MA/Diploma African Studies

Start date
September
Duration
MA - 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time; Diploma - 16 months 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.

The MA African Studies is one of the most exciting programmes open to anyone wishing to delve into Africa-focused research.

The multidisciplinary programme provides you with the research training necessary to undertake a broad-based, multidisciplinary study of contemporary Africa. It provides you with an understanding of major social, cultural, political and economic developments in Africa and the Diaspora.

It enhances your ability to prepare and present to an audience material you have researched. It also enables you to develop your critical and analytical powers in relation to current events in Africa, as well as your ability to approach contemporary African issues from interdisciplinary standpoints.

As well as offering a range of original, research-led modules, students are also encouraged to participate actively in the AFRICA Talks, the Graduate Fora, the annual Cadbury fellowships and conferences and explore African societies, past and present, from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

My interactions with different academics have helped me to be more reflective and critical in the way I develop and present my ideas. 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?

  • Taught by experts – the course is taught by world-leading specialists, all of whom have lived, worked and conducted research in Africa for long periods; all modules are informed by in-depth, first hand original research in Africa.
  • 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.
  • Friendly and relaxed atmosphere – you will be part of a department that has a friendly community in which all staff are accessible to students to provide additional help on their work.
  • Breadth of expertise – African Studies at Birmingham is wide-ranging, covering the whole continent and spanning humanities and social sciences disciplines.
  • Lots of opportunities to get involved – the department 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

Taught modules

You will study two core modules: Research Skills and Methods in African Studies and Advanced Perspectives on Africa

You will also choose four optional modules from a range which typically includes:  

  • African Fiction and its Critics
  • Contemporary Gender Issues in Africa
  • Independent Study
  • Letting Them Speak: Ethnographies of Marginalisation
  • Livelihoods and Development in Africa
  • Slavery and Freedom in Twentieth Century Africa

For more information, see our African Studies and Anthropology 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 2019/20 are as follows: 

MA

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

Diploma

  • UK/EU: £6,167 full-time; £3,083 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.

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

MA programmes normally require an upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent with some background in the disciplines to be studied. Applicants with a background in other disciplines, or with less traditional qualifications, may be accepted for the Diploma in African Studies.

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

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. 

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 for MA students.

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).