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MA Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Society

Course Description

This MA is designed to provide you with a training in classical and contemporary psychoanalytic theory. It provides you with a clinical grounding through its emphasis on the clinical writings of Freud, Klein and Lacan. Classic case studies, contemporary cases and case presentations by practising analysts are central to this course.

The MA also offers the opportunity to develop a psychoanalytic approach to contemporary socio-cultural issues, in particular questions of political ideology, social conflict and violence. It engages with the relations between the psychoanalytic and social fields by exploring how to conceive of a psychoanalytic social theory. It questions how we can provide a specifically psychoanalytic account of social relations and it engages with issues raised by post-structuralist and feminist accounts of sexuality.

Who is this degree for? Previous and current students have included art and film students, teachers and art historians as well as psychologists and analysts, and recently a performance artist. Many overseas students have also undertaken this degree, not only from European countries but also from Latin America and further afield.

Course Content
Modules are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the School on whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry. At the time of printing, modules are likely to be drawn from the following areas:
Foundations of Psychoanalytic Theory, Clinical Interventions in Psychoanalysis, Symptom and Society, Research Methods in Psychoanalysis. Check the web for the latest updates.

Recent dissertation topics include:
Psychoanalysis and Racial Identity - Exploring the Impasse; The Perverse Prostitute, the Neurotic Woman, the Stereotyped Female; Psychosis and the Image; On Nightmares

Assessment is by coursework and a final dissertation of up to 15,000 words.

Upon graduation you will be equipped to further develop your interests in psychoanalytic practice and in the study of contemporary social issues. Some students have gone on to teach and lecture in this area while others have become (Lacanian) analysts, or have taken other intensive analytic training courses. Several students have subsequently undertaken PhD degrees not only directly in psychoanalytic studies but also in art history. Others have used their degrees in different ways through careers in business and the commercial sector, or in youth work and management.

Here is what a few of our past students have to say:

“I have worked as a therapist and social worker in the fields of mental health, addiction, palliative care and end-of-life care for several years. I completed my undergraduate education as well as clinical training in counselling and psychotherapy in Toronto, Canada. During my training, psychoanalysis was a key component of the curriculum and it sparked my interest in pursuing further studies in this area. Choosing to study the MA in Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Society at Brunel was a prudent decision. It offered me the opportunity to deepen and expand my understanding in this area which has had a positive and progressive impact on my work with my patients and clients. My experience at Brunel has been further inspired by the support, patience and encouragement of its teaching and administrative staff. My career, as well as various other dimensions of my life, continue to be enriched as I begin my PhD research at Brunel."

Stephen: “Having worked as a clinical psychologist in an NHS adult mental health service for several years, I was keen to extend my knowledge and understanding of psychoanalysis. I chose Brunel because the MA course provided the opportunity to learn to think psychoanalytically and to apply psychoanalytic thinking across social and cultural contexts. The course was a delight, being both intellectually stimulating and enjoyable; it has helped to enrich my clinical work with patients and has enabled me to think constructively about the various group and organisational contexts in which I work as a psychologist. It also provided a psychoanalytic perspective on art, literature and film, and this has continued to contribute to my cultural understanding and enjoyment."

Visit the MA Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Society page on the Brunel University London website for more details!

Student Profiles

Postgraduate Academic Excellence Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The scholarship is available for PGT courses at Brunel starting from September 2013 and focuses on two key audiences, namely high calibre prospective PG students and our alumni who wish to undertake further postgraduate study at Brunel. It is available to both Home/ EU and International students.In order to attract high calibre students and encourage them to undertake postgraduate study we intend to offer a discount of 15% off the fees for anyone who has obtained a first class undergraduate degree from a UK University, either in the UK or abroad.Whilst Brunel has always offered a reduction in PG fees for Brunel alumni we intend to further incentivise Brunel students to take up postgraduate education by increasing the discount to 15%.

Value of Scholarship(s)

15% of tuition fee


A first class undergraduate degree from a UK University, either in the UK or abroad.

Application Procedure


Further Information



The Brunel International Scholarship - 20+ Awards

The Brunel International Scholarship is an annual award scheme designed to promote talent and encourage excellence in scholars coming to Brunel from around the globe. Partial scholarships are available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students who have been offered a place on a full-time course at Brunel. Please refer to the International Scholarship web pages for more details.

Value of Scholarship(s)

15% of tuition fees


Academic excellence.

Application Procedure


Further Information


Entry Requirements

Normally a good Honours degree from a UK institution, an equivalent overseas qualification, or an equivalent professional qualification or professional interest (eg psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, social work, education and nursing). Candidates with non-standard qualifications will be considered on a case by case basis.

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