Cultural Anthropology - Master's Programme in the Humanities 2021/2022

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In cultural anthropology we try to gain a better understanding of people - why we are who we are and do what we do; how people think, talk, eat, fight, love; and how people organise themselves socially, politically, and in relation to things like gender, religion, sexuality, ethnicity and inequality. The Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Cultural Anthropology provides you with professional and analytical capacities that are valuable in areas such as international development, migration, business development, the civil service, museums and tourism.

Why this programme?

The specialisation in Cultural Anthropology within the Master's Programme in the Humanities, offers you an opportunity to study cultural and social anthropology in an international learning environment where approximately one half of the students are from outside of Sweden. The diversity of student backgrounds contributes to a rich educational experience and gives you a global professional network that will be very useful in your future career in the field. Our teaching is grounded in ethnographic research and inspired by the teachers' own field research experiences and insights.

The two-year programme broadens and further deepens your anthropological competences. In addition to enrolling in courses in applied anthropology at the Department, you have additional opportunities to select courses in other relevant disciplines at the University, to enrol for a semester at another university in Europe or elsewhere in the world, and to carry out an internship.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • study cultural and social anthropology in an international context
  • study courses grounded in ethnographic research
  • carry out your own qualitative fieldwork
  • do an internship in an organisation that fits your own interests.
While most students choose to complete a two-year degree, it is also possible to follow a one-year course of study. The one-year programme provides in-depth knowledge of theory and method in anthropology and includes the opportunity to complete a minor anthropological fieldwork. If you previously completed the one-year Master's degree in Cultural Anthropology you may be admitted to the second year and will then write a 15-credit essay during the second year.

Student profile
You have studied cultural or social anthropology for at least a year in your Bachelor's studies. You may have a Bachelor's degree in Cultural or Social Anthropology, but you may also have studied enough anthropological subjects in other programmes such as Development Studies, Political Science, Sociology or Archaeology.

You probably are not directly coming from your Bachelor's studies, but have spent some time working or travelling to experience the world. This has increased your interest in understanding the world from a social and cultural perspective. You have probably started to understand and appreciate that not everyone holds the same values as you do. If you also have experience working in the fields of humanitarian aid, development work or diplomacy, you are very likely to be the kind of person we are looking for.

You are naturally curious about people, society and cultures and a future PhD education might be a possibility. Therefore, you would enjoy coming in close contact with current research even if it means extra work outside your Master's studies. However, working directly after your graduation is also something you may consider.


The programme leads to a Master of Arts (120 credits) with Cultural Anthropology as the main field of study. It is also possible to graduate after one academic year with a Master of Arts (60 credits).

All specialisations of this programme


The Master's Programme in the Humanities, specialising in Cultural Anthropology, has a duration of two academic years (120 credits), but there is also a one-year version (60 credits) available.

The first semester is pre-planned to give you time to settle in. Three compulsory courses are scheduled and you select an additional elective course (7.5 credits each). From the very first day of the programme, you will spend time designing your research project.

The next three semesters are more flexible allowing you to specialise and select courses that suit your research focus. During these semesters, you will carry out fieldwork for approximately two months and work on your thesis under the guidance of your supervisor.

You may also take advantage of the possibilities for stimulating international student exchanges and internships. The internships last five or ten weeks (7.5 or 15 credits respectively). Such an internship can be done in Sweden, but previous students have also done internships in, for example, South Africa, Luxemburg and the Philippines.

Courses within the programme

Examples of courses in the field of anthropology :

Introductory Course for Master's Students in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, 7.5 credits, (compulsory)
Advanced Study of Anthropological theory, 7.5 credits, (compulsory)
Ethnography,7.5 credits, (compulsory)
Political Ecology, 7.5 credits
Contemporary issues in medical anthropology, 7.5 credits
Anthropology in Practice, 7.5 credits
Design Anthropology of borders, 7.5 credits
Ethnography and Multiculturalism, 7.5 credits
Contemporary Debates and Developments in Cultural Anthropology, 7.5 credits

Additional courses are available as elective courses and you may select from among more than 50 courses at other departments in the Faculty of Arts.

Learning experience

Classes are comprised of both lectures and seminars. Examination forms vary between courses, but will include oral and written seminar presentations, written exams and shorter essays.

On a seminar, you present your ideas and discuss with your classmates regarding a course book or other study material that you are required to read before the seminar; while the teacher usually only moderates the discussion. The aim is to develop critical thinking and collaborative skills. All the students are expected to be active participants in all forms of discussions.

To foster a sense of community and continuity you are required to participate in the monthly Master's seminar. This open forum serves to give all our students insight and enable them to inspire and guide one another even if they are at very different stages in the programme.

All instruction is in English.


This programme provides you with professional, analytical capacities in areas such as international development and humanitarian assistance, migration, multiculturalism, journalism and media, tourism, museums and exhibitions. It also gives you a solid basis for pursuing a research career in anthropology and other related subjects. Read more about research in cultural anthropology and ethnology conducted at the Department.

Our previous students who graduated recently from the Master's programme have been employed, for instance, as an educator by the Swedish organisation Friends, which works to prevent bullying; another as a curator at a German municipal museum; and yet another found employment working as a developer within the Swedish innovation agency Vinnova. These are solid first jobs, and a few years further down the road former students have gained important positions in development aid organisations such as at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), or started their own companies, such as Inculture, doing anthropological studies for leading international companies.

The possibilities are many, and experience holds that the focus of research that students carry out for their Master's thesis is vital for what kind of job they will get. Therefore, if you know where you want to work, this Master's degree from us and a thesis with the right focus will help take you there.

Career support
During your whole time as a student UU Careers offers you support and guidance. You have the opportunity to partake in a variety of career activities and events, as well as receive individual career counselling. This service is free of charge for all students at Uppsala University. Read more about UU Careers.


Below you will find the details about eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and tuition fee. For information on how to apply and what documents you need to submit, check the application guide. For this programme, besides the general supporting documents, you also need to submit two programme-specific documents: 1. your Bachelor's thesis in social or cultural anthropology, or equivalent; 2. a statement of purpose.

Cultural Anthropology

120 credits

Autumn 2021 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2021-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M5022 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. The main field of study must be within the humanities or social sciences.
Also required is 60 credits in anthropology.

Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:

  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
More information about English language requirements

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies;
  • the quality of the Bachelor's thesis/degree project; and
  • a statement of purpose outlining their anthropological proficiency (1-2 pages).
Special emphasis is placed on the quality of the degree project in social or cultural anthropology or equivalent subject.
Tuition fee-paying students and non-paying students are admitted on the same grounds but in different selection groups.


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 50000

Tuition fee, total: SEK 200000

Contact and further resources


Aesthetics and Philosophy: Pauliina Remes

+46 18 471 28 97


+46 18 471 20 93

Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Archeology, Egyptology

Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology: Claudia Merli

+46 18 471 22 83

Cultural Heritage and Sustainability: Gustaf Leijonhufvud

+46 18 471 28 87


+46 18 471 28 97

Gender Studies: Jacob Bull

+46 18 471 57 98

Musicology: Mattias Lundberg

+46 18 471 15 84

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team:

Faculty of Arts

Dag Hammarskjölds väg 7

Box 256, 751 05 UPPSALA

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