Course information




1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

The MRes Visual Anthropology offers advanced-level training to students who normally already have an undergraduate degree or an MA. Alternative practical experiences will be considered and assessed on a case-to-case basis. The programme offers training to students who intend to undertake a doctorate in Anthropology and/or it presents a research degree in and of itself.

  • Students applying for the MRes in Visual Anthropology need to hold a BA or an MA and need to provide a written research proposal the department can assess. However, alternative practical experiences will be considered on a case-to-case basis 
  • The MRes Visual Anthropology is the only programme of its kind in the UK and has a worldwide reputation
  • It is a taught degree that provides training through classes and close supervision which will enable you to develop your own research proposal and complete training modules that will support your intended project
  • The MRes Visual Anthropology provides you with in depth and a wide range of training in social science research methods, and in-depth training in anthropological methods and issues around anthropological research, including ethics and practicalities of undertaking fieldwork and has a visual theory component that enable students to  critically engage with visual-based research methods
  • The MRes Visual Anthropology is a stand-alone degree, and some students chose it as a basis to develop professional research skills. However, most of our MRes students use this is a training year for the MPhil/PhD in Visual Anthropology programme in order to sharpen their proposal and to acquire necessary critical skills, as well as acquainting themselves with relevant bodies of scholarship as part of writing the dissertation
  • The taught elements of the program include modules on research design; ethnographic methods, and visual theory/methods and opportunities to audit a wide range of courses in the department, including modules on Visual Anthropology and practice, as well as modules engaging with visual cultures the university provides and available across the University of London
  • Many students use this year to acquire optional language training
  • The taught modules are assessed individually and the final assessment for the MRes in Visual Anthropology consists of a dissertation and a portfolio, which prepares the ground for rewriting a viable fieldwork proposal at MPhil level
  • The dissertation includes a detailed account of your proposed research and an analysis of relevant theoretical and regional literatures that contributes to refining your original proposal

How to choose between MRes and MPhil/PhD

Normally all research students are encouraged to register for the MRes in order to complete the requisite training for carrying out a doctoral research project in Anthropology regardless of whether they hold a degree in Anthropology.

Students who complete the MRes successfully will transfer to MPhil status after completing the dissertation (usually in September) and register for the MPhil/PhD degree afterwards. 

However, if you hold an MA in Anthropology with a substantial methods training component or substantial training in visual methodologies it is possible to register directly for the full-time MPhil/PhD in Visual Anthropology, provided the Department and your future supervisor(s) agree after interviewing you.

MPhil-registered students are expected to audit the courses available to the MRes students and present assessed material similar to the MRes dissertation and portfolio during their first year to be upgraded to PhD status.

Only after they have been upgraded successfully they can start fieldwork or other forms of data-collection.

Students cannot be registered as PhD students without having gone through this process.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Henrike Donner.


In the week before the beginning of the academic year in mid-September there is an Induction Programme for all new research postgraduates at Goldsmiths.

You will be introduced to College and departmental facilities and procedures, and attend workshops on what is involved in doing a research degree. 

The MRes is a training year, in which work on your own research project is coupled with general training in Anthropological and Social Science Methods - as follows: 

Doing Ethnography (10 weeks x 2 hrs) 

Research Design (10 weeks x 2.5 hrs) 

Visual Practice in Anthropology (10 weeks x 2 hrs) 

Department of Anthropology Research Seminar 

You are encouraged to audit other modules depending on your specific training needs, such as learning a language, or auditing an MA module, either in the Department or elsewhere, of particular relevance to your research project.

You are also encouraged to attend seminars in other parts of the University of London, attend conferences.

There are funds available across the university to enable you to attend such events. 

At the end of the year, MRes Visual students present a 10,000-word dissertation with a portfolio of multimodal work in September, which discusses in depth their proposed research topic and the relevant literature.


The assessment for the MRes Visual Anthropology consists of material including written and portfolio work for the modules attended , the dissertation plus portfolio work. 

Download the programme specification.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements 

Many direct entrants to the MRes already have a first degree or an MA in Social Anthropology but this is not a condition. If you don't have this the MRes acts as a conversion course that allows you to apply for the MPhil/PhD in (Visual) Anthropology. 

The MRes is a qualification in itself and if you achieve the required standard, you can apply to register for the MPhil/PhD.

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2024/2025 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £9630
  • Home - part-time: £4815
  • International - full-time: £20460

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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 

Contact details of a second referee 

A 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) 

Details of your research proposal 

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. 

Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above.

It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting. 

Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research.

The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body.  

If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.

Research proposals 

Along with your application and academic reference, you should also upload a research proposal at the point of application.

This should be in the form of a 2-5 page statement of the proposed area of research and should include:

  • delineation of the research topic 
  • why it has been chosen 
  • a section on methodology 
  • a brief list of major secondary sources 

How detailed a research proposal are we looking for on the application form?  

Obviously what you put on the form and exactly what you end up researching may be rather different, but in order to judge whether or not to offer you a place, the Department needs to know whether you have the broad outlines of a viable project.

This means: 

  • a project that is both worthwhile and interesting, but not over-ambitious 
  • a project that can realistically be achieved within the confines of PhD on a full-time (4 years typically) or part-time (6 years maximum) basis 
  • we need to be sure that you have thought about it carefully and are fully committed to the research 
  • we need to be sure that you understand what is involved in doing a PhD 
  • your research proposal should give us enough information to be able to interview you (if you are in the UK) or reach a decision as to whether to admit you if you are not based in the UK 

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 conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.  

If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified. 

Selection process  

Once we receive your application form, it is forwarded to the Postgraduate Convenor, who normally sets up a formal interview with two other members of staff with relevant expertise.

You may wish to contact the convenor as well.  

At the interview you will be asked about your academic background and to elaborate on your plans for research, and you can also ask questions. 


Find out more about applying.


Our MRes programme will enable you to:

  • gain a thorough knowledge of the main methods used by anthropologists 
  • understand the principles of quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences 
  • plan, design and present a research project 
  • evaluate the research of others 

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