The MRes in Pacific Studies examines the history, languages, cultures and varieties of social organisation in societies of the Pacific (Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia). The programme is designed for students who have a special interest in conducting their fieldwork for an anthropology PhD in the region or because they wish to work there in some other capacity.
The MRes in Social Anthropology with Pacific Studies is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the Department of Social Anthropology within the School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies.
You will study the history, languages, cultures and varieties of social organisation is societies of the Pacific, their significance for the contemporary lives of its many peoples, and the fundamental influence of this region on the discipline of social anthropology.
The modules provide an understanding of the highly complex social, political and cultural experiences of the historic and contemporary populations of the Pacific.
Small class sizes ranging from two to ten students encourage student-led seminars and discussion as well as more contact with supervisors.
Students are equipped to work with non-government organisations and multinational corporations with interests in the region.
Over two semesters, students take four compulsory modules. Teaching methods include formal lectures combined with seminar-style teaching and student-led group work. Lecture class sizes range from five to ten students, and tutorial sizes range from one to six students.
Modules are assessed through 100% coursework which may include essays, independent research-led assignments, and group assessed oral presentations.
Over the course of the year, with particular focus during the summer months, you will devise a research project culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation. Every taught postgraduate student is assigned an individual supervisor from among the Social Anthropology staff who will work with them closely to develop a topic and direction for the dissertation.
The Department of Social Anthropology provides postgraduates with access to a museum collection of ethnographic material and a common room that includes a general anthropological library, providing a space that is shared by both staff and postgraduates. The departmental libraries, together with the main University library which holds a fine anthropology collection, include resources covering nearly all regions of the world.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2020–2021 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.
Each module typically comprises:
Four contact hours per week (including lectures, seminars, tutorials and reading groups)
100% coursework assessment
Students may substitute one optional module with an Honours-level undergraduate module, with the approval of the course coordinator.
Anthropology of the Pacific 1: examines traditional issues and emerging trends in the anthropology of the Pacific, with special reference to selected regions.
The Anthropology of Connections: Interdisciplinarity as Methodology: examines the relevance of other disciplines for social anthropology by working with methodologies and concepts drawn from history, social science, philosophy, language and the arts.
Anthropology of the Pacific 2: looks at the challenges facing social anthropology and Pacific Studies in the 21st century.
Research Methods in Social Anthropology: examines the methodology of anthropological research through close attention to the relationship between method and fieldwork experience.
Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August.
If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MRes, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MRes.
The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2021 entry.
The Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) consortium brings together social anthropologists from the universities of St Andrews, Aberdeen and Edinburgh to support innovation in research and teaching.
In addition to co-hosting international conferences and workshops, the consortium runs two free week-long residential training courses each year in anthropology for postgraduate students and early career researchers. The first course is for students at the pre-fieldwork level and the second is for those at an advanced stage of research writing.
Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.
A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. No previous anthropological experience is required. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
English language proficiency.
The qualifications listed are indicative of minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.
Personal statement (optional)
Sample of academic written work (2,000 words)
One original signed academic reference
Academic transcripts and degree certificates
Evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).
After the MRes
Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrew's or elsewhere. The Department of Social Anthropology offers PhD supervision across a diverse range of theoretical interests and topics.
Social Anthropology graduates have characteristics many employers seek, and a Social Anthropology degree provides openings to a wide range of careers. Graduates have gained successful employment in areas such as:
International policy and Pacific non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
Journalism (BBC and The Independent)
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.