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An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.
The Department of Psychosocial Studies brings together scholars who have backgrounds in a variety of areas of academic enquiry, including anthropology; sociology; gender and sexuality; cultural and postcolonial studies; education studies; critical psychology; psychoanalysis and
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A good Master’s degree in a relevant subject in the humanities or social sciences, although we will consider an application from someone who has a first- or good second-class honours degree in one of these subjects.
You will also need to submit a detailed outline of your research proposal, specifying its significance and originality.
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each sub-test.
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Start dates & study options
Olga was ready for the challenge of postgraduate study, when she discovered Birkbeck:
'While I have never really stopped studying since my undergraduate degree, I have undertaken only short courses or professional qualifications. At this stage of my life and career I desired an intellectual challenge, which an MA course definitely provides.
'Everyone knows Birkbeck is one of the best places to study in London. I had a taste when I was doing a three-month course in History and was really impressed with the quality of teaching.
'The way the course was put together covered most of the areas I was interested in. Other places offer either pure Psychology or Sociology, whereas the MA in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck offers an insight into a very broad and fascinating spectrum of topics and themes.
'I would advise prospective students to realistically assess how much time they can devote to reading, especially if they are working full-time. I saw some people spreading themselves too thinly trying to finish the course in one year. I have been enjoying the course so much, that I am pleased I have another year to look forward to.
'I have met some great people among my fellow students. There has been a lot of socialising, nights out and parties. There is more to the course than just a challenging reading list.'
'Birkbeck was ideal for me because the evening tuition offered meant that I could return to study without having to give up my existing career as a television editor. It has a reputation for high quality research and a really interesting programme of visiting academics. Its central location is also really convenient for me.
'The MA in Psychosocial Studies is an interdisciplinary degree which draws from different disciplines - sociology, philosophy, psychoanalysis - which fascinate me. I think that the combination of subject areas means that the degree has a breadth and relevance that would be impossible within a single traditional discipline. Psychoanalysis in particular is a subject which is important and has a lot to offer, yet is often neglected in academic circles.
'Having teaching staff from different academic disciplines makes for a varied intellectual culture. It's also a really friendly and supportive place, and the staff manage to challenge the students whilst appreciating that we come from varying academic and social backgrounds.
'My biggest achievement is understanding challenging texts. When I am reading Lacan, for instance, I find that he now makes a great deal of sense to me, and I can really see how my understanding has developed in the space of a year. It has also been great to engage with some visiting academics.
'I would advise prospective students to be aware that even though the teaching is in the evening, a full-time course still requires a heavy time commitment, and you will be encouraged to cover a great deal of ground in the course. Talk to the staff if you have any concerns as they understand that most students here have daytime jobs or other time commitments, and they will help you to make it work.
'I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the MA Psychosocial Studies and aside from the academic rewards I have made some good new friends, and had a really sociable and stimulating year. I would recommend it to anyone.'
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