Anthropology, Environment and Development MSc

London, Bloomsbury

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.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

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.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Drawing on staff expertise in human ecology, social anthropology, political ecology, conservation science, socio-ecological systems 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.

Who this course is for

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.

What this course will give you

UCL Anthropology ranks fourth in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022, 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 and Political Science, the Zoological Society of London, the Overseas Development Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development.

The foundation of your career

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 oral 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.

Teaching and learning

Assessment is through essays, seen and unseen examinations and exercises, and the research dissertation.

The two compulsory modules typically involve around 54-63 contact hours (a mix of 2h & 3h seminars). The three optional modules (15 credit) usually amount to 54 contact hours (assuming 2 hour weekly seminar) but will vary depending on the choice of modules (some have 3 hour weekly seminars). Estimated time in dissertation supervision is around 2-4 hours (30min to 1h meetings).


The degree is available either full-time over one calendar year or part-time over two calendar years. It comprises of:

  • two compulsory modules
  • three optional modules: you can choose optional modules from across the department, but students must take at least one, if not more, optional modules from within the Anthropology, Environment and Development MSc optional modules. Out of the total, up to one module can also be taken from appropriate options in other departments (with approval from the programme tutor and host department)
  • attendance at research seminars and
  • a personal and professional skills development programme run through the Graduate School

In addition, all students are assigned a supervisor who provides one-to-one tuition to help them develop an individual research project that will culminate in a dissertation submitted at the end of the programme.

Students take all their compulsory modules and at least one optional module in the first year. In the second year they take their remaining optional module(s) and complete the dissertation.

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 are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Anthropology, Environment and Development.


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, in the UK or overseas, 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.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Programme Introduction to Anthropology, Environment and Development MSc

This is the programme introduction video for Anthropology, Environment and Development MSc. This programme integrates natural and social science approaches to address issues of sustainability and resilience in the Anthropocene.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £14,100 £7,050
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

Students need to secure their own funding for fieldwork, assisted by teaching staff who will help identify potential funders, and review draft proposals. There is no obligation to travel abroad, and many students conduct fieldwork in the UK or their home country.

Recent students have secured funds from, among others, the Turing Scheme, the Tropical Agriculture Award Fund, Chadwick Trust, Parkes Foundation, and departmental bursaries.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

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.

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 Application fees.

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.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Got questions? Get in touch

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