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  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Anthropology

    Politics & Government

  • Start Date

    October

  • Course Duration

    Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Course Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

  • Last Updated

    07 August 2017

Course content

This Master's degree in politics considers how ethnic, national and religious identities intersect and how they cause conflict and violence within and between states. In Western countries, many majority ethnic groups are bemoaning a loss of national identity and sovereignty, while smaller nations and ethnic-national groups press for devolution or independence at the expense of larger nation-state formations. Religiously inspired conflict, especially, but by no means only, in the Muslim world, is a further major source of global insecurity. This programme draws on research in comparative politics, history, sociology, cultural and genetic anthropology, political theory and international relations to offer comprehensive, balanced analyses of contemporary political controversies. Alongside theoretical approaches, we will examine ethnic and national conflict via a wealth of real-world case studies that cover every corner of the globe. The programme provides the analytical tools you will need to examine problems of national, ethnic and religious conflict in their broader political context.

The first core module will give you a deep understanding of the concepts of ethnic group and nation and the range of approaches and analytical models available to explore case studies from different time periods and places. You will then consider the pressing issue of population change, including its economic, military, political and international implications. You will be equipped with the conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study politics at postgraduate level.

You can then choose 2 option modules from a wide variety of topics including international security, American foreign policy, globalisation, political theory and sociology, war and conflict, nationalism and religion, and international political economy. The culmination of the programme is applying the concepts and methods you have learnt to undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation on the subject that interests you most.

Our Department of Politics is a lively and distinguished centre of interdisciplinary research, with a strong reputation for the quality of our teaching. Some of the world’s most famous libraries are on our doorstep in Bloomsbury, central London, and you can walk down to Whitehall, where Parliament and the UK’s most influential and important think-tanks and centres of political research and analysis are located.

Our departmental building was once a key location for members of the Bloomsbury Group, so you could be studying in rooms that have hosted distinguished visitors, including T. S. Eliot, George Bernard Shaw and Maynard Keynes.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

This Master's degree is distinctive, combining theoretical and critical perspectives on nationalism, ethnicity and conflict with empirical approaches and real-world case studies.
The programme allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our location in central London puts us at the heart of the UK’s political life and at the centre of academic London. You can walk down to Parliament and Whitehall, while Bloomsbury contains some of the world’s most famous libraries and centres of research.
You can take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, which is right next door to Birkbeck, the British Library, which is 5 minutes’ walk away, and the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, which is walkable from Birkbeck.
Our Department of Politics was ranked 12th in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research.
The department organises a lively programme of seminars and conferences and is home to affiliated research centres, such as the Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life, which run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, publishing and delivering stimulating teaching in a wide range of political topics including civil society and the state, public policy, development, gender, international security and terrorism, and social and political theory, among others.
Birkbeck Library has a large politics collection, including the major specialist journals, and provides you with access to an extensive range of online materials.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK.

Visit the Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict (MSc) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

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