MA track Visual Ethnography as a Method

This special track is a methodological option, embedded within the regular Masters’ specialisations. It qualifies students for the use of audio-visual methods as a part of anthropological research.

Your own audio-visual research project

This special MA track Visual Ethnography as a Method combines anthropological theory and hands-on audio-visual practice. Skills are acquired through coursework, but above all through independent academic research. You will develop your own research project and conduct a two months research of audio-visually oriented fieldwork in January and February. Your materials recorded in the field are analysed and edited in the months thereafter. You complete the programme with your own ethnographic film and/or online multimedia production.

Course Programme

(Start by September 1st only)

  • Contemporary anthropological theory (5 EC)
  • Research methods (5 EC + 5 EC)
  • Elective course (one of three): Environmental Anthropology; Global Economy and Culture or Media; or Visual and Material Culture (5 EC)
  • ‘Hands-on’ courses on Visual Ethnography (5 EC + 5 EC)
  • Research proposal, fieldwork, audiovisual and written Master thesis (5 EC + 10 EC + 15 EC)

Admission and registration

The special track Visual Ethnography as a method is a methodological option, embedded within the regular Masters’ specialisations. It is not a specialisation in itself. It has to be combined with any of our two Master's specialisations:

Starting in September

The track ‘Visual Ethnography as a Method’ is only offered as part of the programme starting in September each year (and therefore not available from February).

MA admission requirements
The general admission requirements of the Masters’ in CA-DS also apply for the ‘Visual Ethnography as a method’. However, this track is only accessible to a limited number of qualified students. The MA admissions committee assesses applications with regard to the admission to the MA CA-DS as a whole as well as to the Visual Ethnography track.

Additional documents
Students who would like to be placed for ‘Visual Ethnography as a Method’ need to explicitly state this within the standard application procedure for the MA students, by submitting the following additional documents:

  1. An explicit statement (200 words) that you wish to take part in this methodological track, and a motivation of this preference.

  2. A sketch/idea for a viable MA research project (450 words). Viability depends on the topic chosen, but also significantly on the location at which fieldwork is to be conducted. For ‘Visual Ethnography as a method,’ students are only allowed to do fieldwork at a site where they have a good command of the language and have prior knowledge of the field site(s). Normally, students from the Netherlands will conduct fieldwork ‘at home’.

  3. Proof of prior training in visual anthropological methods. If you have been trained in these other than through the course Visual Methods (as offered by Leiden University), please indicate which courses on your transcript prove this and how they have equipped you with the necessary skills. Also, please send us (links to) the audio-visual production(s) that you have made in the context of these courses. (You can compare the learning aims of the courses that you have completed with the goals of the course Visual Methods as described in the e-Prospectus.

Pre-Master programme

Visual Methods is accessible within the regular BA programme of CA/DS. If required, students doing a pre-Master programme may be able to incorporate Visual Methods in their pre-Master programme.

Application deadline
The deadline for applications for ‘Visual Ethnography as a Method’ is identical to the deadline for application for the Masters’ programme starting in September (see the website The decision of the MA admissions committee will be communicated by July 1st.

An early application will result in an early clarification with regard to your possible deficiencies (in the area of visual ethnographic methods or other) and the opportunity to eradicate those within a pre-master programme.

Online registration
The online application forms of Leiden University do not mention Visual Ethnography as a specialisation – hence you should opt for either one of the thematic specialisations of CA-DS. To enroll for Visual Ethnography as a Method:

  1. Register online at the website for the MA pogramme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology
  2. Include the additional documents mentioned above

More information

  • Contact: If you have any questions about our MA track Visual Ethnography as a method, please contact us through e-mail:

  • MA Programme: For more information on our MA pogramme Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology and the two specialisations go to our website.