This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Fenella Cannell OLD 6.07 and Dr Mathijs Pelkmans OLD 5.08


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management, MSc in Social Anthropology and MSc in Social Anthropology (Learning and Cognition). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The dissertation must demonstrate an adequate knowledge of relevant theoretical literature and the ethnography of one or more contexts. It should attempt to consolidate a theme introduced during the course, developing a sustained research focus on one specific issue in anthropology, using existing ethnographic literature as appropriate. Note that the dissertation must be based on published sources rather than fieldwork undertaken by the student. For the MSc Social Anthropology, the problem should be framed with reference to literature from within the discipline of anthropology (drawn from mainstream journals or ethnographic texts). For the MSc Anthropology and Development and the MSc Anthropology and Development Management, the topic should span the fields of both Social Anthropology and Development Studies - it may cover, but need not be restricted to, the area of overlap, i.e. the anthropology of development as narrowly defined. For the MSc Social Anthropology (Learning and Cognition), the dissertation should draw not only on specifically anthropological literatures and engage with anthropological themes, but also make judicious use of non-anthropological literature from cognitive science, and therefore from related disciplines such as psychology and/or philosophy.



3 hours of workshops in the ST.

After deciding on a topic during the Lent term, in consultation with their tutors (and other members of staff where appropriate), students submit a one-page abstract in the first week of the Summer term. Abstracts are circulated and students attend an AN499 workshop followed by a series of specific workshops for each of the four programmes. During these, abstracts will be evaluated and commented upon. Students continue to consult their tutors during the Summer term.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) in August.

The dissertation must not exceed 10,000 words including text and footnotes (but excluding bibliography and appendices). Three bound copies and an electronic copy, with the 5-digit examination number on the front, must be submitted to the Departmental Office in late August.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2015/16: 59

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information