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London Studies

MA ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


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London has long been an international centre of cultural production and political power. This interdisciplinary programme takes the city as its focus, using London as a central example, resource and inspiration. It is taught collaboratively, drawing on expertise from the Culture, Space and Power research theme in the School of Geography, and from the School of English and Drama. The programme brings together historical and contemporary perspectives on metropolitan culture through approaches that span the humanities and social sciences, and through engaging with urban history and theory, literature, art practice, performance, exhibitions, the built environment and more.

This programme:

  • provides a sound conceptual base as well as suitable practical training to conduct independent research on London, introducing resources in the city and ways of using them intelligently and creatively
  • makes the most of Queen Mary’s location in the East End, being close to key cultural resources and institutions as well as in an area whose historical changes and current transformations provide a focus for study and debate 
  • involves working with a range of London-based archives, libraries, museums and other repositories with collections relating to the cultural life of the city, while exploring the practices of museums, institutions, artists and others working beyond the academy.

Why study MA in London Studies at Queen Mary?

The School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London is recognised as an international centre for excellence in teaching and research. Our work is at the forefront of human geography, shaping debates and providing significant new insight and understanding. We are also known for our friendly, collegial and welcoming ethos and are home to many of contemporary human geography’s best known scholars. Almost 80 per cent of the School’s research outputs (books and articles) are rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) placing it 5th in the UK for this measure. Scores increased across all areas and the School is ranked joint 11th for geography in the UK overall.

Funding: QMUL is offering 86 bursaries of £10,000 for entry into a masters programme for UK/EU students who started their undergraduate degrees in 2012. Read more about funding a masters.

We're a School that cares about the world beyond the university, working with a range of community groups, artists, cultural and heritage institutions and policy makers, particularly here in East London. Our passion is to demonstrate through research and teaching the intellectual and political significance of geographical research and understanding. We encourage our students to become part of this vibrant intellectual culture. This programme is linked with The City Centre, our dedicated centre for collaborative research and related activities that are focused on the city and urban life.


As a postgraduate student in the School of Geography you will be invited to weekly research seminars as well as several research frameworks sessions with top-level academic researchers. Research students have individual desk and computing space in dedicated offices within the School of Geography and access to facilities for specialist statistical and Geographical Information System (GIS) analyses, desktop publishing and the processing of video and electronic images.

Queen Mary is a part of the University of London, so students have access to the facilities, learning resources and libraries across the group’s institutions. Students can also use the first-rate resources of other libraries with London collections (e.g. the British Library).

Work on a new Graduate Centre is underway and, once complete in 2016, will provide 24-hour access to work areas tailored specifically to the needs and working patterns of postgraduates. A 200-seat lecture theatre, seminar rooms, reception area with terrace, student enterprise hub, landscaped courtyard and office space will be among the building’s features.


There is a Student Village on the Mile End campus with more than 2,000 rooms available to students. Many of them are en-suite with great facilities close by from a launderette to shops and cafes. Living on campus makes it easy to get to the Library and lectures only a short walk away. Read more on the Residences website.


The programme is made up of 180 credits.

Core module (60 credits)

  • Dissertation of 15,000 words

Compulsory module (30 credits)

  • Cities, Space and Power

Optional modules may include (30 credits each)

  • Art, Performance and the City
  • Empire Race and Immigration
  • Geographical Thought and Practice
  • Cultural Geography in Practice
  • Introduction to Research Resources *
  • Sociability: Literature and the City *
  • Metro Intellectuals: British Women Writers in London and Paris )*
  • Postcolonialism, Language and Identity*
  • Writing the East End )*
  • London Spaces from FitzStephen to Stow *
  • The Propaganda War in London, 1793-1796 *
  • The Spatial Turn: History, Literature, and Geography *
  • Victorian Print Culture *
  • Contemporary Theatre and Performance *

*Subject to availability by the home School.

For more information about modules, visit the School of Geography website and module directory as well as the School of English and Drama website.

For enquiries, contact the Postgraduate Studies Manager on: 020 7882 8165 or email

Entry requirements

An upper second class honours degree or higher in a humanities or social science subject from a UK university (or an equivalent international qualification) together with two supportive references is required. Candidates are expected to have good English language ability and to meet the standard of the IELTS, or equivalent, at a level of 7.0. Read more about English language requirements. If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office on +44 (0) 7882 5533 or email

It is not necessary to have a first degree in geography and we welcome applicants from different backgrounds in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

For detailed country-specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website.

Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations, group exercises and role-plays as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at Queen Mary.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in formal classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work and completing projects.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning requirements and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


Assessment is through a variety of assignments, ranging from extended essays to book reviews and oral presentations.


You will also complete a dissertation of 15,000-words. You will be assigned an academic supervisor from the School of Geography or School of English and Drama. Your supervisor will provide guidance and advice on your dissertation research. You will meet with your supervisor at least six times from January through to June in order to ensure that work is on track for completion.

Academic lead

This programme is currently led by Dr Alastair Owens, Reader in Geography and Deputy Dean for Taught Programmes (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences).


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2015 entry

Tuition fees for International students

2015 entry


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide [PDF] for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717

Graduate Employment


Lucie Glasheen, MA London Studies
Class of 2014

Lucie Glasheen

"Queen Mary is an ideal university to study urban geography because not only is the teaching excellent, but research starts as you walk out of the gates and into the vibrant and ever changing environment of London's East End.

"I was attracted to London Studies because of its unique and cross-disciplinary nature, which suits my way of working. My undergraduate degree was a joint honours in literature and history, so I really liked the fact I could take modules in geography and English literature. I was interested in London and in taking a place based approach to my study, and the modules I could take looked really interesting.

"I also liked the opportunity to study East London from an East London location. I've enjoyed all my modules but in particular Art, Performance and the City, in Geography, and Writing the East End, in English. I really liked looking at how East London on particular has been imagined and engaged with through art and literature and the twentieth and twenty-first century historical focus in these modules. I hope to go on to do a PhD."

Oliver Gibson, MA London Studies
Class of 2013

Oliver Gibson, MA London Studies, Queen Mary University of London

"After completing my BA Human Geography degree at Queen Mary, I wanted to stay and continue my studies at masters level due to the excellent standard of teaching and the emphasis on academic research. MA London Studies appealed to me due to its interdisciplinary approach and the range of modules available. The School of Geography displays a keen interest in historical geography and I have always been fascinated by London as an imperial city and the influence this has had on the capital's landscape.

"The module, Art, Performance and the City introduced me to psychogeography and the idea of unlocking and interpreting the city's past through the process of walking. This inspired my MA dissertation on the Royal Geographical Society's project, Walk the World. I also really liked looking at how East London in particular has been imagined and engaged with through art and literature and the twentieth and twenty-first century historical focus in this programme’s modules.

"Since finishing my masters I have remained at the department to study for my PhD. QMUL is an ideal university to study urban geography; not only is the teaching excellent, but research starts as soon as you walk out of the gates and into the vibrant and ever changing environment of London's East End."

Sean Patterson, MA London Studies
Class of 2011

Sean Patterson

"As a mature student it was important to me to come to a supportive environment where I could do the MA over two years to get me back up to academic speed and Queen Mary was very welcoming. There are only a few London Studies courses and this simply seemed the best.

"I didn't do so well at school in terms of A levels and didn't do a BA at University so coming back in my forties and managing an MA distinction really did seem like an achievement. I became interested in walking practices when studying psychogeography on the course and a walk I created as the research part of my dissertation became my first guided walk on graduating. I now have my own small business creating heavily themed and psychogeographic walks in London that has been voted among London's top ten by The Guardian newspaper. An audio version created for The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is their top-rated London walk."


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