Digital technologies are now ubiquitous in nearly every part of our lives, and today's students need to become proficient with digital technologies as research and communication tools. The Digital Anthropology MSc at UCL combines technical skill with anthropological research methodologies in order to train students for research and involvement in this emergent world.
Students gain skills training in digital technologies, from internet and digital film editing to e-curation and digital ethnography; study the anthropological theories of virtualism, materiality/immateriality and social networks; and develop an understanding of the consequences of digital culture through the ethnographic study of its social and regional impact in a global and comparative context.
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).
All MSc 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, 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.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Digital Anthropology MSc
In addition to its importance for careers such as in media, design and museums, digital technology is also integral to development, theoretical and applied anthropology. Companies and institutions collaborating with the MSc are: British Telecom, UCL Computer Sciences, UCL Information Studies, Microsoft Research Cambridge, Skype, Intel, the British Museum, NESTA, NOKIA, the Home Office and Inventi V.
The programme is also developing relationships with: Cultural Informatics Research Centre for the Arts and Humanities (CIRCAh), Slade Centre for Electronic Media in Fine Art, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Centre for Museums, Heritage and Cultural Studies, UCL Interaction Centre, UCL Digital Humanities and UCL Urban Laboratory.
New media and technology companies are showing considerable interest in Digital Anthropology as a degree that qualifies students for positions in all fields of user interaction and research. In the last few years students graduating from the MSc have been recruited by the best international agencies doing research on users' digital practices. In the non-profit sector students have joined organisations involved in policymaking, open access and citizen journalism. The subject is also a good grounding for students who are interested in continuing to a variety of PhD programmes.
The Digital Anthropology MSc at UCL is becoming a world leader in the training of researchers in the social and cultural dimensions of information technologies and digital media.
UCL Anthropology is one of the largest anthropology departments in the UK and offers an exceptional breadth of expertise. Our excellent results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise and 2014 Research Excellence Framework show that we are the leading broad-based anthropology department in the UK. 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 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.
Visit the Digital Anthropology (MSc) page on the University College London website for more details!