African Studies PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

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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. 60% of our outputs were rated as internationally excellent in the most recent nationwide Research Assessment Exercise and we are currently recognised both by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council funding bodies. 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 concepts.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Distance learning, doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time; 6 years part-time, MA by Research – 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Start date: January, September

Details

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.

Profiles of our current African Studies doctoral researchers

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.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are currently as follows:

  • Home / EU £4,090 full-time; £2,045 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,195 full-time; £6,597.50 part-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.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.

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

Learn more about postgraduate tuituion fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To be eligible for these awards, candidates must hold either an offer of a place to study or have submitted an application to study at the University. 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

Learn more about entry requirements

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

Before you make your application

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.

Making your application

For applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode only:

As part of the application process for the distance learning study mode, we will ask you to provide evidence to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study for a PhD by Distance Learning. Please be prepared to provide evidence, and details, of the following:

  • Examples of your postgraduate research experience and ability to work independently e.g. papers/presentations at professional and academic conferences or publications in professional journals or previous completion of an independent research project, etc.
  • Full reasons (academic and personal) for registering for the distance learning mode of study rather than by standard full or part-time on-campus options. In particular, how you will be able to carry out your project in your chosen location.
  • Access to local library facilities (where needed)
  • Access to IT facilities
  • Access to communications, including e-mail and visual communication media e.g. Skype and Facetime
  • Access to facilities to support any study-related disability (where appropriate)

You can upload this information at the time of application - when asked to provide supporting documentation - or via your applicant portal once you have submitted your application.

For all applicants:

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

Research interests of staff

  • Popular culture; religion, oral literature and performance; yoruba culture and society.
    Contact: Professor Karin Barber
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5125
    Email: k.j.barber@bham.ac.uk
  • African and Caribbean literature; postcolonial British literature; Caribbean film and music.
    Contact: Dr Stewart Brown
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5127
    Email: s.brown@bham.ac.uk
  • Livelihoods, nature-society interaction; rural energy.
    Contact: Dr Reg Cline-Cole
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5132
    Email: r.e.a.cline-cole@bham.ac.uk
  • Society, religion and politics in Nigeria.
    Contact: Dr Insa Nolte
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5129
    Email: m.i.nolte@bham.ac.uk
  • History and politics with particular focus on southern Africa, but also more generally.
    Contact: Dr Keith Shear
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 2288
    Email: k.s.shear@bham.ac.uk
  • Contemporary history of Ghana and Togo; social change and education.
    Contact: Dr Kate Skinner
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6218
    Email: k.a.skinner.1@bham.ac.uk
  • History and Anthropology of labour, slavery, migration, and development in West Africa
    Contact: Dr. Benedetta Rossi
    Tel: +44 (0)21 414 7343
    Email: b.rossi@bham.ac.uk
  • Labour, trade, migration and development with special reference to southern Africa
    Contact: Dr Maxim Bolt
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 8444
    Email: m.bolt@bham.ac.uk

Related research

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

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.

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.