International Development and Social Anthropology (Postgraduate Diploma)

Year of entry


Start date

October 2018


Central London


Fully Approved


One year full-time or two years part-time


Two evenings a week full-time or one evening a week part-time

This programme will be of particular interest to anyone wishing to develop an anthropological understanding of global development, policy and practice and their local impacts. Its combination of anthropology with other international development disciplines provides a good grounding for anyone wishing to use an anthropological perspective when working in multidisciplinary teams.

It provides a solid base for those planning a career in development agencies, the non-governmental sector and other international organisations, and for those working in such institutions who wish to take a larger role in the direct provision of services or policy development. It is also relevant for people interested in policy research, in journalism and in undertaking advanced research in international development, anthropology and related fields.

The programme will help you to develop a critical and theoretical understanding of the issues, processes and institutions central to global poverty, inequality and development. It will help you to develop a thorough understanding of theories and methods in anthropology and to apply these to the field of international development. It will enable you to contrast anthropological perspectives on development with those of other disciplines.

The programme's core modules aim to improve your skills in evaluation and analysis, enabling you to participate critically in debates on the changing nature of the multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental institutions designed to address development issues, the context in which they operate and the constraints they face.

You will also have the opportunity to choose from a range of thematic option modules which allow you to tailor your programme according to your personal or career interests.

The transferable skills you will develop/enhance during the programme include the capacity to analyse debates and issues in development, team-working, and written and oral communication. You will also learn to locate and analyse qualitative and quantitative data on development from printed and electronic sources.

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  • We offer multiple approaches to the study of societies and cultures, human geography, and sustainability, poverty and development, as well as community and citizenship, at local, regional and global levels.
  • This programme is ideal if you want to further your knowledge of, or are planning a career in, development agencies, international organisations, NGOs, or related areas.
  • Develop transferable skills, including critical analysis of debates and issues in development, team-working, written and oral communication, and qualitative and quantitative data analysis.
  • One of the unique strengths of our Department of Geography is the breadth of research interests of our staff. Subsequently, we offer a very wide range of courses that reflect the disciplinary breadth of development and globalisation, while also allowing you to engage with other disciplines, such as anthropology and sociology.
  • You will be surrounded by committed fellow students from all cultures, backgrounds and career stages who are eager to share their experience and expertise with their peers.
  • Ours is a vibrant research culture, powered by a shared passion for learning and intellectual engagement among our academics and students. We have a strong commitment to social justice, which informs and shapes much of our cutting-edge research.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK.
  • We have strong links with the London International Development Centre, which can enhance your employability.
  • We offer excellent student support and have a wide range of world-class research resources.
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Course structure

The programme comprises two core modules and two option modules.

Options may vary from year to year. Relevant options may also be taken from other Birkbeck programmes, subject to agreement with the programme director.

Read more about modules
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