Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

Psychosocial Studies

Psychosocial Studies is a leading department in this interdisciplinary field that brings together social, cultural and psychosocial researchers. The department has developed a distinctive approach to research and teaching that draws on a range of critical frameworks including psychoanalytic theory, social theory, feminist and queer theory, cultural and post-colonial studies and qualitative psychosocial methodologies. In our research we aim to connect discussions of our precarious and increasingly interconnected collective fates with our most intimate personal and psychic lives. Some of the research strands in the department include: violence, state violence and conflict; intimacy, parenting, care and personal life; human rights, social responsibility and helping behaviour; public cultures, social movements, citizenship and social identities; postcolonial urban cultures and histories of 'race' and racism; gender and sexuality; emotional development, psychic change and ageing. The MA is designed for graduates from a wide range of backgrounds, who are looking to develop an in-depth understanding of the relation between individual subjectivities and identities, and historical and contemporary social and political formations.

Entry requirements

Minimum second-class honours degree or its equivalent in a discipline relevant to psychosocial studies, which includes most humanities and social science disciplines (such as psychology, sociology, politics, history, cultural studies). In exceptional circumstances, the admissions tutor will consider applicants who have substantial professional experience (for example, teaching, social work, counselling and psychotherapy, mediation, development work, arts and cultural industries) without a first degree, and who can demonstrate through interview and a written assignment that they have the required academic abilities to complete a Master's-level course. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course modules

Genuinely interdisciplinary, our MA combines core taught courses and optional modules, as well as the opportunity for independent research supervised by staff members and advanced doctoral students.

Each year we offer a variety of option modules within the department and we also cross-list available courses from the School of Social Science, History and Philosophy. The options below are an indicative list.

You also undertake an Independent Research Module, to support you in choosing, developing and undertaking a piece of independent research (qualitative empirical or theoretical).

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 as part of their programme of study at Birkbeck.
Core modules:

Texts and Interpretation;
Theories and Sites of the Psychosocial.

Indicative psychosocial option modules:

Culture, Community, Identity;
Psychoanalysis and Culture;
Visual Culture: Power and the Image.

Indicative College-wide option modules:

A Confusion of Tongues: Illness, Language, Writing;
Cultural Memory;
Degeneration: Science, Culture and Social Prophecy 1850-1945;
Disciplining Sex: Sexuality, Society and Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture;
Fascism and Psychoanalysis;
Gender in Britain;
Language Matters;
Madness and its Meanings;
Mind, Body and Self in the Victorian Age;
Queer Histories/Queer Cultures;
Queer Theory;
Why War? History, Psychoanalysis and Politics, c 1900-1950.

Independent research module:

Independent Research Module.

Assessment methods

Written and practical assignments, oral presentations and a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words.

Sponsorship information

The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses - and you don't have to start repaying until 2019. Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2017 - 1 years
MA Part-time October 2017 - 2 years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner

Get in touch

Remember to mention TARGETpostgrad when contacting universities.

Key information

Department of Psychosocial Studies
Telephone number: 
020 3073 8045