M.A. Anthropology of Media

SOAS, University of London

Application deadline: June 30
Tuition fee:
  • € 7,900 / Year (EEA)
  • € 17,250 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time

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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.


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 candidates 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 Detail
Compulsory Elements * Comparative Media Studies - 15PANC009 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Dissertation in Anthropology and Sociology - 15PANC999 (1 Unit) - Full Year

Foundation Course * Theoretical Approaches to Social Anthropology - 15PANC008 (1 Unit) - Full Year

Option Courses Half Unit Anthropology Options * African and Asian Cultures in Britain - 15PANH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World - 15PANH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Anthropology of travel and tourism A - 15PANH051 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Anthropology of travel and tourism B - 15PANH052 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Anthropology of Urban Space, Place and Architecture - 15PANH029 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013
* Approaches to the Other in Horror and Science Fiction Films - 15PANH043 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Arab Cinemas - 15PMSH013 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Asia and Africa On Display: Objects, Exhibitions and Transculturism - 15PARH043 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Aspects of African film and video 2 - 15PAFH007 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013
* Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives A (Masters) - 15PANH047 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
* Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives B (Masters) - 15PANH048 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013 - Must be taken with the first term course - 15PANH047 Comparative Study of Islam: Anthropological Perspectives A (Masters)
* Diaspora Contexts and Visual Culture - 15PARH042 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
* Ethnographic Research Methods - 15PANH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Gender and development - 15PDSH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Issues in the Anthropology of Gender - 15PANH024 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not to be combined with 15PDSH010 Gender & Development.
* Genders and Sexualities in South East Asian Film - 15PSEH011 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013
* Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context - 15PSAH001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
* Indian Cinema: Key Issues - 15PSAH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2012/2013
* Iranian Cinema - 15PMSH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* International Political Communication - 15PMSH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Issues in the Anthropology of Film - 15PANH022 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora - 15PCHH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Anthropological Approaches to Agriculture, Food and Nutrition - (0.5 Unit)
* Food, Body And Society - 15 PAN H041 (0.5 Unit) - Cannot be taken with Food Development and the Global Economy
* Food, Development and the Global Economy - 15PANH042 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Cannot be taken with Food Body and Society.
* Japanese Post-War Film Genres and the Avant-Garde - 15PMSH001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Japanese Television since 1953 - 15PJKC006 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Japanese Transnational Cinema: From Kurosawa to Asia Extreme and Studio Ghibli - 15PMSH017 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Media Production Skills - 15PANH050 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Mediated Culture in the Middle East: Politics and Communications - 15PMSH003 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (MA) - 15PCHH001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Post-crisis Thai Cinema (1997-2007) - 15PSEH008 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013
* (Post) Colonialism and Otherness in South East Asia on Screen - 15PSEH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Rethinking Audiences - 15PMSH011 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* The Transnational News Environment: Production, Representation and Use - 15PMSH006 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Therapy and Culture - 15PANH027 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Transnational Communities and Diasporic Media:Networking, Connectivity, Identity - 15PMSH004 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Culture and Society of China - 15PANC089 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Culture and Society of East Africa - 15PANC084 (1 Unit) - Full Year

Full Unit Anthropology Options May include a language unit taught in the Faculty of Languages & Cultures.

* Culture and Society of Japan - 15PANC086 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Culture and Society of South Asia - 15PANC087 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Culture and Society of South East Asia - 15PANC088 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Culture and Society of West Africa - 15PANC083 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Culture and Society of the Near & Middle East - 15PANC097 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Film and Society in the Middle East - 15PNMC230 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
* Ethnomusicology in Practice - 15PMUC004 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Music in Selected Regions of Africa: Contexts and Structures - 15PMUC006 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
* Music of the Near and Middle East and North Africa - 15PMUC033 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Photography and the Image in Africa; and other Regional Perspectives - 15PARC036 (1.0 Unit) - Not Running 2012/13


Minimum 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.

English language requirements
In order to ensure that SOAS students have a sufficient standard of English to study effectively, we require overseas students to submit evidence, during the application process, of their current level of proficiency.

Score for Unconditional Entry

* IELTS: Overall 7+ with at least 7 in all sub scores
* TOEFL: iBT105+ with at least 25 in all sub scores
* Pearson Test of English - Academic: Score of 75 or above with at least 70 in all sub scores

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 7
TOEFL iBT® test: 105

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per 6 April 2015 only the English language tests from IELTS and Trinity College London are accepted for Tier 4 Visa applications to the United Kingdom. Other tests (including TOEFL, TOEIC, Pearson, City & Guilds) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. Since the Trinity College London language tests must be taken in one of their exam centres in the UK, IELTS is now the only language test accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK that can be taken worldwide.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

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