Psychoanalytic Studies (MA)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year full-time or two years part-time

Attendance

Two evenings a week full-time or one evening a week part-time, October to September

The MA Psychoanalytic Studies is jointly run by the Departments of Psychosocial Studies and of History, Classics and Archaeology, which allows you to study the origins of psychoanalysis, its history over its first 120 years of life, its main ideas and their applications, both within and outside the therapeutic context, and in particular how it has been taken up and contested in different social and cultural situations.

Taught by a wide range of leading academics and psychoanalytic practitioners, the programme explores how psychoanalytic thought has been used to illuminate pressing social and political concerns, and examines the controversies that have always surrounded it. It focuses on the interface between psychoanalysis as an evolving clinical practice, as a form of knowledge, and as a mode of critique. The programme examines key psychoanalytic concepts in detail and places those concepts in context. It will enable you to closely study the numerous modern developments within psychoanalysis, from Freud through to contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice. You will also explore the methodological, epistemological and ethical issues that have resulted from diverse elaboration and extension of psychoanalytic ideas, not only in a clinical setting, but also in social and cultural inquiries, and in the interpretation of the historical past.

The programme asks how far modern thought on war and other forms of violent conflict, fascism, terrorism, racism and xenophobia has had an influence on the way we think about the unconscious mind, and vice versa. It also investigates how psychoanalytic accounts of inter-personal and intra-psychic relationships have shaped - or been shaped by - wider cultural attitudes to love, intimacy and destructiveness, and about the place of these accounts in discussions of gender and sexuality, racism and postcolonialism.

This programme has good links with the British Psychoanalytical Society through its teaching staff and also because the Society's Foundation Course in Psychoanalysis can be taken as an option module by students on the MA. For students with strong clinical interests, this arrangement provides an exceptional opportunity to be taught psychoanalytic theory by some of the most senior and eminent psychoanalysts in the country.

Highlights

  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK.
  • 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 option module at the university as part of their programme of study at Birkbeck.
  • As well as the core programme staff, lectures on our summer programme are likely to be given by internationally renowned Birkbeck associates.
  • See our film Spaces of Psychoanalysis (2016), directed by Bartek Dziadosz and produced by Lily Ford of Birkbeck's own Derek Jarman Lab.

Course structure

You take three core modules, which run for 10 weeks each and provide the main theoretical and historical course content. They cover primary psychoanalytic, historical and critical texts, as well as a wealth of secondary literature that addresses the applications of psychoanalytic theory to the analysis of history and culture. You choose one option module from a wide range of courses in psychosocial studies, history and other disciplines, covering topics such as: intimacy, violence, fascism and war; critical approaches to the unconscious; culture, community and identity; sexuality, history and sexual identities; and affect and illness. Alternatively, a limited number of students can apply to take the option module in psychoanalysis at the British Psychoanalytical Society (details subject to review).

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

You may also take an option module at the University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Read more about this programme in our handbook.

Module groups

Core modules

Indicative psychosocial option modules

Indicative College-wide option modules

Independent research module

  • Entry Requirements We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in any discipline relevant to the programme, including most humanities and social science disciplines, such as psychology, history, English, languages, sociology, politics, philosophy and cultural studies.

    In exceptional circumstances, the admissions tutor will consider applicants who do not meet this criterion but who have substantial relevant professional experience (for example, in teaching, journalism, social work, counselling and psychotherapy, mediation, development work) and who can demonstrate through interview and a written assignment that they have the required academic abilities to complete a Master's-level course.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for eligible Master’s students.

    Fees (2017/8)

    Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
    Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
    Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa
  • Teaching and assessment Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.

    Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Lectures, seminars, tutorials, group and individual supervision by staff in psychosocial studies and history, as well as (for those students taking the Foundation Course option) by the British Psychoanalytical Society.

    Students undertaking the option module at the British Psychoanalytical Society will be required to attend one evening a week at their premises in west London for 30 weeks.

    Teaching staff on this programme include Lisa BaraitserStephen FroshDaniel Pick and Jacqueline Rose. This group of academics brings together world-leading researchers in psychosocial studies, history, literary studies and clinical practice.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.

    Academic support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

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

    Feedback

    As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.

    Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.

    Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.

    Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.

  • Careers and employability To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue a career in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, counselling, or research. Possible professions can include psychoanalyst, psychotherapist, or counsellor. This degree can also be useful in the fields of education, journalism, and politics, as well as in becoming a clinical psychologist.

    Find out more about these professions.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link below.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    No closing date for applications, but early applications (before April each academic year) are strongly advised.