Master 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.

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?

Ethnographic fieldwork

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. As an anthropologist, you will investigate your carefully formulated research question by means of ethnographic fieldwork and relevant comparisons.

The UvA programme in 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.

Choosing your own research topic and region 

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.

When starting this programme, you will need to have a preliminary idea of the kind of research you would like to conduct. This implies basic knowledge of a specific anthropological research theme as well as a region. It is also possible to join one of the established research projects of one of our staff members. 

Specialize in Applied Anthropology

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. What do you need in order to complete this Master’s programme successfully?

  • A strong interest in Anthropology,
  • the desire to learn how to write thorough analytical texts,
  • an anthropological orientation, namely the ability to empathise with the perspective, emotions and ideas of other people,
  • flexibility and self-reliance, 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. 

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.

Degree certificate

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

Key facts

MSc Cultural and Social Anthropology
Regulier onderwijs
60 EC, 12 maanden
Februari, september

Gepubliceerd door  GSSS

Graduate School of Social Sciences