Politics, Violence and Crime MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This programme offers intensive training in the anthropology of politics, violence and crime. It provides a solid foundation in ethnographic theory, analysis, and method. It does so to uniquely enable you to utilise anthropology as a tool to conduct research on questions tied to the state, law, democracy, conflict, revolution, terror, criminality and carceral systems, across different times and places.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
1 academic year
2 academic years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 30 Jun 2022

Applications closed


Application closes at 17:00 GMT.

Entry requirements

Normally 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.

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

Students develop knowledge and understanding of major theoretical, ethnographic, and methodological debates in the anthropology of politics, violence and crime, and enhance their independent research skills through practical instruction in methods. This is the first programme to centre and directly build, specialist anthropological training upon these interrelated thematics, and its rigorous pursuit of ethnographic approaches distinguishes this degree from others in Security, Peace and Development Studies.

Who this course is for

The programme is suitable for graduates in anthropology and other social sciences, as well as suitably qualified applicants from other disciplines, who wish to develop the ability to ethnographically analyse a broad range of contemporary issues in order to pursue a career in research, teaching, development, public service, journalism and many other fields.

What this course will give you

Crucially the MSc Program in Politics, Violence and Crime draws on the exceptional range and depth of ethnographic and theoretical expertise at UCL Anthropology. Our faculty have conducted extensive fieldwork on topics such as communal violence and organized crime in South Asia, ongoing revolutions in South America and the Middle East, genocides and wars in Central Africa, anti-racist activism in east London, and democracy and law in India and Venezuela. The MSc builds upon the Department's involvement with the Sigrid Rausing Trust, which supports cutting-edge research in the global field of human rights, transparency and accountability, conflict, litigation, and gender.

UCL Anthropology ranks sixth in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021, making it the top ranked institution in London, and third in the UK and Europe for the subject. The department boasts exceptional breadth and was the first in the UK to integrate both biological and social anthropology, and later it came to include material and visual culture, followed by medical and public anthropology, as it continually works to reshape the discipline.

Students are also encouraged to take full advantage of the wider anthropological community throughout London and the department's strong links with European universities and international institutions.

The foundation of your career

This programme furnishes students with rigorous training in those transferrable skills demanded in a wide range of careers, particularly those in the NGO and intergovernmental sector. Such applied work in the international arena includes the specialist domains of: legal aid and development; human trafficking and migration; law and governance; (il)licit economies, money laundering, counterfeiting; electoral monitoring; gender violence; drugs and organized crime; and political risk analysis for impact investing and social enterprises.


The Politics, Violence and Crime MSc Programme is designed to provide students with analytical and methodological skills that enable them to collect and analyse comparatively, cross-cultural data on violence, crime and their entanglement with politics and the state. It will also enable graduates to interrogate theoretically, hypotheses about criminal political and economic governance in a wide range of contexts throughout the world.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, small group presentations and discussion, tutorials, laboratory and practical work, independent, directed reading, interactive teamwork, and video, film and web based courses. It includes a research seminar series with invited speakers from across the globe. Assessment is through examination, essays, and a research-based dissertation.



In the first term, students will receive a broad foundation in social anthropology, examining key debates that define the discipline. They will be introduced to central concepts such as ‘culture’ and ‘society’, engage critically with the notion of the ‘other’, and examine historically the relationship between local and global worlds. They will also learn about how to do ethnographic research as part of the compulsory methodological training module. In the second term they will critically examine major themes in political and legal anthropology through dynamic, small group seminar discussions.

An in-depth engagement with ethnographic case studies will be developed throughout these seminars. Students will be taught how to use anthropology as a tool to engage pressing research questions, such as how various social and political factors shape violent social conflicts. Or how political groups use different socio-cultural mechanisms to gain popularity and charisma. We will also examine how violence against women is used as a tool of statecraft to impose or maintain authority in different contexts.

Students will be able to further develop their knowledge and understanding of questions directly or indirectly tied to politics, violence and crime via the optional modules and in the final dissertation.

Students must take three optional modules - at least two modules from the Politics, Violence and Crime MSc optional modules and up to one from modules available within the department or appropriate options in other departments (with approval from the programme tutor and host department).

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.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Politics, Violence and Crime.


Many students opt to conduct ethnographic or archival research for their dissertations (usually from April to June).


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

Online - Open day

Programme Introduction to Politics, Violence and Crime MSc

This is the programme introduction video for Politics, Violence and Crime MSc. This programme offers intensive training in the anthropology of politics, violence and crime. It provides a solid foundation in ethnographic theory, analysis and method.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Applying for Graduate Study at UCL

The Applying to UCL for graduate study session took place in December 2021. The session, covered by our Graduate Admissions and Student Recruitment teams, provides helpful information about the process of applying for graduate study, as well as offering an insight into what we consider to be a competitive application.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £16,500 £8,250
Tuition fees (2022/23) £26,600 £13,300

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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

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.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Aziz Foundation Scholarships in Social and Historical Sciences

Deadline: 11 July 2022
Value: Full tuition fees (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

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 Politics, Violence and Crime at graduate level
  • why you want to study at UCL
  • what kinds of research questions and ethnographic contexts you are interested in
  • how your academic and professional background ensures you will be able to meet the demands of a challenging masters programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Alongside the essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate whether your trajectory fits well with the programme’s vision and design.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.