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 technical understanding of digital systems with anthropological research methods, the MSc prepares students to practice as digital anthropologists in policy, industry, government and academia.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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 Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
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.
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.
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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.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of one compulsory module (45 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Digital Anthropology.
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.
All students must take the following module:
- Digital Anthropology
Students must take 45 credits in total from the recommended optional modules below or modules available within the department. Out of the total, up to 15 credits can be taken from appropriate options in other departments (with approval from the programme tutor and host department).
- Advanced Topics in Digital Culture
- Anthropology and Photography
- Art in the Public Sphere
- Anthropology of Social Media
- Anthropology of Technology and Techniques
- Current Themes in Material, Visual, Digital and Design Anthropology: Smart Phones
- Design Anthropology
- Digital Infrastructure: Materiality, Information and Politics
- Documentary Film and the Anthropological Eye
- Practical Ethnographic and Documentary Filmmaking
- Social Construction of Landscape
- The Anthropology of the Built Environment
For a complete list of modules available within the department or in other departments, please see UCL's Module Catalogue.
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 15,000 word dissertation.
Students have the option to conduct ethnographic fieldwork as part of their dissertation research.
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, written examination and the substantial research dissertation.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
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 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).
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.
Why study this degree at UCL?
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 fourth in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020, making it the top ranked institution in London, and third in the UK and Europe for the subject. Our excellent results in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 also identify us as a leading Anthropology department in the UK, offering an exceptional breadth of expertise. 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.
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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
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.
- All applicants
- 31 May 2021
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 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.
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