M.A Social and Cultural Anthropology

Full Time

M.A Social and Cultural Anthropology

University Of Hamburg
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  • Masters
  • 2 years


The international MA in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Ethnologie) takes an analytical approach to anthropology that aims to explain fundamental social questions via ethnographic field research and intercultural comparison. Students engage in contemporary issues such as migration, urban and rural transformation, consumption, governance, family transformation, natural resource management, and climate change and investigate these issues in a variety of regional contexts across the world.

The concept of “learning through research” forms the basis of the program and ties together the development of theoretical issues, individual research design, the acquisition and application of advanced ethnographic methods, and comparative analysis of existing sources. The Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology maintains an extensive network of international partners in both teaching and research. The focus on project work, in particular, enables students to prepare for a career in a whole range of exciting fields. The program is one of the largest master’s degree programs in social and cultural anthropology on offer in Germany. Students benefit from very good supervision and a broad range of course options.

Admission Requirements

Prerequisites: Bachelor of Arts in Ethnology (Social and Cultural Anthropology) or a comparable subject with an evaluation equivalent to "good" or higher, good knowledge of the English language (to be confirmed with one of the following or comparable certificates: TOEFL-internet based: 70, Language placement test level B2 or Abitur/Credit course: 12 Points).

Applicants who have not acquired university entrance qualification from a German-language institution, or have not acquired a previous university degree at a German-language university, or have not successfully completed at least one year studying social and cultural anthropology at a german university, must certify sufficient knowledge of the German language through the Deutsche Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz – Zweite Stufe – or a language certificate recognized as equivalent by the Kultusministerkonferenz.

Courses Units

The master’s program consists of a required, a required elective, and a free elective area. Students tailor the program to suit their individual interests. The curriculum reflects the research interests of staff in the Institute and aims to introduce students to these specific fields of study and research projects early on.

  • Semester 1: Students explore current anthropological theories, research areas within the Institute, and the basics of research design.
  • Semester 2: Students commence individual research projects, engage in research methods, exchange and evaluate research ideas with teachers and fellow students in a joint colloquium, and prepare and complete a field research exercise.
  • Semester 3: Students either go abroad to carry out in-depth ethnographic fieldwork or work on a topic in the area of comparative cultural theory.
  • Semester 4: Students analyze their research data, write up the master’s thesis, participate in a writing workshop, and take the final oral examination.

More Information

The Master in Ethnology (Social and Cultural Anthropology) program features a very close supervisory relationship between student and teacher and offers a wide selection of methodical, theoretical, and regional courses. Each year 15 students are accepted to the program. Because all spots are regularly allocated, the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Hamburg is one of the largest in Germany.

Ongoing research focus carried out by the Institute (Migration Studies, Queer- and Gender Studies, Sustainability and Climate Change, among others) provides important content to the master's program. The application of these topics can be found in several students' research projects, which are prepared, escorted, and evaluated in the duration of the course (eg. in Ghana, Turkey, Poland, or Mexico).

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