Introduction

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.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
LW66
Degree marketing image

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.

What You'll Study

Year 1

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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Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

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Introduction to Anthropology: Peoples of the World (AT1003)

15 Credit Points

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)

15 Credit Points

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)

15 Credit Points

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)

15 Credit Points

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 FS1508 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

Year 2

Compulsory Courses
Key Debates in Anthropology (AT2010)

30 Credit Points

This course explores some of the key questions that anthropologists have debated: what it is to be human, the nature of human interaction with other humans, with non-humans, and with the environment, and the different ways that people perceive the world and act within it. Themes that will be discussed in this course include the category of the person, morality and ethics, art and aesthetics, what is power, how to engage with Otherness, and how anthropologists engage actively, outside academia, in development, health, or business.

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Visualising Modernity (FS2007)

30 Credit Points

The first half of a film history sequence at the second year level, Visualising 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)

30 Credit Points

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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Visualising Revolution (FS2507)

30 Credit Points

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

Year 3

Compulsory Courses
Anthropological Theory (AT3027)

30 Credit Points

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 the following Film & Visual Culture courses:
The Art of Screen Writing (FS3012)

30 Credit Points

This course will focus on the theory and the practical techniques of writing screenplays for cinema and for television. It will encourage students to put together the tool kit of skills which they will require to write effective screenplays based on both adapted source material and on original material. The course will survey the established skills of creating effective narrative screenplays across genres, with an emphasis on contemporary dramatic cinema. The course will provide students with a versatile, practical skill-set of screenwriting abilities set within realistic industry expectations.

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Cinema and Science: Beyond Fiction A (FS3010)

30 Credit Points

For much of the twentieth century, the cinema has provided mass audiences with a powerful and accessible source of images and ideas about many aspects of science, medicine and healthcare, including the notion of scientific evidence and objectivity, laboratory experimentation, science and human rights, the relationship between doctor and patient, the public image of scientists, the encounter between human and non-human animals. This course seeks to understand the complex relations between cinema and science, by critically examining a diverse body of works coming from different filmic traditions, genres and periods, challenging the cliché of the mad scientist often represented in mainstream Hollywood cinema.

View detailed information about this course
Cinematic Cities A (FS35FD)

30 Credit Points

The course will focus on the relationship between the cinema and the urban environment, focusing on specific thematic issues. These include: the city and cinematic visions of utopia/dystopia; the city and the figure of the detective/flaneur/flaneuse; the city as site of cultural encounter and social conflict; the city as a site of globalisation; the city and production and consumption; the city and the development/reworking of cinematic tradition. The course will also explore the relationship between the experience of cinematic space and urban space, and how they have been interconnected throughout the history of cinema.

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On Documentary: History, Theory and Practice (FS35IB)

30 Credit Points

This course will allow students to engage in documentary production by putting into practice methodologies they have studied through a series of seminar discussions, workshops and screenings. Students will research two topics (one assessed and one non-assessed) and work in teams to film them and utilize the Media Lab's facilities to complete the projects through post-production.

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Landscapes of Film A (FS35ZA)

30 Credit Points

This course will invite students to explore the ways films engage with and represent a variety of landscapes, and how, in turn, landscape can influence both the production and the creation of meaning in mainstream, underground and art films of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Students will study films from around the world alongside theoretical and critical writing on film, landscape, space and place.

Filmmakers to be studied may include, among others: Andrea Arnold, Jane Campion, Joel and Ethan Coen, John Curran, Tacita Dean, Werner Herzog, Im Kwon-taek, Abbas Kiarostami, Ang Lee, Terrence Malick, Philip Noyce, Lynne Ramsay, Andrei Tarkovsky, Agnes Varda and Andrey Zvyagintsev.

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Performance Art (FS35PC)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine the development of the genre of performance art in the 1960s and 1970s, through to the present day. The focus will be on performance art in Eastern Europe, where experimental art practices offered a zone of freedom for artists to develop. We will examine a range of issues, including the materiality of the body, gender, institutional critique, political art, as well as issues surrounding documentation, liveness, and re-performance.

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Society and Nature (AT3522)

15 Credit Points

Through a series of lectures and a mix of tutor and student led tutorials, this course will interrogate the division between society and nature. We will examine where the division came from, how it informs many understandings of humans and the environment, and whether we would be better off disposing of it altogether. Examples of the impact of this construction will be provided but students will be encouraged and expected to seek out their own and to do their own research which will then be brought back to the course through lively tutorial discussions resulting in peer and tutor feedback.

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Emotion, Self and Society (AT3526)

15 Credit Points

This course addresses the anthropological study of emotion and self. It covers the different theoretical approaches to emotion, self and subjectivity. The broad questions addressed revolve around the cultural construction of emotion and self, and the entanglement of psychodynamic processes and power in the formation of the subject. The topics covered include anger and fear, grief and compassion, personhood, technologies of self and subjectification, identification and melancholia.

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Religion, Power and Belief (AT3534)

15 Credit Points

What is religion? What does ritual do? Does ritual have effects, in the persons performing them, in society, or the world? How might ritual be a means or medium for political action? This course is an ethnographically grounded discussion of how anthropologists have addressed the concept of religion, the interface of religion and power, and is a critical interrogation the concept of belief.

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Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses
  • EITHER Independent Study in Anthropology (AT4036) OR Dissertation in Film and Visual Culture.
Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4506)

30 Credit Points

Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within Film and Visual Culture.

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Joint Honours Dissertation in Anthropology (AT4047)

30 Credit Points

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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Optional Courses
  • Select further credit points from Anthropology Level 4 courses to gain a total of 60 credits in the discipline
  • Select further credit points from the following Film & Visual Culture courses to gain a total of 60 credits in the discipline:
Confronting the Nazi Past in German and Austrian Film - B (FS40ED)

30 Credit Points

The process of confronting the crimes and legacy of the Third Reich in Germany and Austria has been a long and difficult one. In West Germany this process began in earnest following the 1968 student revolution, with a younger generation questioning the role that their parents had played in the Second World War. In Austria, the process of coming to terms with the Nazi legacy took substantially longer to get underway, and it is only over the past thirty years that the country's view of its role during the Third Reich has shifted decisively from that of victimhood to complicity. The discussion about the Nazi past in Germany has further evolved following German re-unification in 1990. This course will look at a number of key films and directors from the past seven decades to examine the changing discourse and shifts in representation of the Nazi legacy in Germany and Austria. The course will proceed chronologically, encompassing both fiction and documentary film, offering the opportunity to compare and draw connections between films from different periods and of diverse genres.

View detailed information about this course
Cinema and Science: Beyond Fiction B (FS4010)

30 Credit Points

For much of the twentieth century, the cinema has provided mass audiences with a powerful and accessible source of images and ideas about many aspects of science, medicine and healthcare, including the notion of scientific evidence and objectivity, laboratory experimentation, science and human rights, the relationship between doctor and patient, the public image of scientists, the encounter between human and non-human animals. This course seeks to understand the complex relations between cinema and science, by critically examining a diverse body of works coming from different filmic traditions, genres and periods, challenging the cliché of the mad scientist often represented in mainstream Hollywood cinema.

View detailed information about this course
Landscapes of Film B (FS45ZA)

30 Credit Points

This course will invite students to explore the ways in which films engage with and represent a variety of landscapes, and how, in turn, landscape can influence both the production and the creation of meaning in mainstream, underground and art films of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Students will study films from around the world alongside theoretical and critical writing on film, landscape, space and place.

Filmmakers to be studied may include, among others: Andrea Arnold, Jane Campion, Joel and Ethan Coen, John Curran, Tacita Dean, Werner Herzog, Im Kwon-taek, Abbas Kiarostami, Ang Lee, Terrence Malick, Philip Noyce, Lynne Ramsay, Andrei Tarkovsky, Agnes Varda and Andrey Zvyagintsev.

View detailed information about this course
Cinematic Cities B (FS45FD)

30 Credit Points

The course will focus on the relationship between the cinema and the urban environment, focusing on specific thematic issues. These include: the city and cinematic visions of utopia/dystopia; the city and the figure of the detective/fl-neur/fl-neuse; the city as site of cultural encounter and social conflict; the city as a site of globalisation; the city and production and consumption; the city and the development/reworking of cinematic tradition. The course will also explore the relationship between the experience of cinematic space and urban space, and how they have been interconnected throughout the history of cinema.

View detailed information about this course
Performance Art (FS45PC)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine the development of the genre of performance art in the 1960s and 1970s, through to the present day. The focus will be on performance art in Eastern Europe, where experimental art practices offered a zone of freedom for artists to develop. We will examine a range of issues, including the materiality of the body, gender, institutional critique, political art, as well as issues surrounding documentation, liveness, and re-performance.

View detailed information about this course
Anthropology, Museums and Society (AT403A)

30 Credit Points

This course is organised around a series of seminars and visits to selected museums. The course is divided into two parts. The first addresses approaches in anthropology to the meanings of artefacts; the second considers contemporary curatorial practice. Assessment is based on an artefact study, which will involve original research utilising the collections of the University of Aberdeen, and an essay in which students reflect upon the course as a whole.

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Anthropology and Art: on Place, Landscape and Materials (AT4046)

30 Credit Points

Anthropology and art have much to offer each other. Taking historical and contemporary perspectives, students in this course will debate the cultural significance of art and the nature of creativity. We will focus particularly on questions of place, landscape and materials through a combined art-anthropology approach. The course will use the University of Aberdeen’s own art and ethnographic collections, and we will also work with Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen.

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Anthropology of the North (AT4044)

30 Credit Points

Through a series of lectures and a mix of tutor and student led tutorials, this course focuses on the sometimes difficult history of anthropology and the circumpolar north. Misconceptions (sometimes intentionally created) about the people who live there and their relationships to the environment have informed both state policy and anthropological theory and now is the time for a new anthropology of the north to set the record straight. Students will be encouraged and expected to do their own research on topics of their own choosing and bring these insights back to the course through lively tutorial discussions.

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The Constitutional Imagination (AT4525)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine anthropological theories of the state, political organization and violence. Through an analysis of both modern and historical case studies from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, we will critically examine theories of state of modern and non-modern state formation and organisation, and the nexus of religion and colonial history. In the second half of the course, particular attention will we paid to the ethnography of violence as a mode of state and proto-state political action.

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Roads, Mobility, Movement, Migration (AT4526)

30 Credit Points

In this course students will be introduced to the topical themes in contemporary anthropology: roads, automobility, car cultures, migration, road narratives, and roads in film and literature. The course is based on the notions of movement and mobility and will incorporate the ethnographic material from the North, including Scotland and Siberia. During the course students will conduct their own research on the road of their choice. The course includes: a fieldwork element, screenings of documentary films about roads, and weekly student-led discussions.

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The Political Anthropology of Indigenous Rights (AT4547)

30 Credit Points

Indigeneity is one of the more controversial relations created by globalisation. Widely criticised for being ‘essentialist’ and ‘anti-liberal’, it is one of the more quickly growing identities recognized by the United Nations and defended in the constitutions of many nation-states. Using anthropological insight, this course survey the history of the term, study its expansion from the ‘salt-water colonies’ and ‘settler states’ to the heartland of Europe, and explore some of the challenges and advantages of the term. The seminar will explore how the term has come to be used in different post-colonial situations from the classic “heartlands” if indigeneity in North America, Latin America, and Northern Fennoscandia, to new contexts in China, India, Africa. The course will also explore how the politics of aboriginal rights has become closely linked to struggles for recognition, environmentalism, and collective struggles against neo-liberalism. The course is run in a seminar format with students encouraged to weigh and evaluate the results of their reading.

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More Than Human (AT4538)

30 Credit Points

This course explores new directions in how we think about humans and other species.

Recent years have seen an upsurge in interest in how the social sciences and humanities deal with animals, plants and other organisms and we scrutinise these cutting edge ideas in depth. A lot of emphasis is placed on trying to think through real life encounters and issues, from a walk in the park to new revelations about life from the bottom of the ocean. Although the focus is on anthropological work, the course should appeal to students from a wide range of backgrounds.

View detailed information about this course

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 integrated 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

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2021/22
EU / International students £18,000
Students Admitted in 2021/22
Home Students £1,820
Students Admitted in 2021/22

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

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 EU Scholarship

The Aberdeen Global Undergraduate Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is an £8,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Undergraduate students who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Undergraduate EU Scholarship

Careers

  • Visual Anthropology and Consultancy.
  • Academic Researcher.
  • Film Maker.
Image for useful fact about this Degree

Top in Scotland for Anthropology

Source: National Student Survey 2016

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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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Get in Touch

Contact Details

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