MA/Diploma/Certificate Humanities

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This new interdisciplinary programme draws on expertise in the Humanities from across the College of Arts and Law, allowing you to select modules from a range of disciplines in order to complete a Certificate, Diploma or Masters level qualification. The programme’s core modules will enable you to develop challenging and original approaches to significant topics in which no one discipline has all the answers, which you can go on to apply to your choice of optional modules.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Taught

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time; Diploma - 8 months full-time, 16 months part-time; Certificate - 4 months full-time, 8 months part-time

Start date: September


The flexibility of this programme, and Birmingham’s unparalleled menu of optional modules, will enable you to develop high level skills within selected areas of expertise.

All students must take one core module: Graduate Research Skills: College of Arts and Law

MA and Diploma students take an additional core module: Questioning the Humanities

The remainder of the programme is made up of your choice of optional modules - two modules to complete the Certificate, or four modules to complete the MA or Diploma. These can be chosen from a wide range across the College in the following subject areas:

  • Archaeology
  • Classics and Ancient History
  • Drama
  • English Language and Linguistics
  • English Literature
  • Film Studies
  • Heritage
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Sexuality and Gender Studies
  • Shakespeare Studies
  • Theology and Religion

We also offer a range of theory and skills modules across a variety of disciplines. Some modules will be available to study by distance learning as well as on campus. Additional module information is available below (see ‘modules’).

MA students must also complete a 15,000-word dissertation. This provides an ideal opportunity to complete an in-depth research project that reflects your personal interests; this could be interdisciplinary - based on a topic or theme that runs across your modules and/or is relevant to your prior experience - or focused on a particular disciplinary area.


All students must take one core module:

Graduate Research Skills: College of Arts and Law

This module develops the skills to support and undertake graduate level research in the Humanities. It includes training in core professional methodologies, good practice in research, ethics, and other fundamental graduate level skills, supported by a programme of online skills development materials.

MA and Diploma students take an additional core module:

Questioning the Humanities

This module develops your skills in critical enquiry, and it challenges you, in collaboration with academic staff, to identify and interrogate important debates and topics on which the Humanities as a whole can shed light, and make a difference.

Designing, interrogating, and proposing creative responses to these themes or questions as part of a programme of research-led learning is at the heart of this module. Each fortnight, you will tackle one substantial topic; your work is structured around the fortnightly expert lecture and two connected seminars, independent and team work, and meetings with their project-mentor. In addition, you will receive training in public engagement to facilitate your end-of-module presentation.

Optional modules

The remainder of the programme is made up of your choice of optional modules – two modules to complete the Certificate, or four modules to complete the MA or Diploma. These can be chosen from a wide range across the College; for more information, download the indicative module list (PDF - 550KB). Please note that not all modules may be available in a particular year.

Fees and funding

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


  • Home/EU: £6,210 full-time; £3,105 part-time
  • Overseas: £14,140 full-time


  • Home/EU: £4,140 full-time; £2,070 part-time
  • Overseas: £9,427 full-time


  • Home/EU: £2,070 full-time or part-time
  • Overseas: £4,715 full-time

For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in year two 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 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.

Birmingham Masters Scholarship Scheme

For 2015 entry the University has 224 new £10,000 scholarships available for Masters students from under-represented groups. These scholarships have been jointly funded by the British Government; the allocation of the awards, which is the fourth highest in the UK, further cements Birmingham?s place amongst the very best higher education institutions for postgraduate study. The application deadline is 31 July 2015.

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

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

Learning and teaching

You will be supported by staff across the College who are experts in their respective fields.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant 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.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support through the English for International Students Unit (EISU).


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.

On completing this programme, you will be equipped to enter a wide range of sectors, such as heritage, cultural, public, education or voluntary. This programme can also provide a foundation for those who wish to proceed to doctoral study.