The Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) offers promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in a centre of excellence in the study of Africa.
African Studies and Anthropology has been ranked second among all Area Studies departments in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. We give all possible support to our researchers, developing the resources available at the University and encouraging an active postgraduate environment for the exchange of information and ideas.
Major funding opportunity for Home/EU applicants to this PhD programme
We are part of the Midlands3Cities consortium, offering up to 89 Arts and Humanities Research Council funded studentships. This includes full research fees, a substantial maintenance grant and additional research training support. Applications are now open. Find out more detailed information on this scheme.
Dr Tom Penfold
“I am now doing a two-year post-doc at the University of Johannesburg. I got accepted for the position on the same day as I graduated. I am also working on extending my PhD thesis into a book and a series of journal articles. I know there’s a very real reason directly behind these opportunities and that is the University of Birmingham. Birmingham’s support included the opportunity to go on fieldwork in South Africa where I met my new supervisor.”
Ask Tom a question
The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which an academic staff member will provide expert supervision.
The PhD - the most advanced research degree – leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff.
You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by distance learning. Please note that if you are studying with us by distance learning, there is a compulsory annual visit to campus (every two years for part-time PhD students) - please see our frequently asked questions about distance learning to find out more.
At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.
- 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’. The first Area Studies department focuses on European Studies, making the department effectively the number one place for African Studies in the UK.
- 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, from media and NGOs, to lecturing, to paid research. Historically, over 94% of African Studies students have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.
- We offer a fantastic research environment in our subject area, with weekly departmental seminars (the AFRICA Talks) bringing leading researchers in African Studies to present their work at DASA; frequent international conferences on cutting-edge research topics hosted in our campus; and close collaboration with African universities and scholars. Graduate students play a vital role in these activities, becoming integrated in international research networks.
- Follow DASA events and research highlights on the Africa Hub Facebook page
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17:
Home / EU £4,110 full-time; £2,055 part-time*
Overseas: £13,680 full-time
For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.
* 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 2016.
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 tuituion fees and funding.
Learn more about entry 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:
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
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
The following summary indicates our principal areas of research expertise. Please view our staff profiles for further possible research topics.
Popular culture; religion, oral literature and performance; Yoruba culture and society.
Contact: Professor Karin Barber - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5125; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Livelihoods, nature-society interaction; rural energy.
Contact: Dr Reg Cline-Cole - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5132; Email: email@example.com
Society, religion and politics in Nigeria.
Contact: Dr Insa Nolte - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5129; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
History and politics with particular focus on southern Africa, but also more generally.
Contact: Dr Keith Shear - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 2288; Email: email@example.com
Contemporary history of Ghana and Togo; social change and education.
Contact: Dr Kate Skinner - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6218; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Labour, slavery and sexual slavery, migration, and development in West Africa and Africa more generally.
Contact: Dr. Benedetta Rossi - Tel: +44 (0)21 414 7343; Email: email@example.com
Labour, trade, migration and development with special reference to southern Africa
Contact: Dr Maxim Bolt - Tel: +44 (0)121 414 8444; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
In addition, the global edition of The New York Times has ranked the University 60th in the world and 9th in UK for post-qualification employability. The rankings illustrate the top 150 universities most frequently selected by global employers and are the result of a survey by French consulting firm Emerging and German consulting firm Trendence.
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.
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, from architecture, to lecturing, to paid research. Historically, over 94% of 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.
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.
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.
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.