Politics, Violence and Crime MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This programme provides students with the analytical and methodological skills to develop, pursue and analyse research questions, materials and projects tied to the interconnected domains of politics, violence and crime across different spatio-temporal contexts. It uniquely enables students to develop their independent research skills and utilise anthropology as a tool to critically examine a wide range of questions tied to topics such as the state, law, democracy, violence, identity, conflict, revolution, terror, criminality or carceral systems.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 academic year
2 academic years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

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.

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.

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 gain in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of major theoretical, ethnographic and methodological debates in the anthropology of politics, violence and crime. They also develop their independent research skills through practical instruction in methods and a final dissertation project.

This is the first programme to centre, and directly build, specialist anthropological training upon the interrelated thematics of politics, violence and crime. Its critical pursuit of reflexive 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 related disciplines within the social and historical sciences, the humanities, as well as suitably qualified or experienced applicants who wish to develop their ethnographic research skills to further careers in research, teaching, development, public service, journalism and many other fields.

What this course will give you

The MSc 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, terrorism and conspiracy theories in Pakistan, 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 fourth in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023, making it the top ranked institution in London 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 expand and 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 qualitative research and other transferrable skills demanded by a wide range of professions, particularly within the NGO and intergovernmental sector. Such applied work includes the specialist domains focusing on: legal aid and development; human trafficking and migration; law and governance; (il)licit economies, money laundering, counterfeiting; electoral monitoring; gender-based violence prevention; peacebuilding and conflict mediation; anti-racist work and decolonial strategies; people intelligence consultancy; 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: critical understanding of a broad range of socio-political theories and literatures; highly developed, practice-based research skills in qualitative methods, analysis and writing; evaluative knowledge of leading ethnographic approaches to a wide range of topics dealing with politics, the state, law, revolution, democracy, violence, identity, criminality and terror across different times and places.


The Politics, Violence and Crime programme includes a weekly anthropology research seminar series with invited speakers from across the globe. PVC students will also receive frequent updates on talks, workshops and other events on PVC related topics taking place across UCL. Attendance at such events will enable students to widen their social and professional networks and their understanding of the scope of anthropological research.

Teaching and learning

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

Depending on the modules chosen, assessment may be through practical exercises, presentations, and essays, as well as a research-based dissertation.

The two compulsory modules typically involve around 72 contact hours (a mix of 2h & 3h classes). 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. Estimated time in dissertation supervision is around 2 hours.


Students take a two-term compulsory (core) module, a one-term compulsory ethnographic methods module, and choose three additional optional modules. Together these provide the rigorous training required to enable students to successfully pursue their independent ethnographic research projects that culminate in their dissertation.

The core module’s seminars critically examine major questions in political anthropology and social theory centred on politics, violence and crime. Students receive training in how to undertake ethnographic research as part of the methods module.

Students further develop their particular research interests through their selection of specialised optional modules and in their final dissertation research project.

Students take all their compulsory modules and at least one optional module in the first year. In the second year they take their (usually two) 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 Politics, Violence and Crime.


Students can choose to conduct ethnographic, archival and/or library-based research for their final dissertation projects, with many students taking the opportunity to do fieldwork-based projects.


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 and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300 £9,650
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

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

If a student decides to undertake field research (optional), the cost is normally covered by the student.

In recent years our students have received fieldwork funding from the department’s Turing Scheme and the Anna Sturm Law Travel Prize.

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.

Aziz Foundation Scholarships in Social and Historical Sciences

Value: Full tuition fees (equivalent to 1yr full-time) (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

UCL East London Scholarship

Deadline: 20 June 2024
Value: Tuition fees plus £15,700 stipend ()
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 undertake the Politics, Violence and Crime MSc
  • 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 master's programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Alongside the essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate how your experience and wider trajectory fit with the programme’s vision and design.

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: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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