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MSc in Social Anthropology (Learning and Cognition)

From September 2011 we are no longer running the MSc Anthropology of Learning and Cognition as a separate degree programme. Instead we are offering Learning and Cognition as a stream of MSc Social Anthropology.

Students are still able to choose the same courses as would have been available to you under the previous programme. In particular, the core course, The Anthropology of Learning and Cognition, will be offered so students studying MSc Social Anthropology can focus their studies towards this area.

This change will allow students more flexibility as the optional course can be any full unit Anthropology course (or two half unit courses).

This degree programme focuses on the social, cultural and educational contexts in which human learning and cognitive development takes place. In the past, anthropologists tended to approach the study of learning in terms of the complex socio-cultural environments in which knowledge is constituted and transmitted, largely shunning any reference to mental phenomena. Psychologists, for their part, often failed to take sufficient account of the diverse cultural contexts in which mental phenomena occur. However, in recent years, both anthropologists and psychologists have attempted to integrate detailed ethnographic examination of cultural forms with the study of mind and cognitive development. Our course will introduce students to these exciting new developments.

The MSc in Social Anthropology (Learning & Cognition) will be of special interest to those who have studied anthropology (and have developed an interest in learning and cognition), and to those who have studied psychology (and have developed an interest in anthropology). It should also be attractive to those with interests in the fields of education and child development. Note that prior knowledge of anthropology and/or psychology is not essential. The course is suitable as a preparation for further research in anthropology at the PhD level.

When to Apply

We recommend that students apply as early as possible in order to ensure that they receive full consideration both for places on the MSc and for financial assistance from the School. Please note this programme will NOT be open for admission in 2015/16 and 2016/17.

The Programme

The twelve-month programme consists of two compulsory courses, one optional course, and an essay (dissertation).

  • The first compulsory course is Anthropology of Learning and Cognition. This examines the relationship between anthropological and psychological theory and data, with special reference to the transmission of cultural knowledge.
  • The second compulsory course is Anthropology: Theory and Ethnography. This covers the development of modern anthropological theory and the relationship between theoretical analysis and ethnographic data.
  • An optional course is chosen by students from any full unit or two half unit Anthropology courses.
  • After examinations in June in these three courses, students write an essay (dissertation) of not more than 10,000 words on an approved topic of their own choice, which is submitted in mid-September.

Please bear in mind that each year we are only able to offer a selection from our range of optional courses. Owing to the introduction of new courses and possible academic staff changes, information about optional courses available next year is not necessarily final. The following courses are offered by the Anthropology Department every year: Anthropology: Theory & Ethnography (AN404); Anthropology of Religion (AN402); Kinship, Sex & Gender (AN405); The Anthropology of Learning & Cognition (AN437); Anthropology of Politics (AN451); Anthropology of Economy: production and exchange (AN456); Anthropology of Economy (2): development, transformation and globalisation (AN457).

Please click here for the home page of the online Graduate Prospectus, which contains further information and an application form. Follow this link for the prospectus page on the MSc Social Anthropology and MSc Social Anthropology (Learning and Cognition).