The MSc in Anthropology, Environment and Development integrates natural and social science approaches to address issues of sustainability and resilience in the Anthropocene. It serves as a foundation for higher level research and professional work, offering a rare opportunity to learn in an interdisciplinary setting with staff who collaborate with outside organisations while also pursuing independent research.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Advanced
UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
Drawing on staff expertise in human ecology, social anthropology, political ecology, and biosocial anthropology, the MSc equips graduates with an interdisciplinary perspective on topics relating to global environmental change, sustainable resource use, and development, in both rural and urban contexts. Through a supervised field project and dissertation, students gain demonstrable skills in research design, and in qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (45 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Anthropology, Environment and Development.
Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.
All students must take the following module:
- Research Methods and Skills
- Resource Use and Impacts: Theory and Evidence
Students must take 45 credits in total from the optional modules below. Out of the total, up to 30 credits can be taken from other modules available within the department or appropriate options in other departments (with approval from the programme tutor and host department).
- Anthropology of Development
- Ecology of Human Groups
- Introduction to Statistics
For a complete list of modules available within the department or in other departments, please see UCL's Module Catalogue.
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.
The third term is given over to the dissertation project. Students must carry out original research involving data analysis. Often students collect their own data which involves fieldwork for approximately two months, ideally returning from the field by the end of July to allow time for writing the dissertation. Fieldwork is self-funded and it is usual for students to find their own fieldwork site.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, group presentations, tutorials, interactive teamwork, video, and film and web based courses. It includes a non-examined compulsory weekly seminar series with both internal and invited speakers (the Human Ecology Research Group seminar). Assessment is through essays, seen and unseen examinations, and the research dissertation.
Students need to secure their own funding for fieldwork, assisted by teaching staff who will help identify potential funders, and review draft proposals. Recent students have secured funds from, among others, the Tropical Agriculture Award Fund, Chadwick Trust, Parkes Foundation, and departmental bursaries. There is no obligation to travel abroad, and many students conduct fieldwork in the UK or their home country.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates of this programme have gone on to a wide range of relevant careers in research, teaching, consultancy, policy and advocacy, working in universities, governmental bodies, national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international research organisations. A number of our graduates have chosen to pursue PhD studies in the Anthropology department at UCL or at other institutions.
The MSc integrates natural and social science approaches to answer real-world research problems, culminating in a dissertation that develops students’ skills in research design, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and academic writing. The interdisciplinary perspective and research experience are an ideal foundation for future work with governmental or non-governmental organisations, or as a step towards PhD research. Other skills acquired include presentation and IT, project management, team building and leadership, fundraising and critical analysis and evaluation. Many students carry out their research in conjunction with an NGO, with some going on to work for their host organisation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
UCL Anthropology ranks fourth in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020, making it the top ranked institution in London, and third in the UK and Europe for the subject. Our Human Ecology group’s pioneering work in integrating social and natural science approaches to address environment and development issues is internationally recognised, including winning awards for innovation, such as in citizen science (UCL Institutional Leadership Award 2018, NT100 List 2014). Our expertise in the interplay of conservation, development, health and wellbeing in different social-ecological systems promotes understanding of alternative pathways for meeting global challenges.
Our academic staff are actively engaged in research or consultancy work in the fields of environment and development, and also maintain strong links with former students now working in academia, governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations in the UK and abroad. MSc students become part of this alumni network as members of the Human Ecology Research Group, learning directly from active researchers and practitioners through a weekly seminar series and developing contacts for their research and career development. Many of our graduates go on to become leaders in academic, international agency, government and third sector organisations.
During their time in London, students are also encouraged to take advantage of the wider anthropological and environment/development community, including through attendance at the many relevant seminar series offered at UCL and by neighbouring institutions, such as the School of Oriental and African Studies, the London School of Economics, the Zoological Society of London, the Overseas Development Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development.
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
The programme is suitable for students who wish to gain a training and qualification integrating natural and social science approaches to environment and development as a foundation for higher-level research and professional work, and for graduates from other fields or careers wishing to supplement their existing knowledge and experience.
- All applicants
- 31 May 2021
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Anthropology, Environment and Development at graduate level
- why you want to study Anthropology, Environment and Development at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.
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