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Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity (MA/PGDip/PGCert)

Course Description

This multidisciplinary Master's programme explores debates on 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality. It explores connections between histories of empire and contemporary social formations and inequalities in the UK, and considers how local debates on 'race' and racism are shaped by the global geopolitics of the twenty-first century.

The programme explores debates on empire and the formation of modern Britain and contemporary transnational political communities, social identities and urban cultures. The MA aims to draw connections between interlocking colonial histories across the globe and our ordinary, local, everyday life here in contemporary Britain.

The programme focuses on subjects such as histories of colonisation, systems of slavery, the concept of 'race' and the invention of 'the West'; colonial cultures, class, nationalisms, 'respectability' and the invention of 'whiteness'; histories of criminalisation and imprisonment; human rights; 'the war on terror'; diaspora, place and belonging; psychoanalysis and 'race', 'hybridity', 'mixedness', 'whiteness', 'race' and 'beauty' and 'race', gender, sexuality and desire. It offers the opportunity to study a wide range of different subjects in this broad multidisciplinary area.

The MA is convened by academics who have interests in racialisation, postcoloniality, urban multiculture and psychoanalysis. You can also choose from a range of option modules convened by other academics in other departments across the College.

This innovative, interdisciplinary postgraduate programme will be of interest to those who want to develop careers in social research, education, law, journalism, youth and community work, urban planning, housing, politics, the arts and cultural industries, health and social care, and numerous other areas. It will also be of interest to those who wish to pursue an academic career in sociology, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, urban studies, psychosocial studies, or in the social sciences or humanities more generally and to those who simply wish to develop an advanced understanding of 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

The programme introduces you to different historical and political debates and theoretical perspectives in the broad multidisciplinary area of 'race' and racism, multiculture and postcoloniality.
You will participate in a vibrant, stimulating and diverse intellectual environment. There is a Race Forum and several other research institutes at Birkbeck that focus on relevant subject areas.
The programme is flexibly designed for students from all backgrounds to pursue their own particular research and professional interests.
The MA draws from sociology, cultural studies, history, urban studies, literary studies, psychosocial studies, philosophy and politics.
The Department of Psychosocial Studies has a formal link with the University of São Paulo, Brazil. This link enables students on this programme to undertake an optional module at the University of São Paulo as part of their programme of study at Birkbeck.
You will join a flourishing and diverse postgraduate student community and a growing research culture. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and learning resources in sociology, cultural studies, postcolonial studies, psychosocial studies and related disciplines. You will also be able to use the rich research resources nearby including Senate House Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (the LSE Library), the SOAS Library and the British Library.
There are also research institutes which focus on relevant subject areas such as the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck Law School Centre for Law and the Humanities and the Centre for Media, Culture and Creative Practice and reading groups such as the Postcolonial Studies Reading Group.

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), Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK.

Visit the Culture, Diaspora, Ethnicity (MA/PGDip/PGCert) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

Student Profiles

School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, Postgraduate Taught (PGT) Bursary - Single Award

Applications are invited for one 'Postgraduate Taught' Bursary worth £6,000, to be awarded to a candidate with an outstanding academic record who shows high potential for strong performance on one of the School's 'Postgraduate Taught' programmes.This competition is open to new Home/EU and International students who are applying for either a full-time or part-time MA/MSc place in the departments listed below; the competition is also open to students who are applying to the Department of Philosophy and the degree of M.Phil. Stud. Philosophy.This £6,000 award is in the form of a bursary (i.e., there is no 'fee waiver' but the bursary may be used towards payment of fees). If awarded to a part-time student, the bursary will be paid for two years of PGT study.Please note that in order to apply for funding you must also complete an application for a place at Birkbeck on an MA/MSc programme within the School of SSHP or the MPhil. Stud. in the Department of Philosophy, either before or at the same time as applying for funding.Prospective studentsCandidates will be expected to fulfil similar academic criteria to those demanded by external funding bodies. They will normally possess at least an upper second class honours degree or equivalent.

Value of Scholarship(s)



This competition is open to new Home/EU and International students who are applying for either a full-time or part-time MA/MSc place in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy; the competition is also open to students who are applying to the Department of Philosophy and the degree of M.Phil. Stud. Philosophy.This competition is open to new students only

Application Procedure

Before you apply, you should contact the relevant department for advice.Once you have identified a relevant programme, you will need to:Apply online for the relevant MA/MSc or MPhil. Stud. (Dept. of Philosophy) degree in the normal wayDownload the SSHP Postgraduate Taught Bursary Application Form Word iconThe SSHP Studentship application form should be returned to Jane Halstead, Assistant School Manager, via the following email address:[email protected] STATE ‘PGT BURSARY’ AND DEPARTMENT APPLIED TO IN THE ‘SUBJECT’ LINE OF YOUR E-MAIL.Any queries relating to the PGT Bursary can also be sent to this email address.

Further Information



Postgraduate Support Scheme for final-year undergraduates (full-time) - 20+ Awards

We are pleased to announce that, for October 2015 entry, Birkbeck has a limited number of new £10,000 postgraduate scholarships. These scholarships are for students progressing from a full-time undergraduate degree to a part-time Master’s degree starting in 2015/16.

Value of Scholarship(s)



To be eligible for the scholarship you must be:Starting a 2-year part-time taught Master’s degree in 2015/16
Domiciled in the UK/EU
Progressing from an undergraduate course for which you were charged the higher tuition fee (applicable since 2012–13)
studying at postgraduate Master’s level for the first time

Application Procedure

If you want to apply for this support, you must follow these steps:Submit an application for your intended course
Submit an application for the Postgraduate Support Scheme

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Good degree in social sciences or humanities. Recent professional qualifications, relevant work/practical experience, or a lively interest in the subject area will also be considered. 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 of the sub-tests.

Course Fees

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

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Recipient: Birkbeck, University of London
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