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Teaching and Supervisions

Teaching for the MPhil is via introductory sessions, seminars, lectures and individual supervision. Even if you are pursuing Social Anthropology and Development or Social Anthropology and Museums, rather than the General Anthropology option, you are still expected to attend and take part in all four of the seminars (Kinship, Politics, Economics and Religion) that constitute the principal teaching for the latter course.



There are two MPhil specific seminar series: Paper 1 and Paper 2. Some options in Paper 3, usually taught through lectures offered in the Tripos, may have seminar components for MPhil students. The seminars are structured around short student presentations, followed by group discussion led by the seminar conveners. You are strongly advised to read the starred readings for each seminar even if you are not presenting, so as to be able to take part in the discussion. There is also a series of seminars in the Michaelmas term on aspects of research methodology (Paper 4) to help you think about issues relevant to your thesis topic.

Please note: While seminars provide the core teaching for the MPhil, they do not replace the lectures and the reading you will be doing with your supervisor in preparation for the set essay and written examinations. We make this point so that you will be clear that, in Cambridge, teaching for a course is meant to include more than just what is covered in the classes. The set essays and written examination papers are not structured so as to be confined only to the topics suggested in the seminars; they will reflect lectures, class work and recommended reading.



All students attend the lecture series for papers SAN2, SAN3 and SAN4 plus lecture series in a chosen optional paper (The Museums option has no lectures; it is taught through seminars). We have marked with an asterisk those lectures on the list that we think you may find most helpful and relevant for the course. You are not expected to confine yourself exclusively to these lectures, but are encouraged to attend any lectures you find interesting, though be careful not to spend all your time in the lecture room!



You will be supervised by a member of staff who can provide general guidance throughout the course. Please note that supervision styles vary according to the supervisor – indeed, we consider this to be one of the benefits of the individual attention that a Cambridge MPhil provides.

In general, you will meet your supervisor fortnightly and you will be expected to write essays. Supervisions provide an opportunity for you to discuss these essays and to raise wider questions (e.g. about your thesis) on a one-to-one basis. You should aim to do at least two supervisions on each of the fields covered by the seminar classes. To widen your range, write essays on topics different from those you prepare for seminar presentation. Supervision essays are not formally assessed but they do provide a means for you and your supervisor to monitor progress.

Course Resources


For reading lists, additional teaching materials, past exam papers and reports please see the MPhil Moodle Course.

Please note teaching staff and students enrolled on the MPhil course will automatically be enrolled on the MPhil Moodle course and you will find a link to it in the ‘My Home’ section of Moodle.

If you are a member of the University of Cambridge and you wish to view the reading lists, past exam questions and exam reports then you can access the MPhil Moodle Course as a guest. For more information on how to access Moodle Courses as a guest please see Moodle Help.