then SOAS, Manchester, Edinburgh, Sussex, Goldsmiths, Durham, Kent and Oxford in no particular order. Very few places offer the chance to choose between or combine social and biological anthropology and archaeology or material culture. Social anthropology is often linked to combined courses or degrees in sociology, history, cultural studies etc. Some places are good at special applied subjects like medical, environmental, development anthropology. I would say you should pick the city you want to live in and possibly the university rather than the anthropology department. Do you fancy living in London for example? You can spend a lot of your life on crowded underground trains and buses.

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