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London Studies

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


Graffiti in London: MA London Studies at Queen Mary University of London uses England’s capital as its focus for exploring historical and contemporary perspectives on metropolitan culture.

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 in the Schools of Geography, and 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. PgCert version of this course is also available.

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 QMUL's location in the heart of London's East End, 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 university.

Become a part of QMUL Geography

  • Professional and friendly environment: We are 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.
  • Research excellence: Almost 80 per cent of our research outputs (books and articles) are rated as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) placing us 5th in the UK for this measure. Our research scores increased across all areas in the latest UK score of research excellence (REF 2014) and we're ranked joint 11th for geography in the UK overall. We're also proud to feature in the top 100 departments in the world to study geography (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016).
  • Employability: 94% of respondents from our postgraduates were in work or further study six month after graduation; 91% at graduate level (DLHE 2015).
  • Capital location: 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.
  • Research centre: London Studies is linked with The City Centre, our dedicated centre for collaborative research and related activities that are focused on the city and urban life.


  • Walter Oldershaw Award: eight awards (£3,000 each) are available across all masters degrees offered by the School of Geography
  • Queen Mary Alumni Loyalty Award: all graduates of QMUL are awarded with a £1,000 bursary 
  • Postgraduate Loans Scheme: eligible students will be able to borrow loans up to £10,000 
  • Read more about these opportunities on the funding a masters page 


  • Weekly research seminars: As a postgraduate student you will be invited to weekly research seminars as well as several research frameworks sessions with top-level academic researchers.
  • Individual working space: 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.
  • University of London network: Queen Mary is a part of the University of London, so our students have access to the facilities, learning resources and libraries across the group's institutions. You can also use the first-rate resources of other libraries with London collections (e.g. the British Library).


The programme is made up of 180 credits.

Core module:

  • Dissertation of 15,000 words (60 credits)

Compulsory module:

  • Cities, Space and Power (30 credits)
  • Resources for Research (not assessed)

Option modules (choose THREE from): 

  • Art, Performance and the City (30 credits) 
  • Contemporary Theatre and Performance* (30 credits) 
  • Cultural Geography in Practice (30 credits) 
  • Empire Race and Immigration (30 credits) 
  • Geographical Thought and Practice (30 credits) 
  • London Spaces from FitzStephen to Stow* (30 credits) 
  • Metro Intellectuals: Women writing in the city in the Romantic Period* (30 credits) 
  • Metropolitan Matters: A material history of London from the Victorians to the present (30 credits) 
  • Postcolonialism, Language and Identity* (30 credits) 
  • Sociability: Literature and the City* (30 credits) 
  • The Propaganda War in London, 1793-1796* (30 credits) 
  • Victorian Print Culture* (30 credits) 
  • Writing the East End* (30 credits) 

*Subject to availability by the School of English and Drama.


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)20 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.


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2017 entry
Full time £8,200

Tuition fees for International students

2017 entry
Full time £14,850


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, class of 2014, currently PhD student at QMUL

Lucie Glasheen, MA London Studies Queen Mary University of London

"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 in particular has been imagined and engaged with through art and literature and the twentieth and twenty-first century historical focus in these modules."

Oliver Gibson, class of 2013, currently PhD student at QMUL

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. 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."

Sean Patterson, class of 2011

Sean Patterson, MA London Studies Queen Mary University of London

"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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