The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Degree Programmes at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology

The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology has several degree programmes in which the students are introduced to the discipline by the department’s professors and other staff, as well as by selected external lecturers. These counsel and supervise the students until graduation. The training is research- and practice-oriented. In addition, the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology is involved (by means of classes taught) in the degree programmes Gender Studies (BA) and Curatorial Studies (MA). 1.448 students are currently enrolled in the department’s various degree programmes.

Besides higher education entrance qualification, prospective students of social and cultural anthropology are required to have good command of the German language, English language skills, as well as skills in another – preferably modern – foreign language. Admission to studies is in the winter semester only. For information on the degree programmes, application, and specific requirements for admission see the pages of the Portal für Studieninteressierte (Portal for Prospective Students, German only) and the International Office's webpage.


Bachelor of Arts: Social and Cultural Anthropology

The six-semester degree programme “BA Ethnologie” provides profound training in a broad range of topics and enables students to choose individual fields of specialization. In the basic courses, the students familiarize themselves with the essentials of the discipline: they look into the basic concepts and into the history of social and cultural anthropology, become acquainted with general scientific as well as specifically anthropological methodologies and techniques, and get an overview of the most important fields of research in the discipline. The teachers use their expertise to impart students with selected, regionally specific basic knowledge and to give them an introduction to key topics and theories of the discipline’s systematic branches.

In advanced classes, students use that basis for more profound approaches to selected branches of social and cultural anthropology. In addition, that phase of studies includes training in the practice-oriented use of quantitative methods of research. Supervised by their teachers, the students develop projects of their own, and conduct these as part of their training. In particular, the courses in that phase are intended to qualify students for various professional fields (e.g., development cooperation, museums and exhibitions, the media, migration and integration, conflict management, and adult education). The teachers of these classes include anthropologists who are active in these fields.


Master of Arts: Social and Cultural Anthropology

The four-semester MA programme in social and cultural anthropology is research-oriented, with a focus on current occupational fields in social and cultural anthropology, as well as on debates that are indispensable for a critical interpretation both of the forms and diversity of human actions and of the institutions emerging from these. In that context, the students develop research questions of their own and carry out respective researhc projects. They look into concepts of ethnographic and anthropological research, and test their methodological skills in the empirical, qualitative collection and evaluation of data.

Due to the diversity of regional, methodological, and theoretical focuses represented at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, students in the MA programme are able to choose from a broad range of topics. In addition, we regularly suggest guiding themes for research; students can join these projects and work in small groups, with particularly intensive support and in close dialogue with researchers at the department.

The research-oriented MA programme in social and cultural anthropology prepares students both for subsequent dissertation projects and for science-related occupations.


Master of Arts: Social and Cultural Anthropology and its German-French Perspectives

The Department of Social and Cultural and Social Anthropology in Frankfurt/Main and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris jointly provide a four-semester, bi-national academic programme which includes a one-year sojourn at each of the two institutions and financial support during the stay in the partner country. This course of studies enables students to acquire academic skills in both languages, as well as in-depth knowledge of the scholarly and cultural traditions in Germany and France; they get research-oriented training and thorough supervision of their individual research topics. Students need excellent language skills in French to be eligible for this programme. More information


PhD at the Department

Our department and various affiliated, third-party funded research projects provide a setting in which many PhD candidates meet before, between, and after intensive fieldwork trips in order to network, exchange ideas, and jointly advance their projects.

Would you like to conduct your dissertation project at our department? Please select and contact the professor whom you want to supervise your PhD project. There is no central application or admissions for doctoral students. The decision to accept doctoral students is made solely by the accepting academic department, with the academic supervisor playing a key role.