MA Africa and Development

This programme combines development studies with an interdisciplinary focus on Africa.

It provides an advanced understanding of the African cultural, political and historical circumstances which have been formative in the constitution of development studies as a field, and which have shaped the impact of development interventions in the continent.

This programme is ideal for those who wish to pursue careers in international development, as well as students planning to pursue doctoral research on aspects of development in Africa.

History and Cultures scholarships available

The College of Arts and Law is offering a range of scholarships for our postgraduate taught and research programmes. A number of scholarships for Masters students in History and Cultures are also available. Open to students pursuing any of our Masters programmes in History, Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology, and African Studies, the awards cover tuition fees and applications are now open.

Find out more and apply now

Dr Reginald Cline-Cole

Dr Reginald Cline-Cole

“This programme offers an excellent opportunity for students who want to both master the tools of development thinking and how best to apply them in developing a nuanced and informed understanding of the complex and dynamic realities of Africa and its diasporas, both contemporary and historical. It offers an impressive range of disciplinary specialisations and diversity of modules, as well as a variety of academic-related activities designed to enhance the student learning experience.”

Africa is one of the most important sites of international development interventions, and historically the site where much of the academic discipline of development studies was forged.

This programme draws on the expertise of the University’s Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) and International Development Department (IDD) to provide an in-depth exploration of the relationship between development studies and Africa.

You will study two core modules:

  • International Development
  • Livelihoods and Development in Africa

You will also choose four optional modules from a wide range within DASA and IDD. All DASA modules are assessed by coursework; IDD modules vary, and the mix of coursework and written examinations will depend on the options selected. Further module information is available below. 

Assessment

Your core modules are assessed by written assignment, while optional modules vary depending on choice of module. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation which combines interdisciplinary African studies with development studies.

Why study this course

  • Breadth of programme – you have access to an extensive range of topics within African studies and international development, allowing you to explore a variety of topics and tailor the programme to your specific areas of interest.
  • Research strength – Times Higher Education ranked the Department of African Studies and Anthropology second among all Area Studies departments in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.
  • Taught by experts – the course is taught by specialists with extensive experience in their fields.
  • Friendly and relaxed atmosphere – you will be part of a friendly community in which all staff are accessible to students to provide additional help on their work.
  • Lots of opportunities to get involved – the Department of African Studies and Anthropology offers a range of opportunities to interact with other staff and students, including research meetings, DASA seminars and occasional round-table inter-disciplinary research conferences.

Modules

Taught modules

You will study two core modules: International Development (IDD) and Livelihoods and Development in Africa (DASA).

You will also choose four optional modules from a wide range within DASA and IDD. 

Options available in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology typically include:

  • Advanced Perspectives on Africa
  • Independent Study
  • Media and Popular Culture in Africa
  • Modern Ghana
  • Research Skills and Methods in African Studies
  • Slavery and Freedom in Twentieth Century Africa

For more information, see our African Studies and Anthropology module descriptions

Options available in the International Development Department typically include:

  • Authoritarianism and Development
  • Conflict and Development
  • Democracy and Development
  • Development Cooperation Beyond Aid
  • Development in Practice
  • Development Politics
  • Development Projects and Programmes
  • Disability and Inclusive Development
  • Disaster Management
  • Economics for Development Practitioners
  • Environment and Sustainable Development
  • Gender and Development
  • Governance and Statebuilding
  • Human Resource Management and Development
  • Making Policy
  • Non-Governmental Organisations and Development
  • Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development
  • Poverty, Inequality and Development
  • Public Economic Management
  • Public Financial Management
  • Public Management and Leadership
  • Public Sector Reform
  • Rural Poverty and Development
  • Social Analysis of Inequality, Poverty and Development
  • Urban Poverty and Policy

For more information, see our International Development Department module descriptions

Dissertation

In addition to your taught modules, you will conduct a piece of independent research with the support of a supervisor, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.


Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is 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 2019/20 are as follows:

  • UK / EU: £9,250 full-time; £4,625 part-time
  • International: £17,910 full-time

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

Fee status

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

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in the 2019-20 academic year will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2019-20 academic year will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

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

You will need an Honours degree in humanities, social science or another relevant subject, normally of an upper second-class standard. Relevant equivalent study and/or experience will also be accepted.

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

Application deadlines

International students requiring visas

Monday 1 July 2019 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2019 made after this date - a new application should be made for September 2020. Applications will reopen for 2020 entry in early October 2019.

UK/EU students

Please apply by Friday 30 August 2019. However, we would encourage you to apply at the earliest opportunity, to allow adequate time to prepare for starting your studies once receiving a decision on your application.

Late applicants are encouraged to contact the Admissions Tutor for advice.

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

The Department of African Studies and Anthropology is a friendly, well-integrated community. Staff and postgraduate students work together closely and discuss their research interests at regular meetings. 

As this programme is delivered jointly with the International Development Department, you will also benefit from additional expertise, support and extra-curricular events offered by the Department.

Course delivery

We have two teaching terms per year, the autumn term and spring term. Term dates can be found on our website.

As a full-time student, you will typically take three modules in each term, followed by a dissertation. Depending on the modules you take, you can typically expect six to nine hours of classroom time per week, two or three per module. If you are a part-time student, you will typically take three modules across each year, followed by a dissertation.

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation.

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 for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive 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.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: African Studies

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 five years, 100% 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.

Get involved

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.

Accommodation

We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

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.