Welcome Message from the Head of the Department, Dr Mark Maguire
Welcome to the Department of Anthropology at NUI Maynooth. It's my pleasure to tell you a bit about our department and the study of anthropology.
Careers in Anthropology
Our graduates go on to employment in a wide variety of careers. Anthropology has become increasingly important as a job skill in an information-based global economy, where an understanding of cultural difference is increasingly crucial - from local to international contexts. Anthropology provides good preparation for a career in community work, education, the health professions, product design, international aid and development projects, NGO work, and business and administration. The holder of a PhD is a professional anthropologist qualified to teach at university level, to carry out advanced research, or to apply anthropology in the public or private sector, at the national and international level.
What is Anthropology?
Anthropology is the study of humankind in all its aspects. At Maynooth, our emphasis is on social-cultural anthropology, which is the comparative study of human societies and cultures. As a social science, anthropology seeks to discover and explain the patterns of behaviour that have produced the astounding cultural variety among humans; it is uniquely able to foster better understanding of differences, such as those of ethnicity, gender, generation, or across the lines of wealth or politics. Social-cultural anthropology is subdivided into specialities which examine particular realms of human experience—such as political anthropology, material culture, economic anthropology, language and culture, anthropology of development, medical anthropology, anthropology of religion, psychological anthropology, and so on. Even within these fields, however, there is always attention to connections that span the discipline, such as a methodological focus on ethnography (descriptive/analytic accounts based on living with a subject group for an extended period of time) and cross-cultural comparison. These approaches distinguish anthropology from other social science disciplines, and are central to our department at Maynooth.
What is our Department like?
NUI Maynooth is home to the only department of anthropology in the Republic of Ireland. Our department was established in 1983 and since then has gained an international reputation for the quality of its research and the teaching and learning experience it provides. Located in the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Department of Anthropology at NUIM has eight permanent academic staff members and two permanent half-time executive assistants, and each year hires 5-6 Teaching Assistants; we also often host post-doctoral researchers.
How can I study Anthropology?
Each year several hundred undergraduate students study anthropology as a subject within their Joint Honours degree where anthropology is taken alongside two other Arts subjects in year one, and alongside one other subject in years two and three. In 2007 we introduced a Single Honours programme in anthropology, which allows students to take the maximum number of modules on offer. The department has approximately 50 postgraduate students studying within a range of programmes: the PhD programme in Anthropology; one-year MA programmes in Anthropology and in Anthropology & Development; the two-year MA in CREOLE (delivered with EU partner universities); and Postgraduate Certificates in Anthropology, and Anthropology & Development.
To find out more about our programmes, select click on "Undergraduates" or "Postgraduates" in the menu above.
What anthropological research is taking place in NUI Maynooth?
Like all anthropology departments, there is a great diversity of themes and regional interests represented in ongoing research by people here in NUI Maynooth. Currently, anthropologists at NUI Maynooth are contributing to greater understandings of issues ranging from famine to drug use, from international migration to HIV, and from language policy to consumer cultures. Anthropologists in NUI Maynooth have carried out fieldwork in such places as the Sudan, disadvantaged areas of Dublin’s inner city, the Midwestern U.S., Papua New Guinea, Russia and Scandinavia, and among irish speakers across Ireland, and we work with mobile populations, such as refugees and immigrants, who have moved through regions and across borders, from the US/Mexico border to the Polish/Ukrainian border. This diversity of research interests is well represented in the large numbers of books, scholarly articles and other publications by academic and research staff members.
To find out more about our research, click on the Research link in the menu above.
Welcome once again to the Department of Anthropology at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.
Dr Mark Maguire
Head of Department