PDF version of Material and Visual Culture MA

Contact details

Mr James Emmanuel

Email: james.emmanuel@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 1040

Fees and funding

UK/EU 2013/14:

£8,250 (FT)

Overseas 2013/14:

£16,250 (FT)

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website

More information

Prospectus Entry


Key facts

Research Assessment Rating

60% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
(What is the RAE?)

The programme information on this page relates to 2013 entry. 2014 content to appear here shortly. 

Material and Visual Culture MA

This MA provides a broad based training in social science approaches to the analysis of material and visual media; ranging from art, photography, film and media within visual anthropology; to consumption, museum anthropology and cultural heritage, landscape and genres (such as clothing and the built environment), within material culture.

Degree summary

What will I learn?

The programme covers a range of contexts such as production, exchange and consumption, and uses anthropological perspectives based on the comparative study of societies, historically and culturally. Skills training is given in Social Anthropological field research and analysis, and in specific methods for the study of material and visual forms.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

UCL Anthropology is the world's leading centre for the study of Material and Visual Culture. We publish the Journal of Material Culture and several relevant book series, and have nine specialist staff in this field.

The department is one of the largest anthropology departments in the UK. Our excellent results in the 2001 and 2008 Research Assessment Exercises show that we are the top broad-based anthropology department in the UK.

Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the wider anthropological community in London and the department's strong links with European universities and international institutions.

See subject website for more information:

Degree structure

Availability: Full-time 1 year; Part-time 2 years

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of one core module (45 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core Modules

  • Critical Issues


  • The following is a selection of possible option modules:
  • Anthropology and Photography
  • Anthropology of Games and Simulation
  • Documentary Film and the Anthropological Eye
  • Anthropology of Art and Design
  • Social Construction of Landscape
  • Transforming and Creating the World
  • Anthropology of the Built Environment
  • Anthropology of Media and Consumption
  • Political and Economic Anthropology
  • Religious Symbolism and the Politics of Belief
  • Risk, Power and Uncertainty
  • Anthropology of Nationalism, Ethnicity and Race
  • Gender, Language and Culture


All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 15,000-word dissertation.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, group presentations and discussion, tutorials, independent directed reading, interactive teamwork, laboratory and practical work, video, film and web based courses. There will also be visits to museums, galleries and other relevant sites. Assessment is through coursework, unseen examination and the dissertation.

Further details available on subject website:

Entry and application

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

For overseas equivalencies see the relevant country page.

How to apply

You may choose to apply online or download application materials; for details visit www.ucl.ac.uk/gradapps

The deadline for applications is 2 August 2013. Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme is particularly suitable for students with a prior degree in anthropology, but it is will also appeal to students with degrees in neighbouring disciplines who wish to be trained in anthropological and related approaches to material and visual culture.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Material and Visual Culture at graduate level
  • why you want to study Material and Visual Culture at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


The programme can lead to careers in a wide range of areas such as architecture, media, commerce and aspects of development work where an emphasis on the material and visual environment is central.

First destinations of recent graduates include:

  • Central St Martins College of Art & Design: Library Assistant
  • Sunrise Radio: Broadcast Journalist
  • Islington Leith: Access Developer
  • Cubitt Gallery: Education Co-ordinator
  • UCL: PhD Material & Visual Culture
  • UCL: Research Degree - Anthropology
  • Macmillan: Account Executive
  • National Children's Bureau Conferences Organiser
  • Design Council: Design Skills Manager
  • British Institute of Archaeology: Research Scholar

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:

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