• Application Deadline
  • 24 months
Anthropology studies the socializing, meaning-making and world-building practices of humans in different places and settings all around the world. Social and cultural anthropologists study social processes and the perspectives of the actors involved. Combining points of view, anthropologists explore and theorize the differences and similarities between people across the globe. 


Anthropology researches the complex composition and interplay of economic, political, social and cultural dynamics, taking into account the differences and similarities between and amongst people across the globe. As an anthropologist you study social and cultural processes from a bottom up and actor-centered perspective (emic). You conduct fieldwork wherein you combine a variety of specific qualitative methods such as participant observation, in-depth interviews, life histories, audiovisual data collection, etc. Thorough empirical and comparative research often shows us how our way of thinking and behaving is underpinned by prejudices about ourselves and others. Doing critical and reflective research is thus a fundamental skill to be developed by you as a future anthropologist. 

A taste of possible questions you may encounter: How do people shape their religious experiences by using contemporary social media and mobile technology? What is the legacy of colonialism and in which ways does it display itself in the contemporary world? How do people deal with physical, symbolic, structural and emotional violence and its consequences? What are the effects of superdiversity on the development of a city? How do newly arrived migrants create kinship relationships?

In the first stage, you are confronted with general questions such as "What is culture?" and "What is identity?". You will study many forms of human agency and consider different ways in which people across the world deal with social problems.

During this first stage, you start developing your own research by looking for a topic and supervisor, developing a research focus and preparing empirical research to support your final master's thesis. 

You will deepen and further develop your research skills in the second stage of the programme while conducting research for your master's thesis and participating in the Research Seminar. 

Experienced professors and early-career researchers of the faculty's research units (IARA & IMMRC) will introduce you to the most recent developments in anthropology. Your own research interests and focus will inform your choice of electives to round out your programme.

Career paths

Graduates of anthropology find employment in numerous areas including:

  • education
  • social services
  • medical care
  • NGO's
  • international organisations
  • development policy
  • international policy
  • business
  • research.


Through empirical research, social and cultural anthropology investigates the differences and similarities between cultures. Thus it wants to shed light on the historical, social political and cultural processes that shape society. This master programme wants to both introduce and specialize students into this fascinating domain. This double goal is reflected in the programme's structure. The latter further emphasises

- acquiring a critical, social-scientific and anthropological attitude;

- acquiring knowledge and skills specific to the discipline (anthropological methods, models, theories, ...). This also implies that students are able to put their specific knowledge and so-called emic perspective to use in an ever changing social debate.


A graduate in the Master of Science in Social and Cultural Anthropology is capable of designing and carrying out original research and communicating its findings. Also, s/he has the ability to critically evaluate existing research. To this purpose, s/he has a solid and active knowledge of anthropological methods and techniques, of the existing cultural and ethnological diversity and of past and current anthropological paradigms, themes and theories.

The Social and Cultural Anthropology programme is offered at KU Leuven.

Questions about student life in Belgium, life at KU Leuven or more information about a specific course? Chat with our students: www.kuleuven/be/chatwithourstudents.

Programme Structure

Courses include:
  • Political Anthropology
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology: Basic Concepts and Theories
  • Anthropology of Religion
  • Urban Anthropology
  • Culture, Migration and Mobility
  • Current Issues in Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • Cultural Anthropology: Material Culture
  • Etnographic Fieldwork: Exemplary Research
  • Ethnographic Fieldwork: Analysis and Communication
  • Electives

          Detailed Programme Facts

          English Language Requirements

          You only need to take one of these language tests:

          • Minimum required score:


            The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

            Schedule TOEFL®
          • Minimum required score:


            The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

            Schedule IELTS
          • Minimum required score (Grade C):


            C1 Advanced is a Cambridge English Qualification. It reports on the Cambridge English Scale between 142 and 210. You will receive a separate score for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and for Use of English. These five scores are averaged to give you an overall result for the exam. Universities and colleges may ask you to achieve a specific score, either overall or for a particular skill.

            Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

          Academic Requirements

          • Applicants are expected to have an appropriate familiarity with the social and human sciences.
          • The courses and seminars are taught in English, and the written work is to be completed in English.This means that sufficient knowledge of English is a pre-requisite. 
          • Other academic Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees are eligible for admission pending positive evaluation of a complete application file.

          Tuition Fee

          • International

            923 EUR/year
            Tuition Fee
            Based on the original amount of 923 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
          • EU/EEA

            923 EUR/year
            Tuition Fee
            Based on the original amount of 923 EUR per year and a duration of 24 months.
          We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

          Living costs for Leuven

          • 810 - 1280 EUR/month
            Living Costs

          The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


          Check the programme website for information about funding options.

          StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

          The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

          Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.