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Anthropology, Art and Perception (MRes) 2022 entry

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.

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Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Research (MRes)

Course dates

  • Start date: 5 September 2022
  • End date: 30 September 2023

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

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Tuition fees

Home: £10,395
Overseas: £21,390

Application deadline

Thursday 11 August 2022. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV
  • personal statement (optional)
  • sample of your own, single-authored academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The MRes in Anthropology, Art and Perception is led by the Department of Social Anthropology within the School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies.


  • 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.
  • The course includes a project-based module that allows you to experiment with audio-visual and other creative anthropological research methods.
  • 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
  • the role of community and cooperation in both making and use of apprenticeship and practice-based research
  • observation and the use of attention in drawing, photography, sound and film
  • representation
  • a 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 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
  • 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 either a 15,000-word dissertation or 7,500-word dissertation with a practical element. Every taught postgraduate student is assigned an individual supervisor from among the Social Anthropology staff who will work with them closely to develop a topic and direction for the dissertation.

The Department of Social Anthropology provides postgraduates with access to a museum collection of ethnographic material and a common room that includes a general anthropological library, providing a space that is shared by both staff and postgraduates. The departmental libraries, together with the main University library which holds a fine anthropology collection, include resources covering nearly all regions of the world.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


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 the latest module catalogue which is for the 2021–2022 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2022 entry.

  • Anthropology, Art and Perception 1: centres on the role of perception in visual and material culture and covers haptic, visual, sonic and gustatory themes in anthropology, and addresses the role of aesthetics from ethnographic and anthropological perspectives.
  • The Anthropology of Connections: Interdisciplinarity as Methodology: examines the relevance of other disciplines for social anthropology by working with methodologies and concepts drawn from history, social science, philosophy, language and the arts.
  • Anthropology, Art and Perception 2: explores anthropology's potential for contributing to and critiquing image production in film, art and photography; develops new sensory approaches to observation and engagement; and asks what is entailed in perceiving the past.
  • Research Methods in Social Anthropology: examines the methodology of anthropological research through close attention to the relationship between method and fieldwork experience.

Students can choose to complete a 15,000-word research dissertation or a 7,500-word dissertation with a practical element. Student dissertations will be supervised by a member of teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation must be submitted by a specified date in August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MRes, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MRes.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2022 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

Online information events

STAR programme

The Scottish Training in Anthropological Research (STAR) consortium brings together social anthropologists from the universities of St Andrews, Aberdeen and Edinburgh to support innovation in research and teaching.

In addition to co-hosting international conferences and workshops, the consortium runs two free week-long residential training courses each year in anthropology for postgraduate students and early career researchers. The first course is for students at the pre-fieldwork level and the second is for those at an advanced stage of research writing.


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships. 

After the MRes

Research degrees

Many graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere. The department of Social Anthropology offers PhD supervision across a diverse range of theoretical interests and topics. 

PhD in Social Anthropology


Social Anthropology graduates have characteristics many employers seek, and a Social Anthropology degree provides openings to a wide range of careers. Graduates have gained successful employment in areas such as:

  • design
  • international policy and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
  • journalism (BBC and The Independent)
  • marketing
  • museums
  • teaching
  • wildlife conservation.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

"My course emphasises the use of multiple perceptions to understand cultural phenomena. Studying here has helped improve my theoretical knowledge and broadened my horizons. St Andrews is a good place to study and relax and you can meet students from many different cultural backgrounds."

- Shanxi, China


Department of Social Anthropology
School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies
University of St Andrews
71 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2977

Department of Social Anthropology


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online.

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online.

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