Sociology & anthropology

2021 Orientation week at UNSW Kensington.

Connect lived experience to broad social issues

Studying sociology and anthropology at UNSW develops your capacity to connect lived experience with broad societal issues. Renowned as the first sociology program in Australia, we have a strong international reputation for theoretical innovation, teaching excellence and training. You’ll examine the realities, conflicts and challenges of social life in its many cultural forms.  

Combining sociology and anthropology in our program ensures that cultural diversity is central to our teaching. We provide you with a deep appreciation of the complexity and the possibilities of lived experience in a fast-changing world. The combined nature of our program creates a unique space that generates new perspectives on the diversity of social and cultural experiences.

Cutting-edge research that addresses big questions

What makes life meaningful? Why do we disagree and why do we care? What constitutes social change? The study of sociology and anthropology addresses these fundamental questions with conceptual rigour and the application of practical insights. Together, our academics and students seek to understand the differences in how we live our lives and the way cultural assumptions are enacted, challenged and transformed in everyday life. This approach underpins how we communicate and interact in the world and equips you in your studies, future work and research prospects. 

We teach and research a variety of topics such as:

  • cultural and social theory
  • Indigenous Australia and identity
  • media sociology
  • work and technology
  • ecology and post-humanism
  • visual sociology
  • Asia Pacific region and Australia
  • place, ethnicity, citizenship and globalisation
  • applied cultural anthropology and sociology
  • health, quality of life and life cycle.

Critical perspectives to broaden your worldview

The study of sociology and anthropology addresses the tensions and interactions between different social and cultural groups. This makes your training as a sociology and anthropology Major increasingly valuable in our highly globalised and interconnected world. 

Our graduates pursue a wide variety of careers in fields such as:

  • public sector
  • teaching
  • research
  • policy work
  • not-for-profit organisations
  • media industries
  • marketing
  • arts practice
  • international and multilateral organisations.

Study with us

  • Sociology and anthropology at UNSW is unique among New South Wales universities. We integrate both subject areas through innovative curriculum design and advanced teaching techniques. We also offer a diverse program of study in related subject areas such as social theory, cultural studies, feminist theory, social anthropology, sociological approaches to communication and public media, political sociology, ethnic studies and policy-related studies.

    Degree options include:

  • Studying honours in the School of Social Sciences offers a chance to develop your research and professional skills guided by staff passionate about research and the development of new researchers. The research produced as an honours student will set you apart from other graduates because of the skills developed and the extended engagement in a relevant field of study.

  • As a postgraduate research student, you’ll produce an original body of work supervised by our leading academics. In sociology and anthropology, you can choose from a Doctor of Philosophy or a Masters by Research.

    Our higher degree research students produce original research that may involve the following topics:

    • Indigenous Australia
    • political communication and media sociology
    • ontological ground of the ‘social’ and the ‘human’
    • human rights and citizenship
    • cinema and cultural sociology.

Our people