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Black history degrees in the UK

Discover what degrees are offered in the UK that celebrate Black history, examine Black culture, and analyse the diverse cultural impact of Black culture in Britain.

Student talking to teacher about Black history

Black Studies BA – Birmingham City University

Celebrating the different experiences and figures that have helped shape Black culture, the Black Studies BA offered by Birmingham City University (BCU) is the first undergraduate course of its kind in the UK.

You’ll have a range of modules you can choose, from learning about Black sociologists and their initial explorations into urban life to analysing the historical and cultural impact of race in the Western world. You’ll graduate from this course knowing how to think critically, take diverse cultural perspectives and ethnographically evaluate the diaspora of African cultures.

We are proud we have been leading the way in transforming higher education. Our course remains unique in its focus on understanding the history and presenting it through a range of Black perspectives, and it's an opportunity to try to engage with these ideas by working in the voluntary, public or private sectors.

Kehinde Andrews, Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University

Course length: three years studying full-time, five years studying part-time.

Fees: £9,250 per year for UK/home students. Students from outside the UK pay £13,500 per year.

Entry requirements: a minimum of 112 UCAS points are required. You must have achieved a grade 4/C or above in GCSE English.

Black British History MA – Goldsmiths, University of London

Interested in learning more about African influence on British culture? This postgraduate degree at Goldsmiths, University of London will give you the chance to understand the history of African culture in the UK and analyse how the Black British experience has developed.

You’ll have three compulsory modules, with one being a 15,000 word dissertation on a Black British history topic of your choice. Two optional modules must also be taken from a choice of four. One of these optional modules can come from the History MA or another department – at the discretion of the programme coordinator.

Course length: one year if studying full-time, two years if part-time.

Fees: £7,320 for UK/home students, or £15,360 for students from outside the UK.

Entry requirements: at least a 2:1 standard degree in History or a related subject will be required. You may be accepted based on work experience and proof of your ability to study at master’s level. Some candidates may have to submit an essay as part of their application.

  2. Types of master’s degrees

Black Humanities MA – University of Bristol

With a focus on arts and humanities, this master’s course examines research and debates on race, ethics, and representation. You’ll cover topics such as racism, anti-racism and social justice while also discussing the history, philosophies, and literature that exist within African communities.

All students on this University of Bristol course must take two core modules, a research-focused course, and a final dissertation. Three further modules must be selected from a list of eight.

Course length: one year if studying full-time, two years if part-time.

Fees: £9,100 for UK/home students, £20,000 for international students.

Entry requirements: applicants will need at least a 2:1 honours degree, preferably in an arts, humanities, or social science subject. Other equivalent qualifications will be considered.

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Global Black Studies, Decolonisation and Social Justice MA – University of West London

This postgraduate degree from the University of West London examines Black culture and Black identity through a global lens. You’ll critically discuss the topics of policing, white privilege and being Black in education, while also analysing the impact and importance of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

The course contains six compulsory modules, with one of these being a final research project. Empathy, time management and working collaboratively are all transferable skills you’ll pick up on this course.

The MA explores decolonisation and the seminal role it plays in the reconfiguring of the lives of peoples of African ancestry, in their pursuits of global and social justice, moving beyond the African American framework for Black studies to a truly diasporic one. Similarly, a major difference in our approach will be the usage of the term African Chattel Enslavement (ACE) as opposed to ‘slavery’, because the way ‘slavery’ is taught enables a conflation and collapsing of historical and contemporary forms of unfreedom. Africans were uniquely and ‘legally’ regarded as ‘articles of commerce’, reduced to a ‘mathematical equation’, which is not the experience of any other members of the human family.

Professor William Henry, Global Black Studies, Decolonisation and Social Justice MA Course Leader at the University of West London

Course length: one year if studying full-time, two years if part-time.

Fees: £8,500 for UK/home students, and £13,250 for those outside the UK.

Entry requirements: at least a 2:2 honours degree will be needed, or an equivalent qualification. A minimum 4/C in GCSE English and Maths is also required.

African Studies MSc – University of Oxford

Seen as both its own master’s degree but also a stepping-stone into further doctoral studies, Oxford’s African Studies MSc is a rich opportunity to expand your knowledge of African culture. You’ll dissect key questions and engage in important debates covering African history, taught through a mix of lectures and seminars.

The degree involves taking two main courses, one optional course of your choice, and a final research project of your choosing ranging from 12,000 to 15,000 words.

Course length: the course lasts for nine months, or three terms, if studying full-time. Part-time study will take longer.

Fees: UK/home students will pay £15,970 while students from outside the UK must pay £26,940.

Entry requirements: a 2:1 (first) or strong 2:1 honours degree in a humanities or social sciences subject is expected. Relevant professional experience will be considered.

  2. Guide to African studies
  3. Six reasons to study African Studies

Black Studies PhD – University of Nottingham

Fancy deep-diving into a research topic of your choice? Nottingham’s new Black Studies doctorate degree lets you study an aspect of Black culture, literature or history that intrigues you. You’ll have the chance to critically examine politics, activism, art, or the movement of African people – whichever you choose.

The university’s Centre for Black Studies and its connections with the Institute for the Study of Slavery will help you network and develop your research project. Your studies will culminate in a 100,000-word thesis.

The Black Studies PhD at Nottingham is an interdisciplinary research programme, so you get to develop new work in Black Studies but with reference to other departments. Potential supervisors range from History, Music and History of Art to Education and Psychology, meaning you can produce work in the areas that best suit you.

We are excited to welcome and support new methodologies and ways of thinking about Black people's lives, cultures, experiences, and ways of thinking.

Dr Hannah Robbins, Director of Black Studies at the University of Nottingham

Course length: full-time students typically take three years, with part-time students up to six years.

Fees: the programme doesn’t start until October 2022, so fees are to be confirmed in February 2022. UK/home students will pay less than students from outside the UK.

Entry requirements: all applicants will need a 2:1 degree or equivalent in an arts, humanities, or social sciences subject. You’ll also need to have earned, or be working towards, a master’s degree.

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