Anthropology

Nature through culture

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Anthropology is an integral scientific discipline, the Science of Man, studying mankind from its origins until the present. In contrast to scientific disciplines which specially focus on a detailed study of particular areas of human life, anthropology concentrates primarily on the usually ignored connections between biological, social and cultural aspects of human nature. Anthropology regards these bio-socio-cultural interactions as the core for the unique human evolution, as the substance of groundbreaking turns in history and also as a chance for our kind to survive in the future. Anthropology studies the origins and mechanisms of the variations of human biological, social and cultural forms and their relationships in the process of adaptation of Man to the changing environment. The mission of the study programme of Anthropology is to prepare highly qualified specialists in the field of integral anthropology, adhering to the above stated concepts.

Graduates of the Anthropology Bachelor's study programme usually opt to continue their studies in the Anthropology Master's study programme along with graduates of similarly oriented Bachelor's study programmes. Anthropology Master's study programme expands on the knowledge and skills of students from their preceding Bachelor's study programme. It prepares specialists with broad awareness and understanding of anthropological theory topics. The objective of the programme is primarily to complement students’ theoretical knowledge in synthesizing and comparative disciplines and to teach them how to apply specific computer-based methods of anthropology. Students of this programme should gain insight into the concepts of human variation and adaptation/adaptability, evolutionary development, ethnical differences, sexuality and burial rites.

Graduates of the Master's study programme of Anthropology are prepared for independent scientific work both in basic and applied anthropological research.They are capable of proposing, designing and performing their particular anthropological research applying modern methods. Graduates can utilize these skills in practice or in some of the doctoral degree programmes.

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After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • have good awareness and knowledge in the fields of synthesizing biological and sociocultural aspects of Man during evolution and the present time
  • have good knowledge of human intra-population variation and inter-population diversity and explain their associations to evolutionary processes and human adaptations
  • apply modern analytical assessment methods of human skeletal remains and other human biological traces in the archaeological and forensic finds context
  • be aware of the basic characteristics of the main world-wide ethnic groups, of their geographical expansion and similarities and differences
  • propose, design and perform a regular anthropological research, statistically evaluate the results and interpret them in the context of anthropological theories
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Graduates of the Anthropology Master's study programme can find employment in academic institutions which focus on anthropology (the Czech Academy of Sciences, universities, health-care institutions, ergonomics laboratories, etc., in archeological institutions working as specialists in skeletal anthropology, in museums as curators of anthropological and other collections, at forensic and criminalistics departments as forensic anthropologists and human biology specialists and also in the civil service and state and government institutions as human biology experts. The best graduates of the Master's study programme have a chance to follow their studies and research in the Biology doctoral degree programme, in the study programme of Anthropology.

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Study plans of the degree and study programmes at the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, follow the Dean’s statement nr. 8/2012 “Tuition and Study Programme Formation”. Obligatory study regulations are quoted in the Course Catalogue for their year of matriculation with recommended study plans. To students who take this into account, the study plan ensures the correct sequence of courses and that all the obligatory requirements necessary to finish their university studies within the standard allocated time can be fulfilled.

The standard duration of the Anthropology Master's study programme (direct follow-up of the Bachelor's study programme) is four semesters. To get admitted to the final state examination, students must obtain in total 120 credits for required, selective and elective courses. Required courses constitute the basis of the study programme. Selective courses represent a recommended extension of the required courses. Elective courses offer the opportunity for the students to extend their curricula and to find courses according to their interests or needs, for example, diploma thesis. On-site training and diploma thesis (On-site Training II, Diploma Thesis I -IV) are also included in the required courses. Before the final state examination there is an obligation to pass an examination in English for Specific Purposes at the B2 level.

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Practical training is an obligatory part of the curriculum in the extent of 2 weeks during the Anthropology Master's study programme. After completing (and/or being in the process of completing) their practical training assignments, students enrol in a required course Bi8910 On-site Training II during the spring semester in the 2nd year of their studies for which they receive credits.Tuition is centred on archeological excavations of skeletal burial grounds provided by the Department of Anthropology. There, under expert supervision, students acquire hands-on experience of the entire scientific research procedure - a preliminary prospection and localization of the site, excavations of skeletal remains and artefacts, their written, measured and photographic documentations, reconstruction and analysis of the uncovered remnants, interpretation of results and finally formulation of conclusions in the final report. The final stages of the procedure are performed in the laboratory.

Students are trained in advanced techniques of documentation and on-site sampling for purposes of subsequent scientific analyses (aDNA analysis, absolute dating, etc.). At least one week of this on-site training is obligatory. The remaining practical training can be carried out at other selected workplaces (archeological institutions, scientific departments, museums, hospitals, Police of the Czech Republic departments, etc.) where anthropology-oriented activities take place. Such practical training allows students to establish professional contacts with potential employers. The relevance of the practical training to student's study programme is assessed by a guarantor. Students receive credits upon the course (Bi8910 On-site Training II). The certification of completion for the practical training (Bi6502 On-site Training II) with a credit value is based on the consensus of the subject teacher and the head of the research (and/or of the organization where the practical training took place.)

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General conditions are governed by Masaryk University Study and Examination Regulations (https://www.muni.cz/general/legal_standards/study_examination_regulations). The final state examination in Anthropology consists of three partial exams: 1) Physical Anthropology, 2) Socio-Cultural Anthropology and 3) Diploma thesis defence.

During the oral examination in Physical Anthropology, students should prove complex understanding and knowledge of human evolution, biological variation and adaptability of the recent human populations, individual growth and development of Man, human sexuality and reproduction biology. along with the knowledge of biological anthropology methods for applications in the research of the living human and human skeletal remains. They should demonstrate knowledge of modern methods of anthropology and their application in practice (in archeology, anthropology of growth and development, ergonomics, forensic anthropology) in Physical Anthropology. The oral examination in Socio-Cultural Anthropology examines the knowledge of anthropological theories, human cultural adaptations, human ethnic groups geographical distribution, lifestyle, values, relationship between Man and the environment and human behaviour. Students’ ability to familiarize themselves with an extensive space-time expanse and to integrate the findings of various disciplines in the scope of the thematic radius is evaluated. A detailed list of topic subdivisions regarding both oral examinations is posted on the Department of Anthropology website. (http://www.sci.muni.cz/anthrop/informace-o-szz/

The Master's thesis has to be submitted in the extent of minimum 80 text pages. The topic of the thesis must be authorized by the Head of the Department of Anthropology. Students usually enrol for the appropriate topic at the beginning of their studies. The thesis is supervised by a member of the academic staff of the Department of Anthropology. External experts come from different associated institutions, such as universities, museums, and the Czech Academy of Sciences.

In the theoretical part, each student should demonstrate their ability to examine scientific literature with regard to their thesis topic - to search, analyse and interpret relevant information. In the practical part, students should be able to demonstrate their proficiency in basic methods of anthropology and apply them to the assigned topic. The Master's thesis defence takes place at the end of the 4th semester in the form of debate between an applicant and a board of examiners; applicants present the theses of their work, introduce the topic focal points and main results. The board evaluates the ability of students to propose and carry out solutions to the assigned tasks, their ability to assess results, interpret and present them in a logical way and use relevant arguments in their defence.

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After completing the Master’s study programme, students can apply for admission into the Doctoral degree programme in Biology, study programme of Anthropology at the Faculty of Science, Masaryk university.

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Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Anthropology
Abbreviation: ANTR
Code: 1512T001
Type: Advanced Master's state examination
Degree: RNDr.
Accreditation: to 31/12/2024
Programme: R1512 Rig-AN Anthropology
Faculty of Science
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Science

Additional Information

Detailed information about the Department of Anthropology and Laboratory of Morphology and Forensic Anthropology (LaMorFA) can be found here:

http://www.sci.muni.cz/anthrop

http://www.sci.muni.cz/lamorfa