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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

MA Anthropology of Media

Duration: One calendar year (full-time) Two or three years (part-time, daytime only) We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study. The expectation in the UK is of continuous study across the year, with break periods used to read and to prepare coursework.

Overview

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.

Start of programme: September intake only

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.

Structure

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

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:
Foundation Course
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
Foundation Course
Option Courses
Half Unit Anthropology Options
Full Unit Anthropology Options

May include a language unit taught in the Faculty of Languages & Cultures.

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Year abroad

 No
 

Destinations

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.

A Student's Perspective

What has been the best thing about my time here? Everything. The course, the societies, the people. It’s sometimes hard to believe that it’s such a small university when you see how active all of the societies are. There’s always something to do, and the vibrancy and energy we have at SOAS both matches and is a testament to its prime location in London.

Darryl Chan