MA Psychosocial Studies
Course Directors: Dr Matt ffytche (CPS) and Professor
Michael Roper (Sociology)
Principal teaching staff:
Dr Matt ffytche,
Dr Aaron Balick,
Professor Karl Figlio and
Psychosocial studies is emerging as a new critical field which explores the
relation between individual and social experience, emotional life and wider
cultural and political identities. Building on the theoretical insights and
research methods of both sociology and psychoanalysis. Psychosocial studies
probes the boundaries of these disciplines with a view to adding depth and
complexity to the representation of human subjects in their social and
The MA Psychosocial Studies is run jointly by the internationally-renowned
Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies and Department of Sociology. The degree
comprises core modules that investigate key theoretical debates and provide a
grounding in psychosocial research methods. You will learn how to take account
of emotional and unconscious factors in experience, discuss the way knowledge of
individual life is constructed and validated, and can choose from a number of
options introducing you to cutting-edge work in the field of intimacy, trauma,
group relations, political discourse and cultural and social applications of
Why choose the MA in Psychosocial Studies
We encourage applications from students interested in psychoanalysis who
want to address the application of psychodynamic thought in a more sociological
context, and from students with a background in sociology and related fields,
who want to add depth to their work by including an awareness of psychological
and unconscious mental processes.
Our MA is taught by a mixture of sociologists and psychoanalytic clinicians
and academics. It is of interest to those wanting to develop integrations of
psychodynamic and sociological perspectives on experience, or who want to add
psychodynamic dimensions to empirical work in the social science, or who want to
place psychoanalytic theory in a broader context of sociological enquiry.
You will benefit from access to the departmental cultures of Sociology and
the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, both rated at the top of their field in
the last Research Assessment Exercise, and an intellectual culture which
actively fosters original interdisciplinary work at the borders between
sociology and psychodynamic theory.
As well as focusing on a set of core psychosocial modules, distinctive to
this MA, you will be able to focus your studies in a specific research area by
choosing two modules from a range of more specific options in Sociology and
Psychoanalytic Studies, whether this is to enhance your understanding of
qualitative research methods, or deepen your enquiry into psychoanalytic
concepts and the theory of object relations.
You can study on a full-time or part-time basis. Successful applicants come
from a range of backgrounds and experiences, and include:
- Good honours graduates (or equivalent) from any discipline
- Those planning to undertake doctoral research
- Those with an interest in psychoanalysis for personal or
- Those with an interest in applied social research or social
- Those wishing to explore and apply psychoanalytic theory in
a social context
- Those wishing to investigate the integration of
psychoanalytic and sociological models
- International graduates and professionals
Key features of the programme
- Develops an understanding of the field of psychosocial
studies which is fast emerging as a dynamic area of
- Explores the integration between sociological and
psychodynamic accounts of human motivation and self-experience
- Explores methodological issues in psychoanalysis and
- Gives the opportunity to supplements core courses in the
psychosocial with more targeted modules on psychoanalysis,
sociology, qualitative research, cultural studies, identity
theory and political science
- Designed for students wishing to pursue either theoretical
or empirical research
- Encourages an attitude of critical inquiry
- To provide a thorough grounding in psychosocial theory and
- To show the importance of psychodynamic – especially
unconscious – factors as elements in individual and social
- To encourage students to explore and apply psychological and
psychodynamic ideas within social contexts.
- To equip students to explore methodological and
epistemological issues that arise in the attempt to include
psychodynamic factors within psychoanalytic, sociological or
- To equip students to explore methodological issues that
result from attempts to integrate psychodynamic and sociological
perspectives on experience.
- To promote the use of psychoanalytic concepts and
psychoanalytic forms of enquiry in the field of sociology and
social and historical research.
- To encourage a questioning and critical attitude towards the
psychosocial, psychoanalysis, sociology and towards all relevant
fields of enquiry.
- To encourage students to make critical assessment of the
extent to which clinical ideas (from psychoanalysis) can be
exported into other fields (e.g., sociology or history).
- To help students define an area of special psychosocial
enquiry (theoretical or empirical) and carry out research in
By the end of the degree course, students should be able to:
- Demonstrate a grasp of the basic principles of psychosocial
theory, and an awareness of contemporary debates around the
meaning of ‘psychosocial’.
- Show an understanding of psychosocial research
methodologies: what is special about psychosocial methodology,
what are its strengths and weaknesses.
- Show a basic understanding of the theory of unconscious
psychodynamic processes in individuals (primarily in the
- Apply psychosocial and psychoanalytic theories and methods
in social and historical contexts.
- Show an understanding of tensions between sociological,
psychological and psychoanalytic models of the way individual
experience is constituted.
- Understand the psychosocial as a form of critical analysis,
and demonstrate a critical analysis of psychosocial texts.
- Define and develop a research project in an area related to
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