MA/Diploma African Studies

The MA African Studies is a multidisciplinary programme focusing on contemporary Africa.

It provides you with an understanding of major social, cultural, political and economic developments in Africa and the Diaspora. 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.

 
Dr Benedetta Rossi

Dr Benedetta Rossi

“The MA African Studies is one of the most exciting programmes open to anyone wishing to delve into Africa-focused research. It does not only offer a range of original, research-led modules, but 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.”

The programme provides you with the research training necessary to undertake a broad-based, multidisciplinary study of contemporary Africa. It enhances your ability to prepare and present to an audience material you have researched.

You will study two core modules:

  • Research Skills and Methods in African Studies
  • Advanced Perspectives on Africa

You will also choose four optional modules from a range offered within African Studies and Anthropology. 

Further module information is available below.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by written assignment and/or presentation. While completing all six taught modules will lead to a Diploma-level qualification, MA students will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation.

Why study this course

  • Taught by experts – the course is taught by world-leading specialists, all of whom have lived, worked and 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.

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:  

  • Independent Study
  • Livelihoods and Development in Africa
  • Media and Popular Culture in Africa
  • Modern Ghana
  • 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 and funding

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.

Entry 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.

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. 

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 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.