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Associate professor Tina Harris talks about what makes Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology unique. And student Ava van Waes tells you what she likes most about the programme.
The programme director Milena Veenis and others tell you about Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology.
Frequently asked questions
What is anthropology?
Anthropologists study the ways in which people perceive the world around them and ascribe meaning to it. Anthropologists engage in everyday topics such as social inequality, language, identity, capitalism, politics, health, gender, race, migration, and religion. Through extensive fieldwork, anthropologists try to get to know and understand their research group well in order to formulate answers to their research questions.
What will I learn during the studies?
The program pays a lot of attention to developing academic writing and research skills. In doing so, you develop a curious, critical view of the world. In addition, you will choose a thematic specialization throughout the bachelor, which can make you an expert in a specific field.
What does an average week look like?
In the first year of the bachelor, you will have around 12 contact hours a week. This means that you attend classes, either with your entire cohort or in a small group, for 12 hours weekly. However, the total study load is calculated at 40 hours a week. This means that the remaining hours are spent on self study, for example by reading literature prior to a lecture, preparing a presentation and working on assignments. In the later years, the number of contact hours decreases to approximately eight hours, while the amount of time you will work independently increases.
What is the difference between anthropology and sociology?
Anthropology and sociology share similarities: both studies focus on understanding human behavior. However, there is a difference in the working methods each of these disciplines use. Sociologists regularly work with statistics: for example, they use questionnaires to make statements about the experiences of larger groups of people. This is also called quantitative research. Anthropologists, on the other hand, specialize in qualitative research. Anthropologists usually examine smaller groups of people, but in an in-depth way. This means that anthropologists would like to understand how someone gives words to their personal experience. To succeed in this mission, anthropologists focus on establishing and maintaining relationships. By becoming part of someone's personal environment and by actively participating in the activities they partake in, anthropologists try to gain a deeper understanding of their research group.
How many fellow students should I expect?
Since the academic year 2020-2021, the Bachelor of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology offers a Dutch-English track and a fully English track, which has led to an increase in students. That year almost 200 students started, around half of those students had an international background.
What is the man-to-female ratio in the bachelor?
Anthropology has more female students than male students, circa 80% of our students is female.
How much freedom do I have to pursue my own interests in anthropology?
Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at the UvA has interesting and relevant specializations such as: applied anthropology, visual anthropology and medical anthropology. Within the bachelor there are 30 ECTS available to be used to your own liking. In the second year, you will have the first opportunity to choose an elective to your liking. You will also pick a regional course and two specialization courses from a list of options that year. In the third year of study, you have a lot of freedom to put together your own program. For example, you can choose to complete a minor at another study program, do an internship or study at a foreign university.
How difficult is the study?
We understand that you may be nervous about the level of the program. However, the learning curve of students has been taken into account when designing the program. This means that you are not immediately thrown in the deep end, but that you are supported in your journey to develop academic skills. During the first year, for example, you have your own mentor who also guides you during the tutorials.
In the first year there are some students who drop out of the program. However, this often has to do with a person’s personal preferences and expectations. For example, a student finds out that another study suits him or her better. There are almost no dropouts in the later years of the bachelor.
What makes the anthropology department of the University of Amsterdam unique?
The Social Sciences at the UvA rank high on (international) university ranking lists. They are considered the best within the Netherlands and #64 worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject. We offer a topical and relevant study program and encourage students to think critically and independently. The UvA’s anthropology department is the largest in the Netherlands, which means we can offer a wide variety of thematic specializations.
What careers are possible with a degree in anthropology?
As anthropologists engage in a range of everyday topics and develop various skills, you can pursue a career in various fields. Anthropologists can work for charities, human rights organizations, museums, municipalities, architectural firms or health organizations, for example. You could also work as a diplomat, consultant, scientist or documentary maker.
Does anthropology at the University of Amsterdam have a study association?
The study association of anthropology at the University of Amsterdam is called Kwakiutl. They regularly organize events. Some events are study-oriented, such as exam training for first-year students or a yearly conference for all anthropology students to attend. Other events are focused on social interactions, such as (online) movie nights. More information on Kwakiutl can be found at https://www.kwakiutl.nl/.