Social and Cultural Anthropology, IBO Higher Level Certificate (level 3)

Social Sciences

Social Sciences
Social Sciences
We are only accepting one application per candidate.

What will you be working towards?

Code Sa
Qualification Type International Baccalaureate Diploma
Qualification Level Level 3
Course type Full Time


This is a two year course: Higher Level is the equivalent of one A level and Standard Level is the equivalent of one half A level. This can be taken in a combination with other level 3 courses (including A level, IB and vocational).

If taken in one of the following three combinations, then students will be enrolled on the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP).

  1. One vocational course + two Higher Level IB courses.
  2. One vocational course + one A level + two IB courses at any level.
  3. Two vocational courses + two IB courses at any level.

Completing the IBCP will allow students to gain extra UCAS points through the reflective project.


The IB social and cultural anthropology course offers an opportunity for students to explore and understand humankind in all its diversity through the comparative study of culture and human societies. You will come to appreciate how anthropology as a discipline contributes to an understanding of contemporary issues, such as war and conflict, the environment, poverty, injustice, inequality and human and cultural rights. The study of social and cultural anthropology offers critical insight into the continuities as well as dynamics of social change and the development of societies, and challenges cultural assumptions.

Part 1: What is anthropology? (examination)

  • Core terms and ideas in anthropology
  • The construction and use of ethnographic accounts
  • Methods and data collection

Students of social and cultural anthropology should be familiar with the set of core terms, the methods used by anthropologists and issues associated with the construction of ethnographic accounts.

Part 2: Social and Cultural Organisation (examination)

  • Individuals, groups and society
  • Societies and cultures in contact
  • Kinship as an organising principle
  • Political organisation
  • Economic organisation and the environment
  • Systems of knowledge
  • Belief systems and practices
  • Moral systems

Part 3 (SL only): Observation and Critique Exercise

In the first six weeks of the course SL students undertake an observation and produce a written report from their field notes. About six months later they are then required to produce a critique of their written report.

Part 4 (HL only): Theoretical Perspectives in Anthropology (examination)

HL students are expected to have an understanding of theoretical perspectives in anthropology, their application to ethnographic materials and their manifestation in particular historical contexts. They should be able to use these theoretical perspectives to evaluate ethnographic material.

Part 5 (HL only): Fieldwork

HL students undertake fieldwork, for which they plan and produce a written report.

How will it be delivered?

External assessment for SL students consists of two written papers, one based on an unseen text and one which is essay based. For HL students there are three written papers – one based on an unseen text and two essay papers.

Internal assessment for SL students is an observation and critique exercise (Part 3) and for HL students, fieldwork (Part 5). Internal assessment is marked internally by subject staff and externally moderated by IB examiners.

Coursework (Field work) 25%,

Examination 75% (paper 1: 40% paper 2: 35%)

Entry requirements

Level 5 at GCSE in English; a grade 5 in a GCSE science or humanities subject would be an advantage, but is not compulsory.

Your next steps...

The IBCP (International Baccalaureate Career-related Pathway) is globally recognised and accepted by universities around the world. Some competitive university courses ask for specific IB subjects to have been studied as part of the Baccalaureate programme of study. We recommend that you research current grade requirements for that subject on and filter for the International Baccalaureate.