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Master Cultural and Social Anthropology

Cultural and Social Anthropology

The Master’s programme in Cultural and Social Anthropology at the UvA is a broadly focused one-year Master’s programme in which you design and conduct high quality anthropological research. Questions of globalisation, identity and authenticity, migration, citizenship, but also of transnational relations, development, and myths of progress are at the heart of this programme.

For February 2020: late applications possible

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Contemporary Cultural and Social Anthropology aims to understand and explain particular ways of living and behaving in societies all over the world, among different groups of people. How do people relate to each other and their social and material environment?

The Master’s in Cultural and Social Anthropology is a broad, one-year programme in which you design and conduct your own high quality anthropological research. After completing a period of twelve weeks of fieldwork, you are expected to write a well-argued thesis. This programme is designed to transform you into an active participant in the production of anthropological knowledge and the principles and practices of the discipline. A distinctive feature of this programme is the relative freedom in choosing the topic for your Master’s thesis. In terms of regional focus, there are also many options, as there is a wide range of regional specialisations among the Cultural and Social Anthropology staff, who can support and supervise your project.

For students who wish to conduct research that has an applied character, we offer the possibility to specialize in Applied Anthropology. You can find more information here. If you wish to apply for the specialization Applied Anthropology, please follow the normal steps for an application for the MSc programme Cultural and Social Anthropology. In your motivation letter you can indicate that you wish to specialize in Applied Anthropology.

Student profile

The academic standards of this Master’s programme are rigorous and you are expected to demonstrate a high level of commitment, independence and resilience. You need to have strong interest in anthropology and a desire to learn how to write thorough analytical texts. You should also be able to demonstrate an anthropological orientation and have the ability to empathise with the perspective, emotions and ideas of other people. A high level of flexibility and self-reliance is essential for the successful completion of fieldwork.


In a world of increasing globalisation, the Master’s degree in Anthropology equips you with highly relevant skills, such as:

  • independently devising, implementing, evaluating and reporting on a large-scale project
  • experience in developing networks
  • knowledge of qualitative research methods, including participant observation and interviewing
  • the ability to write well and argue cohesively
  • the ability to present your own work and ideas effectively
  • sensitivity to the complexity and diversity of the anthropological discipline
  • the skills to understand and deal effectively with intercultural problems
  • the ability to obtain in-depth knowledge on a given topic in a short period of time. 

Why study Cultural and Social Anthropology in Amsterdam?

The Master’s in Cultural and Social Anthropology is a broad, research-oriented programme which equips you with the necessary skills and competences for a future career in research or in the field. Furthermore, the University of Amsterdam, a major research university, offers a Master’s programme taught by one of the highest ranking geography departments in continental Europe. The Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) of Amsterdam provides a vibrant and international academic community. The GSSS values diversity in both research and academic content, academic staff and the student population.

Focus on research

While conducting fieldwork and writing your thesis, you are supervised by a member of the academic staff who is actively involved in anthropological research on an international scale. At UvA's Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research (AISSR), research is conducted on themes that include the mobility of people, goods and ideas, and the search for identity in a modern globalised world.

Ambition in research?

For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master’s programme in the Social Sciences.

Research Master's Social Sciences

What is a Research Master's programme?

Degree certificate

Upon successful completion of Cultural and Social Anthropology, students receive a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology. 

Meet the people

Specialisation tracks

Next to this Master's programme in Cultural and Social Anthropology, there are two English-language specialisation tracks in Cultural and Social Anthropology:​

Cultural and Social Anthropology: Applied Anthropology (track)

Cultural and Social Anthropology: Visual Anthropology (track)

Key facts

Cultural and Social Anthropology
Diploma MSc Cultural and Social Anthropology
Type Regulier onderwijs
Vorm Voltijd
Studielast 60 EC, 12 maanden
Voertaal Engels
Start Februari, september
CROHO-code 66614