The MA in Cultural Anthropology is an international degree program taught in English. The program is offered by the Faculty of Arts at Uppsala University.
Our program is set in an international environment with approximately half of the students in the program originating from outside Sweden. This rich diversity contributes to the vitality of the educational experience. Classrooms are small and group work often follows lectures to engage actively in the readings and related topics.
The two-year MA degree (120 credits) includes courses at the department and offers elective courses from other departments and even neighboring institutions. Students are required to carry out fieldwork and write a thesis (45 credits). Students are also encouraged to do an academic internship for five or 10 weeks (7.5-15 credits).
The first semester is preplanned to give you time to settle in. Three mandatory courses are scheduled and you select an additional elective (each 7.5 credits). You will also spend time designing your research project. The next three semesters are more flexible to let you specialize and select courses that suit your research focus. During semesters 2-4, in addition to courses, you will carry out fieldwork for approximately two months and work on your thesis under guidance of your supervisor. Many students also take advantage of stimulating international student exchanges and internships.
To foster a sense of community and continuity, all master students from both years are required to participate in the monthly master seminar. This open forum serves to give students insight and inspire and guide one another even if at very different stages in the program.
We admit students once annually. Applications are accepted from early autumn and the application closes mid-January. You apply through the official programme page where you will find more detailed information about the programme as well as information about the requirements to apply to this two year program, but also to our one year program.
In cooperation with the department’s PhD programme and the Engaging Vulnerability research program, we also offer combined masters and PhD courses that are multi-disciplinary and thematic. See past courses.
Our courses (in alphabetical order):
Advanced Study of Anthropological Theory (7.5 credits)
Theory is always an abstraction of reality, an idea that helps us to direct our look and explain phenomena. This course approaches anthropological theories from three perspectives: historically, thematically, and through contemporary anthropological research.
Historically, the course explores some of the key problems to which modern social and cultural anthropology emerged as a response. Thematically, we focus on major theories and debates that have informed anthropological inquiry. Finally, the course exemplifies how anthropologists revisit and remediate classical theoretical discussions in their analytical work today.
Anthropology in Practice (7.5 credits)
Anthropology changed from a rather solitary, immersive, slow-tempo endeavour based on long fieldwork to an often collaborative, short, and quick-tempo engagement. This course will ask you to focus on aspects such as how anthropological practice works in applied contexts, especially that of international development cooperation. How does anthropological writing meet policy-making and interventions? The course captures your imagination on the various careers a Master’s degree in cultural anthropology may offer you. We will focus on the different transferable skills anthropology fosters, which may be used to analyse and improve organisations along future career paths. As anthropology is both a politically and socially engaged discipline, what is the role of anthropology in the public arena?
Meet academics and professionals with experience of international development working in ministries, government organisations, consultancy firms and NGOs. Learn how to do the job, on the job!
Contemporary Debates and Developments in Cultural Anthropology (7.5 credits)
Drawing from recently published ethnographic, theoretical, and/methodological texts in cultural anthropology, the course surveys contemporary developments in one or more subfields of cultural anthropology by means of a series of case-studies and/or thematic reviews presented in lectures, seminars and workshops.
The objective of the course is to provide in-depth knowledge and insights regarding one or more key debates in contemporary cultural anthropology and related developments in anthropological theory, method and ethnography.
Contemporary Issues in Medical Anthropology (7,5 credits)
Medical anthropology faces today novel and productive challenges in its relation to biomedicine, public health and international health policy, whether as fields of investigation or collaboration. What are the specific contributions of a medical anthropological approach to carrying out research within a biomedical context, in the global north and the global south? Health, illness and medicine are ubiquitous in contemporary public debates, but are rarely investigated critically. We will examine the challenges medical anthropologists face in research collaborations with public health, international health organisations, and medical professionals.
This course takes you to examine issues such as ‘the body’, digital health, mental health, hospital ethnography, pharmaceuticals, anatomy, and assisted reproductive technologies.
Design Anthropology of Borders (7,5 credits)
Borders seem to be everywhere. However, some borders are more visible than others due to the way they are designed. Some borders operate more heavily than others due to their distinctive material qualities and some are more lethal than others because of the way they operate. Some borders operate not only to repress but to produce different kinds of subject, wealth and capital, and they do so due to their specific design and materiality.
This interdisciplinary course takes you to an inquiry of and intervention in the materiality of the geopolitical, urban and technological borders of the contemporary.
Ethnography (7,5 credits)
Ethnography is a qualitative method with origins in cultural and social anthropology, although in recent years it is becoming increasingly popular amongst scholars in many other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. The aim of this course is to discuss and practice ethnography and other anthropological methods. During this ten week course we combine practical exercises with reading texts about research methodology.
After the course you will in a comprehensive way know how to do ethnography and appreciate its endless possibilities.
Ethnography and Multiculturalism (7,5 credits)
Contemporary anthropology has the capacity to enter new productive spaces. At the same time, it has been quite slow engaging in dialogues with policy makers and practitioners. Using anthropological tools, how can we help the fight against ethnic segregation, social exclusion and outright racism? How do we discover and improve methods while contributing perspectives that strengthen a culturally diverse society? How can we best make use of anthropological positions to challenge a hardened political climate with careless debates on migrants and attacks on a “multicultural society”?
Political Ecology (7.5 credits)
Ecology is inherently political. In this course the 'eco-cosmologies' of indigenous peoples are compared to the ecological paradigms of Western science. Contemporary case studies serve to illustrate ongoing contests for stewardship over resources, and as background to discussing modern buzzwords such as 'sustainable development' and to debating the Tragedy of the Commons model.
Political Ecology, is a rapidly growing cross-disciplinary field of study which merges human ecology, political economy, critical geography, philosophy of science, and anthropology in order to grasp the interactions between society and nature in all their complexity. The course will introduce you to the foundations and the latest theoretical perspectives and research methods of this broad field of scholarly practice.