MA in Anthropology & Cultural Politics

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

The MA in Anthropology and Cultural Politics is an interdisciplinary programme in anthropology, directed at students from a wide range of disciplines in the humanities, social and political sciences, artists, and professionals in the media and cultural sectors.

The objective of the MA is to address contemporary issues in culture and politics from an anthropological perspective, drawing on the commitment of the Department of Anthropology at Goldsmiths to build a public anthropology.

The MA is organised around a critical investigation of the central thematic concepts of its title: 'culture', 'power', and 'politics', as well as 'anthropology' itself.

Each of these terms are posited in this programme as questions for critical reflection and students are encouraged to pursue independent research projects that investigate the meanings attributed to these terms in contemporary social contexts.

The programme is particularly interested in the intersections of 'culture' and 'power', and the consideration of what may be called 'cultural politics'.

  • How and when does 'culture' become apprehensible as 'political'?
  • How and when does 'power' operate upon or within 'culture'? Is it even tenable to uphold and retain this distinction?
  • If so, what are the analytical or interpretive benefits?
  • What may be the disadvantages or pitfalls?
  • If not, what is implicated in the politicisation of 'culture' or the culturalisation of 'power' and 'politics'?
  • How can these concerns be studied in the ongoing struggles over 'culture' in everyday life?

In addition to the core modules, options can be selected from several departments and centres.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Postgraduate Secretary

Modules & structure

The MA is made up of:

  • Anthropology and Cultural Politics (30 credits)
  • Option modules [within the Department of Anthropology, or the Departments of English and Comparative Literature, Media & Communications, Politics, Sociology, or Centre for Cultural Studies] (60 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

*Students who have an anthropology background can replace Anthropological Theory with an additional option module.

Core modules

Module title Credits
  Anthropology and Cultural Politics 30 credits
  MA in Anthropology & Cultural Politics Dissertation 60 credits

Option modules

Some examples of option modules from the Department of Anthropology are listed below. In addition, modules can be selected from several other departments and centres including Cultural Studies, English, Media and Communications, and Sociology.

Module title Credits
  The Anthropology of Rights 15 or 30 credits
  Anthropology and Gender Theory 15 or 30 credits
  Critical Voices in Development 30 credits
  Anthropological Approaches to History 15 or 30 credits
  Anthropological Theory 30 credits
  Intercultural Film 15 credits
  Photography & Sound 15 credits
  Anthropology of Art I 15 or 30 credits
  Anthropology of Art II 15 or 30 credits
  Anthropology of Health and Medicine I 15 or 30 credits
  Anthropology of Religion 15 or 30 credits
  Anthropological Research Methods 30 credits
  Economic and Political Anthropology I 30 credits
  Economic and Political Anthropology II 30 credits
  Ethnographic Film and Cinema Studies 30 credits
  Environmental Anthropology 15 or 30 credits
  Indian and Peasant Politics in Amazonia 15 or 30 credits
  Ethnography Through Photography & Sound 15 credits
  Experimental Ethnographic Filmmaking 15 credits
  Anthropological Perspectives on Tourism 15 credits
  Anthropology of Rights I 15 credits
  Anthropology of Rights II 15 credits
  Violence & the Body Politic 30 credits
  Borders and Migration 15 credits
  Learning from Social Movements 15 credits


Dissertation – a thorough critical discussion of existing knowledge in a relevant area; reports; take-home papers. Options may require a presentation or production of visual material.

Download the programme specification, relating to the 2017-18 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.


Anthropology at Goldsmiths is ranked: 1st in the UK for effective teaching* 6th in the UK for the quality of our research** 30th in the world for this subject area***


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.

Find out more about the Department of Anthropology.

*Guardian University Guide League Tables 2017
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
***QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017


Skills & careers

The programme is great preparation for any role that involves research and communication. Graduates have pursued opportunities in journalism, other media, policy, education and public debate; they have also gone on to research degrees, either at Goldsmiths or elsewhere.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student profiles


I have been infused with a great variety of challenging approaches and research material that I can draw from in the years to come.

At Goldsmiths I was encouraged to pursue and develop my academic background in political economy and refine it through the lens of anthropological thinking. The many-sidedness of the programme also offered the opportunity to explore my visual practice from an academic angle. Even though it was almost impossible to digest the vastness of anthropological writing in a one-year course, I have been infused with a great variety of challenging approaches and research material that I can draw on in the years to come.

Wasil was awarded the Pat Caplan Prize for the best dissertation for an MA programme in Anthroplogy and Cultural Politics, Development and Rights, or Social Anthropology.


"The programme and the professors from the anthropology department embody a strong critical spirit."

"I spent more than three months reading about anthropology departments and MA programmes in the UK to ensure I made the perfect choice for me.

As soon as I read about Goldsmiths I knew I was in front of something particularly different, a place of ‘avant-garde’. I was happy to confirm that the programme and the professors from the anthropology department embody a strong critical spirit and a wide interdisciplinary perspective that address the best of the anthropological towards an understanding of contemporary societies."

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject.

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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