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Anthropology is a highly rewarding – even life changing – subject to study at university. At the LSE you will be pushed to question many of your core assumptions and exposed to radically different ways of thinking. 

Our degrees

Futher information for MRes/PhD applicants

MRes/PhD Anthropology entry requirements

Please note that in order to be considered for direct admission to the MRes/PhD programme you must have completed a degree in Social Anthropology, normally from a British university. You must have either a BA/BSc degree with a mark of 2:1 or higher (or the equivalent) or an MA or MSc with a mark of Merit or Distinction (or equivalent).  

Students who do not hold a degree from a British university do not normally qualify for direct admission to the MRes/PhD and they will be advised to take one of the one-year MSc programmes taught in our department (MSc Social Anthropology; MSc Social Anthropology (Learning and Cognition); MSc Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World); MSc Anthropology and Development; MSc Anthropology and Development Management; or MSc China in Comparative Perspective), or the LSE Law Department’s MSc Law, Anthropology and Society before applying to the MRes/PhD.

The following additional eligibility conditions apply to students who take one of the interdisciplinary MSc programmes (these additional conditions do not apply to students who take these programmes having already met our standard entry requirements).

MSc Anthropology and Development and
MSc Anthropology and Development Management
To qualify to apply for the MRes/PhD, students must take one full unit from the list below - normally AN404 - in addition to the core courses (AN436 The Anthropology of Development and either AN456 Anthropology of Economy (1): Production and Exchange (H) or AN457 Anthropology of Economy (2): Development, Transformation and Globalisation (H)). A further requirement is that their proposed research is in the field of the anthropology of development.

AN402 The Anthropology of Religion
AN404 Anthropology: Theory and Ethnography
AN405 The Anthropology of Kinship, Sex and Gender
AN437 Anthropology of Learning and Cognition
AN451 Anthropology of Politics (H)

Students who already have a substantial background in Anthropology and wish to take a different selection of optional courses should discuss their choice of options with the Anthropology Doctoral Programme Director.

MSc China in Comparative Perspective
To qualify to apply for the MRes/PhD, in addition to the China core course (AN447 China in Comparative Perspective) students must take AN404 Anthropology: Theory and Ethnography and one full unit from the list below. A further requirement is that their proposed research is in the field of the anthropology of China.

AN402 The Anthropology of Religion
AN405 The Anthropology of Kinship, Sex and Gender
AN437 Anthropology of Learning and Cognition
AN451 Anthropology of Politics (H)
AN456 Anthropology of Economy (1): Production and Exchange (H)
AN457 Anthropology of Economy (2): Development, Transformation and Globalisation (H)

Students who already have a substantial background in Anthropology and wish to take a different selection of optional courses should discuss their choice of options with the Anthropology Doctoral Programme Director.

MSc Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World)
To qualify to apply for the MRes/PhD, in addition to the Religion core course (
AN466 Understanding Religion in the Contemporary World) students must take AN404 Anthropology: Theory and Ethnography and one full unit from the list below. 


AN405 Anthropology of Kinship, Sex and Gender
AN451 Anthropology of Politics (H)
AN456 Anthropology of Economics (1) Production and Exchange (H)
AN457 Anthropology of Economics (2) Development, Transformation and Globalisation (H)
AN470 Anthropology of Religion: Current theories and themes (H)

Students who already have a substantial background in Anthropology and wish to take a different selection of optional courses should discuss their choice of options with the Anthropology Doctoral Programme Director.

MSc Law, Anthropology and Society
To qualify to apply for the MRes/PhD, in addition to the LAS core course (LL4E8 Law in society) students must take two full units in anthropology, including AN404 Anthropology: Theory and Ethnography and one full unit from courses on the following list:
AN402 The Anthropology of Religion
AN405 The Anthropology of Kinship, Sex and Gender
AN437 Anthropology of Learning and Cognition
AN451 Anthropology of Politics
AN456 Anthropology of Economy (1): Production and Exchange (H)
AN457 Anthropology of Economy (2): Development, Transformation and Globalisation
A further requirement is that their proposed research is in the field of the anthropology of law.

Students who already have a substantial background in Anthropology and wish to take a different selection of optional courses should discuss their choice of options with the Anthropology Doctoral Programme Director.



Guide for Anthropology PhD applicants on how to complete question 29 of the application form: “the research proposal”


Please follow this guide rather than the instructions on the application form Question 29 of the application is meant to give the Selectors enough information to decide: 1) whether the Department has enough expertise to provide you with adequate supervision 2) whether your project addresses an intellectually interesting question 3) whether your project is feasible In view of this, we recommend that you structure your statement in the following way: a) Research questions: state the specific research questions you wish to address in your PhD project, explaining (with reference to existing literatures) why you (and others) think these are interesting and important questions that deserve to be studied. b) Regional setting: describe the regional setting in which you propose to undertake your research, being as specific as you can; if you have yet to identify a specific area, explain the general characteristics of an ideal setting for your research c) Research contexts and interlocutors: indicate the specific kinds of context in which you envisage to carry out your research (e.g., a school, a factory, a village, a neighbourhood) and who you expect to be your main interlocutors d) Evidence and methodological strategies: explain what evidence you will need to gather in order to address your research questions, and which methodologies you expect to adopt to gather such evidence. e) Relevant expertise: list any relevant expertise (e.g., language proficiency, established local contacts, prior experience in the region) The statement should be between 2000 and 2500 words.

More student testimonies

Fatima Ali

"My time at the LSE has been ‘eye opening’. I put this down to studying Anthropology and learning from some of the world’s best experts in their fields, along with other curious students.

Anthropology is about thinking outside the box, it challenges individuals to understand how and why other human beings live life a certain way. But it doesn’t stop there. As an Anthropology student I was faced with innovative theories that are open to debate, which the department actively encouraged me to take a central role in. The department held weekly public lectures, where you were invited to openly ask questions. However, the most fulfilling learning experience for me was the small classes, because I was being taught by the very people who had already spent several years studying and writing about the people I was studying.

Throughout the years I developed multiple transferable skills, which are invaluable for a diverse range of careers. When thinking about life after the LSE the career possibilities were endless: I looked into journalism, development work and the legal profession. This is one of the key advantages of studying a course that equips students with creative thinking skills and develops them as an individual."

Rosalie Allain

"Before starting the course I kept reading/hearing anthropologists say that when you finish a degree in Anthropology, you will never see the world in the same way again. And it’s actually true. It is very hard to stress how invaluable this discipline is. Applying to study Anthropology was undoubtedly the best decision of my life.

I felt the warmth of the department from day one – it was quite obvious that the teachers were excited to have us there. The department really values its undergraduate students. Then followed the tutorial system: meeting our tutors in groups of three, every three weeks during the whole degree, offered a very calming, informal and enriching intellectual stepping stone between topics. Writing two to three tutorial essays a term for our tutors was invaluable: it helped me perfect my essay writing (analytic, thinking skills), which was a great practice for our assessed essays, but also meant we had at least three weeks/topics per term which we had mastered by being forced to think in depth about it. From year one we were encouraged to seek out our teachers via email or office hours, something I did with enthusiasm, and found unlimited advice (personal and academic) and a humbling level of intellectual sharing/generosity on behalf of the teachers.

Anthropology engages the mind, more than any other social science. Its study requires and engenders a huge level of critical inquiry, in line with its own tradition of self-criticism, which promotes a rigorous kind of 'disciplinary self-awareness' which in turn means anthropologists rarely hide from all the crucial epistemological power/knowledge implications of being an academic discipline. And yet it remains a very imaginative, experimental, playful and (for me, magical) space which can only aid intellectual inquiry.

This hybridity enables Anthropology’s holism. And again, although Anthropology is often relegated (by other social scientists) to the periphery of the social sciences, I see it as the centre, drawing on and looking at (and combining) the psychological, the historical, the economic, the political, and the philosophical of the human condition."

Edward Cubitt

"In a world obsessed with money, power, oil and numbers, to have at my fingertips a community of people who are motivated out of a genuine desire to learn and understand for the sake of knowledge and tolerance, and to make the world a better and more just place..... That is a pleasure no amount of words can express. When I came to the Anthropology department at LSE, I truly felt like I was coming home after a long walk out in the cold."

More videos

Anthropology at LSE: undergraduate study Anthropology at LSE: undergraduate study
This film will help you gain a sense of life and study as an undergraduate student in LSE's Anthropology Department.
Anthropology at LSE: postgraduate study Anthropology at LSE: postgraduate study
This film will help you gain a sense of life and study as a Masters student in LSE's Anthropology Department.