Taught course

Research Methods (Anthropology)

Durham University · Department of Anthropology

Entry requirements

A minimum 2:1 Honours degree from a UK institution (or the overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject. Please email us on anth.postgrad-studies@durham.ac.uk for advice on relevant topics. References play an important part in the admissions process. English Language requirements Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

Months of entry


Course content

This Economic and Social Research Council approved MA provides training in research methods with a focus on methods used by researchers in anthropology. At the end of this course you will have the skills to go on to do research in Anthropology or a related discipline. Most students expect to move on to a PhD. The course includes training in qualitative and quantitative methods needed by researchers in social sciences, and draws on expertise within the Department of Anthropology to provide specialised training in sociocultural anthropology, medical anthropology, the anthropology of development or cultural evolution. It is affiliated to the North East Doctoral Training Centre, which offers funding to British and European Union students interested in taking the course preparatory to moving on to a PhD at Durham.

The full-time course runs for a full year, from October to September. Students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany), with assessment in April and May (Easter Term), and then work, under the supervision of a specialist supervisor, to complete a dissertation in September. This is often a pilot project for a PhD project.

Students take core modules on qualitative and quantitative methods. Further modules are chosen from within each specialist pathway, as outlined below.

Each module we offer has a credit value. To obtain a Master’s degree you must register for and pass modules to the value of 180 credits. In recognition of the emphasis we place on independent research skills, the dissertation is a 60 credit module.

Compulsory modules
  • Dissertation
  • Perspectives on Social Research
  • Fieldwork and Interpretation


  • Applied Statistics or
  • Statistical Exploration and Reasoning and
  • Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science.
Previous pathway modules have included:

Modules to the value of 60 credits, must come from only one pathway. Modules marked * are compulsory for that pathway.

Sociocultural Pathway

  • Thinking Anthropologically*
  • Interrogating Ethnography*
  • Art in Ecological Perspective
  • Religion, Contention and Public Controversy
  • Anthropology and Development
  • Body, Politics and Experience

Development Anthropology Pathway

  • Society, Energy, Environment and Resilience*
  • Thinking Anthropologically*
  • Anthropology and Development*
  • Anthropology of Global Health
  • Body, Politics and Experience
  • Interrogating Ethnography

Medical Anthropology Pathway

  • Evolutionary Perspectives on Western Diseases
  • Public Health Anthropology
  • Thinking Anthropologically
  • Anthropology of Global Health
  • Body, Politics and Experience

Cultural Evolution Pathway

  • Evolutionary Theory*
  • Cultural Evolution*
  • Evolutionary Perspectives on Western Diseases
  • Key Issues in Sociocultural Theory
  • Primate Behaviour
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Palaeoanthropology and Palaeoecology.

Information for international students

English Language requirements Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Scholarships and funding


Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Department of Anthropology
(0)191 334 1612