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Social and Cultural Anthropology


As a discipline, anthropology is not only interesting, it is also urgent. Fruitful and meaningful encounters between people of different cultural backgrounds are crucial in the globalised world we live in. Anthropology is the discipline that studies and aims to contribute to such encounters through a deep understanding of their potential, as well as the tensions and clashes that go with them. The department does this in various regions of the world and on various topics. The department is not only actively engaged in research but also in teaching and training students, with the result that there is a close integration of research and education.


Matthieu Schoffeleers Scholarship

The Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology is accepting applications for two Matthieu Schoffeleers Scholarships. The scholarships, worth €2,000, entail a fee waiver for EU students or a fee reduction for students outside the EU.

Applications are open to all students applying to the Master’s programme in Social and Cultural Anthropology in 2017/2018 with an undergraduate GPA of at least 75%. The scholarships will be awarded to the candidates with the strongest combination of motivation letter and GPA. Please note that the application deadline for the Master's programme is 1 April 2017 for non-EU students and 1 June for Dutch and EU-students.

Application procedure

Applications must be e-mailed to Ms Annet Bakker, secretariaat.sca.fsw@vu.nl, no later than June 1, 2017. Applications must include:

  • A motivation letter that includes the applicant's research interest and its connection to the department's research programme (MOBB);
  • a transcript of all undergraduate grades obtained;
  • and a CV.

Note that applicants from outside the Netherlands can also apply for the university's VUFP Scholarship.



PEOPLE project

We are looking for talented and motivated students who want to participate in the PEOPLE project as part of their Master's trajectory. Students will write their Master's thesis on the basis of assigned research and will be jointly supervised by academic staff from the VU and a mentor from Dutch project partner, Alliander.

In the PEOPLE-project universities and research institutes collaborate with industry partners in the sectors of energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

For more information, please consult the flyer or contact Giulia Sinatti: g.sinatti@vu.nl.



Our bachelor's and master's programmes offer students anthropological knowledge and ethnographic research skills to understand the complexity and diversity of human social and cultural life from a holistic and comparative perspective. Our educational programmes are of high quality. Our master's programme ranks highest in the latest national student survey while our bachelor's programme is the second best in the country.

Interested in studying anthropology at the VU? Check out the new clip below in which three students and one professor talk about our new Master programme!

Central to our study programmes is a balance between anthropological knowledge, attitudes and skills. Reflection on the ideas underlying anthropology and its potential contribution to science and society, as well as a thorough hands-on fieldwork training are key features of our curriculum. Therefore our education revolves around both the transfer of empirical and theoretical knowledge, in-depth reflection upon attitudes and self-positioning, and skills training. According to the national student survey of 2016 our programme is unique in offering our students a good preparation to the job market.

Our high-quality Bachelor's and Master's programmes prepare students in what we call applying anthropology. This means that in the courses we give attention to how students can apply their anthropological training in “the world out there”. Anthropology is not only about acquiring thorough academic knowledge but also about applying it in a broad range of employment settings.

Our program thus distinguishes itself by emphasizing research tutorials and training in fieldwork, by the continuous translation of theory into practice, and by providing a course on the professional and thematic orientation of the students. All this is facilitated by the small-scale character of our programmes; the teaching staff is closely engaged with the professional and academic development of the students.



Our teaching is closely connected to our departmental research programmeMobilities, Beliefs and Belonging: Confronting Global Inequalities and Insecurities and to the Faculty’s research-Institute of Societal Resilience. In that programme we focus on current developments around the mobilities and transnationalism of peoples, ideas, commodities and cultures, as well as on the impacts thereof on processes of belonging, solidarity, inequalities and beliefs.

Our ambition is to deepen the relationship between the discipline and the world outside academia as well as the societal engagement of the department. Staff members are often invited to share their knowledge of a particular field site in radio programmes, newspapers and magazines. They are engaged in various social initiatives in the Netherlands and abroad. Our department also hosts a weblog with informative and surprising reflections upon current events in the Netherlands and the rest of the world from an anthropological perspective.


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