skip to content

Department of Social Anthropology




All postgraduate students who are admitted to the Department of Social Anthropology will be assigned a Supervisor to support and guide their work. Your supervisor will be an expert in his or her field of research and will meet you regularly to discuss your work and oversee your progress.

Prospective MRes and PhD students are encouraged to consult the Department's Academic Staff Directory to help them in identifying a potential supervisor. One of the requirements for admission of applicants wishing to undertake a research degree (MRes or PhD) is the agreement of a senior member (normally a member of Departmental staff) to act as supervisor of the student's work. Those seeking admission may indicate on their application form whether they have a specific supervisor in mind: this is not compulsory, and it does not guarantee that the named individual will agree to act as supervisor.



The Department has excellent facilities to support postgraduate students.

The Haddon Library houses a wide range of anthropological literature, journals, access to online materials and copies of previous MPhil and PhD theses dating back over a century.

The Mongolia & Inner Asia Studies Unit is a dynamic interdisciplinary research unit at the University of Cambridge based within the Department of Social Anthropology. It was founded in 1986 by Professor Caroline Humphrey and Professor Urgunge Onon and has since become a centre of international importance for studies on the region.

The Department is particularly proud to host a significant research collection in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Several of the Museum's curators also teach in the Department:

The Department has a well-equipped Visual Anthropology laboratory, with a selection of cameras, and workstations with film-editing software and a large collection of anthropological films.

The Department hosts a vibrant student society, CUSAS, run by undergraduate and postgraduate students. CUSAS run a series of activities across the academic year, details of which can be found at:

The Department runs a series of events entitled Anthropology, Beyond the Academy, in which speakers from a range of careers reflect on the ways in which having studied anthropology has informed their work. Highlights in 2018-19 have included artist Sir Antony Gormley, author, publisher and philanthropist Dr Sigrid Rausing, and contributors from such fields as advertising, public administration, international health care, and global aid and diplomacy.

The Department provides a basement area for exclusive use of postgraduate students, which includes desk space for post-fieldwork doctoral research students who are writing up their dissertations and a separate room for MPhil students.

The Open Encyclopedia of Anthropology is a free, open access teaching and learning resource hosted by the University of Cambridge. Its goal is to facilitate access to scholarship in Social Anthropology for experts and non-experts worldwide. All entries are written and peer-reviewed by leading academics.

Students also have access to a range of University-wide support, including language learning through the Language Centre, training on research methods through the SSRMP, careers advice through the Cambridge University Careers Service and support for disabled students from the Disability Resource Centre. Students can also access various Area Studies centres in the university: AfricanMiddle EasternLatin AmericanSouth AsianMongolia and Inner Asian and the Scott Polar Research Institute.



open day