This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Gisa Weszkalnys, Prof Alpa Shah and Dr Fenella Cannell


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management and MSc in Social Anthropology. 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.



1 hour of lectures in the MT. 3 hours of lectures in the LT. 3 hours of workshops in the ST.

There will be lecture on note taking and avoiding plagiarism in the MT. In addition to the two lectures in the LT and the dissertation workshop in the ST, students will discuss their projects and receive guidance during meetings with their mentors in MT, LT, and ST.

This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual lectures, classes and online interactive activities. The contact hours listed above are the minimum expected.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) in August.

The dissertation must not exceed 10,000 words including in-text citations, footnotes and appendices (but excluding bibliography) to be submitted to the Department in late August.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2020/21: 72

Average class size 2020/21: 33

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information