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MSc Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World)

About the MSc programme

This programme provides an interdisciplinary, broad social science perspective on the study of religion, in contrast to courses which take a religious studies or theology-based perspective.

This programme is intended for graduates with an upper second class honours degree in the humanities and social sciences, including those who may have studied anthropology within the context of a more general degree. The programme will also be of interest and value to those with a traditional background in religious studies or theology, or with a pastoral or vocational training, or with careers in writing, teaching, development and caring professions as well as those who would like to consider religion from an alternative and complementary perspective. The programme also produces a high proportion of successful candidates for PhD programmes.

Programme details

Key features of the programme include:

  • It covers topics of key importance, such as secularisation, religion and public policy, religion in the developing world, religion in the West and its historical development, and the understanding of Western models of religion and secularisation through comparison with the rest of the world.
  • Teaching is directly informed and enhanced by the strong tradition of fieldwork-based research within the Department. The distinctive compulsory course allows students to work closely on extended case studies in the second term; these are based on their lecturers’ own expert primary research on religion. 
  • The course relates material on religion and secularism in the West to studies of religions from many different parts of the world. Recent special topics include work on China, India, post-Soviet Central Asia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. 
  • The programme permits students to combine a strong anthropological training with a range of interdisciplinary courses on religion based in other LSE departments  including International History, Government, International Relations and the European Institute.
  • All students write a 10,000 word dissertation which permits them to develop their own interests in the light of the programme.

Scheduled teaching normally includes three hours of lectures and three hours of seminars per week (depending on options selected), supplemented by regular academic tutorials, which means that students on this MSc benefit from direct and sustained contact with members of staff.

You take a compulsory core course, a choice of options and complete an essay (dissertation) to be submitted in late August.

Compulsory courses

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of two units from a range of options.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Social Anthropology (Religion in the Contemporary World) 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 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.



Application code: L6U3 (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

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

Intake/applications in 2014: 6/27

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 degree in any discipline, with genuine interest in the social sciences and religion (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