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MSc Anthropology and Development Management

About the MSc programme

This programme is offered by the Department of Anthropology with the assistance of the Department of 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.

The programme offers the following benefits:

  • A combination of theoretical and practical teaching on international development issues. The core course in development for this programme includes an introduction to organisational and institutional theory. This knowledge is then applied to a live consulting exercise with a development agency in the UK or abroad. Practical and theoretical issues are therefore fully integrated in a professional project.
  • The strong tradition of empirical research within both departments directly informs and enhances the teaching on the programmes.
  • This programme offers an excellent and intensive introduction to the disciplines of social anthropology and international development.
  • 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.

Programme details

This programme will help you to understand how social theory and modern anthropological theory can be applied to the analysis of development and social change. You will explore theories about the emergence of states, how institutions impact on development and how these processes can be illuminated by anthropology. You will gain understanding of how political economy can be used to explain the causes of development and non-development. You will also examine the practical effects of different kinds of authority, incentives and accountability mechanisms. You will gain insight into best practice in designing state agencies, private firms and NGOs and/or implementing changes in these organisations. Though the programme is not a course in 'applied anthropology', it will be invaluable if you are planning a career in development work because of its consultancy project element. 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. In addition, as part of the course Development Management, students will take part in and be assessed on the Development Management Project, a live consultancy exercise for real development agencies in consultation with International Development staff.

You take two compulsory core courses (one in anthropology and one in development), an optional course to the value of one 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 ethnographic 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.
  • Development Management employs a political economy approach to examine the causes of development and non-development. It focuses on the different kinds of authority, incentives and accountability mechanisms that govern the relationships between managers and recipients in the institutions and organisations that people use to meet their political, economic and social needs; and reviews debates about the design of state agencies and private firms, showing how centralised bureaucracies, markets, participatory and solidaristic agencies operate to provide essential services. It explores deep theories about the emergence of the state and the different social, political and economic actors that work within it and vie to control it; and examines how those forces interact to drive processes of change in different kinds of society.  
  • 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, 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 margins.
  • Dissertation.

Students choose course 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.


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

Application code: L6U7 (check availability)

Start date: 24 September 2015

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

Intake/applications in 2013: 11/76

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: £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