BA Anthropology and Law

  • Undergraduate
  • Department of Anthropology
  • UCAS code ML16
  • Starting 2018
  • Home full-time: Closed
  • Overseas full-time: Closed
  • Location: Houghton Street, London


The BA Anthropology and Law brings together two quite different, but complementary fields in a joint honours programme, with equal emphasis in each subject area. It combines all the benefits of a qualifying law degree with the intellectual and philosophical challenge of anthropology: the study of what it means to be human. Students on the programme have a wide variety of interests, backgrounds and motivations.

Studying anthropology will provide a framework to help you see what is universal to all human societies and what is variable. You will learn to analyse social and political relations and to engage productively in major contemporary debates concerning social justice, multiculturalism and the direction of political and economic change in today's world.

The law components of the programme provide an insight into the legal system, as well as teaching you the technical procedures needed to practice law. It is a qualifying degree, meaning you can go straight from graduating to taking the LPC (Legal Practice Course).

The programme also offers full training in anthropological research methods. You will have the opportunity to undertake an in-depth ethnographic study during your second year, take part in our Summer Fieldwork Placements scheme, and spend a year abroad at one of our global partners.

Programme details

Key facts

 BA Anthropology and Law
Academic year (2018/19) 27 September 2018 - 14 June 2019
Application deadline 15 January 2018
Duration Three years full-time
Applications 2016 168
First year students 2016 16
Availability Closed
Tuition fee UK/EU fee: £9,250 for the first year 
Overseas fee: £19,152 for the first year
Usual standard offer A level: grades A A B
International Baccalaureate: Diploma with 37 points including 6 6 6 at Higher level
English language requirements Proof of your English language proficiency may be required
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees, usual standard offers and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections below.

Programme structure and courses

The degree involves studying courses to the value of 12 units over three years, plus LSE100. You will also have the opportunity to apply for a year abroad at one of our global exchange partners.

LSE has undertaken a School-wide review of undergraduate programmes in 2017-18. The review was designed to enhance the student learning experience at the School and the information provided here has been updated to reflect the outcomes of the review. Offer holders for 2018 entry will also receive an email communication about the developments being made to the programme. With students forming an integral part of the consultation and design process, the enhancements being made will ensure that incoming students benefit from the improvements as soon as possible.

First year

In your first year, you will take six compulsory courses equally divided between anthropology and law, plus a course on Foundational Legal Skills as well as LSE100, which is taught in the Lent term only.

(* denotes a half unit course)

Introduction to Social Anthropology
Provides a general overview of the discipline, introducing a range of questions that anthropologists have focused on via their research in societies around the world. Among other things, it explores what is variable and what is universal (or at least commonly found) in human culture and society by examining a range of political, economic, family, and religious systems found among different peoples.

Ethnography and Theory: Selected Texts
Introduces the works of classic social science theorists and how they have been applied to ethnographic analyses of particular societies.

Public Law
Covers the conceptual framework of public law.

Property I*
Introduces the role of property concepts in legal and social thought.

Introduction to the Legal System*
Familiarises law students with the basic characteristics and functioning of legal systems.

Foundational Legal Skills (non-assessed)

Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Second year

In your second year you will take two compulsory courses in law, and a further compulsory course in political and legal anthropology. You will also choose one further anthropology course (or two half units) from a list of approved options; previous topics have included kinship, the study of selected world regions, development, and globalisation. You will also continue to take LSE100, in the Michaelmas term only.

Political and Legal Anthropology
Explores how a wide range of societies handle conflict, dispute, violence and the establishment and maintenance of political and legal systems

Criminal Law
Examines the "general part" of criminal law and selected areas of the special part of criminal law in the context of theories of the aims and functions of criminalisation

Law of Obligations
Provides an introduction to the law of contract.

Anthropology options to the value of one unit

Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Third year

In your third year you will take two compulsory courses in law. You also choose one unit’s worth of options in law – options available include anything from medical law and family law to corporate insolvency, modern criminology, and legal philosophy (jurisprudence). Finally, you choose one unit’s worth of options in anthropology – this includes the possibility of doing a dissertation and completing your own anthropological research project.

Law and Institutions of the European Union
Provides an introduction to European Union law

Property II
Examines the principles of land law and the law of trusts, completing your requirements for qualification.

Law options to the value of one unit

Anthropology options to the value of one unit

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses 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, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that 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 events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. 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 undergraduate course and programme information page.

Teaching and assessment


Most courses involve weekly lectures of one hour each, and associated classes where you discuss reading assignments in a small group with a teacher. In the first two terms you will typically have eight or more contact hours of formal tuition a week. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide. In addition, we show films about anthropology and the world's cultures throughout the first two terms. There are tutorial meetings, linked to essay assignments, which vary in number depending on the degree. 

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.

You will have an academic mentor who will provide general guidance and assistance with both academic and personal concerns. There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Your timetable

The lecture and seminar timetable is published in mid-August and the full academic timetable (lectures/seminars and undergraduate classes) is published by mid-September and is accessible via the LSE Timetables webpages.

Undergraduate student personal timetables are published in LSE for You (LFY). For personal timetables to appear, students must be registered at LSE, have successfully signed up for courses in LFY and ensured that their course selection does not contain unauthorised clashes.

Every effort is made to minimise changes after publication, once personal timetables have been published any changes are notified via email.

The standard teaching day runs from 09:00-18:00; Monday to Friday. Teaching for undergraduate students will not usually be scheduled after 12:00 on Wednesdays to allow for sports, volunteering and other extra-curricular events. 


All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment is generally a combination of continuous assessment (which usually involves one or two substantial essays per course) with a traditional unseen examination in May or June each year. Law courses are normally examined wholly by unseen examination. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Feedback on coursework is an essential part of the teaching and learning experience at the School. Class teachers must mark formative coursework and return it with feedback to you normally within two weeks of submission (when the work is submitted on time). You will also receive feedback on any summative coursework you are required to submit as part of the assessment for individual courses (except on the final version of submitted dissertations). You will normally receive this feedback before the examination period. 

Find out more about LSE’s teaching and assessment methods

Preliminary reading

If you wish to gain further insight into social anthropology, we suggest that you look at one or more of the following books. The general introductory texts will allow you to get a sense of the discipline's coverage, while the ethnographies will allow you to dig deeper into specific isues and give you a flavour of the primary materials you will be engaging with during your degree. We have offered a wide selection to allow you to choose texts that mesh closely with your personal interests.

General introductions to anthropology

R Astuti, J Parry and C Stafford (eds) Questions of Anthropology (Berg, 2007)

T H Eriksen Small Places, Large Issues: an introduction to social and cultural anthropology (Pluto Press, 2001)

C Geertz The Interpretation of Cultures: selected essays (Basic Books, 1973)


Gender, poetry and emotions:
L Abu-Lughod Veiled sentiments: honor and poetry in a Bedouin society (University of California Press, 1986)

Cyber-ethnography, the virtual:
T Boellstorff Coming of Age in Second Life: an anthropologist explores the virtually human (Princeton University Press, 2008). 

Gender, sexuality:
S G Davies Challenging Gender Norms: five genders among the Bugis in Indonesia (Thomson Wadsworth, 2007)

Hunter-gatherers, shamanism, cosmology:
P Descola The Spears of Twilight: life and death in the amazon jungle (The New Press, 1998)

Race, education and achievement:
S Fordham Blacked Out: dilemmas of race, identity and success at capital high (University of Chicago Press. 1996)

Economics, globalisation:
R J Foster Coca-Globalization: following soft drinks from New York to New Guinea (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

Medical ethics, law, feminism:
F Ginsburg Contested Lives: the abortion debate in an American community (University of California Press, 1998)

War, anti-colonialism/nationalism, religion:
D Lan Guns and Rain: guerillas and spirit mediums in Zimbabwe (University of California Press, 1985)

Postcolonialism, exchange, modernity:
C Piot Remotely Global: village modernity in West Africa (University of Chicago Press, 1999) 

Christianity, morality, conversion:
J Robbins Becoming Sinners: christianity and moral torment in a Papua New Guinea society (University of California Press, 2004) 

Introductions to law

J Adams and R Brownsword Understanding Law (Sweet and Maxwell, 2006)

T Bingham The Rule of Law (Penguin, 2011)

A Bradney et al How to Study Law (Sweet and Maxwell, 2005)

F Cownie, A Bradney and M Burton English Legal System in Context (Oxford University Press, 6th ed, 2013)

E Finch and S Fafinski Legal Skills (5th edition, Oxford University Press, 2015)

Legal issues explored from an anthropological perspective

A fascinating and influential overview of the ways in which legal systems and punishments reflect historical/cultural shifts in the way in which power is practiced and statecraft is conceptualised:
M Foucault Discipline and Punish: the birth of the prison (Penguin, 1979)

Current "gold standard" of legal anthropology; focuses on how law is brought into being:
B Latou The Making of Law. an ethnography of the conseil d'etat (Polity Press, 2009)

Colonial law, legacies for postcolonial societies:
M Mamdani From Subject to Citizen: contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism (Princeton University Press, 1996)

Classic account of the paradoxes of legal practice:
S Merry Getting Justice and Getting Even: legal consciousness among working-class Americans (University of Chicago Press, 1990)

Fascinating insight into how law and punishment operates in Melanesia:
A Reed Papua New Guinea’s Last Place: experiences of constraint in a postcolonial prison (Berghahn, 2003)


Our BA Anthropology and Law graduates have proven very employable both inside and outside the legal profession. This is a qualifying degree, meaning you can go straight from graduating to taking the LPC (Legal Practice Course), and recent leavers have secured training contracts at world renowned law firms, whilst others have been taken on as analysts and consultants. Others still have used the legal and social insights gained in their degree to set up their own NGOs or start their own businesses.

The analytical, critical and communication skills and legal and social insights gained within the BA Anthropology and Law provide an excellent foundation for many careers and can be applied to a wide range of industries. For example, recent graduates have gone on to work in journalism, development, medicine and counselling, law, human rights, nursing, teaching, business, theatre and film. The programme also establishes a good grounding for research in critical legal studies, or vocationally-oriented training in fields such as policy and planning.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme
Further information on the Bar Professional Training Course
Further information on the profession of solicitor

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Student stories

Michael Soon

BA Anthropology and Law
London, UK


The two elements of my programme complement each other beautifully. The anthropology component provides you with the ability to have an innate understanding of a lot of other cultures, and this is essential if you hope to have an international legal career. An additional bonus to the programme is the exemption from the GDL, or law conversion course; at the end of the three years you end up in the same position as a straight LLB student... just more well-read!

Zoe Olukoga

BA Anthropology and Law
Newcastle, UK

Watch Zoe's video

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background. The programme guidance below should be read alongside our general entrance requirements information.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on the UCAS application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- subject combinations
- personal statement
- teacher’s reference
- educational circumstances

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

What we are looking for in an application for BA Anthropology and Law

Academic achievement

Successful applicants for this programme are usually predicted to achieve or have already achieved a minimum of A A B in their A levels (or 37 and above International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) points, with 6 6 6 in Higher level subjects). We are also looking for a strong pre-16 academic profile such as several GCSE grades of A and A* (or equivalent), and you will also have achieved a good set of GCSE grades or equivalent across a broad range of subjects, with a minimum of grade B in GSCE English and Mathematics or equivalent. We also consider your AS grades, if available.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you are predicted or if you achieve the grades that meet our usual standard offer, this will not guarantee you an offer of admission. Usual standard offers are intended only as a guide, and in some cases applicants will be asked for grades which differ from this.

We express our standard offers and where applicable, programme requirement, in terms of A levels and the IB, but we consider applications from students with a range of qualifications including BTECs, Foundation Courses and Access to HE Diplomas as well as a wide range of international qualifications.

Information about accepted international qualifications
Information about other accepted UK qualifications

Subject combinations

We consider the combination of subjects you have taken, as well as the individual scores. We believe a broad mix of traditional academic subjects to be the best preparation for studying at LSE and expect applicants to have at least two full A levels or equivalent in these subjects.

For the BA Anthropology and Law, we are looking for students who have studied a broad and eclectic mix of subjects, therefore there is no one 'ideal' subject combination. In the past, successful Anthropology and Law applicants have studied such diverse subjects as English, History, Economics, Languages, Sociology, Music, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Mathematics, Physics, RE, Psychology and Art.

We are happy to consider applicants offering Mathematics and Further Mathematics in combination with an essay writing subject for this programme.

Find our more about subject combinations.

Personal characteristics, skills and attributes

For this programme, we are looking for students who demonstrate the following characteristics, skills and attributes:

- an interest in diverse cultures and societies
- ability to ask incisive questions
- strong analytical skills
- ability to adopt a creative and flexible approach to study
- intellectual curiosity
- motivation and capacity for hard work
- excellent time management skills
- an equal interest in both anthropology and law

Personal statement

In addition to demonstrating the above personal characteristics, skills and attributes, your statement should be original, interesting and well-written and should outline your enthusiasm and motivation for the programme.

You should explain whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how this relates to your current academic studies and what additional reading or relevant experiences you have had which have led you to apply. We are interested to hear your own thoughts or ideas on the topics you have encountered through your exploration of the subject at school or through other activities. Some suggestions for preliminary reading can be found above in the preliminary reading section, but there is no set list of activities we look for; instead we look for students who have made the most of the opportunities available to them to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their intended programme of study.

You can also mention extra-curricular activities such as sport, the arts or volunteering or any work experience you have undertaken. However, the main focus of an undergraduate degree at LSE is the in-depth academic study of a subject and we expect the majority of your personal statement to be spent discussing your academic interests.

Please also see our general guidance about writing personal statements.

Fees and funding

Every undergraduate student is charged a fee for each year of their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees

The 2018 tuition fees are:

UK/EU* students: £9,250 for the first year 
Overseas students: £19,152 for the first year

UK/EU undergraduate fees may rise in line with inflation in subsequent years and the overseas fee usually rises by between 2.5 per cent and 4 per cent each year.

*The UK Government confirmed in April 2017 that the fee level for EU undergraduate new entrants in 2018/19 will be the same as Home UK for the duration of their undergraduate degree programme. Further information can be found on the website.

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information about fee status classification
Further information about tuition fees

Scholarships, bursaries and loans

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country. LSE provides generous financial support, in the form of bursaries and scholarships to UK, EU and overseas students. 

In addition, Government support, in the form of loans, is available to UK and some EU students.

Find out more about tuition fee loans.

Discover Uni data

Every undergraduate programme of more than one year duration will have Discover Uni data. The data allows you to compare information about individual programmes at different higher education institutions.

Please note that programmes offered by different institutions with similar names can vary quite significantly. We recommend researching the programmes you are interested in and taking into account the programme structure, teaching and assessment methods, and support services available.

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