Master's Programme in Ethnology and Folkloristics

120 credits

Ethnologists and folklorists study the cultural and expressive life of societies using archival and ethnographic data. In the Master's Programme in Ethnology and Folkloristics, you learn to identify and interpret cultural patterns and relationships that are important for the development of society. You take your skills with you to professions such as investigator, museum educator or cultural entrepreneur.

Autumn 2023 Autumn 2023, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

The Master's Programme in Ethnology and Folkloristics offers you an opportunity to study ethnology and folkloristics in an international learning environment where approximately half of the students are from outside of Sweden. The diversity of student backgrounds contributes to a rich educational experience and gives you a Nordic and European professional network that will be very useful in your future career in the field. Our teaching is grounded in ethnographic and archival research and inspired by the teachers' own research experiences and insights.

The two-year programme broadens and further deepens your ethnological competencies. In addition to enrolling in courses in applied ethnology and anthropology at the Department, you have additional opportunities to select courses in other relevant disciplines at the University, to enrol for a semester at another university in Europe or elsewhere in the world, and to carry out an internship.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • study ethnology and folkloristics in an international context
  • study courses grounded in ethnographic and archival research
  • carry out your own qualitative fieldwork
  • do an internship in an organisation that fits your interests

Student profile

You have studied ethnology or folkloristics for a year in your Bachelor's studies. You may have a Bachelor's degree in ethnology or folkloristics, but you may also have studied enough ethnological subjects in other programmes such as English, Culture and Performance Studies, Folklore and Mythology and Critical Heritage Studies.

You have a strong interest in the traditional customs and cultural performances of the communities in which you live or that you visit, and want to know more about their cultural meanings and effects. Maybe you are working with cultural heritage or adult education in a field related to ethnology and folkloristics and seek more in-depth academic knowledge

You have a strong motivation and are prepared to take responsibility for shaping your education through the range of courses that Uppsala University offers. You are used to planning your work yourself and staying within given time frames.


The programme leads to the degree of Master of Arts (120 credits) with Ethnology as the main field of study. After one year of study, it is possible to obtain a degree of Master of Arts (60 credits).

The focus of the program is ethnology and folkloristics as well as ethnographic research and archival research. The first semester is pre-planned to give you time to settle in. Four compulsory courses are scheduled, among them a methods course in ethnography. During the first semester, you will also spend time designing your thesis project. You will study together with the students in the Master's Programme in Cultural Anthropology.

The next three semesters are more flexible, allowing you to specialise and select courses that suit your research focus. During these semesters, you will carry out fieldwork for approximately two months and work on your thesis under the guidance of your supervisor.

While most students choose to complete a two-year degree, it is also possible to follow a one-year course of study. The one-year programme provides in-depth knowledge of theory and methods in ethnology and includes the opportunity to complete a minor ethnology field study.

If you have previously completed the one-year Master's degree in Ethnology you may be admitted to the second year of the programme and will then write a 15-credit essay during the second year.

You may also take advantage of the possibilities for inspiring and challenging international student exchanges and internships. Such an internship can be done in Sweden, but previous students have also done internships in, for example, Luxemburg.

Courses within the programme

Compulsory courses

  • Introductory Course for Master's Students in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, 7.5 credits
  • Ethnological Epistemology, 7.5 credits
  • Advanced Study of Anthropological Theory, 7.5 credits
  • Ethnography,7.5 credits

Example of elective courses in the field of ethnology

  • Anthropology and Ethnology in Practice, 7.5 credits
  • From Medievalism to Climate Change Apocalypse: Folkloristic Perspectives on Cultural Heritage, Disaster and Climate, 7.5 credits
  • Methods and Texts in Current Ethnological Research, 7.5 credits
  • Ethnography and Multiculturalism, 7.5 credits

Additional courses are available as elective courses and you may select from among more than 50 courses in other departments in the Faculty of Arts.

The department's advanced level courses comprise 7.5 credits each and are given at half speed. Normally, two courses are read in parallel. The courses include both lectures and seminars, mostly on campus in Uppsala. Individual lectures and seminars can take place remotely via zoom. The courses are examined through oral and written seminar assignments, which sometimes take place in groups, as well as through home exams and shorter essays.

The courses in ethnology and folkloristics are given in English and many students also take cultural anthropology courses at the department, also given in English.

You have the opportunity to do a credit-bearing internship for five or ten weeks (7.5 and 15 credits, respectively). The internship is carried out in Sweden or abroad.

This programme provides you with professional, analytical capacities in areas such as public cultural activities, migration, multiculturalism, journalism and media, tourism, museums and exhibitions. It also gives you a solid basis for pursuing a research career in ethnology and folkloristics as well as other related subjects.

Our previous students who graduated recently from the Master's programme have been employed, for instance as an/a:

  • museum educator
  • producer at the Historical museum
  • investigator at the Swedish traffic authority Trafikverket.

These are solid first jobs, and a few years further down the road former students have gained important positions in state authorities or started their own companies. The possibilities are many, and experience holds that the focus of research that students carry out for their Master's thesis is vital for what kind of job they will get. Therefore, if you know where you want to work, this Master's degree from us and a thesis with the right focus will help take you there.

Career support

During your time as a student, UU Careers offers support and guidance. You have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and events that will prepare you for your future career.