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University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in African Society & Culture Studies

We have 5 University of Birmingham Masters Degrees in African Society & Culture Studies

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

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.

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.

Course details

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:

  • Critical Approaches to 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. More information on available modules 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.

Learning and teaching

The Department of African Studies and Anthropology (incorporating Centre of West African Studies) is a friendly, well integrated community.

Staff and postgraduate students work together closely and discuss their research interests at regular meetings. There is also a regular programme of formal DASA seminars at which staff, postgraduate students and visiting scholars present papers and discuss their work-in-progress.

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.

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).

Employability

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 three years, 100% of African Studies students have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.



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This is a research programme that focuses on contemporary Africa. Read more

This is a research programme that focuses on contemporary Africa.

It provides you with an understanding of major social, cultural, political and economic developments and provides you with the research training necessary to undertake a social-science based study of contemporary Africa which will enhance your ability to prepare and present to an audience on material you have researched. The programme is also recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council as providing the requisite research training for a PhD.

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.

Course details

You will study five core modules:

  • Philosophy of Social Science Research
  • Research Design, Practice and Ethics
  • Fundamentals in Quantitative Research Methods
  • Foundations in Qualitative Research
  • Research Skills and Methods in African Studies

You will then choose one optional module from a range within African Studies and Anthropology.

Module descriptions are available below.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by written assignment and/or presentation. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a subject of your choice, with one-to-one expert supervision. 

Learning and teaching

The Department of African Studies and Anthropology (incorporating the Centre for West African Studies) is a friendly, well integrated community.

Staff and postgraduate students work together closely and discuss their research interests at regular meetings. There is also a regular programme of formal DASA seminars at which staff, postgraduate students and visiting scholars present papers and discuss their work-in-progress.

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).

Employability

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 three years, 100% of African Studies students have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.



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The MRes degree is a research programme with some provision for taught modules. It is aimed at those who wish to move beyond undergraduate work and to engage in research in depth for a postgraduate thesis, but who also wish to take modules that help develop research and related skills. . Read more

The MRes degree is a research programme with some provision for taught modules.

It is aimed at those who wish to move beyond undergraduate work and to engage in research in depth for a postgraduate thesis, but who also wish to take modules that help develop research and related skills. 

The course aims to develop your critical and analytical skills in relation to current ideas in African politics, history and anthropology or African and Caribbean literature. It provides you with the opportunity to identify, investigate in depth, and write up a research topic of your own, including the use of archival, oral media and internet sources.

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.

Course details

You take three taught modules and write a thesis of 20,000 words in the final term on a topic of your choice.

There are two compulsory modules: Research Skills and Methods in African Studies and Advanced Perspectives on Africa. In addition you choose a third module from a wide range of topics in literature, history, politics, development and anthropology.

Learning and teaching

We are a friendly, well integrated community. Staff and postgraduate students work together closely and discuss their research interests at regular meetings.

There is also a regular programme of formal Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) seminarsat which staff, postgraduate students and visiting scholars present papers and discuss their work-in-progress.

You will be assigned a personal tutor with whom you will meet to discuss your progress and seek help and advice when necessary. It is a University requirement that tutors meet with their tutees at least once a term, but you don't need to wait for a formal appointment: you are encouraged to contact your tutor whenever you need help or advice.

You will also have an academic supervisor once you are working on your dissertation and will have access to the expertise of other members of staff. As a graduate student at DASA you can expect to enjoy intensive, frequent and close interaction with your supervisor on a one-to-one basis as well as detailed, continuous supervision of written work.

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

Employability

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 three years, 100% of African Studies students have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.



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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. Read more

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.

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.

Course details

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. Subject to availability, it is also possible to choose one of your options from another discipline. 

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.

Learning and teaching

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. There is also a regular programme of formal DASA seminars at which staff, postgraduate students and visiting scholars present papers and discuss their work-in-progress.

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).

Employability

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 three years, 100% of African Studies students have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.



Read less
The Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) offers promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in a centre of excellence in the study of Africa. Read more

The Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA) offers promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in a centre of excellence in the study of Africa.

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.

Course details

The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a thesis of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which an academic staff member will provide expert supervision. The PhD, the most advanced research degree, leads to a thesis of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice. Again under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff.

We give all possible support to our researchers, developing the resources available at the University and encouraging an active postgraduate environment for the exchange of information and ideas.

Distance learning

You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by distance learning. Please note that if you are studying with us by distance learning, the programme includes a fully-funded annual visit to campus for each full year of your programme (every two years for part-time students).

For more information on distance learning including answers to frequently asked questions, student experiences and funding opportunities, please see our distance learning website

Employability

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 three years, 100% of African Studies students have been in employment or further study within six months of graduating.



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