Programmes

MSc Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World)

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Application code L6U3
  • Starting 2018

This programme provides a unique interdisciplinary, broad social science perspective on the study of religion. It offers you the opportunity to investigate the increasing prevalence of religious and secular dynamics across the globe and how concepts of religion interweave with aspects of today’s society, in theory and practice.

The programme tackles topics of key importance, from policy-relevant connections between religion and public life, and religion and politics, to more theoretical debates about the nature of belief, ritual, and questions of being. It allows you to explore the role of religion in the developing world, and illuminates Western models of religion and secularisation through comparison with those in the global south.  The Department’s strong tradition of fieldwork is an important element of the programme, with the core course giving you an in-depth knowledge of case studies based on your lecturers’ own expert primary research on religion.

The programme is intended for graduates of the humanities and social sciences, but will be of interest to those with a traditional theological background, or with pastoral or vocational training, or careers in journalism, charity or NGO work, or teaching, as well as those who would like to consider religion from an alternative and complementary perspective.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World)
Start date 27 September 2018
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Applications 2016 127 (includes MSc Social Anthropology, and Learning and Cognition streams)
Intake 2016 47 (includes MSc Social Anthropology, and Learning and Cognition streams)
Availability UK/EU: Open 
Overseas: Open
Tuition fee UK/EU: £13,536
Overseas £20,904
Financial support Graduate support scheme (deadline 26 April 2018)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Standard (see 'assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Programme structure and courses

This is a 12 month programme consisting of one compulsory course, optional courses to the value of two units, and an essay (dissertation).  Attendance at seminars and at non-assessed tutorials is compulsory.

The Anthropology of Religion
Covers selected topics in the anthropology of religion, focusing upon relevant theoretical debates. 

Dissertation.
An independent research project of 10,000 words on an approved topic of your choice.

Optional Courses
Courses to the value of two units from a range of options.

Please bear in mind that each year we are only able to offer a selection from our range of optional courses. Owing to the introduction of new courses and possible academic staff changes, information about optional courses available next year is not necessarily final.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page. 

Teaching and assessment

Contact hours and independent study

Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide. Scheduled teaching normally includes three hours of lectures and three hours of seminars per week (depending on the options you select), supplemented by regular academic tutorials, meaning that you benefit from direct and sustained contact with members of staff.

Given the high level of academic performance expected from students, a significant amount of independent study and preparation is required to get the most out of the programme. This requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research. 

Teaching methods

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only.

Teaching is directly informed and enhanced by the strong tradition of fieldwork-based research within the Department. The distinctive compulsory course allows you to work closely on extended case studies in the second term; these are based on your lecturers’ own expert primary research on religion. 

You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide. You will also be assigned an academic adviser who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns.

Assessment

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others.

After examinations in May/June, you will be expected to write an essay (dissertation) of not more than 10,000 words, for submission in late August. This is undertaken on an approved topic of your own choice in order to develop your own interests in the context of the programme. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Academic support

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Preliminary reading

R A Orsi Between Heaven and Earth; the religious worlds people make and the scholars who study them (Princeton, 2005)

R Bowen Why the French Don't Like Headscarves (Princeton, 2008)

F Cannell The Anthropology of Christianity (Duke University, 2006) 

R Willerslev Soul Hunters: Hunting, Animism, and Personhood among the Siberian Yukaghirs (University of California Press, 2007)

M Engelke God's Agents (University of California Press, 2013)

F Bowen The Anthropology of Religion (Blackwell Publishing , 2000)

Careers

The programme is an ideal preparation for research work in the study of religion. Many graduates from the Department go on to complete PhDs. It will also provide a foundation for those wishing to find employment in the civil service, policy and diplomacy, education, social work, journalism and NGOs.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- personal statement
- two academic references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, however to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details. 

Minimum entry requirements for MSc Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World)

You will need to have an upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in the humanities and social sciences or have studied anthropology within the context of a more general degree. You will need to demonstrate a genuine interest in the social sciences and religion.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

 See international entry requirements  

Fees and funding

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2018/19 for MSc Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World)

UK/EU students: £13,536
Overseas students  £20,904

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Fee reduction

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Please refer to the Fees Office website for further information.

Scholarships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £11.5 million in scholarships each year to gradaute students from the UK, EU and overseas.

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline. 

Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 26 April 2018.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas.

Check the latest information about scholarship opportunities

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans
Find out more about external funding opportunities 

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