Digital Anthropology MSc

London, Bloomsbury

The MSc in Digital Anthropology equips students with the skills to analyse and critique the social and cultural dimensions of digital phenomena: from social media, to data, digital infrastructures, 3D printing, algorithms, and online politics. Combining in-depth understanding of digital systems with anthropological research methods, the MSc prepares students to practice as digital anthropologists in policy, industry, government and academia.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£16,500
£8,250
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£26,600
£13,300
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 31 Mar 2022

Applications closed

Notification

Application closes at 17:00 GMT.

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.

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

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

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

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Students study core anthropological theories (including kinship, materiality/immateriality and embodiment) with emphasis on their relevance for understanding digital culture; gain skills training in digital ethnography, social media analytics, social data analysis, mapping, digital design, user research methodologies and applied digital anthropology; and develop an understanding of digital cultures through the ethnographic study of their social and regional impact in a global and comparative context, as well as a critical understanding of their imbrication with other cultural and social systems.

Who this course is for

The programme is suitable both for those with a prior degree in anthropology but also for those with degrees in neighbouring disciplines who wish to be trained in anthropological and related approaches to digital culture.

What this course will give you

The Digital Anthropology MSc at UCL was the first degree course in Digital Anthropology and remains the only masters level programme in Digital Anthropology in the world. It is unique in combining a world-class training in anthropology with the empirical study of the development and use of digital technologies in a diverse range of settings around the world.

UCL Anthropology ranks sixth in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021, making it the top ranked institution in London, and third in the UK and Europe for the subject. The programme combines ethnographic methods, critical thinking and practical explorations of the digital world and encourages in-depth research to develop the next generation of understanding about the impact, consequences, aesthetics and politics of digital technologies and infrastructures.

The foundation of your career

The Digital Anthropology MSc prepares students for careers in government, industry, the not-for-profit sector and academia. We have strong links with non-academic partner organisations including the UK Government Digital Service, the Open Data Institute, NESTA, Facebook/Deepmind, The Ada Lovelace Institute, Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, Inventi V, Stripe Partners, Human City and BMB Agency. Our former students have gone on to work for organisations such as NESTA, Open Knowledge Foundation, DELL, Big Fish Games, UK Home Office and New York City Council; have set up their own successful digital consultancies; and have gone on to study PhDs at universities such as UCL, University of Oxford, and the University of California (Careers data from Destination of Leavers in Higher Education Survey).

Employability

Digital Anthropology provides an important skillset for employers in the technology industries and government and is frequently listed as a desirable qualification in user research and digital design job specifications. The ability to understand technology use in context, delve behind data, understand the biases of technical systems, grapple with ethical questions raised by new technologies, and introduce a comparative understanding of how digital objects are used by people around the world, are uniquely provided by training in digital anthropology. Moreover the MSc programme also provides a strong theoretical grounding for those interested in continuing to a PhD.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practicals and laboratory sessions. It includes a weekly seminar series, with invited international speakers. Assessment is through essays, methodology practicals, take-home examination and the substantial research dissertation.

Modules

Full-time

The programme runs over one full academic year for full time students and over two full years for part-time students. The taught components are undertaken in the first two terms, whilst term three is dedicated to exams and dissertation preparation. Research and writing for the dissertation take place over the summer.

The programme comprises three key elements:

  • Core Course
  • Three Optional Modules - at least two modules from the Digital Anthropology MSc optional modules and up to one from modules available within the department or appropriate options in other departments (with approval from the programme tutor and host department).
  • Dissertation

In addition to these assessed components, your participation in the programme also includes the following activities:

  • Anthropological Research Methods Module (Term 1 only)
  • Material, Visual & Digital Culture Research Seminars
  • Postgraduate Presentation Day

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Digital Anthropology.

Fieldwork

Students have the option to conduct ethnographic fieldwork as part of their dissertation research. 

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Applying for Graduate Study at UCL

The Applying to UCL for graduate study session took place in December 2021. The session, covered by our Graduate Admissions and Student Recruitment teams, provides helpful information about the process of applying for graduate study, as well as offering an insight into what we consider to be a competitive application.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Funding your studies

The Funding your studies session took place in December 2021. The session, covered by our Funding and Student Recruitment teams, provides information and guidance about the various scholarships and funding opportunities for graduate study at UCL.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £16,500 £8,250
Tuition fees (2022/23) £26,600 £13,300

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

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

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Digital Anthropology at graduate level
  • why you want to study Digital Anthropology 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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021