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Gender and Sexuality (MPhil / PhD)

Birkbeck has a strong tradition in interdisciplinary gender and sexuality studies, and encourages research students to think in innovative and critical ways about the topics they are investigating. Your study can take a wide variety of forms and may cover themes from across the social sciences, arts and humanities. Researching for an MPhil or PhD in gender/sexuality studies will enable you to develop advanced conceptual skills and knowledges that can be applied within or beyond an academic context.

Studying for our MPhil or PhD involves working closely with a small group of staff on an independent research project. This means that we are only able to accept students whose proposed research project lies within the areas of expertise of our staff. We strongly encourage all applicants to identify a potential supervisor and to discuss your proposed topic and research plan with them before applying.

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. Assessment is by submission of this dissertation and oral (viva voce) examination. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, Sociology at Birkbeck was ranked 13th in the UK. Our research interests include: queer theory; feminist theory and research; masculinities; lesbian and gay writing and film; gender and generation; paid domestic work; food consumption habits; gender and geography; gender and education; gender, class and citizenship; histories and theories of sexuality and gender; socio-legal dimensions of gender, sexuality and HIV/AIDS.

Highlights

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Good degree in a relevant subject.

    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.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration.
    • Courses of less than six months' duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • Fees

    Fees

    Part-time home/EU students: £2296 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £4327 pa
    Part-time international students: £6375 pa
    Full-time international students: £12625 pa

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Fees and finance

    From 2018-19, PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of up to £25,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

    Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

    Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

    The School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. Find out more about research funding opportunities at Birkbeck.

  • Our Research Culture

    Our Research Culture

    Our students benefit from being part of a vibrant research environment that includes internationally renowned scholars and a programme of visiting speakers from around the world. Research students can also take advantage of specialist research training and of postgraduate taught modules offered through the MA Gender, Sexuality and Culture/MSc Gender, Sexuality and Society.

    Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality (BiGS) seeks to encourage new ideas and forms of understanding in gender studies, and provides a forum for scholarly exchange and collaboration within the College and beyond, bringing together scholars working in the arts and humanities, and the social sciences. BiGS fosters postgraduate teaching and research in gender studies and organises seminars, talks, symposia and postgraduate events.

    Read more about our vibrant research culture.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    Follow these steps to apply to an MPhil/PhD research degree at Birkbeck:

    1. Check that you meet the entry requirements, including English language requirements, as described on this page.

    2. Find a potential supervisor for your MPhil/PhD research. You can look at the Find a Supervisor area on this page for an overview, or search our Experts’ Database or browse our staff pages for more in-depth information. You may also find it helpful to view the research projects of our current students. Gender and sexuality studies at Birkbeck are characterised by their interdisciplinarity, so it's helpful to look across our academic departments for a potential supervisor

    3. Contact the academic member of staff - or the department they teach in - for an informal discussion about your research interests and to establish if they are willing and able to supervise your research. (Please note: finding a potential supervisor does not guarantee admission to the research degree, as this decision is made using your whole application.) Find out more about the supervisory relationship and how your supervisor will support your research.

    4. Draft a research proposal. This needs to demonstrate your knowledge of the field, the specific research questions you wish to pursue, and how your ideas will lead to the creation of new knowledge and understanding. Find out more about writing a research proposal.

    5. Apply directly to Birkbeck, using the online application link on this page. All research students are initially registered on an MPhil and then upgrade to a PhD after making sufficient progress.

    Find out more about the application process, writing a research proposal and the timeframe

    Application deadlines and interviews

    You can apply at any time during the year. Entry months for the programme are October, January and April of each year.

    If you wish to apply for funding, you will need to apply by certain deadlines. Consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.

  • Finding a supervisor

    Finding a supervisor

    A critical factor when applying for postgraduate study in gender and sexuality is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the Department.

    Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff by visiting the BiGS website.