Study guide's FHum - Cultural Anthropology, 2019-20 information (E)

General information Instruction Examinations Degree structure Courses

Cultural Anthropology

Address: Cultural Anthropology, PL 1000, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland

Telephone: Study Counsellor Anneli Meriläinen-Hyvärinen +358 29 448 3340

Email: anneli.merilainen-hyvarinen (at)

Academic Affairs Secretary



Admission requirements

Cultural Anthropology is one of the majors of the Degree Programme in History, Culture and Communication. Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology hold a joint entrance examination annually; in order to participate in it one must file an application through the Opintopolku system. Based on this examination, study rights are granted to 16 students. Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology have shared Basic Studies. During the first year, by the end of March, students must choose between the two subjects and declare their major. Both programmes accept 8 new students annually as major-subject students.

All students presently enrolled and registered at the University of Oulu are entitled to study the shared Cultural Anthropology–Archaeology Basic Studies package. Students can apply for permission to study Intermediate Studies in Cultural Anthropology by addressing an informal motivational letter to the Professor of Cultural Anthropology. Students majoring in Archaeology, Saami Language or Saami Culture, however, can freely choose to study Cultural Anthropology as a subsidiary (minor) subject without further application.

Study guidance                                                                                           

Study guidance is provided by the University Lecturer, tel. +358 29 48 3340 and the Professor of Cultural Anthropology, tel. +358 40 184 2176. A list of examiners for the courses is available in WebOodi.

 Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropology studies people, communities, and the cultural and social construction of human behaviour at different times and different parts of the world. The goal of cultural anthropology is to analyse different cultures and to examine how a person’s cultural background shapes their actions, thoughts and lives. Cultural anthropologists are interested in both the unique characteristics that distinguish cultures from each other and the similarities different cultures share. An important aim of research and education on the field is to improve our understanding of other cultures and to analyse our own cultural beliefs and practices. Cultural anthropology is particularly interested in understanding cultures from their own point of view. Anthropological research can be applied to solve various social issues.

The Programme of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oulu is the only one in Finland that also includes studies in archaeology and biological anthropology. The studies and research in Oulu focus on environmental, political and applied anthropology, northern cultures, and anthropology of religion. Fluent command of English is necessary for studying and highly beneficial for later employment options. Independent fieldwork (participant observation and interviews) has a prominent position in research within the field of cultural anthropology. This means that social skills and the ability to work with different kinds of people are important to cultural anthropologists.

Students can freely choose their combination of subjects as early as during Basic Studies. Subsidiary (minor) subjects that are related to and benefit Cultural Anthropology studies are, for example, Archaeology, Museology, History, Art History, Saami Studies, Geography, Psychology, Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Economics, but other humanities and social science subjects are also valuable subsidiary subjects. To improve their employability, it is considered beneficial for students of Cultural Anthropology to also study business, languages, computer science, tourism, or health sciences, for instance. Cultural Anthropology is also a subsidiary (minor) subject that successfully complements studies in the humanities and in the natural, social or health sciences.

Employment prospects

Students graduating with a degree in cultural anthropology will have researcher education that can be utilized in areas such as research, museums, media, adult education, as well as business, organisational and administrative activities. A background in cultural anthropology also prepares students for work that includes international cooperation.

Practical information

All students must register at the Student Centre of the University. Students should update any changes in their contact information either at the Student Centre or via WebOodi. The department publishes a new curriculum at the beginning of each term, and it can be found on the website of Cultural Anthropology ( ) (in Finnish). Information on information and feedback sessions, as well as other important events can be found on the website and by subscribing to the email lists for students. Teaching methods used for instruction are lectures, seminars, book exams, and fieldwork exercises. Students of Cultural Anthropology begin their studies with an introductory course. Book exams are done electronically in Examinarium. The studies include, for example, a fieldwork course (interviews, participant observation, photography, and other forms of field documentation), practical training, and independent research.

Students may, in some cases, produce home essays in place of written examinations, but these options must be agreed upon with the teacher responsible of each course. Optional exam books, too, must be agreed on with the responsible teacher well in advance of the exam. In addition, some lectures arranged by other programmes as well as studies completed abroad can be used to fulfil the study requirements of the Cultural Anthropology degree programme. Also these options must be agreed upon with the teacher responsible. When signing up for examinations, students should state the name and code of the course they wish to receive credit for and the number of ECTS credits it represents. University staff will enter credits for a passed course in the student’s official transcript upon completion of the course. Students should check their records approximately every six months to make sure credits have been received and that their record is up to date. The University stores the study results (i.e. exam papers/essays) for six months after the announcement of the results. Studies in Cultural Anthropology may be completed during summer as well.

Study packages and learning outcomes

Upon completion of the Basic Studies package in Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology, students will be able to describe the history of the disciplines, as well as the research methods and different theoretical bases they utilise. Students will be able to define key concepts of archaeology and cultural anthropology, and will be able to describe different fields of research. In addition, students will know how to explain the interaction between people and their environment over a long time perspective. Students will also be able to define the basic concepts of the various subfields of both disciplines.

Upon completion of the Intermediate Studies package in Cultural Anthropology, students will have acquired an understanding of the research methodologies and theoretical perspectives and trends in cultural anthropology. Students will also be familiar with the central subfields of cultural anthropology. Students will be able to independently carry out small research projects based on data they have gathered by themselves. In addition, students will be able to converse, present arguments, and write in a manner befitting scholarly discourse.

Upon completion of the Advanced Studies package in Cultural Anthropology, students will be able to analyse the special characteristics relevant to an area of ethnography they choose to specialise in. Students will be able to distinguish between different views of science and between different theoretical and methodological research traditions, and will also be able to situate their own area of expertise within the context of such views and traditions. Students will be able to construct a theoretically grounded research frame and answer research questions they have formulated by themselves. Students will be able to apply their expertise provided by their studies of cultural anthropology in working life.

Basic Studies of Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology (25 ECTS credits)

687223Y Personal Study Plan 1 (0 ECTS credits)

687359P Introduction to Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology (5 ECTS credits)

687360P Social world (5 ECTS credits)

687361P Biology and culture (5 ECTS credits)

687362P Material culture (5 ECTS credits)

687363P Humans and the Environment (5 ECTS credits)


Intermediate Studies (45 ECTS credits)

687227Y Personal Study Plan 2 major students only

687231A Introduction to Ethnography (5 ECTS credits)

687241A Anthropology of Religion (5 ECTS credits)

687242A Economic and Environmental Anthropology (5 ECTS credits)

687243A Political Anthropology (5 ECTS credits)

687244A Applied Anthropology (5 ECTS credits)

687250A Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology (5 ECTS credits)

687245A Seminar on Anthropological Theory (5 ECTS credits)

687212A Bachelor’s Seminar (10 ECTS credits)

687213A Maturity Test (0 ECTS credits) major students only


Advanced Studies (80 ECTS credits)

687229Y Personal Study Plan 3 major students only

687247S Ethnographic Specialisation (7 ECTS credits)

687215S Advanced Anthropological Theory (10 ECTS credits)

687216S Advanced Anthropological Methods (10 ECTS credits)

687248S Practical Training (5 ECTS credits)

687218S Seminar (8 ECTS credits)

687219S Master’s Thesis (40 ECTS credits)

687221S Maturity Test for Master’s Degree (0 ECTS credits) major students only