Taught course

International Development and Social Anthropology

Birkbeck, University of London · Geography, Environment and Development Studies

Entry requirements

Good degree (2:1 or above) in social sciences or humanities. Other applicants will also be considered. Previous experience or study of development issues and/or social anthropology may be an advantage.

Months of entry


Course content

This Master's degree will be of particular interest to anyone wishing to develop an anthropological understanding of global development, policy and practice and their local impacts.

Its combination of anthropology with other international development disciplines provides a good grounding for anyone wishing to use an anthropological perspective when working in multidisciplinary teams. It provides a solid base for those planning a career in development agencies, the non-governmental sector and other international organisations, and for those working in such institutions who wish to take a larger role in the direct provision of services or policy development. It is also relevant for people interested in policy research, in journalism and in undertaking advanced research in international development, anthropology and related fields.

The programme will help you to develop a critical and theoretical understanding of the issues, processes and institutions central to global poverty, inequality and development. It will help you to develop a thorough understanding of theories and methods in anthropology and to apply these to the field of international development. It will enable you to contrast anthropological perspectives on development with those of other disciplines.

The programme's core modules aim to improve your skills in evaluation and analysis, enabling you to participate critically in debates on the changing nature of the multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental institutions designed to address development issues, the context in which they operate and the constraints they face.

You will also have the opportunity to choose from a range of thematic option modules and to undertake a dissertation that examines development from an anthropological perspective. The option modules and dissertation allow you to tailor your programme according to your personal or career interests.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

Fees and funding

The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.

Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.

Find out more about funding and financial support at postgraduate level.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44(0) 20 3907 0700