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MSc Anthropology and Development

About the MSc programme

This programme is offered by the Department of Anthropology with the assistance of the Department of International Development and offers the following benefits:

  • Both the Department of Anthropology and the Department of International Development have a strongly international character, and are situated in the only institution devoted solely to the social sciences in the UK.
  • The strong tradition of empirical research within both departments directly informs and enhances the teaching on the programme.
  • The programme offers an excellent and intensive introduction to the disciplines of social anthropology and international development.

The programme is intended for graduates with a good first degree in any discipline who can demonstrate a genuine interest in anthropology and development.

Programme details

The programme will help you to develop a good understanding of classical social theory and modern anthropological theory, with reference to a range of theoretical issues, including those of development and social change, and in relation to appropriate ethnography. You will gain a thorough understanding of the history of development policy and practice and their theoretical underpinnings, and of the ways in which these are illuminated by anthropology. Though the programme is not a course in 'applied anthropology', it will be invaluable if you are planning a career in development work. The programme also provides a good foundation for anthropological research on problems connected with development.

Scheduled teaching normally includes three hours of lectures and three hours of seminars per week (depending on options selected), supplemented by regular academic tutorials.

You take compulsory core courses to the value of two units, one each in anthropology and in international development. You take further courses to the value of one full unit, and complete a dissertation to be submitted by early September.

Compulsory courses

(* half unit) 

  • Anthropology of Development* explores how anthropologists have evaluated, criticised and contributed to development. Covering a range of key topics in fine-grained ehtnographic detail, it assesses how far the work of practitioners/insiders working on practical projects can be reconciled with critiques of development theory and practice by anthropologists.
  • Either Anthropology of Economy (1): Production and Exchange* examines 'the economy' as an object of social scientific analysis and a domain of human action; exploring how this domain was conceived of, measured, described and modeled, and the form economic institutions take cross-culturally. Topics covered include the relationship between gifts and commodities, the social organisation of production and exchange, and the links between economic, political and kinship domains or Anthropology of Economy (2): Development, Transformation and Globalisation* addresses topics in the anthropology of globalisation, exploring how scholars have understood new forms of production, consumption, exchange and financial circulation. Some emphasise post-Fordist methods of flexible production and neo-liberal elite projects; some focus on trans-state processes of globalisation; some analyse shifts in state policies such as austerity, decentralised planning, public-private partnerships and the deregulation of financial markets; while others address new forms of consumer society, popular desires for social mobility and transnational migration.
  • Either Development: History, Theory and Policy focuses on the major trends of development and change in modern history and interpretations of them in the social sciences; and contemporary economic and social theory and their bearing on the policy and practice of development or  Key Issues in Development Studies* provides an overview of the key issues and debates in international development. It features lectures from leading LSE experts on subjects such as climate change, conflict, poverty, the financial crisis, demography, democratisation, health, migration, human rights and trade and a half unit in development.
  • Dissertation.

Students will choose courses to the value of one full unit from a range of options.

Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

Graduate destinations

The programme provides ideal preparation for research work in anthropology, international development and related fields.

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lse.ac.uk/anthropology|; lse.ac.uk/internationalDevelopment|

Application code: Y2UB (check availability|)

Start date: 24 September 2015

Duration:  12 months full-time, 24 months part-time 

Intake/applications in 2013: 10/93

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 degree in any discipline, with genuine interest in anthropology and development, and in possible areas of overlap between the two (see entry requirements|)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements|)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: UK/EU £12,024; overseas £18,600

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support|

Application deadline: None - rolling admissions. Apply early, however, as places will fill up quickly


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