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Department of Social Anthropology


At the beginning of the academic year 2020-21, the Department introduced a new joint track option in the HSPS undergraduate degree.  The joint track in Modern Religion and Social Anthropology is being run on a five-year trial basis.

The new joint track option was devised following planning between the HSPS Tripos and the Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion Tripos, in the Faculty of Divinity.

The joint track offers undergraduates a firm academic foundation, based in the theory and methods of Social Anthropology, for the comparative study of contemporary lived religions, and an informed sense of the diversity and dynamics of changing faith communities and movements in the contemporary world, together with the resources – texts, ideas, and history – on which they draw. The diverse range of papers offered in the Theology, Religion, and the Philosophy of Religion Tripos will enable students to develop interests in any of several directions, from the study of World Christianity to specialising in, for example, Indian religions. 

The joint track appeals to social anthropology students who wish to gain an in-depth understanding of – normally one – religious tradition, and to theology students who wish to gain a firmer understanding of a social science and how it may contribute to the study of theological and religious ideas.

Currently there are 16 students on the joint track degree.  Students study both theory and option papers from each of the two disciplines and can elect to do a dissertation in either discipline in their third years.  In addition to this option being an attractive track, it also serves as an excellent foundation for postgraduate study in either discipline, and for interdisciplinary research.