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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 an upper second class honours degree in any discipline who can demonstrate a genuine interest in anthropology and development.

The programme offers the following benefits:

  • This programme offers an excellent and intensive introduction to the disciplines of social anthropology and international development.
  • The strong tradition of empirical research within both departments directly informs and enhances the teaching on the programmes.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Development Management which 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* 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 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 margins.
  • Dissertation.

Students 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 Management 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: L6U7 (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

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

Intake/applications in 2014: 10/60

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 degree 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: £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