Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology (MSc)
The Master's programme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University is specifically geared towards ethnographic research. Throughout the duration of this one-year programme, you will undertake independent research. You can choose your own topic, collaborate with ongoing projects within the Institute, or conduct research for a societal partner. You will acquire valuable skills for in- and outside academia, like cultural awareness, analytical thinking and communication and problem-solving skills.
All specialisations are part of one MSc in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology and grant the same degree. It is therefore possible to follow, and graduate in, only one specialisation.
Prospective students have to indicate which Master specialisation they would like to enroll for. Changing between the master specialisations Global Ethnography and Sociology of Policy in Practice will still be possible until (shortly) after the commencement of the programme. Please note that the VE specialisation is only accessible for students who meet the additional requirements.
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About our specialisations
The one year master’s programme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology offers three specialisations: Global Ethnography, Sociology of Policy in Practice and Visual Ethnography. Each of these qualify students to apply anthropological knowledge in a professional business setting. Career possibilities exist for example in the fields of policy making, research & development, media and communication and development work.
Methodology in Practice & Theorizing Ethnographic Research
All Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology master students will start with the Methodology in Practice (MiP) week. This week-long program provide you with an immersive course on research design, which includes methodological training. MIP aims to offer practical exercises that will help you identify and address the specific challenges you may encounter during you individual research project.
The introduction course Large Issues, Small Places is also designed for all master students in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology. The objective is to familiarize you with the highest standards of empirical reasoning used in the field, focusing particularly on the skill of conducting ethnographic research. In line with the Leiden program's approach, this course emphasizes the integration of anthropological and sociological perspectives, blurring the boundary between "cultural" and "developmental" viewpoints. We aim to deconstruct the concept of "development" by examining it through the lens of culture. The main focus of this course is on introducing you to the practice of ethnographic research, with a specific emphasis on the challenges associated with writing ethnography and the complexities surrounding the term "culture."
Differences between the three specialisations
The programme offers diverse options based on your chosen specialisation. By choosing Sociology of Policy in Practice you follow an internship wherein you actively engage with societal partners, addressing their concerns and contributing valuable insights. With Global Ethnography you undertake an immersive three-month ethnographic field research, tailoring it to your specific interests. This research will serve as the foundation for an academic paper. If you prefer a more creative approach, with the Visual Ethnography specialisation you will translate your research findings into captivating mediums such as a documentary, art installations, graphic novels, or any other multi-model presentation formats.
Develop your personal research project
Each of the specialisations within the Master’s programme in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology enables you to develop a research on a topic of personal preference. Possible topics vary from the fate of LGBT refugees to initiatives of global sustainable tourism, from water management in African gold mines to digitalisation of heritage in Holland, from kickboxing Muslimas to storytelling in the Caribbean.