AN398      Half Unit
Special Essay Paper in Social Anthropology

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Deborah James OLD.6.06


This course is compulsory on the BA in Social Anthropology and BSc in Social Anthropology. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.


Undergraduates taking this course need to have completed the first two year of either the BA/BSc Social Anthropology or the BA Anthropology and Law.

Course content

The course gives students the opportunity to write an extended essay which addresses an anthropological theme of their own choosing. The extended essay should be based on library research conducted on a topic that is suitable for anthropological analysis. Students should ensure that there is an adequate body of relevant literature available for analysis, and that the topic as defined is not unmanageably large.

There is no formal course content. Students will be expected to draw widely on their readings from other anthropology courses.


2 hours of lectures in the MT. 2 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

Guidance on dissertation research and writing will be given in a one-hour session in ST (to students finishing their 2nd year), and two-hour sessions in MT and LT (to students in their 3rd year).

Formative coursework

Students will submit an abstract and preliminary bibliography to the course teacher at the beginning of MT (using a template published on Moodle). They will then work with their academic mentor who will advise them during their normal tutorial meetings on the chosen topic, the empirical and analytical scope of the essay, and relevant readings.

Indicative reading

There is no formal course content. Students will be expected to draw widely on their readings from other anthropology courses.


Dissertation (100%, 8000 words) in the ST.

The essay is 7,000 to 8,000 words of main text, including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography. The essay should be typed, double spaced, and should follow the reference procedures of The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. The essay must be handed in to the Anthropology Departmental Office by the date announced in the Department’s Handbook, normally by May 1st.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2018/19: 54

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills