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At RGS we offer both the Higher Level and the Standard Level Anthropology. Both are two year linear courses, with a coursework component and formal exams at the end of Year 13. At Standard Level the coursework is 20% of the final grade, with two exams worth 40% each. At Higher Level the coursework is 25% of the final grade, with two exams, worth 30% and 45% each.

We have a fantastic track record of results with 100% grade 6 and above and 63% level 7 for the 2018 cohort. Many of our students go on to read Anthropology-related degrees at university.


Year 12 IB
Curriculum Content In Year 12, we study 3 topics:

Topic 1: The Language of Anthropology unit introduces students to the core principles of Anthropological study. We look at the way in which societies are structured and how culture is formed, practiced and reproduced. Topics covered explore the fantastic diversity of human societies including;

·         How different societies organise themselves politically and economically.

·         How different societies deal with health illness and death.

·         How communities create a sense of identity and belonging.

·         How religious beliefs such as Shamanism and Witchcraft operate.

Topic 2: Reading from the book, In Search of Respect by Philippe Bourgois’s, we study social marginalization in inner-city America. Under the Area of Enquiry: Belonging, we investigate how Bourgois managed to gain the trust and long-term friendship of street-level drug dealers in one of the roughest ghetto neighbourhoods in the United States – East Harlem.

Topic 3 (Higher Level Only): Reading from the book, Pretty Modern by Alexander Edmonds, we study the plastic surgery trade in Rio De Janeiro. Under the Area of Enquiry: The Body, we investigate how people control and modify their bodies to fit different cultural ideals. From the prominent Maori tattoos to the lip plates of Suri tribeswomen, we investigate how humans use their bodies as a canvas through which they express their cultural standards and beliefs.


Year 13 IB
Curriculum Content In Year 13, we study a further 3 topics:

Topic 4: Reading from the book, The Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea by Anette Weiner, we study a society run by women and totally preoccupied with magic. Following in the footsteps of the titan of Anthropology, Bromislaw Malinowski, we explore a society where women hold the major reins of power, where sorcerers are paid in axes to murder enemies in secret, and where great armadas of colourful boats set out on epic voyages of trade and friendship.

Topic 5: Reading from the book, Yanomamo The Fierce People, we study life in the war torn Amazon basin. Looking at the work of legendary Anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon we explore life for a stone tool using people who are under almost continual threats of warfare. The shamanic people practice regular raids and use the spirits of the forest beings to protect them from their enemies. We also investigate how this highly religious people, who practiced cannibalism, changed as they came into contact with missionaries and the wider globalised world.

Topic 6 (Higher Level Only): Theory in Anthropology. In this unit we look at Anthropological explanations for the features of human societies, trying to form a larger picture of the commonalities and differences between us and why these came to be. There is also time set aside for Higher level students to complete their internal assessment which consists of conducting a small scale piece of Anthropological fieldwork on a topic that interests them. You do not need to go abroad to conduct this research but you do have to investigate an issue or theme which is outside of your own everyday experience.