One year full-time or two years part-time
Three to four evenings a week full-time or one to two evenings a week part-time
War and humanitarianism are deeply embedded in the modern experience. Be it in the 19th-century calls for civilising war or the contemporary attempts at saving distant strangers, the conduct of organised violence and the defence of human rights cannot be separated out. This new interdisciplinary degree analyses the complex interaction between war and humanitarianism from multiple historical, geographical, political and cultural perspectives. It approaches war as a social totality that encompasses all manner of human processes and structures, and considers humanitarianism as an increasingly pervasive ideology, informing all sorts of collective social and political activity across the world.
Taught by leading scholars in the fields of history, geography, politics, philosophy and psychosocial studies, the programme will give you advanced knowledge of the concepts, theories, histories and policy implications of war and humanitarianism in the world today.
- Our location in central London puts us at the heart of the UK’s political life and at the centre of academic London. You can walk down to Parliament and Whitehall, while Bloomsbury contains some of the world’s most famous libraries and centres of research.
- You can take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, which is right next door to Birkbeck, the British Library, which is five minutes’ walk away, and the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, which is walkable from Birkbeck.
- Our Department of Politics was ranked 12th in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research.
- In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK.
- The Department organises a lively programme of seminars and conferences and is home to affiliated research centres, such as the Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life, which run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
- Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, publishing and delivering stimulating teaching in a wide range of political topics including civil society and the state, public policy, development, gender, international security and terrorism, and social and political theory, among others.
- Birkbeck Library has a large politics collection, including the major specialist journals, and provides you with access to an extensive range of online materials.
- Find out more about why you should study with us.
You take one compulsory module, choose three option modules (all 30 credits) and write a 60-credit dissertation.
Indicative option modules
- 'Race', Racism, Postcoloniality
- American Foreign Policy
- Conflict Resolution and Mediation Studies: Ethics, Values and Morals
- Cultural History of War in Britain and America between the First World War and the Conflict in Vietnam
- Development Studies: Theoretical Approaches
- Fascism and Psychoanalysis
- Geopolitics, Population and Environment
- Internationalism and International Organisations in twentieth-century Europe
- Middle East Politics
- Moral Responsibility (30 Credits, Level 7)
- Morality, Nature, and Evolution
- Nationalism and Ethno-Religious Conflict
- Political Power
- Sexing the Body: Psychoanalytic and other Framings
- The Biology of Evil (30 Credits, Level 7)
- The Idea of Freedom
- The Political Economy of Aid
- Violence, Conflict, Genocide: Dilemmas of the Present
- War, Conflict and Development
- War, Politics and Society
- Why War? History, Psychoanalysis and Politics, c 1900-1950
MSc War and Humanitarianism Dissertation
Sample timetableSample for Web Timetable.pdf — PDF document, 273 KB (279653 bytes)
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
Minimum 2:2 or equivalent in a social sciences or humanities honours degree.
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.
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 all Home/EU 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.
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 and seminars.
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.
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 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.
Methods of assessment on this course
Coursework, examinations and a dissertation.
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 could pursue careers in local government, policy making, journalism, campaigning or work in NGOs or charities. Possible future roles could include social researcher, government research officer or teacher. This degree is also useful for applications to international organisations or to be a Civil Service fast streamer.
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.
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
We welcome applications any time before the start of the programme.
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