Taught course

Anthropology, Art and Perception

University of St Andrews · School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies

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Entry requirements

A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. We welcome applications from students with an undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology and from those with no previous anthropological experience.

Months of entry


Course content

The MRes in Anthropology, Art and Perception provides training for postgraduate research into the anthropology of human creativity, art, material culture and visual expression. It takes perception as its starting point and draws on themes extending across the subject boundaries between art and anthropology.


  • Students will explore new ways of thinking anthropologically and gain access to cutting-edge research tools for future research, including practical 'learning labs' with invited experts and a field visit.
  • The course benefits from small class sizes and an interdisciplinary approach.
  • Students have the option to write a library based dissertation or a dissertation with a practical component.

Course description

The programme takes perception as its starting point and draws on themes extending across the subject boundaries between art and anthropology. These themes include:

  • the senses and perception in anthropology
  • apprenticeship and practice-based research
  • observation and the use of attention in drawing, photography, sound and film
  • the relationship between art and psychology
  • representation
  • practical sensory project
  • heritage
  • design anthropology
  • commonalities between anthropological field work and contemporary arts practice.

The MRes provides an excellent grounding in contemporary research themes and innovative research methods for students aiming to do a PhD in anthropology, visual culture, design anthropology, heritage studies, and related subjects. It also provides an important training for students interested in a career in the heritage sector, development, the creative industries, workplace management and design.

Teaching format

Over two semesters, students take four compulsory modules. Teaching methods include formal lectures combined with seminar style teaching, one-off practical 'learning labs' with invited experts, and a field trip. Lecture groups are small. Modules are assessed through coursework which includes essays and independent research-led assignments.

Over the course of the year, with particular focus during the summer months, you will devise a research project culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation or 10,000-word dissertation with a practical element. Every taught postgraduate student is assigned an individual supervisor from among the anthropology staff who works with them closely to develop a topic and direction for the end of degree dissertation.

The Department of Social Anthropology provides postgraduates with access to a museum collection of ethnographic objects and a common room that includes a general anthropological class library, providing a space that is shared by both staff and postgraduates. The Departmental libraries, along with the main library which holds a fine anthropology collection, include materials from all ethnographic regions of the world.


Each module typically comprises:

  • 22 contact hours for lectures and seminars, plus additional 'learning lab' time and field trip
  • 100% coursework assessment.

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see our website; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students
EU: £9,450 Overseas: £19,400

There are a variety of funding options available for postgraduate students. For more details visit our website.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MRes
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Secretary
+44 (0)1334 46 2977