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Cities and Cultures

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

Overview

Graffiti on buildings with Citibank building in background, NYC. Cities and Cultures Masters programme explores cultural urban geography.

Our Cities and Cultures MA programme combines the study of cultural geography with a specific focus on urban cultures, both past and present. It draws upon the latest developments in cultural geography and urban studies to provide advanced and critical understandings of how cities are socially produced, imagined, represented and contested. Modules examine the relationships between urban space and power through themes that include empire, migration and postcolonialism. They also explore the meanings and politics of spaces in diverse cities by engaging with original texts as well as the built environment, art practices, literature, performance, film, exhibitions and museum curation. Core research training in geographical thought and practice equips you to undertake your own research in this field.

This programme:

  • takes your knowledge, understanding and skills to an advanced level through a research-led programme that provides flexibility for you to pursue your own interests
  • introduces innovative approaches to cities and urban life that make the most of QMUL's location in London, and that draw upon the School's strong connections with museums and artists
  • provides a unique basis for careers in the cultural and urban sectors, as well as for further research through its distinctive emphasis on urban practices and on creative collaborations between geographers, artists and curators.

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 2015).
  • 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: Cities and Cultures is linked with The City Centre, our dedicated centre for collaborative research and related activities that are focused on the city and urban life.

Funding 

  • 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

Facilities

  • 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).

Structure

The programme is made up of 180 credits.

Core module:

  • Dissertation of 15,000 words (60 credits)

Compulsory module:

  • Geographical Thought and Practice (30 credits)

Option modules:

  • Art, Performance and the City (30 credits)
  • Cities, Space and Power (30 credits)
  • Cultural Geography in Practice (30 credits)
  • Empire, Race and Immigration (30 credits)

One of the above specialist modules can be replaced by any other 30-credit QMUL module in consultation with the programme convenor.

Contact

Entry requirements

An upper second class honours degree or higher in a relevant subject from a UK university (or an equivalent international qualification), together with two supportive references, at least one of which must be academic. Relevant work experience may also be taken into account. 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 admissions@qmul.ac.uk.

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

Assessment on each of the modules is through a variety of coursework assignments ranging from extended essays to reviews.

Dissertation

You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation (equivalent to 60 credits) on a topic of your choice relating to the programme. You will be assigned an academic supervisor from the School of Geography. Your supervisor will provide guidance and advice on your dissertation research. You will meet your supervisor at least six times from January through to June in order to ensure that work is on track for completion.

Academic lead 

The programme is led by Professor Alastair Owens, Professor of Historical Geography.

Fees

Tuition fees

Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.

Funding

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
email bursaries@qmul.ac.uk

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

Profiles

Name: Eimear Kelly

Studied: MA Cities and Cultures, class of 2014

Now working at: The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), London

Eimear Kelly, Class of 2014, MA Cities and Cultures, Queen Mary University of London

"I was initially attracted to the MA Cities and Cultures course in Queen Mary's School of Geography because of the opportunity to indulge my interest in urban spaces and the artistic response to city life. But now that I’ve almost completed the course, I’ve found it has sparked my interest in subjects far beyond those I had originally imagined.

"For my dissertation, I intend to explore the cultural geographies of Irish dance. The possibilities of topics to study really do feel endless. One of my favourite aspects of the course has been the Cultural Geography in Practice module, examining how geographers have engaged with creative and collaborative research and dissemination methods such as art, film and exhibitions. The opportunity to create my own exhibition proposal was really interesting and enabled me to use knowledge from my undergraduate studies in art history.

"For anyone considering the MA Cities and Cultures course, I recommend it entirely. Queen Mary has a brilliant reputation, the School of Geography has a really friendly environment, and the professors are incredibly helpful and supportive."

Name: Shiori Tamagami

Studied: MA Cities and Cultures, class of 2013

Now working at: Geospatial Company, Japan

Shiori Tamagami

"One of the special aspects of the MA Cities and Cultures course is that it offers different perspectives on understanding the world. Through programs which engage with museums and galleries, it was exciting and unique in terms of collaborative works and exhibition planning. It showed me how we can contribute to society and enabled me to explore my own academic interests. Furthermore, it led me to the fieldwork in Japan for the dissertation.

"Whilst the study and life in Queen Mary was challenging for me in terms of language, academic culture and lifestyle, it was also enjoyable thanks to the kind support given by staff and fellow students on the course. A year on this Masters course was very stimulating and rewarding. I believe the unforgettable experiences at Queen Mary gave me a deeper understanding of cities and culture."

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