University of Buckingham has opted into the TEF and received a Gold award.
This cutting-edge programme is unique to Buckingham. A course with wide appeal, it is aimed at anyone who has an interest in biography or in researching and writing a biography for themselves. The varied mix of backgrounds and interests that students bring to the course, the experience and commitment of the programme director and the friendly small-group setting allow a lively, enjoyable and intellectually rigorous exchange of ideas. Graduates have gone on to publish their own books, and to win prizes. Some have embarked on further research for the PhD in Biography. When it was founded in 1996, the Biography MA was the first of its kind. Since then Life Writing has become part of the postgraduate menu, but the Buckingham course has kept its distinctive edge. Unlike most Life Writing degrees, it is not linked to Creative Writing, and there is a strong emphasis on research and historical biography. The programme is consistently rated ‘excellent’ by external examiners and inspectors. Course structure Students have a choice between following the taught MA or opting for the MA by Research. The taught MA gives an opportunity to produce written term papers on a variety of topics as well as a dissertation of up to 20,000 words. Students accepted for the MA by Research are required to produce written work which includes an extended dissertation of up to 40,000 words. All students produce coursework for the Research Methods module: an annotated bibliography and a short biography, with supporting material, produced according to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography format. Guest seminars on the course are led by leading biographers, critics, publishers and agents. Teachers and speakers on the course have included Andrew Motion, Kathryn Hughes, Frances Wilson, Frances Spalding, Jeremy Lewis, Rupert Shortt, Caroline Dawnay, Andrew Lownie and Miranda Seymour. Research support One of the distinctive features of the programme is the value attached to the supervision which is provided for students working on dissertations. One-on-one supervisions are held every two or three weeks during a term. While the dissertation must be the candidate’s independent work, it is the supervisor who offers advice on refining the topic (if necessary), on primary sources, on secondary reading, on research techniques and on writing the dissertation. Regular group discussions between research students at all degree levels (MA and PhD) allow the exchange of research experiences and mutual support.
Autobiography, Dissertation, Research Methods, Special Paper in Biography.
Candidates spend a considerable part of their studies undertaking supervised research, at the end of which they submit a thesis embodying the results of that research. This thesis must demonstrate familiarity with, and an understanding of the subject, its principal sources and authorities. It should display critical discrimination and a sense of proportion in evaluating evidence and the judgements of others. The subject should be dealt with in a competent and scholarly manner.
How to apply
With staff and students from over 90 countries around the world, the University enjoys a wonderful and culturally diverse atmosphere. Voted top for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey since 2006, we provide support for students from outside the UK including: assistance with visa application and renewal; guaranteed accommodation in halls of residence; and a personal tutor to support your academic studies. Academic staff are available to help and advise, and operate an open-door policy. We have the best staff to student ratio of any university in the UK. Our students have formed a number of overseas clubs, and there is a sports and social programme each term to ensure you enjoy your time with us. Our idyllic setting between Oxford and Milton Keynes offers access to a range of cultural and social activities and Bicester Village, the renowned shopping outlet is a short bus ride away. English Language requirements: it is very important that your English level is of a good standard for you to be successful in your studies. All applicants must achieve specific requirements in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing). Please check our website for more details of the undergraduate or postgraduate language requirements for your course. https://www.buckingham.ac.uk/international/english-language-requirements/
The minimum entry level required for this course is as follows: a first or second-class honours degree from a recognised university or, a recognised professional qualification with relevant work experience.
Fees and funding
|Northern Ireland||£9450||Whole course|
|Channel Islands||£9450||Whole course|
Additional fee information
The University would like to encourage students – both undergraduates and postgraduates – to come to Buckingham regardless of their financial circumstances. The bursaries and scholarships we offer are awarded on merit and/or on financial need. You may only accept one University award. All awards are subject to your meeting the University’s academic entry requirements and abiding by the University’s rules and regulations. To be eligible to apply for a scholarship you will need to have been offered a place to study at Buckingham. For details of our current range of scholarships and bursaries please see our website: https://www.buckingham.ac.uk/admissions/scholarships