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Bachelor of Arts (Social Anthropology)

Key facts

  • Available at Auckland
  • Available at Manawatū
  • Available via Distance Learning
  • Note: Not all course are available at all campuses
  • Available for international students studying in NZ or via distance learning

Get a better understanding of the world

With a Massey BA (Social Anthropology), you will see the world through fresh eyes.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Arts parent structure.

What is it like?

The Massey BA (Social Anthropology) will give you a different perspective on world affairs.

Studying social anthropology will develop your understanding of other cultures and ethnic groups, and show you how your way of life is just one of many possible ways of being human. You will learn to challenge your existing beliefs and put yourself in others’ shoes.

Study a wide range of subjects

At Massey you will study topics such as politics, globalisation, inequality, human-environmental relations, human rights, indigenous peoples, racism, visual culture, healing systems, food, gender, and ritual and religion.

Get out into the field

Discover how anthropologists study cultural differences through fieldwork that examines societies across the globe, from hunter-gatherers to industrial nation-states. Massey staff and students are currently researching in Asia, the Pacific, Europe, Africa and New Zealand.

A good fit if you:

  • Want to further your understanding of our society and the world we live in
  • Are seeking a deeper understanding of cultural variation and cultural change
  • Want to better understand other cultures and ethnic groups as well as your own
Philippa Brook
Bachelor of Arts (Social Anthropology)

“Over two and a half years I studied by distance doing as many or as few courses as I liked…”

In 2010 I had to readjust my life. I am a registered nurse but hadn’t worked in a hospital for many years. I had been milking cows for 9 years and raising my children and felt it was time for something new and different. After travelling overseas for a while I decided to enrol in a Bachelor of Arts at Massey University so I could pursue my interest in religious studies.

So much of who we are and what we do is based on what we believe. I wanted to explore how our experiences affect the people we become, regardless of whether you believe in a god or not.

Over two and a half years I studied by distance doing as many or as few courses as I liked.

I am completing my honours conducting research on the beliefs of two New Zealand missionaries, what it means to them and how it directs their lives.

When I complete my postgraduate studies I’d like to gain some teaching qualifications and take my skills overseas to work in development.


The study of people can take you into almost any career path, anywhere in the world. Popular career destinations for social anthropology graduates include:

  • Human rights and social justice
  • Social work
  • Social and commercial research
  • Education
  • Business and industry
  • Government, diplomacy and policy
  • Foreign affairs
  • Overseas aid and development agencies
  • Health care
  • Non-profit management
  • Marketing
  • Publishing
  • Environmental issues
  • Museum curation
  • Art and heritage work
  • Tourism 

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