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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:

  • The 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.
  • The strong tradition of empirical research within both departments directly informs and enhances the teaching on the programme.

The programme is intended for graduates with an upper second class honours degree, or international equivalent 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 in late August.

Compulsory courses

(* half unit) 

  • Anthropology of Development*, which 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.
  • Either  Anthropology of Economy (1): Production and Exchange*, which examines "the economy" as an object of social scientific analysis and a domain of human action. It explores the form economic institutions take cross-culturally and economic institutions are transformed as a result of their incorporation into a wider capitalist markets, state systems, and development initiatives. Students become familiar with core concepts such as production, consumption, exchange, the household, property, alienation, scarcity, and value, and with recent anthropological theories on the place of nature in capitalism, and on economic crises, or  Anthropology of Economy (2): Development, Transformation and Globalisation*, which 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, which 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*, which 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.

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

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Anthropology and Development 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, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. 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 circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. 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.

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: Y2UB (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

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

Intake/applications in 2014: 9/84

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 degree (GPA 3.5 or equivalent) in any discipline, with a 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 £12,504; overseas £19,344

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

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