University of Oxford

Degree level: Postgraduate

Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (Taught)

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Course summary

The information provided on this page was correct at the time of publication (October/November 2022). For complete and up-to-date information about this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via The University of Oxford's School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography offers a one-year MSc in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology. The degree programme explores human and non-human primate evolution and behaviour, bringing together paleoanthropological, psychological, developmental and cross-cultural approaches. As a species humans possess remarkable capacities for culture and sociality, reflected in the technologies we use and share, the ways we think and learn from each other and the social groups we form and live in. What are the evolutionary foundations for these characteristics? Are humans as unique as we might believe; what is it about our evolution that distinguishes us from other living primates? How might an understanding of human evolution help to address pressing modern challenges facing individuals and societies? The MSc in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology explores the current state of the art thinking on these questions, drawing together relevant advances from a broad range of research fields across the evolutionary, biological, psychological and social sciences, eg evolutionary biology, human behavioural ecology, palaeoanthropology, primatology, psychology and cultural evolution. Course structure During your first term you will follow a course on the investigation of biological evolution and cognition and a course on quantitative methods (including statistics and research design). In your second term you will take a course on the evolution of human behaviour, including biological, cognitive, psychological and comparative perspectives, as well as the mind and culture course, which examines how human conceptual structures inform and constrain cultural expression. The degree constitutes a programme of study in its own right, as well as serving as a research training degree for those wishing to go on to doctoral research. The School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography takes the view that full-time degrees require full-time study (ie equivalent to typical employment, around 40 hours per week, throughout the year). MSc students should expect to spend six to eight hours per week in term time in formal teaching contexts (seminar groups, tutorials, classes), which can be supplemented with attendance of the many research and visiting speaker seminars on offer; the remainder of their time (ie around 30 hours per week) should be spent on independent study and preparation of submitted work. The periods outside term time are considered to be opportunities for further independent study, consolidating and supplementing the knowledge gained during the preceding term and preparing work for examination, as well as for an appropriate break from study. Supervision The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography. Students will normally meet with their supervisor at least twice per term, but are likely to do so more often than this as their supervisor is typically also involved in their class teaching; students may also contact their supervisor at other times.

Entry requirements

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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

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Additional fee information

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Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at University of Oxford - UCAS