MA Social Anthropology of Development and Intensive Language (2019 Entry)

United Kingdom
Dates flexible
Course Type
Language Course
Course Fee

Course Overview


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.

Overview duration: 2 years full time, 4 years part time

Fees 2019/20:

  • UK/EU fees:

Who should take this course

Interested Students.

Course content


Students must take 315 credits in total, comprised of 255 taught credits (45 of which are taught abroad as part of a Summer School) and a 60-credit dissertation as outlined below.

In their first year, students on this two-year Intensive Language programme take 60 credits of intensive language instruction and 60 credits in the discipline. During the summer, they participate in a Summer School abroad. In the second year, they take another 30 language credits as well as 30 credits in the discipline; they also complete their dissertation in the discipline.

Students are also required to audit 15PANH002 Ethnographic Research Methods , i.e. to attend lectures for this module (without attending seminars or submitting any assessments). The module does not count towards the total of 315 credits.

There are two different pathways for the Social Anthropology of Development component of this programme: one for students without a background in Anthropology, and one for students with previous knowledge of the subject.

About Course Provider

Our mission is to inspire the next generation to develop ideas for a fairer and more sustainable world. We welcome the brightest minds from over 130 different countries, creating a community that is diverse, vibrant and multinational. From day one at our central London campus, our students are encouraged to challenge conventional views and think globally – and that’s one of the reasons why they develop careers that make a real difference. A SOAS student is typically passionate about their subject, opts to learn a second language, loves to learn, to travel, to be surprised; and is interested and engaged with the world around them.