The MPhil in Visual Anthropology can be achieved through two main strands:
research projects that centre on the study of visual cultures, such as various forms of media representation or art the use of specific visual methodologies as a central feature of the research project itself
The programme focuses on the visual as a vital and defining factor in the research project as a whole.
Additional practical training can be provided, alongside some access to department audio-visual equipment and facilities, but we generally expect MPhil candidates to have an appropriate level of practical visual production skills and to be largely self-sufficient in this area.
MPhil students are currently carrying out visual projects in Mexico, India, Argentina, Lebanon, Israel, and the UK.
How to choose between MRes and MPhil
Normally research students register for the MRes in order to complete the requisite training for carrying out a doctoral research project. You then transfer to MPhil status after completing your MRes dissertation in September (or in your second year if you are part-time).
However, if you already have a substantial background, it is possible to register directly for the full-time MPhil, provided the Department and your future supervisor(s) agree. MPhil-registered students do exactly the same research training as MRes students, but they present a student dissertation in May, in order to fast-track to fieldwork or other forms of data-collection.
This programme offers the opportunity for you to continue your research to a PhD.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Prof Sophie Day.
First year In the first year, the emphasis of the visual anthropology training is on key themes and issues within the sub-field, particularly in relation to your own work. You develop your own research project over the year through the production of several small-scale visual projects. Guidance and feedback on visual and academic work will be provided in the weekly visual practice seminars and through supervision meetings.
In the week before the beginning of the academic year in mid-September there is an Induction Programme for all new research postgraduates at Goldsmiths. You will be introduced to College and Departmental facilities and procedures, and attend workshops on what is involved in doing a research degree.
For the first year you are normally registered for the MRes. It is a training year, in which work on your own research project is coupled with general training in Anthropological and Social Science Methods - run both within the Department and by the Goldsmiths College Research Office - as follows:
Methods in Anthropological Research (20 weeks x 2 hrs) Research Design (20 weeks x 2.5 hrs) Quantitative Methods in Social Science Department of Anthropology Research Seminar
You may also take other modules depending on your specific training needs, such as learning a language, or auditing an MA course, either in the Department or elsewhere, of particular relevance to your research project. You are also encouraged to attend seminars in other parts of the University of London, attend conferences, and go on outside modules such as those organised by GAPP (Group for Anthropology in Policy and Practice). There are Departmental funds to enable you to attend such events.
MPhil students present a 10,000-word dissertation in May. You need formal approval from the Department before you can start your fieldwork or other forms of data-collection.
Fieldwork and writing up your thesis
Whether you are doing fieldwork down the road or data collection on the other side of the world, it is important that you submit regular reports to your supervisor/s. At the end of the data-collection period when you return to the Department, you join the Writing-Up seminar, which meets weekly to discuss students' draft chapters.
Some time after you return from data-collection (after about 8 months for full-time students, and 16 months for part-time students) you are required to present a detailed thesis outline and 2 draft chapters for consideration by your Advisory Committee. Students normally upgrade to PhD status at this point. An MPhil thesis should be completed within 3 years (full-time) or 4 years (part-time). Some students move between full-time and part-time modes. For example, they may do their training on a part-time basis and then seek funding for a year's full-time fieldwork, reverting once more to part-time mode for the writing-up period. We are happy to encourage such flexibility.
Thesis (including film or photographic portfolio) and viva voce.
Anthropology at Goldsmiths is ranked 6th in the UK for the quality of our research**
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
Investigate a variety of fascinating areas that have real relevance to modern life.
As a department we’re interested in pushing the discipline forward. We’re known for pioneering new fields including visual anthropology and the anthropology of modernity. And we tackle other contemporary issues like urban planning, development, emotions and aesthetics, and new social movements.
Skills & Careers
Our students have taken up academic posts in anthropology as well as related fields all over the world; some have joined NGOs or GOs and taken employment as researchers, teachers and in broadcasting.
How to apply
Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.
Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body.
If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.
Along with your application and academic reference, you should also upload a research proposal at the point of application.
This should be in the form of a 2-5 page statement of the proposed area of research and should include:
delineation of the research topic why it has been chosen an initial hypothesis (if applicable) a brief list of major secondary sources