The general goal of the program is to give relevant knowledge to students about the common universal human characteristics and values in their diverse and complex manifestations from the perspective of cultural anthropology.

Cultural anthropology is based on critical and interpretative thinking and uses the approaches and methodology of social sciences. Cultural anthropology has an applied perspective; methodologies include interpretation and field research.

Anthropologists aim to understand societies and cultures in their everyday life, the micro and personal levels of social interactions and cultural communication. Besides, anthropologists interpret their micro-focusing research in a holistic way with comprehensive analyses of the historical and sociological contexts of their field.

With this in mind, students of the Cultural Anthropology MA program will learn about theories and approaches, main research topics and results of cultural anthropology. The program particularly focuses on fieldwork research. The students of the program make participant observations in micro-communities to attain the cultural anthropological skills and obtain anthropological experience. The students write and defend their thesis from interpretations of their fieldwork research. Each student chooses a fieldwork supervisor who will permanently consult with them about their fieldwork experiences and research results.

Critical anthropological thinking and fieldwork experiences help the students understand the differences and difficulties of social interactions, cultural and intercultural communication and their significances in a sensitive and interpretative way.

Cultural knowledge is the basis of international communication and cooperation.

Using professional competencies acquired in the program, as fieldwork experience, practicing anthropological skills, interpretive thinking, inter-cultural mediation, the students will be able to apply their social and cultural anthropological knowledge and skills in decisions of the social and economic life, international relations and communication, as well as in their professional career.

The program places particular emphasis on the Central and Eastern European cultures, social questions and problems. Consequently, the students of the program have the chance to visit and research local communities, sub- and countercultural, ethnic, and minority groups in Hungary and the neighboring countries with their professors’ supervision.

Strength of program

The Department of Cultural Anthropology has a special friendly atmosphere. The students and professors have free and fraternal professional relationship. We see cultural anthropology as “profession and mission”. Consequently, cooperation between students and professors is very strong in our department. We organize discussions together, edit publications and take part in numerous activities.

The students also have the opportunity to work in research groups. Richard Papp, Associate Professor of our department, and his former students have set up the Anthropology of Religion Research Group. The members of the research group constantly discuss their research experience and results. The Anthropology of Religion research group also organizes visits to different religious communities in Hungary for the students of the program.

Furthermore, two years ago Sába Tesfay, Assistant Professor of the department and Richard Papp set up the Migration Research Group at ELTE, which aims to give methodological support to students from various departments in social sciences to study the processes of migration and provide a platform for discussion. This research group is open to every student who is interested in the current problems of migration.

In addition, within the Cultural Anthropology Master Program, we organize social and anthropological activities as well. With the help of the Migration Research Group, our students can have voluntary jobs with refugees or join the Drop Afterschool at Csobánka and the work of Csobánkai Tanoda. Since 2012, the Drop Afterschool at Csobánka has been committed to expand the educational opportunities and to develop necessary skills of the local underprivileged, Roma students. Its foundation has been initiated by local Roma families by one of our professors, Boglárka Bakó together with local civil volunteers.

CSObánkai tanoDA—the capital letters together read “miracle” (csoda) in Hungarian—is a group that aims to help Roma children and/or children with social disadvantages. The main goals of this group include helping these children to achieve better scholastic performance and replacing their missing knowledge while developing their creativity and other skills. The group would like to reach the best possible results by taking into account the capabilities of the children.

Besides the above-mentioned options, professors at the Department of Cultural Anthropology guarantee a professional academic program for future students. Our professors have internationally recognized scientific experience and relations.

Csaba Prónai, Head of Department received the Ferenc Erdei Memorial Medal from the Hungarian Sociological Society in 1998 for his science historical research and the István Kemény Award from the Minorities’ Ombudsman in 2010 for his work in cultural anthropological research which acquainted Hungarian Roma researches based on the results of international Roma researches. Richard Papp Assistant Professor received a Post-Doctoral Grant of Rothschild Foundation Europe in 2006, the Bolyai János research fellowship (2007–2010) and the Bolyai Plaque Award in 2010. Richard Papp has several international teaching experiences as well. He has been giving courses at the Shanghai International Studies University, Perm State Univesity, Comenius University, and Adam Miczkiewitz University. Miklós Szabó Assistant Professor was a guest lecturer at Tomsk State University in the academic year of 20142015.

The professors in our department have rich publication activities. Besides of the professors’ own publications, Csaba Prónai was the leader of the research project “Roma and Education from Cultural Anthropological Point of View” (2006-2009). The results of this research have been published in four books, all edited by him. Richard Papp was the co-editor of a book about current problems of the Polish and Hungarian anthropology: Papp, Richard- Kuligowski, Waldemar (eds.). Sterile and Isolated? An Anthropology Today in Hungary and Poland. Poznan: TIPI, 2015.

We also participate in international research programs. Recently Richard Papp and Miklós Szabó are researchers and lecturers in the European Identity, Cultural Diversity, and Political Change FP7 Program.

Many international conferences have been connected to our department’s activity. For instance, as a member of the Collegium Budapest, Csaba Prónai promoted the “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Roma Studies in Central and Eastern Europe” international workshop. He invited the participants and he was the organizer and the chair. He organized the 2003 Annual Meeting and Conference of the Gypsy Lore Society in Budapest, too. Members of our students and professors participate every year in the conferences of Ethnology Without Borders - International Convention of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology Students from Central Europe. The third convention of Ethnology Without Borders was organized by our department and the Hungarian Cultural Anthropology Association in 2014.

In addition to the described strength of the program, the Department of Cultural Anthropology has Erasmus+ partnership with the University of Jyväskylä, University of Iceland, Universitat de Barcelona, Ludwig Maximilians Universitaet München, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Charles University and Adam Mickiewicz University. Thanks to these Erasmus partnerships the students of our program have the opportunity to study in these universities a semester or an academic year.

Career opportunities

Career opportunities of our students embrace scientific-academic, applied and practicing anthropological perspectives.

Our former students have been working as academic researchers in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Museum of Ethnography. Many of them are professors in different universities: Eötvös Loránd University, Corvinus University, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Dharma Gate Buddhist College, Bhaktivedanta College.

Besides, cultural anthropologists are applied in non-governmental organizations (Artemisszió Foundation, Menedék- the Hungarian Association for Migrants). Some of them have also found job possibilities in market research and multinational companies. Others work as social workers, social politicians or members of social developments and Roma programs.

More and more international companies look for anthropologist employees who have skills in working in a multicultural environment and cooperation with colleagues from a different cultural background. Several former students of us work recently in communication fields, they can be found in communication companies, communication departments, and media.

More students have become journalists, reporters, and editors of online and offline newspapers and television channels, radio programs.

Our students have a successful career abroad as well. Inter alia, one of them works in a sport-anthropological foundation in Switzerland, another work in Chile in a multinational company. Two students of us have been working in Africa as fellow workers of Médicins Sans Frontiéres/Doctors Without Borders humanitarian organization and one of them have participated in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo.

Many of our former students have an academic career at universities all around the world, for example at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Josai International University Tokyo, Jiaotong University, Shanghai International Studies University.

In summary, career opportunities for anthropologists have been increasing in the last few years, because more and more social institutions, multinational companies and organizations have realized the importance of intercultural sensitivity and knowledge. The acquired knowledge, experience, and skills for the students of the program will guarantee their success in the above-mentioned carrier fields beside the academic carrier possibilities.

Job examples

  • Academic researcher
  • Market researcher
  • International aid/development worker
  • Social researcher

Also work in the public and not-for-profit sectors, all branches of the Civil Service, local government, charities, central government bodies, universities, international organizations, museums, and voluntary organizations.

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Last updated November 29, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 9, 2019
2 years
3,000 EUR
non-EU/EEA students fees/semester | EU/EEA students fees/semester: 1300 EUR. Application fee 50 EUR (non-refundable)
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