University of Nairobi
  • University of Nairobi (UoN)
  • Masters Program
  • 4 years

MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE IN ANTHROPOLOGY program at University of Nairobi course details

Course Overview

Anthropology is the study of humankind in a broad and comparative perspective. It provides a unified conception of human nature and human experience. One of the strengths of anthropology as a discipline is its “holistic” or integrative approach; it links the life sciences and the humanities and has strong links with disciplines ranging from biology and psychology to linguistics, political science, and the fine arts. Anthropology is appropriate for people with a wide variety of interests including human cultures and civilizations both present and past, human variation, and human and animal behavior. This syllabus takes a broad view of anthropology maintaining both a balance and integration among the four fields (socio cultural, physical/biological, archaeology, and linguistics) which have traditionally characterized the discipline. The revised MA programme is in response to the increasing demand for anthropological training and skills to address current problems and challenges in Kenya and globally.

Minimum Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for admission at the University of Nairobi for the above programme are:

1.      A holder of a first degree with at least Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by the Senate.

2.      A holder of a first degree with Second Class Honours (Lower Division) from the University ofNairobi or any other institution recognized by the Senate and at least three years relevant work experience or a postgraduate diploma.

3.      A holder of a first degree of Pass level with at least three years relevant work experience and a postgraduate diploma from the University of Nairobi or any other institution recognized by the Senate.

Course Objectives

The specific objectives of this programme at the University of Nairobi are to:

a) Provide students with sound theoretical and practical knowledge in anthropology.

b) Equip students with effective research tools relevant to anthropology.

c) Enable students to specialize in one of the sub-fields of anthropology.

d) Provide a forum for the exchange of current thinking in anthropological knowledge and research.

Course Program

Course outline

Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Anthropology

Anthropological Theory

Social Science Research Methods

Statistics for Social Sciences


Thematic Areas of Specialization

1. Medical Anthropology

2. Development Anthropology

3. Language, Culture and Society

4. Physical Anthropology

5. Archaeology and Prehistory

6. Anthropology of Children and Childhood

7. Anthropology of Conservation

Medical Anthropology Option

Contemporary Theory and Method in Medical Anthropology

Fundamentals of Health Social Science

Implemen. Research for Disease Control

Culture, Health and Disease

Ecology, Health and Disease

Food, Culture and Disease

Anthropology of the Body

Social Science of Tropical Diseases

Applied Anthropology for Public Health

Anthropology and Biomedicine

Ethno medicine

Health Systems Research

Health Promotion

Culture, Health and Sexuality


Development Anthropology Option

Theories & Concepts of Development

Culture and Development

Gender and development

Leadership & Development in Africa

Sustainable Development

Applied Anthropology & Development

Issues in Rural Development

Urbanization and Development

Poverty Reduction and Development

Globalisation and Development

Anthropology & Politics of Development

Tourism and Development

Participatory Development Approaches


Language, Culture and Society Option

Ethnography of Speaking

Types & Extent of Linguistic Diversity


The Languages of Africa

Special Forms of Language

The role of Language in Development

Intercultural Communication

The Language Situation in Kenya

Ethno semantics

Historical & Comparative Linguistics



Physical Anthropology Option

Palaeo anthropology

Primate Socio ecology

Advanced Human Evolution

Genetics and Society

Population Genetics

Genetics Counselling

Human Skeletal and Dental Biology

Nutrition & Population Health Assessment

Human Growth and Constitution

Human Genetics and Biochemical Anthropology


Archaeology and Prehistory Option

Research Methods in Archaeology

Explanation in Archaeology

Developments in Archaeological Thought

Formation Processes of the Archae. Record

Archaeology as Human Ecology

Archaeology and Gender

The Individual in Prehistory

Archaeological Curatorship

Dating Methods in Archaeology

Society in Prehistory

Terminal Pleistocene and Holocene

Archaeology of the World


Anthropology of Children and Childhood Option

Anthropology of Childhood

Child Development

Culture and Childcare

Children’s Cultures

Children and Schooling

Children in Health and Sickness

Children and Social Change

Children in Especially Difficult Situations

Child Abuse

Children and the Media

Children and the Law


Anthropology of Conservation Option

Society and Natural Resources

Society and Environment

Social Ecology, Community Forestry and Place-Based Environmentalism

Environmental Ethics

Management of Conservation Programmes

Environment, Develop. & Social Movements

Environmental Justice

Language and Biodiversity

Global and Local Approaches to Urban Ecosystem

 Agriculture and the Environment

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