MSc Cultural and Social Anthropology

University of Amsterdam

Program Description

MSc Cultural and Social Anthropology

University of Amsterdam

Contemporary Cultural and Social Anthropology aims to understand and explain particular ways of living and behaving in societies all over the world, among different groups of people. How do people relate to each other and their social and material environment?

Questions of globalisation, identity and authenticity, migration, citizenship, but also of transnational relations, development, and myths of progress are at the heart of the Master’s programme in Cultural and Social Anthropology.

Ethnographic fieldwork

This programme is designed to transform you into an active participant in the production of anthropological knowledge and the principles and practices of the discipline. As an anthropologist, you will investigate your carefully formulated research question by means of ethnographic fieldwork and relevant comparisons.

The UvA programme in Anthropology is a broad, one-year programme in which you design and conduct your own high quality anthropological research. After completing a period of twelve weeks of fieldwork, you are expected to write a well-argued thesis.

Programme outline

The Master's programme consists of three stages: designing your research project, conducting fieldwork and writing your thesis.

In all three stages, you will be supervised individually by a member of the academic teaching staff. You will also receive collective support in group seminars, although your main focus will be on your own research.

The Master's programme consists of the following components:

  • Key Debates in Anthropology (6 ECTS)
  • Theory for Ethnographic Practice (9 ECTS)
  • Designing Fieldwork (9 ECTS)
  • Ethnographic Fieldwork (18 ECTS), minimum of 12 weeks full-time research
  • Thesis seminar Writing Ethnography (3 ECTS)
  • Thesis (15 ECTS)

Student profile

The academic standards of this Master’s programme are rigorous and you are expected to demonstrate a high level of commitment, independence and resilience. What do you need in order to complete this Master’s programme successfully?

  • A strong interest in Anthropology,
  • the desire to learn how to write thorough analytical texts,
  • an anthropological orientation, namely the ability to empathise with the perspective, emotions and ideas of other people,
  • flexibility and self-reliance, essential for the successful completion of fieldwork.


In a world of increasing globalisation, the Master’s degree in Anthropology equips you with highly relevant skills, such as:

  • independently devising, implementing, evaluating and reporting on a large-scale project
  • experience in developing networks
  • knowledge of qualitative research methods, including participant observation and interviewing
  • the ability to write well and argue cohesively
  • the ability to present your own work and ideas effectively
  • sensitivity to the complexity and diversity of the anthropological discipline
  • the skills to understand and deal effectively with intercultural problems
  • the ability to obtain in-depth knowledge on a given topic in a short period of time.

Focus on research

While conducting fieldwork and writing your thesis, you are supervised by a member of the academic staff who is actively involved in anthropological research on an international scale. At UvA's Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), research is conducted on themes that include the mobility of people, goods and ideas, and the search for identity in a modern globalised world.

Ambition in research?

For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master’s programme in the Social Sciences.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated April 19, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
1 year
Full time
1,984 EUR
Start date Sept. 2017
Netherlands Amsterdam
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 1 year
Price 1,984 EUR
EU/EEA students. Non-EU/EEA students €13,400 per year.