Black Studies - MA
This course has recently been updated. Please download the course specification for the up to date information. In 2017 Birmingham City University became the first university in Europe to launch an undergraduate Black Studies degree course. Our MA Black Studies course aims to build on the success of this pivotal course....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
- Level Postgraduate Taught
- Study mode Full Time/Part Time
- Award MA
- Start date September 2022
- Fees View course fees
- School School of Social Sciences
- Faculty Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences
This course has recently been updated. Please download the course specification for the up to date information.
In 2017 Birmingham City University became the first university in Europe to launch an undergraduate Black Studies degree course.
Our MA Black Studies course aims to build on the success of this pivotal course. Since its emergence Black Studies at BCU has been one of the most high profile and successful research activities since 2014 in the faculty. We have produced highly rated and world leading research, secured research funding and hosted some foundational research activities.
This course will be well suited to those already in employment as well as those wanting to develop specialist knowledge and build on transferable skill sets which will boost their employability and career options to working within education, local and national government, criminal justice, media, the arts and advocacy organisations. We have links with the public, private and voluntary sector organisations in local community, national and international settings. Engagement with stakeholders is fundamental part of the final project; which further enhances students’ personal and professional development and networking skills.
Why Choose Us?
Black Studies has been hugely influential in debates on university campus across the UK. BCU staff are regularly invited to speak at student and staff organised symposia about ‘decolonising’ the university. It was students that pushed for courses such as Black Studies, asking questions like ‘Why is My Curriculum White?’. From speaking at campuses across the country it is obvious there is a call for a postgraduate course in Black Studies.
In designing the course, we have built on the principles we have embedded into the undergraduate course. These have become the basis of the discipline of Black Studies that we are at the forefront of creating in academia. These key principles are embedded into the design of the degree and in module titles:
- Politics of Blackness. Black Studies is about connecting into the politics of Africa and the diaspora. We will explore critically and in relation to historical and existing social movements.
- Black Studies in Action. Taking Black Studies knowledge off campus is indispensable to the discipline, therefore we will explore research methods and partnerships with public, private and voluntary sectors in the community. This will feed directly into the Black Studies Project where student will develop a project with an impact off campus.
- Intersecting Identities. The most developed area of research in the discipline is Black Feminism, of which the key principles will be explored in this module.
- Race and Modernity. A critique of Eurocentric notions of progress is an essential component of ‘decolonising’ the curriculum.
- Culture, Media and Representation. Popular culture has been a central tool for exploring Black Studies knowledge, which aims to engage in the real world. We will be drawing heavily on these traditions in the course.
- Historical analysis. Throughout the modules we will be drawing on historical analysis to understand the contributions, experiences and perspectives of Africa and the African diaspora.
Find out more
For September 2022 entry we will be operating a ‘gathered field’ approach to applications. This is often used to ensure that the limited number of places available are offered to applicants on merit.
As a result we will be unable to make a decision on your application until 31 May 2022.
|Typical Offers (UK Students)|
A second class degree from a UK University or international equivalent.
Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis should a student possess enough relevant professional experience.
Additional information for EU/International students
Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications are welcome. Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|English language requirements 2020/21|
6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|Other accepted qualifications||Visit our English language page|
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 1 Year
- £9,000 per year
- Part Time
- 2 Years
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 1 Year
- £16,300 per year
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.
Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Your passion and motivations
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Why this course?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Relevant academic or work experience
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 160 credits):
Politics of Blackness 20 credits
Black Studies in Action 20 credits
Intersecting Identities 20 credits
Representation, Discourse and Culture 20 credits
Understanding Self through History 20 credits
Black Studies Project 60 credits
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules:
Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence 20 credits
Homicide and Organised Violent Crime 20 credits
Inside Out 20 credits
Global Health Law 20 credits
International Criminal Law 20 credits
Refugees and the Free Movement of People 20 credits
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Welcome to the School of Social Sciences, home to students from all around the world!
All of our undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences courses are open to international students, and our courses have been tailored to take a global approach to learning. We frequently welcome international students through the Erasmus scheme, from countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
- Explore some of the good reasons why you should study here
- Find out how to improve your language skills before starting your studies
- Find all the information relevant to applicants from your country
- Learn where to find financial support for your studies
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Facilities and Staff
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.
The Curzon Building
This course is based at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other social sciences, law, business and English students.
The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.
Realistic, simulated environments include two mock court rooms, a Magistrates' and Crown Court, and an interviewing suite. We’re also exploring the use of virtual environments as a way to develop case study analysis.
For those studying on the BA (Hons) Policing or BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation degrees, you’ll experience simulations of police interviewing environments for both suspects and witnesses, with access to tape recording and video playback analysis.
Crime investigation files are prepared using computer-based technology, and the crime data analysis requirements of the degree are supported by appropriate statistical and analytical software.
Psychology students can look forward to using state-of-the-art equipment as well, including the latest in eye-tracking software, and our new EEG machine, all geared towards giving you true hands-on experience with tools you’ll be using in your later career. You will also benefit from facilities across the wider campus including the Parkside and Millennium Point buildings.
The Curzon Building also features:
- An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
- Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
- A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
- Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free
Professor Kehinde Andrews
Professor of Black Studies
Professor Kehinde Andrews is an academic, activist and author whose books include Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century (2018). His first book was Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement (2013).More about Kehinde
Dr Dionne Taylor
Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Deputy Programme Leader Black Studies, Deputy Head of Department
Dr Dionne Taylor's role in BCU is about supporting, inspiring and guiding the students to reach beyond what many of them believe is possible. Encouraging students to work through the challenges, barriers and limitations to success is one of the reasons she became an academic.More about Dionne
Dr Tony Talburt
Senior Lecturer in Black Studies
Having lived and taught in Jamaica, Ghana and also the UK, teaching African Caribbean history and politics, Tony Talburt has developed particular interests in the history of Africa and its peoples on the continent or in the Black Diaspora.More about Tony