Study programme

The two-year programme is divided into four semesters. The curriculum comprises four major components: theory, methodology, research and thesis.

Theoretical courses

The theoretical part consists of eight advanced courses that make you familiar with current anthropological theories, give you an in-depth knowledge of CASTOR’s core concepts (ethnicity, gender and sexual politics, religion, power, violence, justice, state, and globalization) with due attention to their multi-level dimensions, bring you up-to-date on recent ethnographic studies in your fieldwork area, and teach you how to use theory to analyse empirical data.

Methodological courses

The methodology part consists of three comprehensive courses about anthropological research. You get a full overview of anthropology’s principal research methods (observation, participant observation, life histories, ethnographic interviewing, and genealogies) including an intensive interview training in order to learn how to develop a research design attuned to current theoretical debates. Particular attention will be paid to the ethics of fieldwork and the professional responsibilities towards research subjects.


The research part consists of one seminar and one individual research assignment in the form of ethnographic fieldwork (30 ECTS). After your research design has been approved you will conduct individual ethnographic fieldwork in abroad, while maintaining contact with your supervisor through e-mail. You will enrol in an intensive thesis writing seminar upon your return to Utrecht in order to structure the data analysis and reporting of the research findings.


The Master's thesis completes the empirical cycle and constitutes the final test of your academic skills, theoretical, conceptual and anthropological knowledge, methodological training, and the mastery of ethnographic research.

Format of the courses

The courses have an intensive format with written (research) assignments, class presentations, papers, written exams, or short exercises. For each course a manual is available in the electronic learning environment Blackboard. In these manuals you will find more detailed information about the content, aims and structure of the course.