Cultural Anthropology MA
Cultural Anthropology MA
4 semesters (2 years)
The general goal of the program is to give relevant knowledge to students about the common universal human characteristics and values in their diverse and complex manifestations from the perspective of cultural anthropology.
Cultural anthropology is based on critical and interpretative thinking and uses the approaches and methodology of social sciences. Cultural anthropology has an applied perspective; methodologies include interpretation and field research. Critical anthropological thinking and fieldwork experiences help the students understand the differences and difficulties of social interactions, cultural and intercultural communication and their significances in a sensitive and interpretative way.
This program is recommended to applicants who wish to acquire professional competencies, as fieldwork experience, practicing anthropological skills, interpretive thinking, inter-cultural mediation. The students will be able to apply their knowledge and skills in decisions of the social and economic life, international relations and communication, as well as in their professional career.
This program enables students to master:
- types and global characteristics of cultural diversity;
- theories and concepts related to complex and traditional cultures;
- history, theories and methods of cultural anthropology;
- basic professional anthropological directions;
- widely accepted, accepted professional-specific problem-solving techniques for their independently designed and implemented research or scientific work;
- ethical norms of cultural anthropology.
One of the main strength of the program is the great variety of courses, covering several areas of cultural anthropology. Our graduates will have a broad knowledge in many areas of cultural anthropology. Besides offering introduction and basic foundation in many areas, some of the subjects lead to up-to-date research results.
Most of the teachers of the program have international teaching experience and they regularly give classes also at foreign universities. Young anthropologists, bringing in freshness and new momentum, are also involved in the program. Our instructors all have scientific degrees and good research record. Examples show that graduating from our program is a very good starting point for doctoral or (at a later stage) postdoctoral studies.
The program has a special friendly atmosphere. The students and professors have free and fraternal professional relationship. The cooperation between students and professors is very strong.
Course is built on the assumption that cultural anthropology, on one hand, is a discipline that defines itself based on its research subjects (the “primitives”, cultures outside of Europe, etc.), however, on the other hand, it can be regarded as an approach that is commonly used to analyze various social structures and cultural situations. The aim of the “Introduction” course is to demonstrate the potential application of cultural anthropological approach in social research; what cultural anthropology can communicate as “unusual” or unique.
Objective of the course is to familiarize students with the defining nature of cultural anthropology, its trends, specific methods and cultural anthropological theories developed in relation to culture in general and its elements
The birth of cultural anthropology, significant “armchair” anthropologists (classical evolutionism: Lewis Henry Morgan, Edward Burnett Tylor, James George Frazer, Emile Durkheim; the German-Austrian "Kulturkreis"-school; the British heliocentric diffusionism; Marcel Mauss; Robert Hertz, Arnold Van Gennep).
General objective of the course is to introduce the history of development of cultural anthropological theories and methods to the students. Specific objective, in addition to a general, all-encompassing presentation, is to bring home to students the understanding of how theory and method “goes together” in the history of anthropology.
“Anthropological Theories and Methods 1.”
Franz Boas and his “school” (Franz Boas, Alfred Louis Kroeber, Clyde Kluckhohn, Robert Harry Lowie, Edward Sapir, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Melville Jean Herskovits, Paul Radin, Ruth Fulton Benedict, Ralph Linton, Margaret Mead)
“Anthropological Theories and Methods 2.”
British Social Anthropology (forerunner: Walter Baldwin Spencer and Frances James Gillen, the Torres-Straits expedition; Brit
Fields of Anthropology
Insight of major cultural anthropological approaches into religion as a socio-cultural system is being discussed during the semester. Due to the analysis of issues related to anthropology of religion, the course can be considered as an introduction and preparation for the final exam at the same time. The course contains some of the basic works of cultural anthropology, these writings and theories Religious systems, analyzed during the “Anthropology of Religion” course, as cultural-social systems, are traditional-ritual-cognitive integrators, representors, and are awareness raising, embedding agents at the same time.
The “Anthropology of Religion Seminar”, with the help of cultural anthropology, explores the complex and interrelated issues of religion, ethnicity, “commun
The aim of the Economic Anthropology course is to introduce students to the unique relationship of economic and social processes in tribal and non-European societies, as well as examination of the non-commodity sectors of societies based on commodity economy. The course assumes a basic, secondary school level understanding of economic and social-historical concepts.
Issues to be discussed are as follows: the system of various production relations, i.e. economic-social and technical-economic relations; tributes and payments in the pre-capitalist systems; economic differences in distribution and exchange; forms and modes of exchange; credit, savings and primitive money; commodity in non-commodity producing societies; production in peasant societies; the main disciplines of
Social anthropology can be defined as a science that studies, interprets, describes and explains the repetitive nature of relationship patterns occurring during social processes. It examines the continuity and volatility of established social frames and attempts to interpret the diverse and multifaceted nature of man’s social existence. It focuses on the connections between the different aspects of humanity, and analyses cultural happenings through the wide lens of social existence. The course aims to introduce students to the findings and approaches of this discipline of study. There are no pre-requisites for this course. The Social Anthropology Seminar serves as a complement to the lectures in Social Anthropology.
The „Political Anthropology 1. and 2.(lecture and seminar) intends to introduce the diversity of political systems, and the anthropological research of authority, the space and movement of influence. Students will learn about the various human communities with different governmental systems and underlying ideologies, and symbols of ideologies, working through questions of legitimacy and representation.
Course content: Research Trends and schools; Typology of political systems (hordes, tribal societies, chieftainships, states); Development of theories of the state; Ideologies and legal systems; The power of symbolism and structure; Political rituals; Nationalism theories.
The anthropology of aesthetics is dedicated to the study of art in different human groups, not only through the study of collections and descriptions of art, but also through field research. The aim of the course is the introduction and analysis of the "components" of art (cultural embeddedness, socio-economic and ideological contexts, symbolic transformation, aesthetic experience, creative playfulness etc.) among tribal and “civilized” societies with the help of examples.
Arts as a cultural category (aesthetic and function); Tribal art (ethno-aesthetics) and anthropology; Principle criteria: technology, tradition, creativity; Art and Context: Myths and rituals; Genres: graphic and plastic arts, verbal arts, music, dance, drama and body decoration; Old and New Art: examples
Anthropology of the cultures of the world
The objective of the course of „Anthropology of Africa” is to introduce students to the traditional cultures of the continent and to highlight the main effects of modernization, while pointing out aspects of ethnic and regional differences.
The overall objective of the course "American Anthropology" is to introduce students to the native cultures of the Americas. It aims to present, beyond the archaeological periods and cultures, the various Indian peoples living today, their ethno-history and their contemporary life forms. It also takes upon the task of analyzing today's Indian, mestizo peasant cultures and the influence of African-American culture.
The course "Anthropology of Oceania " aims to give a comprehensive description of Australia and the Pacific Islands, it's peoples and their cultures. Apart from presenting the concerning cultural anthropological theories, the course aim to introduce the related physical anthropological, linguistic, archaeological, historical and ecological questions.
The course "Anthropology of Asia” aims to present the continent, through the presentation of various major Asian territories. Course content: territorial and cultural division of Asia; India, Indochina, Indonesia, Tibet, Mongolia, Siberia, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia.
Anthropology of Europe”, from a comprehensive comparative perspective, outlines the more significant specifics of the cultures of the continent, as it introduces the unfolding anthropological researches, their trends and directions, the opportunities and dilemmas of the anthropologist conducting research within his own culture, and the topics of the eminent current researches. The aim of the lectures is to present the social, cultural, ethnic, etc. approach to the problems.
Practice of Anthropology
All anthropologists – whether applied or theoretical they may be – conducting fieldwork, find themselves in complex social situations, as their research deals with people in a variety of role relationships. The aim of “Research Related Ethical Issues in Cultural Anthropology” course is to raise students’ awareness of the anthropologist’s responsibility: The anthropologist must make carefully considered ethical decisions, and be prepared to clarify the assumptions, facts and issues those decisions are based upon.
The social science specific paradigms of cultural anthropology include the principle of cultural relativism, a holistic interpretation of cultures studied, and the participant observation approach. Accordingly, anthropologists actively participate in the daily life of the communities they study, as they explore the realities of its cultural-social meaning. The aim of the course is then to provide an insight into the epistemological (and its inseparable) research-methodological question of cultural anthropology. Therefore, during the course, students learn the specifics of the anthropological approach and methodology. At the end, we close the semester with a discussion of the social applicability of cultural anthropology.
The course is designed to prepare students to carry out independent fieldwork. The student needs to find a community where, while conducting fieldwork, basic methodological techniques and possible interpretation of findings reviewed and supplemented during the seminar, can be practiced. Group discussions of methodological techniques related to field experiences are part of the reflections on relevant issues. Accordingly, every two weeks course participants have to examine and research the issues discussed at the previous seminar in order to adequately fulfil the cultural anthropology major’s fieldwork requirements.
In accordance with their respective selected topics, in the tutorial system, students are individually consulted by the instructors, thus preparing them to their a
Preparation of a Cultural Anthropology MA thesis is a long term process, during which the individualized and personalized attention of the instructors paid to the students becomes discernible. The student is free to choose the consultant out of the scope of instructors. Since the selection is the result of a longer – developed during the fieldwork – cooperation, consultants are usually chosen from the faculty instructors; however, lecturers with academic assessment can also be selected. The consultant helps to plan the fieldwork, to evaluate of the results, references academic literatures, also gives advice during the writing process. Framework of this is the Academic Thesis Seminar.
Aim of the "Visual Anthropology" course is to provide a theoretical and conceptual foundation, and an introduction to the study of culture’s visual dimension. Through international examples, it demonstrates how the importance of visualization and visual storytelling using images are in various social areas of different cultures. Primary objective of the lecture series is to show students how to learn to see.
Basic requirement of the science of cultural anthropology is a long-term fieldwork carried out by the researcher, which means spending a considerable time in the community studied, and analyzing the culture by interpreting the experiences related to the designated subject matters, examining empirical findings, and interpreting interviews. The specific method of cultural anthropology thus is the participant observation, meaning that the researcher participates as an observer in the daily life of the community.
Integral part of the cultural anthropology MA course is an 80 days (8 x 10 days) mandatory fieldwork. Fieldworks are coordinated by a team of instructors, using tutorial system, according to the student's choice of subject matter. Verification of the fieldwork completion
Career opportunities of our students embrace scientific-academic, applied and practicing anthropological perspectives.
Cultural anthropologists are applied in non-governmental organizations. Some of them have also found job possibilities in market research and multinational companies. Others work as social workers, social politicians or members of social developments.
International companies look for anthropologist employees who have skills of working in multicultural environment and cooperation with colleagues from different cultural background. Several former students of us work recently in communication fields, they can be found in communication companies, communication departments and media.
More students have become journalists, reporters and editors in different media.
In summary, career opportunities for anthropologists have been increasing in the last few years, because more and more social institutions, multinational companies and organizations have realized the importance of intercultural sensitivity and knowledge. The acquired knowledge, experience and skills for the students of the program will guarantee their success in the above-mentioned carrier fields beside the academic carrier possibilities.
- Academic researcher
- Market researcher
- International aid/development worker
- Social researcher
Also work in the public and not-for-profit sectors, all branches of the Civil Service, local government, charities, central government bodies, universities, international organizations, museums and voluntary organizations.
100 EUR (non-refundable)
100 EUR (non-refundable)
100 EUR (non-refundable)
04, Sep, 2023
30, Apr, 2023
15, Nov, 2022
Applicants must have a BA/BBA degree in any of the following areas: Social Science, Communication and Media Science, International Studies, Political Studies, Social Work, Sociology, Social Pedagogy, Cultural Anthropology, Political Science, Community Coordination, Ethnography, Roma Studies. In case of other bachelor degrees: individual consideration.
Minimum level of language proficiency (both written and oral): B2
IELTS Score: 5.5
TOEFL IBT Band: 46-59
Cambridge English Scale Score: 162
If the applicant is unable to prove their knowledge of English with any of the above certifications, he or she must participate in a Skype interview or attend a prearranged interview (either in Hungary in person or on an on-the-spot admission abroad) organized by the Faculty and/or its delegates. The interview also seeks to assess the general and professional knowledge and interest of the applicant. Any letter of acceptance issued by the Faculty of Social Sciences is based on the verified fact that the applicant's command of English has been assessed; therefore, they are considered eligible to pursue their higher studies at the institution. If the applicant can prove that they competed their former education in entirely in English by submitting a notarized attestation and a detailed academic transcript, no proof of language knowledge will be required throughout the admission process.
|Online application form|
|Transcript of records|
|Copy of the main pages of the passport|
|Copy of application fee transfer|
|Language certificate (if the applicant has one)|
The application starts on the online application system. Students need to register in the system, fill in the online application form, upload the required documents and follow the instructions during the application process.
After considering the applications, we will inform the applicants about the exact date of the examination that will be organized via Skype.Students who hold Hungarian citizenship and/or dual citizenship, must apply through felvi.hu Please note that if an application is submitted not according to the aforementioned, it will be rejected.
Procedure of the entrance examination
The applications are examined by the Admission Board [in May] and applicants are notified of the outcome of the selection in the online application system until [June]. Admission letters are sent out in the online application system until [the end of June]. In case of February intake, admission letters are sent out in the online application system [until the end of November]
Applicants with a full application package will be notified about the exact time and date of application interviews conducted via Skype. Applicants are responsible for having technically suitable conditions for the interview from their side. The Skype interviews will occur from May to June for September intake, and in November for February intake.
Applicants are expected to be prepared taking questions regarding the compulsory admission materials (see: Required readings for the entrance exam) from the side of admission committee composed of a professor, a lecturer and a student representative.
The application interview via Skype will include a discussion on the following topics:
The applicant should choose one of the well-known figures from the history of anthropology: Clifford Geertz, Edmund Leach, Bronislaw Malinowski, Margaret Mead – and review his/her works and achievements in the fields of anthropology.
(You are also allowed to choose different reading from the authors.)
Edmund Leach: Social anthropology (Oxford University Press, 1982)
Margaret Mead:Coming of Age in Samoa (1928) or Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935)
Bronislaw Malinowski: Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An account of native enterprise and adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1922) or Baloma; the Spirits of the Dead in the Trobriand Islands (1916)
Clifford Geertz: The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays (Basic Books, 1973) or Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology (Basic Books, 1983)
Type of entrance examination: oral
Place of entrance examination: online or personally at ELTE Faculty of Social Sciences
Further details of selection and evaluation:
The ranking is based on a total evaluation of the academic excellence (based on the submitted documents) and the results of the entrance exam.
Dr. Csaba PRÓNAI
Head of the Department of Cultural Anthropology, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences
Mr. Florian SIMON
International Office, Faculty of Social Sciences
Postal address:, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/A, Budapest, H-1117
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Cultural Anthropology MA at the Faculty of Social Sciences
Cultural Anthropology MA at the Faculty of Social Sciences