MSc Contemporary Identities

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Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available MSc
Course length One year full-time;
Two years part-time
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Number of places 18
Start date September 2016

Programme overview

The study of identity is a burgeoning area of sociological and cultural studies. The programme provides an introduction, over a range of units, to key themes in this field, with identity explored in both theoretical and substantive ways. On the one hand, there has been an exciting and innovative strand of work exploring and re-theorising the ideas of subjectivity and selfhood in the context of the changes brought about by late modern and postmodern society. On the other, the question of identity has come under scrutiny from within substantive areas of sociology such as the sociology of race and ethnicity, the sociology of religion and the sociology of gender relations. There are also important debates concerning the ways in which we record and 'observe' identities, including debates over new narrative and other qualitative methodologies.

Open day, Wednesday 15 June 10am-4.30pm

2D3, Social Science Complex, 12a Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TN

The School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies will be holding a postgraduate open day on Wednesday 15 June. The open day will consist of a welcome from the Teaching and Learning Director, presentations by Pathway Directors, sample seminars, careers information, a campus tour, refreshments and an informal question and answer session. Administrative staff will also be available to meet with you to discuss our programmes and the application process and answer any other general enquiries.

Open days are a great opportunity for you to meet current staff, view our facilities and find out more about your programme and school. For more information or to register your interest, please email stating your full name, the programme you are interested in and any dietary requirements.

Fees for 2016/17

Full time fees


Part time fees


Fees quoted are per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2016/17

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

The MSc programme comprises six 12-week taught units and six assessed essays, followed by a dissertation.

Core units

  • Contemporary Sociological Theory
  • Dissertation (MSc only)

Optional units

You will also choose at least four further units from a list of Sociology units which may include following (teaching provision changes each year):

  • Globalisation and Culture
  • Interpreting Gender
  • Qualitative Social Research
  • Theories and Politics of Multiculturalism
  • Theories of Ethnicity and Racism
  • Culture, Postmodernity, and Religion
  • Narrating the Self
  • Nations and Nationalism
  • Care, Labour and Gender
  • Religion and Politics
  • Understanding Risk
  • Popular Music and Society
  • Quantitative Social Research
  • Advanced Quantitative Social Research
  • Social Class in Contemporary Society

One option (maximum) from the remaining SPAIS Politics optional units offered in the academic year:

  • Politics Optional Units POLIM and SPAIM

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. 

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Selection process Online application form
English language requirements Profile E
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
How to apply
Application deadline:

31 July 2016


Bristol graduates are in high demand and have an excellent record of employment following graduation.

Students of the MSc programmes go on to pursue varied and interesting careers.  Many sectors such as the Civil Service, NGO and charity work require an MSc and some volunteer/ internship experience. Graduates from our programmes have gone on to work for Refugee UK, Shelter, Barnardos, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Dept for Education (including SureStart), European Parliament among others.

Further details can be found on our website.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 32% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 44% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 23% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 1% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Get in touch

Senior Postgraduate Admissions Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 7577 Email:

School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
University of Bristol
11 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU


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