Undergraduate Studies in Anthropology at Maynooth University

The Department  of Anthropology offers a 3-year programme of modules.

In the first year, students can take either:

  • 2 x 12-week lecture modules, accompanied by a tutorial stream (15 ECTS) or
  • register for 2 extra modules (each 12 weeks long) in addition to these and take a total of 30 ECTS in 1st year Anthropology.

​In the second year and third year, modules are 12-weeks long with 4 pathways on offer:

  • double honours (30 ECTS);
  • major or minor (40/20 ECTS) and
  • single honours (50/60 ECTS).

You can also do an Erasmus year between 2nd and 3rd year.
The 3rd year thesis is compulsory for our single honours students and optional for all other students. The document gives a framework to writing the thesis and can give you an idea of what it is like to produce an undergraduate thesis. 2023-24 Thesis Pathway

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the comparative study of human society and culture. By closely observing and analyzing different ways of life around the world, from tribal villages to Wall Street offices, anthropologists create new knowledge about what it means to be human today.  Because of its broad reach, anthropology complements any other subject in the university – from biology to philosophy to media studies, and more – and it can change the way you see human life forever.

What will you learn if you study Anthropology?

You will learn about human social action and cultural diversity. Anthropology will allow you to interpret why people do the things they do. An anthropologist may study different types of families, the raising of young children or the death of the elderly; why some people fit in or why others are cast out. We study war, peace, exchange or theft; we study food practices, markets, industrial agriculture, and their effects on the planet; we study language, cultural performance, and mass media. We study the seemingly mundane, such as everyday habits of adornment (but also the symbolism of high fashion), and the manifestly sacred, such as world religions, their doctrinal precepts, and their ritual practices.
You can also study forensic anthropology, which applies skeletal analysis and archaeological techniques to solve criminal cases, working with real-world specialists and practitioners.
You will learn how to document and understand cultural difference. But, you will also learn about our evolution as a species, and the practices that all humans display in common. Our ancestors and our ape cousins can tell us a lot about ourselves, but we will also discuss the limits and dangers of comparison. Together, we will try to understand how cultures and societies interact and change in the contemporary world, which is increasingly interconnected and which moves with ever-growing speed.

What can you do with a degree in Anthropology?

 Anthropology compliments many career paths and anthropological skills are optimal in an interconnected transnational economy and global political situation, where understanding cultural difference is necessary for individuals, businesses, and countries to succeed and flourish.
Anthropology prepares students for careers in a wide range of professions including international development, civil service and government, business and finance, journalism, user experience and design research, heritage, ecology and conservation, public health, museum curation, marketing, and more.

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