NO ADMISSION TO THE PROGRAMME IN 2024!
Social Anthropology is a discipline that studies the human experience by directly observing and participating in people’s daily lives. In our two-year Master’s programme, you will learn how anthropologists have developed theoretical and methodological tools for conducting such studies. The programme provides a stimulating research environment where you can develop your own research project through a range of fieldwork-based practices. You will be able to explore multiple areas of study, including one of the three strengths of Tallinn University's anthropology department:
Anthropology of Capitalism - the study of global inequalities from a critical perspective;
Environmental Anthropology - human-environment interactions from a perspective of local-global entwinement;
Audiovisual Ethnography - alternative mediums to text as a means to produce and present anthropological research.
You are a great fit for this programme, if you
- are curious about people and their ways of life;
- are looking for creative ways to engage with the human experience;
- are looking for novel solutions to society’s common problems;
- are open-minded.
The Anthropology programme at Tallinn University offers two MA pathways conducted in the English language. In the Social Anthropology pathway, MA students produce a 40,000-word dissertation based on eight weeks of ethnographic fieldwork.
In the Audiovisual Ethnography pathway, MA students choose the Audiovisual Ethnography Module and produce audiovisual materials alongside a shorter written thesis as components of their final projects. No admission for the audiovisual ethnography pathway in 2024.
Graduates from our programme have continued their careers in the following settings: academic research, business, cultural organisations, non-governmental organisations, development and international aid, government, health, media and publishing, education, tourism, etc.
Why study with us?
- Our courses give a solid foundation in anthropological theory and methods and address issues like capitalism, environmental anthropology, audiovisual ethnography, and anthropology of perception. We develop these strands of research through the detailed analysis of ethnographic texts, anthropological films, and open-ended discussions in small-group seminar settings.
- We are constantly looking for ways to make new connections between disciplines, vocabularies, and concepts that will allow us to render a sophisticated understanding of the faculties of contemporary social life.
- Our academic staff have a cosmopolitan background and have conducted fieldwork in Eastern and Western Europe, Central Asia, India, North America, and the Caribbean. They have close links with the academic community in Estonia and abroad and will help you find ideas and contacts for your research and further studies.
- We are constantly looking for ways to involve students in our international research projects and gain experience in interdisciplinary research teams.
- Students of the programme come from countries across the globe and create a supportive and close-knit group, forming friendships and networks for life.
- All MA students carry out their own anthropological study in close collaboration with a supervisor and their peers.
- Our international scope is complemented through the Erasmus programme, where students are offered the opportunity to study for up to one year in another European university. We also work on including universities outside of Europe through the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility programme.
- Our graduates have found employment in the public and private sector or continued on to postgraduate studies.
- Estonia is the home for many nations. Listen to the podcasts in Found in Estonia.
Due to the relatively small size of our unit, an important aspect of our programme is the personal rapport which students develop with their peers and supervisors. This lends itself to spirited and stimulating discussions which often carry on in informal contexts.
The nominal time to complete the MA programme in Anthropology is 2 years (4 semesters).
- During the first year, the MA student is expected to actively participate in seminars, attend the School’s courses and contribute to university events. Throughout the first 2 semesters, the candidate attends numerous courses and seminars with the goal of fine-tuning the theme that will be developed in the MA dissertation.
- At the end of the 2nd semester, MA researchers are required to submit a research proposal developed in close collaboration with the supervisor. The proposal will describe the research question, its relevance to the discipline, the methodology, and the ethical issues foreseen in carrying out the project. The researcher will get a final round of feedback from a member of staff that is different from the supervisor before they embark on their fieldwork experience.
After the successful submission of the proposal, MA researchers embark on the fieldwork phase of their projects. It is expected that the participant observation phase of the project will last eight weeks. After fieldwork, one academic year is allotted to writing up, supported by seminars and supervisory meetings. Attendance and participation in seminars at this stage are crucial.
Previous and ongoing research projects:
- Energy transition in North-East Estonia
- The meaning of work for refugees in Estonia
- Migration from children's perspective
- Identity Politics in a Transnational Context: Finland, Baltics, and Scandinavia
- The tourist experience: Scotland, Spain, Peru, Estonia.
- Conservation issues and multispecies interactions in Lahemaa National Park, Estonia.
- The Corporeal Experience and Embodied Knowledge: Sweden, Germany, India, Israel and the Baltic Sea.
- Company culture in a fully remote international start-up
- National Parks in Costa Rica
- Activism and disability in Greece
You can find a selection of our completed MA dissertations here
NB! Audiovisual Ethnographies are listed as "AVE".
Blog posts about MA students’ fieldwork experience
Researching with a camera in a city park in Basel, Switzerland (Anna Keller)
An Autoethnography of human-animal relations (Jo Burgess)
Fieldwork with Cape Verdeans in Lisbon (Deborah Onorati)
Refugees and survival sex in Greece (Kanchi Ganatra)
The relationship between work and homemaking among refugees in Estonia (Miriam Lehari, in Estonian)
Core course components
The course work is directed to offer MA researchers a comprehensive review of the theoretical and methodological contributions of Social Anthropology. The programme consists of a university-wide interdisciplinary course ELU, two general humanities courses, compulsory anthropology courses that give a solid foundation in the discipline and a range of elective courses. Students from abroad also need to take a course in Estonian language and culture. Based on the elective courses, students can choose the Social anthropology pathway or the audiovisual ethnography pathway that runs every other year and includes filmmaking courses offered in collaboration with BFM.
Key Concepts in Cultural Analysis
The seminar explores the main concepts and theories of 20th-century literary theory and cultural analysis. The aim of the seminar is to develop a coherent context to question the relationships between literature, films, and visual culture.
Multiculturalism in a Global Perspective
This course examines the complex narratives and policies that produce and reproduce multiculturalism. The course approaches multiculturalism from a comparative perspective with a focus on Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
General Debates in Anthropological Theory
This course examines dilemmas and debates that have characterised the development of anthropological thought and practice from the late 19th century to the early 21st century. The course is formatted as an interactive seminar that resembles a debate.
The course creates the opportunity for the student to familiarise themselves with core texts of ethnography and creates the preconditions for the development of critical reading and creative writing. The course explores the challenges faced by ethnographic fieldwork and the anthropological theorising that gets disseminated in book format. The course is structured around the reading of anthropological monographs.
Methods of Ethnographic Fieldwork and Project Planning
The course explores practical ethnographic approaches such as participant observation, interviews and focus groups, as well as conceptual approaches in anthropology. The course explores the politics of diverse forms of ‘participation’ in the fieldwork site. The course also covers issues such as practices of representation in ethnographic writing. The course is formatted as a workshop where students conduct practical exercises.
Anthropology of Work
The course analyses work, labour and the economy from an anthropological perspective and looks at how work structures and is structured by societies through gender, age, ethnicity and class, focusing not only on paid employment but also reproductive work at home and voluntary work. Is work, as we know it, running out? If machines can take over all the tedious and repetitive work, why are people then working increasingly long hours? How has COVID-19 affected the way people work? And how to study all this through ethnographic methods?
Students who choose the audiovisual ethnography pathway will choose the courses Filmmaking I-IV.
For the Social Anthropology pathway, examples of electives offered include:
Anthropology of Capitalism
The objective of the course is to develop skills for critical analysis of the logic and varieties of contemporary capitalism in the framework of contemporary crises such as global climate change, financial crisis, COVID-19 and most recently, the war in Europe. The key topics covered in the course are the anthropology of value and values, austerity and financialisation, ethnographic methods and epistemologies of studying time and temporalities of capitalism, socialism and postsocialism.
This course introduces the most important theoretical approaches and practical applications of the study of environmental anthropology. It considers some of the main cultural and social aspects of the human-environment interaction, such as the relationship between social organisation and ecology; alternative forms of land use and management; the impact of processes of globalisation on human interactions with the environment in a number of non-western societies; and the cultural dimension of human adaptation to the environment. We will also examine contemporary issues such as climate change, conservation and/or development and sustainable development. These issues may involve great debates in theory, problems of methodology or issues in applying research results to solve practical problems.
Soundscape: Perception & Design
This course considers the range of discourses and practises that have been used to understand the relationship between the sonic experience and society. It will focus on the different ways in which humans perceive sound and design sonic experiences. The course will also discuss how technologies associated with sound production and reproduction is related to cultural and historical contexts.
History of Anthropological Cinema
This course will examine the different functions and ideologies that have characterized the use of the visual medium in anthropology with an emphasis on narrative cinema. In doing so, the course will examine some of the contradictions and contributions that have emerged with the implementation of the visual medium in anthropological research. This course will also look at narrative anthropological films within the context of the development of anthropological discourse and the development of documentary film. The course will examine the relationship that anthropologists have historically had with visual media and relate these relationships to the history of cinema.
Gender, sexuality and family
This course examines the cultural frameworks and social aspects of gender, sexuality, and family based on key sociological and anthropological texts. It explores how experiences of gender, sexuality and family vary in different cultural, political and economic contexts. We will be critically reading seminal texts on gender and feminism, ethnographies of gendered experiences and sociological analyses from Estonia and beyond. The course will cover key issues in feminist theory such as the sex/gender debate, sexual desire and the body, the political economy of gender, feminist positionalities, methods; ethics, performativity of gender and the construction of masculinity among others.
- The Anthropology programme is housed within the School of Humanities and utilises all the facilities made available by Tallinn University. The Audiovisual Ethnography Module is a joint course with the Baltic Film, Media and Arts School, which supplies the basic equipment required to carry out the exercises associated with the curriculum.
- The university campus houses a study library, the main university library is situated within easy reach of the city centre. The National Library of Estonia is also in the city centre.
- Before applying to the programme, one can learn more about Tallinn University while participating in Tallinn Summer School or Tallinn Winter School. These are 3-week programmes running respectively in July and January, combining a wide range of courses with a rich, diverse cultural programme and attracting participants from all over the world. More information here.
- Anthropology NGO Facebook group
The Estonian Anthropology Association is a student-run NGO founded in 2008 to promote anthropology and anthropological education in Estonia and abroad. The organization closely collaborates with the School of Humanities, Tallinn University.
- Tallinn Anthropology Facebook Page
- Inimkond Seminar Series (Current Issues in Anthropology and Beyond)
This seminar series features speakers from anthropology and related fields, and fosters discussion of their research with a transdisciplinary audience. It aims to contribute to the culture of academic scholarship and debate at Tallinn University. Speakers include both local researchers and guests from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and with various interpretations on anthropological theory and methods. Presentations in the seminar series will be of interest to staff and students in anthropology, cultural theory, sociology, and history, among others.
- European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)
- International Society of Ethnology & Folklore (SIEF)
- World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA)
- International Union of Anthropological & Ethnological Sciences (IUAES)
- American Anthropological Association (AAA)
- World Film Festival
- Anthropology NGO Estonia
- Visual Anthropology
- Riga Pasaules Film Festival
Eeva Kesküla is Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Tallinn University. She completed her PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London and her postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany.
She is an economic anthropologist mostly focusing on questions of work and labour and energy transitions. For the last ten years, she has studied the work of mining communities in Estonia and Kazakhstan, focusing on the questions of transformation of ethnic, class and gender relations; work conditions and labour politics among the post-Soviet working class. Her four-year Estonian Research Council-funded research project focussed on industrial health and safety in heavy industry. From industrial work, she moved to the study of location-independent workers, digital nomads and their practices and ethic of work. She is currently working on a Horizon 2020 project on decarbonisation policies and energy transition in Europe.
Her research interests include economic anthropology, industrial and remote/digital work, energy transition in Europe, industrial health and safety, gender and work, class and other social inequalities, and the former Soviet Union, especially Central Asia and the Baltics.
Read more about her research
Carlo Cubero holds a PhD in Social Anthropology using Visual Media from the University of Manchester, where he specialised in the contemporary Caribbean and Visual Anthropology. He is currently Associate Professor of Anthropology at Tallinn University where he lectures and coordinates the Audiovisual Ethnography track in the graduate programme in Social Anthropology.
One strand of his research has focused on developing audiovisual and practise-based methods for anthropological research. He has produced and directed numerous documentaries and sound-works, including the award winning documentary "Mangrove Music". His most recent documentary, "Uus Tõus, Vana Mõõn", was produced by ETV. He has curated ethnographic film programmes for the European Association of Social Anthropology, International Society of Ethnology and Folklore, and the Finnish Anthropological Society. He has also curated ethnographic sound programmes at numerous conferences and public events in Europe and the Caribbean. He currently serves as the main curator of the Riga Pasaules Film Festival, an annual documentary film festival held in Riga.
Another strand of his research concerns itself with the complexities of Caribbean island life in a para-colonial and global context. His book Caribbean Island Movements: Culebra's Trans-insularities (Rowman and Littlefield 2017) makes a case for the concept of "transinsularism" as a means to engage productively with the contradictions that characterise Caribbean island identities. The book considers transinsular features of Caribbean island life as it pertains to historical relationships to imperialism, land tenure conflicts in a tourism context, maritime geographies, and music. The monograph is based on a long term relationship with the island of Culebra, located in the north-eastern Caribbean.
Research interests: ethnographic filmmaking methods, sensory ethnography, sonic ethnography, cinema, art, music, post-colonial identities, migration, transnationalism, Caribbean, Western Europe.
Joonas Plaan is a Lecturer of Anthropology. Joonas has done fieldwork among the fishing communities and climate activists, studied how climate change affects inshore fisheries in Newfoundland, Canada and looked into conservation-fisheries conflict in Baltic Sea. Joonas also works at Estonian Fund for Nature as Sustainable Fisheries Expert. Most importantly, Joonas sees himself as an environmental anthropologist, trying to understand human-environment interaction.
Research interests and areas: human-environment interactions, including environmental anthropology, political ecology, environmental history, landscape studies, sustainable development, environmentalism, fisheries, Baltic Sea and North-Atlantic fishing communities.
- Read more about his research
- Listen to his CreativeMornings talk The power of water around us
- Or his discussion about degrowths of economy
Marje Ermel is a Lecturer of Anthropology. She became interested in Social Anthropology while studying at First Nations University of Canada in Saskatchewan where she researched issues of the cultural identity of First Nations People. After her studies in Canada, Marje Ermel travelled extensively in Australia and Asia. She did her graduate research in Social Anthropology at Tallinn University and complemented her studies at the University of Aberdeen. Her current research is on the transnational Hare Krishna community in West Bengal, India. This project focuses on the relationship between sound, listening practices, perception, and well-being among Krishna devotees. Marje coordinated a research collaboration with Estonian Professional beekeepers. For this project, anthropology BA students interviewed beekeepers, resulting in a popular book about the history of bee-keeping in Estonia, focusing on the memoirs, knowledge and experience of beekeepers edited by anthropology graduate Ly Lõhmus.
Research interests and areas: anthropology of sound, sonic ethnography, place and space, body and senses, anthropology of consciousness, anthropology of experience, religion, pilgrimage, story-telling, North-America, India.
She is currently on maternity leave.
Timothy Anderson is a PhD Candidate and Junior Lecturer in Anthropology. After discovering Anthropology as a student at the University of Edinburgh, Timothy conducted his undergraduate fieldwork on grey markets along the Russian-Estonian border in Narva. He later pursued a graduate degree in Urban Planning, which was delivered jointly by institutions in the Netherlands and Sweden. Following this, Timothy worked at Nordregio and Shifo, two research institutes based in Stockholm. He has contributed to reports on urban segregation, social sustainability, and global health.
Timothy's current PhD research involves time spent among asylum-seekers, settled refugees, and detained migrants in Estonia. Since 2016, Timothy has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in local migration institutions and events. His goal is to provide an analysis of Estonia’s asylum system by relaying and amplifying the voices of migrants within the country.
Research interests: Migration, political anthropology, refugee studies, nationalism, populism, borders, segregation, asylum policy, human rights, European Union.
Polina Vlasenko is a postdoctoral researcher in social and cultural anthropology. She has training in political philosophy, gender studies, science and technology studies, and anthropology. She received her Ph.D. degree in medical anthropology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Her dissertation "Global Circuits of Fertility: The Political Economy of the Ukrainian Ova Market" explored the functioning of the export-oriented egg banks and IVF clinics in Ukraine, donor eggs as racialized commodities, and egg donors' experiences of work and motherhood under postsocialism.
Research interests: women’s reproductive intimacies and labours, political economy of assisted reproduction, biocapitalism, social implications of emerging biotechnologies, markets in bodily substances, postsocialist transformations of gender, health, and biotechnologies in Ukraine.
- Read more about her research here
Polina Tšerkassova is a Lecturer of Anthropology, working currently part-time at Tallinn University and in the Estonian Academy of Arts. She is a PhD candidate writing about storytelling, learning, music therapy and body practices among the Sufis of Turkey, particularly in Istanbul, where she conducted her fieldwork. As a part of her PhD thesis, Polina works on a sound ethnography. Polina teaches general courses in anthropology. In her courses, she often teaches and talks about ethnographic storytelling and writing.
As her full-time job, Polina is a professional storyteller and musician. She published four audiobooks with stories she gathered from all over the world, and music she wrote specially for each of these stories using culture-specific instruments and arrangements. Polina gives performances, storytelling workshops and lectures all around Estonia and abroad.
Research interests: storytelling, memory, performance, sound, sonic ethnogaphy, learning, body and senses, religion, music, Sufism, Turkey, Middle-East, Iran.
- Completed Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent
- Proof of English Proficiency
- Please see the complete overview of admission and application requirements for Master's level applicants
- The admission exam consists of a written and oral part.
- The written part is based on the Letter of Motivation describing fields of interests within Social & Cultural Anthropology and outline of research project (2-3 pages, should contain the topic, methodology and preliminary sources). Both should be uploaded in PDF format into the application database.
- During the entrance exam an essay (appr. 1000 words, 90 minutes) based on assigned literature is written. The applicants will be required to read two articles relating to one of the three topics listed: "Environmental Anthropology", "Anthropology of Capitalism", and "Anthropology of the Senses". Please read more about the essay below. The essay writing time is arranged individually, essay will be written in an online environment. Successful applicants are invited to an interview.
- The oral part is an interview, during which research project is discussed and the motivation of the candidate is assessed. The exact time of the interview will be sent to the candidate via e-mail. If the date and time offered for an online interview do not suit the applicant it may be possible to delay the interview until the next interview date which is usually in the next month.
For the purposes of identity verification at the admission procedure the Admission Committee has the right to record the oral part of the admission exam carried out via video bridge.
Essay is based on assigned literature. The assigned literature can be consulted by clicking here.
The applicants will be required to read two articles relating to one of the topics listed – "Environmental Anthropology", "Anthropology of Capitalism", and "Anthropology of the Senses".
The essays are supposed to address the general issues discussed in the articles. The Admissions Committee will be looking out for the applicant's ability to summarise the general issues covered and to present their own informed opinion on these issues. It would be seen as an asset if the applicant also uses other references in their essay.
You must read the chosen texts before writing the essay. You are permitted to refer to the chosen texts and any notes made beforehand during the essay writing, you are also allowed to prepare a detailed essay plan. Do not write the whole essay beforehand! We trust your veracity applying to the programme, since there will be plenty of essay writing during your studies with us, it is very important that we are fully aware of your writing abilities.
Special arrangements will be made with the candidates who have to write their essay online.
NB! Non-compulsory reading list of some basic texts for the applicants' own consumption. These readings are for MA candidates that would like to familiarise themselves with basic texts on the anthropology that will be referenced in our programme. Reading these texts is not compulsory. If you wish to be prepared for your studies you may find this useful as a preliminary reading list.
Assessment of the candidates
- Letter of Motivation & Statement of Research Interests: 20 points (min. required 14 points)
- Academic Essay: 50 points (min. requirement 35 points)
- Interview - 30 points (minimum required 21 points)
Important! Only applicants receiving the minimum required points for each component will be invited for the next round.
What we assess
Motivation letter and research project: Ability to explain the choice of the programme; to explain how the intended research fits into the programme profile and to explain one’s own interest within the frameworks of Anthropology; quality of the research project; ability to comprehend future prospects.
Academic essay: Ability to comprehend the meaning and main ideas of the texts; to relate the texts to the particular study area and place them into the wider context of Anthropology; ability to discuss the issues in the texts and express one’s own opinion; ability to relate the text to one’s own field of interest and other previous reading; ability to express oneself in written academic English.
Interview: Ability to justify the choice of the study programme and find arguments in favour of the particular study field; ability to comprehend future prospects; ability to discuss one’s own research project and academic essay.
How we assess
The examination board will assess each candidate individually based on the criteria. For the written part, each board member will assess the candidates based on the submitted materials (motivation letter, research project) and puts the points into a table that calculates the average of the applicant. Based on the average the candidate is invited / not invited to write the essay. Only applicants receiving minimum of 20 points for the motivation letter and research project will be invited to write an essay. Each board member will assess the essay individually and puts the points into a table that calculates the average of the applicant. Based on the average the candidate is invited / not invited for an interview. One of the participating board members will be leading the interview, all members may ask questions. After each interview there is a discussion among the board members but points are still entered individually into the table which calculates the average of the points given and the final subtotal points.
Find more information about the deadlines here.
Joanna Grace Burgess
MA Anthropology, AVE pathway (2021)
When I first wandered down the cobbled streets of Tallinn's old town, I was struck with the realisation of how lucky I was. I hadn't heard much about Estonia before arriving here, and it is always a risk to take a step into the unknown, but I'm so glad that I did. Read more.
MA Anthropology (2020)
"My fieldwork experience provided critical context for my work and helped me truly see through the eyes of my research participants, if only for a few hours. This is the power of anthropology, and this is why I chose Tallinn University. My department gave me the guidance, support, and academic freedom to pursue a challenging and deeply important topic. I owe them one of my life’s most intense, meaningful experiences." Read about her fieldwork experience here.
MA Anthropology (2019), Public Relations Specialist at Latvian road maintenance cooperative
"The brightest memory I have of the anthropology studies is doing fieldwork in the USA in summer of 2018. Doing my fieldwork in Latvian youngsters summer high school in America, which turned out very challenging, I became more confident about myself but at the same time more humble and the overall fieldwork experience in my life became a turning point to better understand myself and the world. Currently, I am back in Latvia continuing to work in public relations and in the spare time preparing stories for several Latvian lifestyle magazines and working on my first book about famous Latvian healer.
Even though my daily life is saturated with many events I miss anthropology studies as during the studies every week I had a chance to learn new information about different cultures, why people behave the way they behave and how to become more human."
MA Anthropology (2019), Client Account Coordinator
I graduated from the Social Anthropology program in 2019. After two and a half years in Europe, I moved back to the United States with a very different perspective on both my home country and the world at large. I now work in financial services, with the goal of eventually moving into the research department to do high-level, global research or into the growing sector of socially responsible investing, in order to utilize the knowledge of culture and humanity I gained from my graduate studies and experiences in Estonia.
Now I have a job working in asset management. I have plans to try and get into the research department working on research for ESG investing, a growing field that tries to drive global investments towards environmentally sustainable and socially responsible companies. Tallinn was such a special and unforgettable time for me.
Read Jennifer's blog post here.
MA Anthropology (2019), Verification Specialist at Veriff, Linguistics
In spring 2017, I was looking forward to returning to studies after my post BA gap year. I used to study Linguistics but for MA I decided to change the focus. However, I had so many different interests: from sustainable development and environmental issues to languages, multiculturalism and work organization. It was extremely difficult to choose one direction. When I saw the description of the Anthropology MA program at Tallinn University I was sure that it was what I was looking for: an interdisciplinary approach and an opportunity to do research in multiple fields. For two years of studies, I was able to learn a lot about research methods in Anthropology, particularly participant observation, multicultural problems, how we perceive the world and why. I also had a chance to spend a semester studying at Heidelberg University, the oldest German university, and conduct my own 2-month anthropological fieldwork in a Finnish NGO, which resulted in my MA thesis "Understanding Success: A Case of an Environmental NGO.
Currently, I'm working at a fast-growing Estonian start-up, and I'm sure that I won't be where I'm now without studying Anthropology. The great thing about Anthropology is that there are no limits to research topics. In fact, any of your interests can be developed into an MA thesis or even a life-long study. The knowledge you get from this program is priceless as it is about understanding people and their behavior.
MA Anthropology, AVE pathway (2018), Social Anthropologist, Filmmaker,
PhD Researcher in Theatre and Performance Studies, York University.
"While I was studying anthropology at Tallinn University, I began to look deeply into the 'everyday' life. There was no turning back; the ethics of collaboration demanded innovative ways to subvert power relations between, and within, the researcher and the participants. At each moment, I was also strongly aware of my shifting relationship with the camera. It was further challenged, left to drown in the sea, and gradually transformed into a rock by filmmaker Kersti Uibo, who taught me how to listen and see more intensely. Time spent with Kersti on developing my thesis film was similar to my Dhrupad singing classes in India, where I was asked to reach a state of thoughtlessness before riyaz. Carlo Cubero provided me with a solid foundation in Anthropology; his classes unmasked its colonial roots and revealed the workings of power (and resistance) within our discipline..., in a neo-liberal University, in the streets of Tallinn, in post-Soviet Estonia, at the ghats of Kashi, and in the world. He demanded strong ethics while pushing for the collaborative creation of ethnographic knowledge; he wouldn't even accept a single 'zoom' shot in the film assignments for his anthropological filmmaking class. Without Marje Ermel, I wouldn't have been able to deal with my research on dying, death and the politics-of-care in Kashi, India. She especially supported me throughout a lengthy period when my field site was shut down for renovation, and she helped me perceive this time as an opportunity for self-cultivation and to further my knowledge about the topic. The warmest of friends from Tallinn, especially my batchmates Steven Vihalem-glitch-poet and Kadriann Kibus-filmmaker, inspired me immensely to dissolve boundaries between anthropology, art, spirituality and activism. I am very grateful to everyone at Tallinn University, and all my friends in Estonia. I will never forget this experience."
Rajat's current research interests are directed towards verbal performative traditions, everyday acts of resistance and collaborative fiction filmmaking. His research project is hosted at the Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. He is now working as a Co-editor of the Performance Ethnography section at Centre for Imaginative Ethnography, a transnational Research-Creation network.
Ayuk Nyakpo Orock
MA Anthropology (2016), Counsellor at the Finnish Red Cross
“My two years in the MA Anthropology programme of the School of Humanity in Tallinn University taught me that diversity itself - seen in body shapes and sizes, customs, clothing, speech, religion and worldview - provides a frame through which we can understand any single aspect of life in any given society. Anthropology at TLU with its interdisciplinary approach and diverse ways of viewing a wide variety of topical issues enabled me gain skills in anthropological research in understanding, analysing and resolving global problems."
MA Anthropology (2011)
“I graduated 2011 and since then I have worked in Estonian Public Broadcasting as editor in the music archive (2008-2014) and for the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra as orchestral librarian (since 2014) as well as lectured in the Estonian Academy of Theatre and Music. Anthropology gave me an excellent view to another course of humanity. And I was thinking during my studies and still do - anthropology in Tallinn University has a versatile, interesting and inspirational curriculum.”
MA Anthropology (2013), Consultant at Estravel
“I was among the first students that were admitted to study Anthropology in Tallinn University in 2006 and graduated with my Master’s degree in 2013. From the very start of my studies, I became interested in the anthropology of tourism. Hence, both my Bachelor’s and Master’s theses were connected with tourism and the way different people perceive their surroundings while both travelling and working in the tourism industry. From the beginning of my Master’s studies, I have also been working as a travel consultant in the biggest travel agency in the Baltics – Estravel.”
Ma Anthropology, AVE pathway (2016)
Social anthropologist, non-fiction filmmaker and social innovator; PhD candidate of Bern University
"I can safely say that anthropology allowed me to slow down a bit, to focus on what I have always wanted to focus on – visual anthropology – and to challenge myself during the production of several film projects. It has been a joy to thrive in the international environment of the university and to engage with a very friendly and dedicated staff of the School of Humanities and the Baltic Film and Media School. Without such an involvement I would hardly be allowed to enter Swiss educational system, or be appointed EASA's Applied Anthropology Network co-convenor."
Graduate career options
Anthropologists make valuable contributions in the following fields:
- Cultural Resource Management (CRM)
- Historic Preservation
- Museum/Curation/Project Design
- Community Development
- Advocacy (Human Rights/Social Justice)
- Computers/Software Development/Information Technology
- Design (products and/or services)
- Ethnography/Cultural AnthropologyHealth
- Environment and Natural Resources
- Management Consulting/Organizational Development/Training
- Humanitarian Efforts
- Theatre and Performance Studies
Further study opportunities
All our graduates have either continued on to postgraduate studies or found employment in the public and private sector.
Researchers interested in pursuing doctoral studies in Anthropology at Tallinn University can do so within the Studies of Cultures programme.
- Specific questions regarding the programme should be directed to the School of Humanities:
aDdressNarva mnt 25, 10120 Tallinn
- For additional guidelines regarding admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist.
- Questions regarding student life at Tallinn University:
School of Humanities
Engage in a broadly interdisciplinary study of the relationships between literature, visual culture and film in contemporary and historical contexts. Gain cutting-edge theoretical insights into intermedial aesthetics and into the philosophy of literature, art and film. Equip yourself with critical tools for the cultural analysis of contemporary audiovisual, image, and text-based media.
School of Humanities
Estonia today is a thriving democracy. In just over a generation, it has revived a rich, ancient culture while also inventing the future through its vibrant tech sector and the development of e-Estonia. If you want to understand how this Nordic nation fought for freedom, survived occupation, and peacefully restored independence, come study at Tallinn University. You can experience Estonia’s diverse artistic scene, study the unique and beautiful Estonian language, learn about traditional arts and crafts, and explore pristine forests and lakes. Our students come from all over the world and all walks of life, forming a cohort eager to learn what makes Estonia such a unique place to live and study. Come join us!
Baltic Film, Media and Arts School
Documentary MA programme is focused on the auteur concept of the creative documentary. During the two year studies the students are guided to find their author’s voice and to develop their factual storytelling skills. Each student creates a short documentary each semester.