Addis Ababa University Social anthropology Department

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Addis Ababa University Social anthropology Department

Addis Ababa University Social anthropology Department – Check Below:
Anthropology means ‘human study’. Social anthropology, one of anthropology’s subfields, takes as its subject matter the comparative study of cultures and societies in the contemporary world. Although some people view social/cultural anthropology as devoted to documenting the ‘exotic’ customs of people in remote and far-flung areas, it is only by learning about cultural variations and similarities that we will be able to avoid generalizing about ‘human nature’ solely on the basis of observations from our own culture. This strong comparative tradition in social/cultural anthropology helps to reduce the possibility that our understanding and thoughts about human nature will be culture bound.
A full-fledged Department of Social Anthropology (SOAN) was established at Addis Ababa University (AAU) in the fall of 2007. From its inception, SOAN has become a major Department of the College of Social Sciences (CSS) in its staff profile, program diversity, and size of student population. The Department is presently running three programs: two regular graduate programs (MA and PhD), and one undergraduate program (BA). The BA and MA programs are also offered as part of the evening program in the Extension Division. Of all the programs the Department currently runs, the MA program is the oldest (started in 1990) and actually a precursor to the other programs. This MA program has succeeded in creating the foundation for high level anthropological research and training in Ethiopia.
Currently, SOAN is among the major departments of the College of Social Sciences in its staff profile, program diversity and student population. The Department has 17 academic staff, out of which 23.5 % are female; 70.5% are with the academic rank of assistant professor and above, and 29.4% are pursuing their PhD studies. The Department currently has over 300 students out of whom over 170 are undergraduates, studying in both the regular and evening programs. There are over 95 MA students enrolled both in the regular and evening programs and 34 regular PhD students at various levels of their studies. The first two doctoral students graduated in the 2013/14 academic year. The MA and PhD programs currently focus on training academic staff for the established and emerging public universities in the country.
The graduates of the Social Anthropology program from AAU acquire wide-ranging conceptual, pragmatic, and methodological competencies that shall prepare them to: (a) understand Ethiopian societies and cultures in their own terms; (b) conduct and coordinate multi-disciplinary research by promoting and understanding thediverse cultures and perspectives; (c) contribute as practitioners in the areas of development, health, peace and sustainable environment of the country in specialized areas of anthropology; and (d) advocate on behalf of disadvantaged groups, including pastoralists, peasants, minorities, refugees, the poor, the handicapped, the dislocated, women and children, who require a culture-sensitive and compassionate understanding to their causes.
Anthropology has a long history at Addis Ababa University. The Department of Sociology and Anthropology came into existence at Addis Ababa University in 1962. Later it merged with the School of Social Work in 1978 to become the Department of Applied Sociology. Subsequent curriculum revisions resulted in the change innomenclature of the Department to the Department of Sociology and Social Administration (SOSA) in 1983/4. In 1990, the MA program in Social Anthropology, the first of its kind in Ethiopia, was established through the cooperative agreement between the Christian Michelson Institute (CMI) of Norway and the Department of SOSA at AAU. This program has succeeded in laying the foundation forhigh level anthropological research and training in Ethiopia.
Subsequent revisions again resulted in the change of the name of the Department from Sociology and Social Administration to Sociology and Social Anthropology in 2002/03. For the past many decades the disciplines of Sociology and Social Anthropology have been expanding and the recognition of the contribution of these two interrelated disciplines for socio-economic development has also been increasing from time to time. In order to meet the growing demand for the graduates of sociology and anthropology, the need for separate departments for Sociology and Social Anthropology became unquestionable. As a result, the Department of SOSA, at its meeting held on 26th of October 2007, established different committees to work on separate curricula for undergraduate and PhD programs in Sociology and Social Anthropology. It is out of this background that the fully-fledged Department of Social Anthropology was established in 2008. Subsequently, a new undergraduate program in Social Anthropology was launched in the same year and a new PhD program in Social Anthropology was started a year later.
The Department was formed with the aim to produce qualified graduates who will provide professional services in the governmental, non-governmental, community-based organizations and academic and research institutions of higher learning. It also endeavors to feed into the expanding postgraduate programs (both MA and PhD) in social sciences and humanities in general and in Social Anthropology in particular.

Addis Ababa University Social anthropology Department Programs

  1. BA Program

The BA graduates of the Social Anthropology program acquire wide-ranging conceptual, pragmatic, methodological and civic competencies that shall prepare them to be able to:

  1. Undertake independent and comparative research in multicultural settings;
  2. Understand the various anthropological perspectives and employ them in analyzing and explaining the workings of human society in general and Ethiopian society in particular;
  3. Understand diverse human societies in terms of their own cultures and conduct research free from ethnocentrism;
  4. Promote and actively participate in research projects that require multidisciplinary approach and teamwork;
  5. Advocate on behalf of disadvantaged groups, including pastoralists, ethnic minorities, the dislocated, famine victims, women, children, etc., who require a culture sensitive and compassionate understanding of their causes;
  6. Work efficiently and effectively in positions like socioeconomic planning, rural and urban development, health and culture office, and teaching where anthropological perspectives and methods are in demand.

          MA Program 
The graduates of the different streams of the MA Program in Social Anthropology from Addis Ababa University acquire wide-ranging conceptual, pragmatic, and methodological competencies that shall make them capable to:

  1. Offer a broad range of high quality college and university level anthropological courses that expose students to social anthropological perspectives, leading to cross-cultural understanding;
  2. Undertake anthropological research and write reports to assist in the formulation, planning, and implementation of development projects;
  3. Coordinate (and participate in) multidisciplinary research projects by promoting an understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives and streamlining the role of culture in the diverse aspects of human life;
  4. Provide anthropological insights on behalf of disadvantaged groups, including pastoralists, peasants, minorities, refugees and the displaced, the poor, women, etc., who require a culture-sensitive and compassionate understanding to their causes.
  1. PhD program

The graduates of the Ph.D. program in social anthropology will acquire a range of critical intellectual, methodological, and practical skills that will enable them to:

  1. Engage in training social anthropologists in higher academic institutions in Ethiopia and beyond;
  2. Participate in basic anthropological research to contribute to the understanding of the cultures of Ethiopian ethnic groups and other societies in the world;
  3. Engage in applied research to use anthropological perspectives and insights for addressing practical problems and development challenges;
  4. Assume professional responsibilities in government institutions, non-government organizations, or the private sector in different capacities (e.g., as applied researchers, advisors, coordinators, policy analysts, and planners);
  5. Participate in public forums to contribute to intellectual discourse/debate, provide expert opinions, and enhance public awareness on issues of national and global significance.

Addis Ababa University Social anthropology Department PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
BA Program
The program aims at producing competent manpower well-equipped in knowledge, skills, theories, methods and approaches of the discipline.
The specific objectives of the Program are to:

  1. produce graduates who are able to integrate anthropological theories and practices and undertake original and comparative research;
  2. develop and conduct short- and medium-term training programs whereby concerned persons working in various governmental and non-governmental organization benefit;
  3. contribute to local, regional, and national development endeavors of the country by providing community services;
  4. train graduates who could participate in collaborative research involving multiple disciplines;
  5. produce graduates who actively participate in socio-cultural environmental, political and economic and policy debates and collaborate with local, regional, national , and international agencies.

MA program
The program generally aims to establish Social Anthropology as a fully-fledged discipline (with both strong academic and application dimensions) with concomitant infrastructural facilities and strong local staff profile.
The specific objectives of the Program are to:

  1. Train professional social anthropologists who are knowledgeable in anthropological theory and methods so as to carry out research in the field for the purpose of building a body of data on the diverse social and cultural systems of the country;
  2. Train experts who can contribute to the development, health and peace and sustainable environment of the country in specialized areas of anthropology;
  3. Meet the manpower needs of departments of social anthropology in the country and other academic units/institutions of higher learning by training their junior staff in the field;
  4. Provide students in other graduate programs of Addis Ababa University the opportunity to take relevant courses in social anthropology most related to their area of specialization, thereby broadening their understanding of Ethiopian society and culture; and the nexus between culture and development, peace and conflict, environment and health;
  5. Enhance AAU’s position and prominence in the area of anthropological research and training in Ethiopia in particular and in Africa generally.

PHD program
The Ph.D. program in social anthropology is designed to:

  1. offer students an intensive education in the principles, theories, methods, actions, and interventions of social anthropology thereby enabling candidates achieve advanced professional competence in research, teaching, and application;
  2. provide an academic setting that appreciates and encourages both intellectual and practical pursuits;
  3. train students to develop and communicate original scholarly contributions in the field of social anthropology;
  4. enable students to grasp social anthropology’s historical and contemporary literature in  theoretical and methodological issues.


  1. BA program

According to the admission requirements of the program, the following are eligible to join social anthropology degree program:

  1. Students who have completed their preparatory education in the field of social sciences and sat for the Ethiopian Higher Education Entrance Examination (EHEE) and obtained the required pass marks to join institution of higher education;
  2. Students who have completed secondary education orequivalent level in foreign countries and obtained equivalent academic achievements as shall be determined by the Ministry of Education; and
  3. Candidates who hold diplomas in related fields from accredited institutions ofhigher learning.

MA program
Generally, admission into the M.A. program in social anthropology requires the approval of the Council of Graduate Studies of the University and is effected according to the rules and regulations set forth by SGS. The following are specific requirements setforth by the DGC of the Department of Social Anthropology:

  1. Candidates who have completed their undergraduate studies in any of the following disciplines: Anthropology, Social Work, Sociology, Linguistics, History, Geography, Psychology, Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, and Folklore. The DGC may consider (after reviewing the courses a candidate has taken) application from graduates from the fields of study in Social Sciences and Humanities not included in the list or named differently.
  2. Unless automatic admission is considered under special circumstance, applicants shall be screened on competitive basis and admission shall be determined on the basis oftheir performance in the entrance examination in subject area knowledge and proficiency in academic English (writing/speaking) as will be demonstrated through the essays or interviews to be conducted for the entrance examination (50%);
  3. Cumulative Grade Point Average (30%); a proportion of the 30% that goes to the different categories of the CGPA shall be determined by the DGC or a relevant committee set up by the DGC.

PhD Program
The PhD Program in Social Anthropology is a three-year program. The program has three interrelated phases: the coursework and proposal development phase (one year), fieldwork phase (one year), and write-up phase (one year). Students will be admitted to the PhD program in Social Anthropology on the basis of the following requirements:

  1. Fulfill the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and approval of the Council of Graduate Studies of the University;
  2. Hold an MA degree (priority will be given to students with MA theses graded ‘excellent’). Regarding their background, applicants are expected to have MA degrees from the Social Sciences (Sociology, Social Anthropology, Philosophy, Political Science, History, and Geography); Social Work; Archaeology; Linguistics; Human Biology; Economics; Psychology; Population Studies; Gender Studies, and Development Studies;
  3. All candidates with an MA degree from disciplines other than Social Anthropology are required to register and take core courses of Social Anthropology and score a minimum grade of B for each course to qualify for enrolment in the PhD program. Students who have taken the same courses/seminars/modules offered in the first year of the MA program in other equivalent programs or universities could apply for exemption;
  4. After admission into the PhD program, students are required to fulfill the following conditions to qualify for the second and third phases:achieve a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.0 and above upon completion of their coursework;sit for qualifying written and oral examinations at the end of the first phase (coursework) of the program and obtain pass mark as shall be determined by the DGC.



CURRENT HEAD: Getaneh Mehari Woldeyesus
Tel: +251-118-962078
Office Location: Main Campus, Social Science Building, Office Room No.266
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