Anthropology (MA only)
Apply Now


    The Research Institute of Anthropology in the School of Social Development, East China Normal University, was established in the autumn of 2011, and has now completed seven highly successful years of its existence.
    The graduate programme in Social and Cultural Anthropology in the Research Institute of Anthropology at East China Normal University offers a 3-year MA programme which may lead to the PhD, or can be undertaken on its own. Our fields cover general socio-cultural anthropology and applied anthropology, with particular specialties and courses in the anthropology of food, visual anthropology, the anthropology of development, the anthropology of religion, ethnicity and minorities in China.
    The MA programme is centred on the core courses of Cultural Anthropology, Anthropological Theory, and Anthropological Methods. Major elective courses include Issues of Power and Religion; Anthropology of Money & Finance; the Anthropology of Food; Kinship; Visual and Media Anthropology; Economic and Environmental Anthropology. Core courses cover anthropological classics, the history and theory of anthropology, ethnicity and Chinese minorities, and the anthropology of Chinese society. Other options in urban anthropology, anthropology of the state, and the anthropology of tourism are also available. The Institute also includes the Centre of Ethnicity and Development which concentrates research and teaching expertise in the areas of development and ethnicity.

Courses of Study

    Students need 21 credits to complete the MA programme in anthropology. The MA programme is centered on the four core courses of Cultural Anthropology, Anthropological Theory, Anthropological Methods and Ethnography of Chinese Society, all of which are taught in the first semester (September - January). MA students also need to choose another five selective courses in the second semester (March - June). The MA program includes a period (6 months) of intensive fieldwork, on which the thesis will be written in English.
    The master degree thesis should be 30,000-50,000 words in length (excluding footnotes and references). It must be based on original research, mark a new contribution to knowledge, show knowledge of relevant literature, and be well and clearly written and presented. Normally, in the third semester, original research for the thesis must be conducted normally based on fieldwork of 6 months. A proposal for field research should be submitted before that for entrance to the field. Supervision of the thesis is by a Panel or Committee of up to 3 members with professional doctorate qualifications in Anthropology. The thesis will be examined by one internal examiner (from the institute) and one outside examiner (from another institute/department or another university), nominated by the Main Supervisor. Three or five professors will be organized for the MA thesis defense.

Type of course

Course name



Core courses(total credits 8)

Cultural anthropology


1st semester (September - January)

Anthropological Methods


1st semester

History of anthropological Theories


1st semester

Ethnography of Chinese Society


2st semester

Selective courses (total credits 10)

Anthropology of Religion


2nd semester(March -June)

Visual Anthropology


2nd semester

Economic Anthropology


2nd semester

political Anthropology


1st semester

Anthropology of Money & Finance 


1st semester

 Medical Anthropology


2nd semester

Research(total credits 3)

Research proposal


2nd semester





Thesis writing & defense


January-June(can be extended)


Core Program Faculty

Chen Yun
Assistance professor, PhD in Sociology, City University of Hong Kong. Main Research Areas: sociology of religion, ethnic minorities of Southeast China, Chinese religious organizations.

Huang Jianbo
Professor, PhD in Cultural Anthropology, Central University for Nationalities in Beijing. Main Research Areas: Christianity in China and Chinese folk religion, minorities of southwest China, anthropological theory and practice, the education of migrant children, and the anthropology of literature. His book on The History of Anthropological Theory was recently published by Renmin Daxue press.

Liu Qi
Associate Professor, PhD in Anthropology, Peking University. Main Research Areas: religious anthropology, political anthropology, southwest regional research, theory and method of anthropology.

Todd Meyers

Adjunct Professor, PhD in anthropology, Johns Hopkins University. Main Research Areas: medical anthropology, public health, visual culture

Horacio Ortiz
Associate Professor, PhD in Social Anthropology, EHSS (the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences) in Paris. Main Research Areas: money, finance, ethnography and world history. His article ‘The Limits of Financial Imagination: Free Investors, Efficient Markets, and Crisis’ has just appeared in the American Anthropologist (116.1).

Wu Xu
Associate Professor, PhD in Anthropology, University of Alberta, Canada. Main Research Areas: food, ethnobotany, culture-based development.

Zhang Hui
Assistance professor, PhD in Education, University of California, Los Angeles. Main Research Areas: culture theories, intangible heritage preservation, critical museum studies, media and visual anthropology, and educational anthropology.

Zhu Yujing
Assistance professor, PhD in anthropology, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Main Research Areas: economy anthropology, political anthropology, anthropology of money, migration and globalization.

About the program:

  “Being part of the first generation of the Master's program of Anthropology in English changed my life. Studying at ECNU improved my academic understanding of a discipline that was new to me. This happened due to the assistance of highly experienced professors who created a stimulating environment during the classes and the extracurricular activities organized by the department.

    As professors' knowledge involve several branches of Anthropology, my project on the anthropological experience of literary translation found its place.

    On top of that, the department of foreign students at ECNU does a good job in taking care of the students and the facilities bth, on campus and dorms are comfortable and adequate, creating a perfect environment for studying.”

——Olimpia Marroquín(Graduated in 2018)


Institute of Anthropology, School of Social Development
Mailing address: 500 Dongchuan Road, Institute of Anthropology, School of Social Development, ECNU, Shanghai, China, postcode 200241
Phone: (86-21) 54345171 Fax:(86-21)54345171
Email: shfz@soci.ecnu.edu.cn

Graduate Admissions

Your browser does not support Canvas.

Beijing Time


  Zip code:

Room 253 International Students Office, Physics Building,
East China Normal University, 3663 North Zhongshan Road, Shanghai, China
+86-21-62232013 +86-21-62238353

Global Education Center

International Student Office


2015 All Rights Reserved by International Students Office of East China Normal University