MA in Development & Rights

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

‘Development’ has come to represent the political relationship between rich and poor countries following the end of colonialism. This programme offers a critical approach to development through the lens of anthropology.

It explores the historical role of anthropological engagement in development, and provides the opportunity to rethink concepts, policies and practices underwriting global inequality.

Offering a critical exploration of the concept of rights (human, indigenous, or gender, for example) and how it is mobilised to make various kinds of claims, the degree presents diverse perspectives on how we might address global inequality.

The Masters includes half a day a week spent on a placement with a London-based development-related organisation, which you will negotiate. This is an ideal way to build work experience and for critical reflection on some of the issues raised in the classroom.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Gavin Weston

Modules & structure


You take:

  • Three core modules that will enable you to explore the theoretical concepts underpinning development, the history of development and its institutions
  • Option modules to the value of 30 credits
  • Dissertation

Core modules

Module title Credits
  Anthropology of Development: Placement 30 credits
  Anthropology of Rights 30 credits
  Critical Voices in Development 30 credits
  Dissertation 60 credits

Option module

You take options to the value of 30 credits, from a list that currently includes:

Module title Credits
  Ethnography Through Photography & Sound 15 credits
  Anthropological Theory 30 credits
  Anthropology & Gender Theory 30 credits
  Anthropology and History 30 credits
  Experimental Ethnographic Filmmaking 15 credits
  Anthropology of Rights 30 credits
  Anthropology of Art I 30 credits
  Anthropology of Health and Medicine 30 credits
  Anthropology of Religion 15 credits
  Intercultural Film 15 credits
  Economic and Political Anthropology I 30 credits
  Economic and Political Anthropology II 30 credits
  Ethnographic Film and Cinema Studies 30 credits
  Environmental Anthropology 30 credits
  Indian and Peasant Politics in Amazonia 30 credits
  Photography & Sound 15 credits

If you don't have a background in anthropology we advise you to take the Anthropological Theory module.


Dissertation; reports; take-home papers.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.


Anthropology at Goldsmiths is ranked: 6th in the UK for the quality of our research** 36th in the world for this subject area***


Investigate a variety of fascinating areas that have real relevance to modern life.

As a department we’re interested in pushing the discipline forward. We’re known for pioneering new fields including visual anthropology and the anthropology of modernity. And we tackle other contemporary issues like urban planning, development, emotions and aesthetics, and new social movements.

Find out more about the Department of Anthropology.

**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings

***QS World University Rankings by subject 2016


Skills & careers


This MA will enable you to develop skills in project design and implementation, critical analysis, and report writing.


Our graduates have pursued research degrees, either at Goldsmiths or elsewhere, and have taken up employment in charities as well as NGOs and GOs, professional organisations, education and journalism.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student profiles


"Here we are encouraged to look at things with a critical eye and analyse theories. I am really happy to be at Goldsmiths as I believe this is the right way to learn."

In Palestine, the financial and political situation is difficult and the programme I am studying wasn't available in my country. I wanted to come to London and simply wouldn't have been able to without the Goldsmiths Humanitarian Scholarship. This scholarship has helped me to achieve my goal.

There is a big difference between the education system in Palestine and in the UK; here we are encouraged to look at things with a critical eye and analyse theories. I am really happy to be at Goldsmiths as I believe this is the right way to learn.


"I think it is the feeling of strong community among the students and staff."

"I chose to attend Goldsmiths, University of London because there is a different atmosphere around Goldsmiths compared to other universities. I think it is the feeling of strong community among the students and staff. There isn't a day that goes by on campus where someone doesn't hold doors or engage in small acts of kindness for others and that is what makes Goldsmiths different.

Also I chose Goldsmiths because of its international reputation and the uniqueness of the programmes that are offered here to students as well as its uniqueness in terms of different cultures among the student community.

The Development and Rights programme gives students the opportunity to explore other avenues by undertaking a development placement with an organisation in London, and through that students are able to relate theory to practice. It's truly a privilege to be able to study under such dedicated and gifted lecturers in the Department of Anthropology."


"Working for Gaia helped me obtain more experience in this subject and I gained much more confidence regarding my knowledge around it."

"I was able to do something really meaningful! I am very interested in the Food Sovereignty movement, and I have been working in this area for more than a year now. Working for Gaia helped me obtain more experience in this subject and I gained much more confidence regarding my knowledge around it. I also developed my research, video production and writing skills."

The Gaia Foundation works with communities to revive and protect cultural and biological diversity. Its mission is to regenerate healthy ecosystems, enhance traditional knowledge and practices for land, seed, food and water sovereignty, and to strengthen community self-governance. This enables communities to become more resilient to climate change and the industrial processes which have caused the many current crises.

Rowan Phillimore at Gaia:

"Florina’s contribution to the Seeds of Freedom launch and campaign has been huge. She worked brilliantly as part of a team, and with the filmmaker in particular, and was a vital cog in the smooth running of the events and website at the time of the film’s release. Florina took charge of her responsibilities and showed great capability and a wonderful positive, imaginative, attitude to all that we gave her. Florina’s knowledge and interest in food sovereignty meant that she was able to input ideas and respond quickly to the issues being discussed as part of the film."

Florina’s advice to students looking for placements:

"Think hard on what you’re passionate about, and then things sort of tend to arrange themselves. Search for a small organisation, because you will actually be involved in meaningful work and people will take the time to engage with you on a personal level."

Florina's advice to organisations thinking of offering placements:

"Student placements are a great way to engage with those at the heart of researching key issues, and to help illuminate their understanding in a practical work setting. By gearing placements to particular course interests, the student’s skills become far more relevant to the role and this has benefits for both the organisation and the student. I would certainly recommend that more organisations offer placements which involve research, campaigns and communications to the many capable and engaged students out there."

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding you may be subject to an application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Find out more about tuition fees.

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