The first year of study offers a broad introduction to the field of anthropology. The courses Introduction to Cultural Anthropology and Introduction to Development Sociology deal with important anthropological and sociological themes, such as politics and power, identity, economics, globalisation, religion and rituals, gender, and kinship.
In the module Ethnographies and Academic Writing you will write essays based on classical and modern anthropological studies. During the course Anthropological Research Methods you will learn the basics of the research methodologies used in anthropology.
In the second year you will study various fields of anthropology and development sociology. In Theory and History of Anthropology you will study the origin and development of anthropology as a social science. In Historical and Comparative Sociology you will examine major social processes such as colonialism, state building, nation building and globalisation. The course also examines the ways in which political leaders and governments have tried to bring about social change in different parts of the world.
Next to these courses you will begin to specialise by choosing a module (regional course) that zooms in on a specific region of the world.
In the third year you will choose different theme courses where you will analyse a specific theme at a high theoretical level. These courses are a follow-up of the specialisation courses. This way you can compose your own study route, and specialise in a field and theme you might want to study more in a future Master’s programme.
Explore the history and theoretical foundations of anthropology in a global context. Trace the evolution of dominant schools of thought from Eurocentric perspectives to more inclusive and diverse viewpoints. Study classical theories like evolutionism and structural-functionalism, as well as contemporary paradigms like postcolonialism, feminism, and Foucauldian approaches.
Get introduced to the link between anthropological theory and ethnographic texts through reading, discussing, and writing about such works. The course aims to foster your ability to assess anthropological writing by evaluating argumentation, structure, and reasoning in ethnographic studies. You will focus on improving core writing skills, including constructing arguments and structuring papers.
Explore the reliability of natural sciences and its implications, while examining how we gain knowledge about humanity and society. Delve into the practical applications of scientific knowledge and its overall value. In short, this course answers, "What is the practical worth of science?"
Delve into the process of globalization and its effects on local societies. The lectures cover topics from development sociology and social anthropology, exploring themes like North-South relations and the concept of 'development'. Historical and comparative perspectives are highlighted, and documentaries are used for illustration. Seminars, led by various lecturers, encourage active discussion of the literature and course assignments in smaller groups.
You will create a small research based on shared interests, which you will maintain throughout the course. Within this group, you complete various group and individual assignments related to research methodologies. Tutorials offer guidance in method-specific tasks like research problem design, participant observation, interviews, and surveys. These assignments offer practical experience and address potential challenges in data collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation. The course concludes with an individual examination.
Get introduced to anthropology beyond the academy course through interview lectures, a pressure cooker practical assignments, and self-reflection. Throughout the course creativity is encouraged, allowing diverse formats like essays, podcasts, videos, or exhibitions.
Explore Anthropology's historical growth and influential theories worldwide. Learn how diverse cultures shaped dominant schools of thought in the field. Discover classical theories like evolutionism and modern paradigms like postcolonialism, feminism, and Foucauldian approaches. Embrace a global perspective on anthropology's evolution.
Explore historical and comparative analysis of change processes, mainly in the Global South, building on the Introduction to Development Sociology. Engage in lectures and tutorials, discussing themes like state, capitalism, conflict, inequalities, and more.
Enhance your skills in ethnographic research through a comprehensive cycle of activities. Delve into research design, fieldwork, analysis, and ethnographic writing. Work in small groups, selecting your theme or addressing questions from external organizations. Craft a research proposal, gather empirical data, and present results via presentations and group portfolios. Contribute to a collaborative 'edited volume,' with individual essays, an introduction, and conclusion. In the applied track, offer recommendations for partner organizations.
To complete the Bachelor's programme two Specialisaton Courses are compulsory. You can choose from the following courses: "Body and Culture", "Ecology and Anthropology", "Power and Politics", "Words, Sounds, Images: The Anthropology of Media".
To complete the Bachelor's programme one Regional Course is compulsory. You can choose from the following courses: "Anthropologies of Black Europe", "Anthropology of Eastern Europe", "Anthropology of Latin America and the Caribbean", "Social Transformations in China", "Anthropology of the Middle East", "Anthropology of Contemporary South Asia", "Anthropology of the Netherlands including the Caribbean" and "Anthropology of Urban Africa".
In semester 1 or 2 (depending on which Regional Course you will attend) you will be taking a 6 ECTS elective. This could also be a second Regional Course.
Conduct interviews, write job applications (including CVs), and reflect on your Bachelor experience to create a future action plan.
To complete the Bachelor's programme two Theme Courses (24 ECTS in total) are compulsary. Read more about the theme courses in the online course catalogue below.
To complete the Bachelor's programme two Presentation Theme Courses (6 ECTS in total) that match the corresponding Theme Courses are compulsary. Read more about the theme courses in the online course catalogue below.
The elective space is essentially open for your choice, both within and outside the Bachelor's program in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. Outside the program, options include a semester abroad, a minor within or outside the university, or a combination of elective courses.
If you are ambitious, you can choose to take part in our Honours and Talent Programme (HTP). You’ll take the HTP alongside your regular studies. You will be introduced to scientific research in an original way through a challenging package of in-depth or broadening courses. If you are up to it, then it's an opportunity not to be missed!
International cooperation is crucial for science. In addition, and for anthropologists in particular, studying at a foreign university can be a very valuable experience.
In your third year, you will have the option to go abroad for a semester to study and obtain 30 ECTS credits in free choice electives.
The University of Amsterdam has made exchange agreements with more than fifty universities outside of Europe. The Bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology also has partnerships with eight other European anthropology programmes, including in Germany, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy. In turn, international students on an exchange programme in the Netherlands attend lectures at the University of Amsterdam.
The Bachelor's programme in anthropology offers a wide range of opportunities to shape your programme in line with your own ambitions and interests. In addition to choosing your own anthropological specialisation, you will also take electives with other Bachelor’s programmes, choose a minor such as International Relations, Gender and Sexuality, Philosophy, or Conflict Studies, or do an internship.
You can use your third year elective programme to do an internship for 6 or 12 ECTS. You’ll have to find an internship yourself and submit a proposal. An internship can be a good way to discover how you, as an anthropologist, can be useful on the labour market. During an internship you will be asked to think in a different way about certain problems and to report on them. You can also do a research internship.
Every week you will have approximately eight to twelve hours of lectures and tutorials, with the rest of the time spent studying literature, conducting research and writing papers. In the later years, the number of teaching hours decreases to approximately eight hours, while the amount of time you will work independently increases.
During your studies, you are not alone. In the first year of your anthropology studies, you will have a tutor to guide you. In your second year of study, you will be invited for a counselling interview with the study adviser(s) about the specialisation phase of your study and your future plans. At any time in your studies, you can schedule a personal meeting with the study adviser(s) tailored to address specific questions or discuss concerns that you may have.
Are you a Dutch-speaking student? Then you can also participate in our Dutch Bachelor’s programme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. The Dutch taught programme is exactly the same as the English taught programme.
Our dual language programme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology offers both an English-only and a Dutch/English track. During the first one and a half years, when all students follow the same obligatory courses, all lectures are taught in English, and students can choose between English or Dutch tutorials. Assignments will be written in the language of instruction of the relevant group. Concluding exams (tentamens) will be offered in both languages, so that students can choose to write their answer in either English or Dutch.
Students will make a final choice for the English-only or Dutch/English language track after three semesters and will be assisted in this choice by their mentor and study adviser. Their diploma-supplement will show one of either varieties.
Are you following a Dutch HBO (University of Applied Sciences) Bachelor’s programme in a field related to the social sciences, and does anthropology appeal to you? Then you can choose to follow our fast-track Bachelor’s programme (verkort bachelorprogramma voor hbo’ers).
In the first year of the Bachelor's there are around 12 contact hours per week. This means that your classes amount to 12 hours a week, these are either with your entire cohort or in smaller tutorial groups on campus. Please note that the total study load amounts to 40 hours per week. This means that the remaining hours are spent on self-study, for example by reading literature before a lecture, preparing a presentation or by working on assignments.
You follow different types of courses, in the first year often one theory course and one practical course at the same time. At the start of the academic year, you will delve into the history of anthropology and learn more about influential founders and relevant concepts in Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. In addition, in the course Ethnographies and Academic Writing you build academic writing skills as you learn how to read and write an ethnography. You kick off the second semester with Introduction to Development Sociology, which provides insights into the dynamics of societies by connecting global developments at the macro level to the micro level of everyday lives of local people. At the same time, you will be introduced to qualitative research methods and techniques in the Anthropological Research Methods, during which you will conduct your first fieldwork research in a small group. In the later years, the number of contact hours decreases to about 8 hours per week, while the time spent working independently increases.
To receive a positive BSA at this programme, you must obtain at least 42 of the 60 credits in the first year of your enrolment. In the academic year 2021 - 2022, almost 80% of the first-year students of this program received a positive BSA.
Bachelor’s within the Social Sciences are all researching topics related to (a diversity in) social realities, looking at themes such as power, language, nationalism, gender, sexuality, sustainability, religion and spirituality. However, the way each discipline approaches a theme differs.
Sociologists regularly work with:
Statistics through quantitative research (standardised questionnaires to make statements about the experiences of larger groups of people)
Anthropologists, on the other hand, specialise in:
Qualitative research (researching smaller groups of people in depth to understand how someone voices their personal experiences through face-to-face contact)
For example, an anthropologist conducts a fieldwork project that follows a group of people for a year to fully understand the research group. For a more extensive comparison, see also the web page of the Bachelor Sociology for more information about this programme.
The UvA's Social Sciences rank high in the rankings of (international) universities. They are considered the best in the Netherlands and #64 worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject. We offer an up-to-date and relevant study programme and encourage students to think critically and independently. The UvA’s anthropology department is the largest in the Netherlands, allowing us to offer a wide variety of thematic specialisations. In addition, within the Bachelor's in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, you can choose between the English or Dutch-English track. It is possible to switch language variants until halfway through the second year.
Are you following a Dutch HBO (University of Applied Sciences) Bachelor’s programme in a field related to the social sciences, and does anthropology appeal to you? Then you can choose to follow our fast-track Bachelor’s programme (verkort bachelorprogramma voor hbo’ers). We see no differences in the performance of students with a background in applied sciences versus students with a background in pre-university education (vwo). We understand that you may nevertheless be nervous about the level of the Bachelor. However, the design of the programme takes into account a learning curve of students. This means that you will be supported in developing academic skills. During the first year, for example, you have your own mentor who also supervises you during the tutorials. If you need more support, the University of Amsterdam offers various free workshops and training courses to its students to further develop study skills.
Cul is the magazine for and by students of the Bachelor Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. You can work within the creative editorial team, or you can join Cul as a guest editor. In addition to having a great time, involvement with Cul offers you the chance to further explore your anthropological interests and improve your (academic) writing skills. For previous editions and more information on how to join Cul, visit Cul's website. Our study association CASA is also closely involved in the programme. They organise educational, social and career-oriented activities, such as a social activity during the introduction day for new students, excursions, drinks and a textbook sale.
Amsterdam is a very popular place to live. Students (Dutch and international), as well as many others are looking for places to stay, and therefore affordable housing is scarce. In this tight housing market, UvA International Student Housing has a limited number of rooms (approx. 3000 units) reserved, which can accommodate roughly half of the newly incoming international students every semester for one year only. This means that the other half must find a place on their own. Do not underestimate this, it often takes weeks or even months to find suitable accommodation. It is not a smart idea to only start searching when you arrive in Amsterdam for your studies. Therefore, we encourage everyone to start in time, and look for accommodation independently, even if you also applied for the UvA Housing service. Please note that the UvA urges you not to come to Amsterdam for your studies unless you have secured proper housing. An accommodation (with registration) is especially important for non-EU students, as it will allow you to apply for a residence permit. For more information on UvA Housing, please visit the website.