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Black Studies - MA

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

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....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • School School of Social Sciences
  • Faculty Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Overview

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. 

This course is open to International students.

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

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area from our academics.

Next Open Day: Sunday 27 November

Book your place

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
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
Essential

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
IELTS

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

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 Year
  • £9,250 in 2023/24
  • £1028 per 20 credits
  • Year 1 - 80 credits
  • Year 2 - 100 credits

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year.

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 Year
  • £16,870 in 2023/24

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.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites and available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Personal statement

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

Year One

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

All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Download course specification

Download now

Employability

International

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:

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Facilities & Staff

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

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

Our staff

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 Martin Glynn

Lecturer in Criminology

Dr Martin Glynn is an experienced and internationally renowned criminologist, educator, theatre director, and dramatist with over 35 years’ experience of working in criminal justice, public health, and educational settings.

More about Martin

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