Anthropology and Film & Visual Culture at Aberdeen is a great study combination and will enhance your grounding in what it means to ‘be human’ with an in-depth study of how we communicate thoughts and ideas visually – a key attribute for humans. Your skills in critical thinking, communication and analysis, in addition to your subject knowledge will appeal strongly to employers in film, business and many other fields.

This programme is studied on campus.

Anthropology, with 100% student satisfaction, will give you a thorough foundation in humanity, how human cultures and communities differ and how they have developed. You will gain unique insights into behaviours, beliefs and attitudes all over the world and find connections between aspects of life such as family, economics, politics and religion.

Film and Visual Culture at Aberdeen gives a thorough exploration of one very human trait through rigorous training in the history and theory of the moving image within the shifting terrain of 21st century visual culture. You will gain specialist knowledge and skills in the academic study of cinema and develop skills in digital video production and web design.

You will thrive in the stunning, international environment of a leading teaching and research university, in a vibrant regional cultural scene, set amid an inspiring visual environment of mountain, forest, field and sea. Aberdeen is a city rich in tradition and heritage that also celebrates its modern, diverse cultures.

This subject combination is great preparation for a career in the film industry. You will gain the core writing, research, technical and presentation skills required to pursue a wide variety of careers as diverse as publishing, media, teaching, research, or any sector of business.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month

What You'll Study

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Academic Writing for Social Sciences (AW1006)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

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Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.

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Introduction to Anthropology: Peoples of the World (AT1003) - Credits: 15

Anthropology is the comparative study of human ways of life through the study of societies and cultures around the world. In this course we introduce some of the key topics of contemporary anthropological inquiry: What is Anthropology? What do anthropologists do? What is ethnography? How can we see the diverse world of societies and cultures around us, not by looking from the outside, but by looking at how people themselves make their own lives and meanings?

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Introduction to Visual Culture (FS1008) - Credits: 15

What is Visual Culture? Over the last twenty years, the visual landscape has become digital, virtual, viral, and global. A vibrant cross-section of scholars and practitioners from Art History, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Film Studies have responded, not only engaging contemporary image production and consumption, but also the foundations of visual knowledge: What is an image? What is vision? How and why do we look, gaze, and spectate? From the nomadic pathways of the digital archive to the embodied look that looks back, this course will introduce students to the key concepts that shape this fluid field.

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Introduction to Anthropology: Questions of Diversity (AT1502) - Credits: 15

In this course students will be offered an extended introduction to social anthropology and will focus on topics: language and culture, belief and religion, gender and sex, kinship, and race. Students will develop and refine their understanding of major issues in the discipline of social anthropology through staff lectures, tutorials, and ethnographic films.

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Introduction to Film and the Cinematic Experience (FS1508) - Credits: 15

This course offers an introduction to the language and practice of formal film analysis. Each week we will explore a different element of film form and analyze the ways in which it shapes the moving image.This course invites students to think about formal elements within and across a wide range of genres, styles, historical moments, and national contexts. By the end of this course, the successful FS1006 student will be able to recognize and communicate the ways in which meaning is made in cinema.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Political Anthropology (AT2005) - Credits: 15

How do human beings relate to one another at a communal level? What holds human societies together? This course examines the basic forms of human solidarity that anthropologists have identified that bind us together as people: race, class, ethnicity, kinship, gender. In each case, these core ideas will be examined not just as descriptions of social life, but as forms of power and identity. The course introduces students to what these terms mean, how they have been used in understanding human societies, and what they look like in a cross-cultural context.

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Anthropological Approaches to Religion (AT2006) - Credits: 15

This course helps students to understand critically the phenomenon of religion. There are two main aims. Firstly, four contrasting approaches to religion that have been influential in anthropology and beyond will be introduced. These include religion as a social phenomenon, religion as a cultural phenomenon, Marxist perspectives on religion, and religion as embodied experience. Secondly, students themselves will engage with the question of what religion is, compare and contrast different answers to this question, and develop their own, informed, understanding.

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Cinema and Modernity (FS2003) - Credits: 30

The first half of a film history sequence at the second year level, Cinema & Modernity focuses on crucial moments, concepts and cinematic works from the period 1895 to 1945. Students will be marked according to a mid-term essay, a final exam, short assignments on Blackboard, and attendance in lectures and tutorials.

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Reimagining Colonialism (AT2515) - Credits: 30

This course will explore contemporary colonial expressions from an anthropological perspective. It will be split into two main themes: Material Histories; and Mediated Histories. Within these themes it will address topics such as the "capturing" of cultures in museums, kinship and politics, gendered colonialism, economic development, media, aboriginal rights and contemporary resistance movements.

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Cinema and Revolution (FS2506) - Credits: 30

The second half of a film history sequence at the second year level, Cinema & Revolution focuses on crucial moments, concepts and cinematic works from the period between 1945 and the present. Students will be marked according to a mid-term essay, a final exam, short assignments on Blackboard, and participation and attendance in lectures and tutorials.

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Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Anthropological Theory (AT3027) - Credits: 30

This course explores theoretical issues and key debates in contemporary anthropology. We begin with the questioning of the central concepts of culture and society in anthropology during the 1980s. Following this, we ask: how can anthropology proceed if the targets of its investigation can no longer be understood as objective entities? How can anthropology proceed if the anthropologist themselves is inevitably implicated in and part of those very targets? To look for possible answers, the course examines current anthropological interest in power and history, political economy and phenomenology, experience, embodiment and practice, ontology and things that speak.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 30 credit points from Anthropology Level 3 Courses.
  • Select a further 60 credit points from Film & Visual Culture Level 3 courses.
Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Independent Study In Anthropology (AT4036) - Credits: 30

This course is open to joint honours students in anthropology. Having chosen a topic for their study, students will be allocated a supervisor and carry out readings, research and writing under the guidance of their supervisor. Students will write a 10,000-word dissertation based on library research.

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Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4506) - Credits: 30

This course will provide students with guidance on writing a dissertation on a topic approved by the programme co-ordinator for the Head of School.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course.
  • Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course.
  • Written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Anthropology and Film & Visual Culture?

  • Aberdeen is one of the fastest-growing Anthropology departments in the UK.
  • Our core staff specialise in regions as diverse as Canada, the Central  Asian Republics, Iceland and Scandinavia, Siberia, Scotland and the UK, South America, Tibet and the Himalayas.
  • We offer innovative ideas and a fresh vision of the subject, with an emphasis throughout on work at the cutting-edge of the discipline and research.
  • A vibrant student anthropology society regularly organises academic and social events, bringing together undergraduate and postgraduate students with staff outside the classroom.
  • Film and Visual Culture at Aberdeen offers a unique programme that combines the close analysis of visual objects and artefacts - analogue and digital, moving and still, underground and mainstream - with theories of visual representation, production, and circulation.
  • Our curriculum emphasises comparative thinking and theoretical reflection, as well as an intgrated approach to creative practice.
  • Our aim is to train students to become active participants in their own visual culture, as careful scholars and creative practitioners - Film and Visual Culture students learn to think within the movements of cinema and to pursue questions beyond the film frame.

Entry Requirements

You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, changing your subject, offers and advanced entry.


SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5,5,5 at HL
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Tuition fee rates can be found on our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,000
All Students
International Students £13,800
Students admitted in 2016/17
International Students £14,300
Students admitted in 2017/18

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Undergraduate Open Day

Our next Open Day will be on

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  • Visual Anthropology and Consultancy.
  • Academic Researcher.
  • Film Maker.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

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Top in Scotland for Anthropology

Source: National Student Survey 2016

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Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX