Breadth Module


Majors for Pre-August-2016 Intakes

Sociology & Anthropology

Academic Contributors

Degrees Offered

Programme Description

The general philosophy of the programme is: (a) to integrate sociological and anthropological approaches, (b) to be broad-based in terms of geographical and sub-disciplinary coverage, and (c) to be responsive to the social and cultural environment within which the programme is taught. In particular, the programme seeks to strike a balance between the global and the local, theory and application, and teaching and research.

Programme Highlights

Sociology is the study of human behaviour in its social context. By analysing social interaction at every level, from micro-group interaction to competition between nation states, its concern is with social institutions that are central to the maintenance of social orders: the state, the market and the educational system, as well as those forms of behaviour that challenge and change the social order, such as crimes, addiction, and other forms of deviance. Sociology occupies a central role in the social sciences because its primary concern is not the study of particular types of institutions, but rather with their interrelationships.

Anthropology is the comparative study of culture and society, including their variations in time and space. It occupies a key role in the social sciences because of its comprehensive and comparative perspective. In its methodology, anthropology has always been identified with its signature participant observation method of ethnographic fieldwork which emphasizes a face to face encounter between anthropologists and the subjects of their research. Whilst anthropology began as a western discipline, in teaching anthropology in Asia, there is already a realisation that Asian anthropology must also represent a critique against Eurocentric worldviews. In this context, contemporary postmodernist ethnography privileges a more representational discourse of knowledge and cultures that anthropologists study as it departs from the author-driven ‘texts’ in traditional ethnography which mute the voice of ‘the Other’.

Both sociology and anthropology occupy a central role in the social sciences that bridges the division of labour between the more specialized social science disciplines. While the latter tend to look at human behaviour largely in terms of one dimension only, be it economic, political or spatial, sociology and anthropology look at social life in its totality and inter-relatedness. Whereas sociology was originally mainly concerned with the study of “modern” complex industrialized societies, anthropology tended to focus more on smaller “traditional” societies. However, in the current world, it has become difficult to maintain such simple distinctions between different kinds of societies and cultures and the two subjects increasingly overlap in scope, theories and methods. For this reason they have now been integrated into a single programme at UBD.


The number of sociologists and anthropologists in the country is limited and hence, compared to the much larger number of graduates in other social sciences, they are in short supply where they are needed. There are two ways to plan for a career in sociology & anthropology. On the one hand, you can think in terms of becoming a professional sociologist or anthropologist involved in teaching and/or researching social and cultural issues. Professional sociologists and anthropologists are usually employed in schools and universities, in museums, and in community-development organizations in the public sector and in market research and related occupations in the private sector. In some cases a career as a professional sociology/anthropologist may also require a postgraduate degree.

A training in sociology & anthropology equips students with knowledge of a wide variety of cultures as well as a deeper understanding of their own society, in addition to analytical, communicative and methodological skills that are useful in a wide range of careers outside sociology and anthropology, such as in development, foreign affairs, the media and business.

Since the introduction of sociology & anthropology in UBD in 1996, former students have found employment as school teachers and university lecturers, as well as in other institutions, such as the Brunei Museum, the History Centre, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Anti-Narcotics Bureau, the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the media. Students have also found jobs in the private sector, including law firms, banks and advertising agencies.

Single Major

In order to graduate with a Single Major in Sociology & Anthropology, a student will need to have successfully completed a minimum of 72 Modular Credits within 4 to 6 years.

The following modules must be taken as core for the Sociology & Anthropology Single Major:

Core Modules

AZ-1201 Making Sense of Society
AZ-1202 Understanding Culture
AZ-2201 Social Thought
AZ-2202 Social Inquiry
AZ-4201 Advanced Social Theory
AZ-4202 Research Project


Option Modules

AZ-2303 Kinship, Marriage and Gender
AZ-2304 Social Stratification
AZ-2305 Society Culture and Economy
AZ-2306 Race, Ethnicity and the State
AZ-3301 Peoples and Cultures of Southeast Asia
AZ-3302 Social Psychology
AZ-3304 Sociology of Development
AZ-3305 Asian Anthropology and Asian Anthropologists
AZ-3307 Sociology of Muslim Societies
AZ-3308 Sociology of the Body
AZ-3309 Education and Society in a Globalised World
AZ-4303 Anthropology of Religion
AZ-4304 Politics and Law in Comparative Perspective
AZ-4306 Cultures and Societies of Borneo
AZ-4307 Urban Society
AZ-4308 Popular Culture & Mass Media
AZ-4310 Anthropology of Food
AW-4304 Migration, Mobility and Development
AH-4312 Oral Sources and Methods for Historians and Social Scientists