Search type

School of Social Sciences

Students walking past a a collage of different anthropological imagery
MA Social Anthropology - Visual and Sensory Media Pathway
Study human social and cultural experiences with a focus on media.

MA Social Anthropology - Visual and Sensory Media Pathway

Year of entry: 2018


Degree awarded
Master of Arts
12 Months. [Full-Time] 24 Months [Part-Time]
Entry requirements

UK 2:1 (or overseas equivalent, eg GPA 3.00+ in many North American systems) in an appropriate subject for direct MA entry

UK 2:2 (or overseas equivalent, eg GPA 2.00+ in many North American systems) in an appropriate subject for Postgraduate Diploma route entry.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • You are interested in questioning taken-for-granted assumptions and view the world from a new perspective
  • You want a course that links with Visual Anthropology and uses our ethnographic film-making facilities
  • You would like to benefit from personalised and specialist supervision in pathways of different areas

Course Director: Professor Karen Sykes, email;

Open days

For details of the next University Postgraduate open day, visit open days and visits


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2018, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £9,500
    International students (per annum): £18,000
  • MA (part-time)
    UK/EU students (per annum): £4,750
    International students (per annum): £9,000

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.


Please see the School's funding page for further information.

If you are already a graduate of The University of Manchester, please visit,

Faculty of Humanities/School of Social Sciences - Loyalty Bursary

Contact details

Academic department
School of Social Sciences
Contact name
Zoe Woodend
+44 (0)161 275 1296
+44 (0)161 275 2450
Academic department overview

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

UK 2:1 (or overseas equivalent, eg GPA 3.00+ in many North American systems) in an appropriate subject for direct MA entry

UK 2:2 (or overseas equivalent, eg GPA 2.00+ in many North American systems) in an appropriate subject for Postgraduate Diploma route entry.

English language


IELTS - overall score of 7, including 7 in writing with no further component score below 6.0

TOEFL IBT - overall score of 100 with 25 in each section.

TOEFL code for Manchester is 0757

Scores are valid for 2 years.

For students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, your test score is valid for 2 years preceding the course start date.

For example;

Test taken on or after 17 September 2016 - CAS issued June 2018 = Score is VALID

Test taken before 17 September 2016 = Score is INVALID

Please note that CAS statements are issued only when all conditions of the offer have been satisfied, PDF copy of passport received and the offer accepted.

Applicants from certain countries MAY be exempt from having to provide an IELTS or TOEFL score.  For further advice please email

Pre-Sessional English Courses:

If you eligible to do a pre-sessional English course (either 6 weeks or 10 weeks, depending on your English score), you will be required to successfully complete the course at the required level before you are permitted to register on your academic course).

The dates and fees for next summer (2018) are now available on the English Language Centre's website.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

The objective of this programme is to bring  students with little or no background in social anthropology, or who have studied anthropology within a different intellectual tradition outside the UK, to a  sufficiently advanced level that they can go on to a PhD- track research degree if they that is their career intention, or to work in some arena of extra-academic life that requires an awareness to issues of cultural diversity. Therefore, although the admissions tutors for this programme will certainly take into account academic qualifications and English language competence, they would welcome applications from all those who feel that they could benefit from the programme's objective, regardless of academic background.

Points Based System (PBS)   International applicants who will require a visa to study in the UK can obtain up-to-date information on the latest student visa advice and guidelines.

How your application is considered

Applications are initially assessed by the Admissions Team and referred to the Admissions Tutor when required.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Course details

Course description

The general objective of this programme is to communicate an anthropologically-informed understanding of social life in both Western and non-Western societies. By confronting students with the remarkable diversity of human social and cultural experience, its aim is to encourage them to question taken-for-granted assumptions and to view the world from a new perspective.

Through a set of core modules, comprising about a third of coursework credits, students are provided with a comprehensive grounding in classical as well as contemporary debates in social anthropology and are introduced to the distinctive research methods and ethical positions associated with the discipline. Students then complete their coursework credits by choosing from a broad range of around 50 different modules offered around the Faculty of Humanities.  Through these options, students apply the social anthropological theories and methods learnt on the core modules to particular substantive themes and topics. Diploma students complete their coursework in May and formally graduate in July.  Over the summer vacation, MA students carry out research for a 15,000 word dissertation that is submitted in September.  They then would normally expect to graduate formally in December.

Most of the coursework optional modules have been organized into pathways based on particular themes and topics. Go to the Study Details tab for more details on the Visual and Sensory Media pathway. Pathways are designed to ensure both an academic and timetabling fit between the options. Students are encouraged, on the basis of past experience and/or future goals, to select a pathway shortly after registration in consultation with the programme director. MA students' dissertation topics will normally also relate to this pathway. In addition to the Visual and Sensory Media pathway, there are currently six others. 

Please note that it is not compulsory to  select a pathway and all students will be awarded the same generic degree, MA in Social Anthropology

Teaching and learning

In each semester students take a small number of 15 credit core modules, and a selection of optional modules that they choose shortly after arrival.  Many optional modules are worth 15 credits, though some are worth 30 credits.  In total, students are required to achieve 120 coursework credits.  Over the summer vacation, students are required to write a dissertation which is worth a further 60 credits.

Some 50 optional modules are available, not only in Social Anthropology but across many other disciplines in the Faculty of Humanities, including Visual Anthropology, Archaeology, Museum Studies, Latin American Studies, Development Studies, Drama, Sociology & History. Drawing on this broad range of disciplines, a number of pathways have been devised in order to maximize the academic & timetabling coherence of the options chosen by students.

The Visual & Sensory Media pathway draws exclusively on modules offered by Social Anthropology & the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology.

  • Students normally take two modules exploring the representation of visual culture in the visual arts, in cinema & in ethnographic film & related documentary genres.
  • In the second semester, they take a practice-based module that offers basic training in photography & sound-recording as well as encouraging reflection on these media both as means of creating anthropological knowledge & as a means of representing it. An important feature of this module are the workshops given by practising professional photographers & sound-recordists. Please note that this last module requires the payment of an additional fee of £500 (currently under review) to cover equipment & facilities costs.
  • The dissertation normally consists of a text directly supported by & integrated with still images &/or sound recordings.

Coursework and assessment

In each semester, students take two 15-credit core modules, & up to 30 credits of optional modules. Many optional modules are worth 15 credits, though some are worth 30. In total, students are required to achieve 120 coursework credits. Over the summer vacation, MA students write a dissertation worth a further 60 credits.

Most modules are assessed by means of an extended assessment essay. Typically, for 15 credit modules, these must be of 4000 words, whilst for 30 credit courses, they are normally of 6000 words. But certain options involving practical instruction in research methods, audiovisual media or museum display may also be assessed by means of presentations &/or portfolios of practical work. The dissertation that MA students are required to submit is normally 15,000 words though this may be reduced in length if work in other media is presented in conjunction with the written text.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

Past graduates of the MA in Social Anthropology have gone on to many different careers both inside and outside academic life. As it is a 'conversion' course aimed at those who want to explore anthropology after undergraduate studies in another field, or at least within a different anthropological tradition, it often represents a major change of career direction, opening up a wide range of different possibilities.

About 20% of our graduates carry on to do a doctorate, be it here or elsewhere. But the MA in Social Anthropology also represents a very appropriate preparation for careers in which an informed awareness of the implications of social and cultural diversity are important. Some past students have been drawn to the voluntary sector, either in the UK or with development agencies overseas, others have gone on to work in the media or cultural industries or in education at many different levels. Others again have found opportunities in business or the civil service, where ethnography-based methods are increasingly popular as a way of finding out how people - from consumers to employees - interact with their everyday worlds.

The MA in Social Anthropology also trains students in a broad range of transferable skills that are useful in many walks of life, including social research methods and the ethics associated with these, effective essay-writing, oral presentational skills in seminars and other contexts, basic computing skills, using the internet as a research tool and conducting bibliographic research.