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.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Part-time: 2 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£9,020 (FT) £4,510 (PT)
£18,670 (FT) £9,285 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016

Entry Requirements

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: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

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:

Degree Information

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).

Core Modules

  • 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
  • Anthropology of Art and Design
  • Social Construction of Landscape
  • Transforming and Creating the World
  • Anthropology of the Built Environment
  • Mass Consumption and Design
  • 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 information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Material and Visual Culture MA


There are a number of departmental scholarships and awards available each academic year. Please refer to the departmental funding page for further information.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)- NOW CLOSED FOR 2015/16 ENTRY

Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
Overseas students
Based on both academic merit and financial need

More scholarships are listed on 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

  • Research Executive, Basis Research
  • Senior Curator, Frifthdi School of Art, Design and Technology (2013)
  • Resettlement Intern, International Rescue Committee (2013)
  • Associate Lecturer, University of West of England (2013)
  • Research and Production Assistant, The Institute of Art and Ideas (2012)


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.

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 ratios › 40 staff including 15 postdocs › 149 taught students › 120 research students

Department: Anthropology

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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016

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.

Contact Information


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

Life and learning

At UCL we're proud of our pioneering history, our distinguished present and our exciting future. UCL is a great place to be a student.

  • World-leading reputation
  • Extensive connections that benefit your study and career
  • The best and brightest staff and students from over 150 countries
Find out more