SOAS, University of London

Course Introduction

Food is a fundamental human necessity, essential to the sustenance of the human body. At the same time, food may be associated with pleasure, passion, even luxury. Food is also essential to the social body. Who eats what, who eats with whom, and whose appetites are satisfied and whose denied, are all profoundly social dynamics through which identities, relationships, and hierarchies are created and reproduced. The SOAS MA programme in the Anthropology of Food offers students the opportunity to explore historically and culturally variable foodways, from foraging to industrial agriculture, from Europe and North America to Africa, Asia and South America. The programme asks students to trace the passage of food from plant to palate, and to examine who benefits, and who suffers, from contemporary modes of food production, exchange, preparation, and consumption. Students examine food policy at national and international levels, as well as the role played in its formation by the food industry.

Focus is given to the study of famine and the controversial role of food aid in securing food supplies. Debates over the impact of agricultural biotechnology on agrarian livelihoods and knowledge systems, as well as on the natural environment, are assessed. Movements toward organic agriculture, fair trade, and slow food are also analysed. An anthropological approach to the study of food draws upon and challenges the perspectives of other disciplines, whether agronomy or nutritional science, economics or law, history or literature. Dependent upon individual interests and experiences, graduates of the programme may pursue research degrees in any number of academic disciplines, or find employment in food-related government ministries, international organizations, development agencies, or non-governmental associations, as well as in the fields of public health, education, and media, or in the catering industry.

Start Date:

The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.. The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.. The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.. 4 Years Intensive Language. The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework..

Duration & Attendance Qualification Tuition fees Fee type
1 year
Full Time
MA - Master of Arts £9,685 Home Fees
1 year
Full Time
MA - Master of Arts £9,685 European Fees
1 year
Full Time
MA - Master of Arts £19,930 Overseas Fees
2 years
Part Time Day
MA - Master of Arts £4,843 Home Fees
2 years
Part Time Day
MA - Master of Arts £4,843 European Fees
2 years
Part Time Day
MA - Master of Arts £9,965 Overseas Fees

Qualifications required:

  • Domestic entry requirements: Students need a minimum upper second class BA degree (or equivalent) in the humanities, social sciences or natural sciences, or significant experience in a relevant food- and/or agriculture-related career
  • International entry requirements: Students whose first language is not English need to have IELTS with 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and speaking and 6.0 in reading and listening.