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Social Anthropology, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 48 months
University rank #27 (QS) Manchester, United Kingdom
This programme involves substantial original research, normally including ethnographic fieldwork of 12 to 18 months and leading to the production of a thesis of up to 80,000 words. Throughout, students work closely with an expert supervisor, with further guidance from at least one extra supervisor.
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The programme consists of three or maximum four years of full-time study. Its structure depends on prior qualification:

Normally, students are registered on the PhD programme and, during the first year, take a set of research training courses. A central task is a 12,000-15,000 word research proposal to be submitted in June of the first year (second year if part-time). 

This proposal is examined, with an oral viva, by two social anthropologists at Manchester. Once this process has been completed and all coursework has been passed at a satisfactory level, students are allowed to proceed and are cleared to start field research. After a period of fieldwork which usually lasts up to 12 months students return to the University and start writing their dissertation under the guidance of their supervisors.

Students who have successfully completed our MA Anthropological Research, or an equivalent ESRC-recognised course in another UK institution, may be in a position to start fieldwork as soon as is practicable, provided that they have submitted a satisfactory research proposal as part of that previous degree and it has been approved by the School of Social Sciences. 

After a period of fieldwork which usually lasts up to 12 months students return to the University and start writing their dissertation under the guidance of their supervisors.

It is also possible to do a stand-alone MPhil degree in Social Anthropology. This programme lasts one year or maximum two years and requires the submission of a thesis, by independent research, of up 50,000 words. 

In Social Anthropology, the MPhil programme does not usually involve extensive fieldwork and is generally library based. Only a very few students take this programme as a stand-alone degree, although some may register on the MPhil as a preliminary step to the PhD.

Currently Manchester Social Anthropology has over 50 PhD students working in all of the world's continents. They form a lively and varied group of young scholars, addressing a wide variety of topical and theoretical interests .

Career opportunities

Many of our PhD graduates pursue academic careers. Others have gone on to work in development, NGOs, public services or the private sector.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Full-time duration 48 months
    • Average part-time duration 84 months
    • Intensity Flexible
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Teaching and learning

  • During the first year, students who have not taken the MA Anthropological Research or its equivalent, normally take a number of research training courses. 
  • These introduce students to classical ethnographic methods, such as participant observation and semi-structured interviewing. 
  • Optional courses offer the possibility of acquiring skills in additional methods such as quantitative approaches, archival research, working with memory and conducting elite interviews.

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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General Requirements

UK Master degree (or overseas equivalent) with a coursework/examination average of 60% or more AND a dissertation mark of 60% or more in a relevant subject with no mark below 50%.

When submitting a research proposal with your application please follow the guidelines carefully.

  • English language
  • Other international entry requirements
We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Tuition Fee

  • International

    17000 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 17000 GBP per year and a duration of 48 months.
  • EU/EEA

    4195 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 4195 GBP per year and a duration of 48 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.
  • PhD (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £2,098 
    International students (per annum): £8,500

Living costs for Manchester

  • 645 - 1200 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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