MRes African Studies

The MRes degree is a research programme with some provision for taught modules.

It is aimed at those who wish to move beyond undergraduate work and to engage in research in depth for a postgraduate thesis, but who also wish to take modules that help develop research and related skills. 

The course aims to develop your critical and analytical skills in relation to current ideas in African politics, history and anthropology or African and Caribbean literature. It provides you with the opportunity to identify, investigate in depth, and write up a research topic of your own, including the use of archival, oral media and internet sources.

African Studies and Anthropology has been ranked second among all Area Studies departments in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

 

You take three taught modules and write a dissertation of 20,000 words in the final term on a topic of your choice.

There are two compulsory modules: Research Skills and Methods in African Studies and Advanced Perspectives on Africa. In addition you choose a third module from a wide range of topics in literature, history, politics, development and anthropology.

Why study this course

  • African Studies and Anthropology has been ranked second among all Area Studies departments in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014: 44% of research at the University of Birmingham for Area Studies was top 4* rated ‘world-leading’. A further 49% was rated 3* ‘internationally excellent’.
  • We are a friendly, well integrated community. Staff and postgraduate students work together closely and discuss their research interests at regular meetings. There is also a regular programme of formal Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) seminars at which staff, postgraduate students and visiting scholars present papers and discuss their work-in-progress.

Modules

There are two compulsory modules:  Research Skills and Methods in African Studies and Advanced Perspectives on Africa. In addition you choose a third module from a wide range of topics in literature, history, politics, development and anthropology before the completion of the 20,000 word dissertation.

Optional modules: 

  • Media and popular culture in Africa                                                   
  • History and politics of Southern Africa
  • Livelihoods and development in Africa      
  • Slavery and freedom in twentieth Century Africa                  
  • African fiction and its critics

You may also choose to do an Independent Study in place of the optional module. This allows you to develop a specialism in a chosen topic through guided reading, writing and discussion, subject to availability of supervision. 

Optional modules outside the main discipline: you can choose ONE of the following options offered outside DASA:

  • Gender and Global Governance (POLSIS)
  • Gender and Development (IDD)
  • Before Postcolonialism: Europe and Its Empires (ML)
  • World Literatures and Film I (ML)
  • World Literatures and Film II (ML)
  • Postcolonial Theory (ML)
  • Egypt in Revolution (a.k.a. Modernity, Masculinity and Revolution in Modern Egypt) (HIST)
  • The Mirror of Modernity: Global Histories of Photography (HIST)


Please note that the optional modules listed on the website for this programme are intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2017/18:

  • Home / EU £4,180 full-time; £2,090 part-time*
  • Overseas: £15,210 full-time

* For UK/EU postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2017.

The above fee quoted is for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • If you are applying for a PhD then you will usually also need to hold a good Masters qualification.

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Applications for 2017/18 entry must be submitted by 12 noon on Friday 30 June 2017.

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Additional Guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

We are a friendly, well integrated community. Staff and postgraduate students work together closely and discuss their research interests at regular meetings.

There is also a regular programme of formal Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) seminars at which staff, postgraduate students and visiting scholars present papers and discuss their work-in-progress.

You will be assigned a personal tutor with whom you will meet to discuss your progress and seek help and advice when necessary. It is a University requirement that tutors meet with their tutees at least once a term, but you don't need to wait for a formal appointment: you are encouraged to contact your tutor whenever you need help or advice.

You will also have an academic supervisor once you are working on your dissertation and will have access to the expertise of other members of staff. As a graduate student at DASA you can expect to enjoy intensive, frequent and close interaction with your supervisor on a one-to-one basis as well as detailed, continuous supervision of written work.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

University of the Year for employability

Our African Studies graduates develop a range of skills including oral and written communication, analysis and evaluation, problem solving, independent working and research skills, which can be used in a variety of occupations. A snapshot of graduate destinations over a five-year period has identified a variety of career paths, including lecturing and paid research. Over the past three years, 100% African Studies students have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.