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MA Anthropology of Media

Course Description

Who is this programme for?:

A wide range of students with different interests and backgrounds come to this programme from world over in order to explore why media matter. They are highly qualified with very diverse international interests. It is particularly suitable for:

- Students with a degree in media or cultural studies
- Students with a degree in the social sciences or humanities wishing to acquire a broad understanding of media and cultural studies with special reference to Asia or Africa
- People with professional experience in film, television, journalism, advertising or public relations
- Students with a degree in social anthropology wishing to pursue more specialist media-related topics along with regional or language-based study
- Students without a previous degree in Anthropology looking for an MA conversion degree to serve as a qualification for pursuing a further research degree in anthropology

Our world is inescapably and continuously transformed through a proliferation of media. The MA in Anthropology of Media at SOAS takes up the challenge of understanding how and why media matter. The programme uniquely combines anthropology, media and cultural studies with specific regional expertise in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It provides students with critical skills, research methods, a wide-ranging understanding of media and the opportunity to pursue original research projects. The MA in Anthropology and Media is the first and still the only programme in Europe that specialises in bringing together contemporary anthropological concerns with media and cultural studies.

The MA in Anthropology of Media is a recent and rapidly growing field within the larger academic discipline of Anthropology. It both incorporates and challenges the well-established anthropological concerns with visual culture and ethnographic film through a more extensive examination of contemporary media practices. Along with the parallel disciplines of media and cultural studies, Anthropology of Media is now widely recognized as playing an increasingly important and critical role in current debates about media. It provides an alternative approach, which puts the emphasis upon studying the multiple relationships between people and media and thus seeks to anthropologise media and cultural studies. More than just focussing on media texts or technology, Anthropology of Media is marked by the centrality of people and how they relate to media.

The SOAS programme in Anthropology of Media is designed to provide a detailed introduction to the study of media in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and their diasporas. We also use the theoretical and methodological contributions of Anthropology to build upon and challenge Euro-American media and cultural studies. The programme stresses ethnographic approaches to media as cultural practices in social and political contexts where people inhabit, create and engage with media worlds.

Special Features

The Department cultivates several specialist strengths which distinguish it from other anthropology departments in the UK. The most obvious of these is that all members of the Department are specialists on Africa and Asia. Particular attention is given to teaching and researching regional ethnographic areas of expertise. All staff members are simultaneously attached as anthropologists to this Department and as regional specialists to their appropriate regional studies centre within the School.

SOAS also offers strong interdisciplinary support for the study of media including the Centre for Media and Film Studies and a highly regarded Department of Music. We have a dedicated multi-media suite, a radio station and satellite access to a wide range of world television. Further, the Library houses a major collection of books and journals on world media as well as extensive audio-visual materials.

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/anthropology/programmes/maanthofmedia/

Programme Overview

The programme consists of four units in total: three units of taught examined courses and a one unit dissertation of 10,000 words. Some courses may be taught in other departments in the school.

Core Courses:
- Comparative Media Studies - 15 PAN C009 (1.0 unit).

- Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology - 15PANC999 (1.0 unit). This is a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with the Programme Convenor of the MA Anthropology of Media and the candidate’s supervisor.

- Additionally all MA Anthropology students 'audit' the course Ethnographic Research Methods during term 1 - this will not count towards your 4 units.

Foundation Course:
- Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1.0 unit). This is compulsory only for students without a previous anthropology degree.

Option Courses:
- The remaining unit(s) of your programme, either 1 unit of option courses (if taking Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology) or 2 units (if exempted from Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology), may then be selected from the Option Courses list below.

- Your 1 or 2 total units may be made up of any combination of 0.5 or 1 unit option courses.

- However, courses without a "15PANxxxx" course code are taught outside of the Anthropology Department. No more than 1 unit in total of these courses may be selected.

- Alternatively, one language course may be taken from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures.

Programme Specification 2012/2013 (pdf; 119kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/anthropology/programmes/maanthofmedia/file39767.pdf


A Masters in the Anthropology of Media at SOAS develops students’ understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised. This programme will endow students with specialist understanding of producers, audiences, and other cultural and social aspects of mass media. Over the years the SOAS department has trained numerous leading anthropologists who have gone on to occupy lectureships and professorships throughout the world. Equally, students gain skills during their degree that transfer well to areas such as information and technology, government service, the media and tourism.

Postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including analytical and critical skills; ability to gather, assess and interpret data; high level of cultural awareness; and problem-solving. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website (http://www.soas.ac.uk/careers/graduate-destinations/).

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

Visit the MA Anthropology of Media page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

Student Profiles

Canon Collins Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

These scholarships are for Masters study in any subject field.
The application process normally opens in December and closes in February, for study commencing in September the following year. Please go to the Canon Collins website and click "Apply for A Scholarship" and then "Canon Collins Scholarship for Masters Study in the UK" for further information on how to apply.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See website


Country/Nationality: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information



SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Arts & Humanities - 5 Awards

There are five SOAS Master's scholarships available in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities (Department of Anthropology and Sociology - 1 scholarship, History - 1 scholarship, History of Arts&Archaeology/Music & Media - 2 scholarships, Religions and Philosophies - 1 scholarship). Each scholarship is valued at £16,765 in total. Fees will be deducted from this amount and the remainder will be used toward maintenance. Candidate Assessment
- Candidates will be assessed on academic merit by an Advisory Panel consisting of at least three academic members of the Faculty. - The assessment of your application will be based on the information in your scholarship application. Selectors will be looking at the degree results and also at academic references, statements and other relevant information.Scholarship Application Deadline
- Scholarship applications must be received no later than 17:00 (UK local time) on 24 February 2016.- In order to be considered for this scholarship, you must ALSO submit a complete online application to the degree programme as soon as possible and then submit an application for the scholarship. Applicants applying for scholarships must also submit an application for admission well in advance. Please note that complete applications for admission can take up to 4 weeks to be considered by the Department, although this duration can vary depending on the time of year. You should prepare to wait up to 6 weeks in busy periods. - Late or incomplete applications will not be considered

Value of Scholarship(s)



- Applicants must possess or expect to be awarded a First Class Honours Degree or equivalent. Students with a non-UK degree to be adjudged in the top rank by their referees and transcript.
- This scholarship is open to UK/EU applicants only.
- Applicants must have an offer of admission to pursue one of the eligible full-time masters programmes at SOAS by the scholarship application deadline.
- The scholarship cannot be held along with any other major scholarship or studentship.

Application Procedure

You must apply for this scholarship via this on-line scholarship application form.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

The minimum of an upper second-class BA degree (or equivalent). Some exceptions are made for those with significant experience in a relevant media related career.

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Recipient: SOAS University of London
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