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Course Content

Course content

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.

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).

Core modules

  • Critical Issues

Optional modules

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

Dissertation/report

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 is available on the department website: Material and Visual Culture MA

Careers

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.

Recent 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

Employability

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 2013–2015 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.

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.


Visit the Material and Visual Culture (MA) page on the University College London website for more details!

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