Taught course

Social Anthropology of Development and Intensive Language

SOAS University of London · Department of Anthropology and Sociology

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Entry requirements

We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Months of entry


Course content

This two-year intensive language pathway is directed at students who wish to combine knowledge of the anthropology of development, with expertise in a regional language. It prepares students to apply their anthropological knowledge in a developing country context by achieving proficiency in a language.

Our MA Social Anthropology of Development programme will provide you with an understanding in the ways which anthropological approaches and debates inform the study of meanings and concepts in development, its priorities, policies and practice.

It attracts students with diverse educational, employment and cultural backgrounds, and is ideal for those wishing to reflect on their experience in development and for those intending to work in international development.

Why study MA Social Anthropology of Development at SOAS

You will gain knowledge of anthropology, development issues, and research methods and can choose from a wide range of optional courses to deepen your understanding of an ethnographic region, language, and/or a thematic area such as gender, health, food, migration and the media. You may choose to focus on anthropology courses, or avail of the wide variety of optional courses offered across SOAS.

While the focus of the degree is on development issues and practice, its disciplinary orientation remains firmly anthropological. Applying an anthropological perspective, students will examine how development policy and programmes produce economic and social changes that implicate the local practices, meanings and identities of communities and individuals.

Students explore the contribution of anthropology to contemporary development debates, for example, on donors/aid agencies and NGOs, poverty, migration and development, human rights, violence and complex emergencies, refugees, gender, participatory development, social capital and community action, health, climate change, the role of business in development (corporate social responsibility and markets for the poor) and the moral economy of development.

The degree emphasises anthropological critiques of development, and in particular how paradigms such as empowerment, participation and sustainable development shape the options of beneficiaries.

This programme has a first-rate graduate employability record, with graduates moving on to find employment in government, international aid institutions, non-governmental organisations, or social enterprises.

Information for international students

For details, including English language requirements, please see SOAS website

Fees and funding

For details of postgraduate fees, please see SOAS website

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24-36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiries
+44 (0)20 7898 4700