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PhD/MA by Research African Studies (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

As a postgraduate researcher in the African Studies (On-Campus or by Distance Learning) programme from University of Birmingham, you will benefit from its interdisciplinary approach, diverse range of expertise and active, well-integrated research community.

Quick Facts

Full-Time Duration: 1 year (MA by Research)
3 years (PhD)
Starting in: January, September
Tuition Fee: £20,820 per year full-time
£10,410 per year part-time (distance learning only)
Location: Birmingham, United Kingdom / Online

Why study this course?

  • World-leading research: Times Higher Education ranked the Department of African Studies and Anthropology second among all Area Studies departments in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise: 44% of research at the University of Birmingham for Area Studies was top 4* rated ‘world-leading’. A further 49% was rated 3* ‘internationally excellent’.
  • Fantastic research environment: Graduate students play a vital and active role in the Department’s research community, contributing to and organising a range of activities from weekly departmental seminars, which bring leading researchers in African Studies to present their work, to frequent international conferences on cutting-edge research topics hosted on campus.
  • Excellent links with Africa and its diasporas: You will be taught by staff who have first-hand experience of the continent. Our staff have lived and taught in Africa, and continue to carry out research there. The Department also has strong links with African universities and frequently attracts visiting researchers from Africa.

Programme Structure:

  • The Department of African Studies and Anthropology is an interdisciplinary department with an established international reputation for research on Africa and its diaspora.
  • We are able to provide expert supervision on a variety of topics including histories of local and national identities; Pentecostal Christianity; labour history; urban and youth culture; marginality and exclusion; economic and political anthropology; migration and mobility; sexuality, gender, kinship and marriage in society and policy; education and its legacies; religious difference in everyday life; and African links with the Islamic world.

“The transition from undergrad to postgrad can be a big step up in terms of workload and what is expected of you, but there is so much support available to you as a postgrad student, from academic writing support (if you’ve been out of education for a few years or just want a bit of extra help) to mental health and wellbeing services. The careers support is fantastic – the uni puts on employer fairs throughout the year and you have access to one on one support from the Careers Network team, who can help you develop your skills ready for your next step!”

Emma Sutton // PhD Psychology


Your African Studies (On-Campus or by Distance Learning) programme from University of Birmingham will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University’s Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV


Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK, usually in a relevant area.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent), usually in a relevant area.

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