UCL Graduate degrees


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. 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.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

Application dates

Visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021
Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£16,000 (FT)
£8,000 (PT)
£25,800 (FT)
£12,900 (PT)

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.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

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

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

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.

International students

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

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 training in methods. This is the first programme to embed these themes directly within anthropology. Pursing a bottom up, ethnographic approach distinguishes the degree from programmes in Security, Peace and Development Studies.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two compulsory 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 Politics, Violence and Crime.

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.

Compulsory modules

All students must take the following two modules:

  • Anthropology of Politics, Violence and Crime
  • Method in Ethnography

The core module runs across two terms. In the first term, this seminar will introduce students to critical issues in social anthropology and key themes in the anthropology of politics, violence and crime. There will also be a compulsory methodological training component in term one that will focus on providing skills in ethnographic research techniques.

Optional modules

Students must take 45 credits in total from the recommended optional modules below. Out of the total, up to 15 credits can be taken from modules available within the department or appropriate options in other departments (with approval from the programme tutor and host department).

  • Anthropology of Crime
  • Anthropologies of Religion
  • Anthropology of War
  • Violent Aftermaths
  • Theory in Anthropology
  • Key Ideas in Anthropology
  • Anthropology of Development
  • Anthropology of Social Media
  • Art in the Public Sphere
  • Social Construction of Landscapes
  • Anthropologies of Science, Society and Biomedicine

For a complete list of modules available within the department or in other departments, please see UCL's Module Catalogue

Dissertation/research project

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words.


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

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. Assessment is through unseen examination, essays, and the research dissertation.

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.


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.


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


This programme includes an orientation towards careers and further engagement in the NGO and intergovernmental sector as well as other applied work in the international arena focused on: 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 test theoretically hypotheses about criminal political and economic governance in the Global South and beyond.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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, 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 2020, making it the top ranked institution in London, and third in the UK and Europe for the subject. Our excellent results in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 also identify us as a leading Anthropology department in the UK. The department was the first in the UK to integrate biological and social anthropology with material culture into a broad-based conception of the discipline.

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

Department: Anthropology

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

Application deadlines

Visa nationals
31 May 2021
Non-visa nationals
30 July 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 Politics, Violence and Crime at graduate level
  • why you want to study Politics, Violence and Crime at UCL
  • what praticularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic reuirements, the personal statement is yor opportunity whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021