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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £12,380 (FT) £6,190 (PT)
- £21,160 (FT) £10,740 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
This research based Master's degree is suitable for those students entering postgraduate study with a strong background in the discipline, gained either through an undergraduate degree, or through a well-regarded conversion Master's programme.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Advanced
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
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.
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).
- Critical Issues
The following is a selection of possible option modules:
- Anthropology and Photography
- Advanced Topics in Digital Culture: Ethnographies of the Digital
- Documentary Film and the Anthropological Eye
- Art in the Public Sphere
- Social Construction of Landscape
- Issues in Power and Culture
- Anthropology of the Built Environment
- Mass Consumption and Design
- Risk, Power and Uncertainty
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.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
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.
Top career destinations for this degree
- Project Officer, British Council
- Senior Administrator, LSE (The London School of Economics and Political Science)
- Senior Officer in Marketing and Communications, Singapore Economic Development Board
- Event Co-Ordinator, Tate Britain
- Social Enterprise Consultant, Sisterhood for Development and Sisterhood Handicrafts
The programme is designed as an advanced research degree providing exposure to a vanguard and creative field within anthropology and related disciplines. Students learn how to apply ethnographic theory and methodology in material and visual culture to a wide range of case studies highlighting material culture in the wider world - ranging from art, through photography, clothing, consumption, cultural memory, monuments and the built environment.
The degree can lead to further doctoral research or careers in a wide range of areas such as architecture, media, museums, business and aspects of development work where an emphasis on the material and visual environment is central.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why 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 2008 Research Assessment Exercises and 2014 Research Excellence Framework show that we are the leading 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.
Student / staff numbers
› 50 staff
including 22 postdocs
› 180 taught students
› 120 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Anthropology
68% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
Application and next steps
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.
- All applicants
- 27 July 2018
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
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 is your research proposal
- 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.