MA Africa and Development

Start date
September
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Fees

Annual tuition fee for 2020/21:
UK/EU: £9,250 full-time
International: £19,170 full-time
More detail.

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

Africa is one of the most important sites of international development interventions, and historically one of the sites 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.

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 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.

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.

History and Cultures scholarships available

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

Find out more and apply now

I learnt a great deal from my modules on research methods while the seminars offered a suitable platform to meet scholars working on a variety of topics with different research approaches. Above all, the quality of supervision has been phenomenal, providing me with unwavering commitment and guidance which has helped refine my research ideas.

Ernest

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.

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.

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 Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) and the International Development Department (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. 

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

  • Advanced Perspectives on Africa
  • African Fiction and its Critics
  • Contemporary Gender Issues in Africa
  • Independent Study
  • Letting Them Speak: Ethnographies of Marginalisation
  • 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

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

  • UK / EU: £9,250 full-time; £4,625 part-time
  • International: £19,170 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.


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

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.

How To Apply

Application deadlines

The deadline for International students to apply is Wednesday 1 July 2020. The deadline for UK/EU students is Thursday 10 September 2020.

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

Our Standard 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.

International/EU students

Academic requirements: We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements

International Requirements


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 your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: African Studies

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. Our graduates pursue a variety of career paths, including lecturing and paid research. Over the past 5 years, 91% of African Studies postgraduates were in work and/or further study within 6 months of graduating (DLHE 2012 - 2017).