At the beginning of 2007 the academic master degree programme “Social Anthropology” was created in Riga Stradins University. On the 21June 2007 the programme was licensed, and in January 2007 first students were accepted. The self-assessment report presented below was prepared by analyzing the experience gained from previous work, continually improving study process, and assessing students’ views on the programme.
The programme described here was developed with awareness that prospective students would not have acquired deep knowledge of social anthropology during their bachelor degree studies. The general format of the programme corresponds to the international practice in master degree studies in this field. The developers of the programme received their education and deepened their knowledge in analogous European and other countries’ higher school programmes and tried to integrate their experience in the Latvian educational system. While developing the programme some colleagues from other European Union (EU) countries were consulted. Therefore students who complete this programme enjoy full rights to continue their academic education in Latvia or other countries and acquire a doctoral degree or be engaged in the labour market using their knowledge practically, in the same way as their colleagues do in other countries.
The master degree study programme “Social Anthropology” was developed on the basis of 4 main principles:
It was developed as so far a unique social anthropology programme in Latvia and therefore it includes the spectrum of courses which enables students to intensively acquire comprehensive knowledge on the theoretical and practical aspects of the field.
The courses included in the programme develop students’ abilities and skills according to the traditions of social anthropology which enables the students to perform practical research and analyze the results not only in terms of Latvian context, but also globally, thus becoming fully involved in the international research activities. This principle is in line with the integration of the Latvian society in the global processes and the demand for specialists who possess professional academic knowledge and skills in order to research, analyze, and practically develop the integration process.
While developing the programme it was taken into account that:
a) Riga Stradins University (RSU) traditionally is involved in the field of medicine, therefore in the programme some attention is devoted to topics which are related to medicine and could be integrated in the training of medical specialists.
b) the programme was developed by RSU Faculty of Communication (FC),
Chair of Communication Studies, therefore a part of it is related to the anthropological aspects of communication and could be integrated in the training of students studying communication.
Since social anthropological practice is closely related to a researcher’s personal engagement in the research process as well as to necessity to conduct lengthy observations, considerable attention is paid to the development of field work (practical observation) skills.
The master degree programme “Social Anthropology” was developed according to the Cabinet’s Regulations on the state academic education standards (Cabinet regulation Nr. 2, 3 January 2002). In the programme there are integrated the principles of Bologna process which enables one to compare acquired qualifications and to use the qualification for pursuing an academic or professional career within or outside EU.