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MA Psychoanalytic Studies

Why we're great

  • Work with world-leading scholars as well as highly experienced practitioners
  • Close links with health, education and social care services ensures our courses are highly credible
  • We take an interdisciplinary approach with links to sociology, philosophy, literature and business

Course options2017-18

Duration: 1 year
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Psychoanalytic Studies
Fee (Home/EU): £7,200
Fee (International): £15,450
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
PGT fees information

Duration: 2 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Psychoanalytic Studies
Fee (Home/EU): £3,600
Fee (International): £7,725
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
PGT fees information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 872719
Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

How has the notion of 'Freudian unconscious' shaped Western culture and been transmitted around the world? How does the unconscious affect us individually and socially? How can an individual and their culture be viewed from a psychoanalytic perspective? Our MA Psychoanalytic Studies will give you a unique and fascinating way of exploring how the unconscious affects both individuals and societies and cultures.

Our course provides you with a thorough grounding in psychoanalytic theory through which to explore its application both to the clinical setting and to culture and society. Starting with the cultural milieu from which psychoanalysis emerged, you begin with Freud and follow on through the development of object relations, focusing on the ‘British School’, including theorists such as Klein, Winnicott, Bion and others.

By encouraging your critical attitude, we foster an engagement with psychoanalysis - both historically and comparatively - always keeping in mind its methodological link to the clinical experiences from which psychoanalysis itself was developed. Applications of psychoanalysis are considered in the clinic, the group, and wider settings. You will also write a dissertation.

Our course will interest you if you work in the mental health field or have an interest in psychoanalysis. You will graduate from our internationally recognised Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies having been taught by world-leading scholars and highly experienced practitioners.

Our course is offered one year full-time, two years part-time or modular (up to five years). Attendance of our short pre-sessional course on Freud is compulsory (except under special circumstances). This is a specially designed intensive course in the most important of Freud’s writings, which will give you an introductory historical and theoretical overview of the development of his thinking. Our Freud pre-sessional option allows you to start our MA course in a working cohort of students, with a firm foundation in Freudian concepts.

“A year went by so quickly, but I still enjoyed my time at Essex a lot. I am currently working for a large corporation, with the aim of getting into human resources. A module in the course developed my interest in how people relate within working environments, how groups choose leaders, and how to increase productivity. I learnt a lot from my excellent lecturers."

Iliana Juarez Sandoval, MA Psychoanalytic Studies.

Our expert staff

Our Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies is internationally recognised as one of the leading centres for work that focuses on the role of the unconscious mind in mental health, as well as in culture and society generally. Our research and teaching is deeply grounded in knowledge deriving from clinical practice, to which our highest standards of academic thinking are then applied.

The Centre consistently achieves top ten rankings in the UK's research assessments, most recently in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Being located within the UK’s leading university of the study of social sciences means you are surrounded by strong departments that fully support and enhance our work. This allows you to gain the opportunity to work with and be taught by senior clinicians and world-class scholars in their fields.

Specialist facilities

If you are studying within our Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, you will have access to our extensive facilities to aid your learning and research. In particular, our Albert Sloman Library is well stocked with books, journals, electronic resources and major archives relevant to our work and, in addition, we have our own library of specialist books and journals.

We hold free evening Open Seminars on topics relevant to psychoanalysis which are open to students, staff and members of the public.

Your future

You will develop key employability skills including thinking analytically, evaluation, essay-writing, research methods in psychoanalysis and an understanding of psychoanalytic thinking, applicable to clinical and academic work. Our course could lead you to study for a PhD in psychoanalytic studies or to work in a clinical or non-clinical setting.

Our graduates go on to a number of different destinations, including further study and training in psychoanalysis, Jungian analysis, or psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

Many of our students are already professionals, clinical and non-clinical, so return to their existing fields, either in jobs or further training, and use study with us to deepen their understanding of their work.

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Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

What interests you? Do you want to deepen your knowledge, build invaluable research skills and develop your academic freedom? Your dissertation lets you study a topic of your choosing, in depth, with supervision and guidance from our world-leading academics.

What are the major developments since Freud? How did the British object-relations school pioneer research and treatment of primitive states of mind? Explore key developments of psychoanalytic thought following Freud, with emphasis on the British object-relations tradition. Understand the problems when comparing different analytic and psychoanalytic schools.

What research methods will you be using for your dissertation? What research skills do you want to improve? Develop your dissertation ideas with support from our expert staff. Build your research skills and receive guidance on best practice in academic writing before starting work on your dissertation.

What is the unconscious? And how does it influence the behaviour of groups? Explore how a psychoanalytic approach can illuminate the dynamics of groups and organisations. Understand the classic theories of Freud and Bion, then develop perspectives on how psychoanalytic ideas explain individual and group behaviour.

Why do we believe psychoanalytic theories about the unconscious? Or about childhood sexuality? How did Freud and others convince us their work is correct? And what arguments suggest their theories are not? Debate the nature of psychoanalytic evidence. Analyse work by psychoanalytic writers to critically assess their observations and conclusions.

Does the context of psychoanalysis explain theories of psychoanalysis or do they stand beyond their context? Is a biography adequate without a psychoanalytic dimension? Was psychoanalysis a product of its culture or did it change the culture in which it developed? Explore the intellectual, cultural and social context of psychoanalysis.

How do you critically assess psychoanalytic theories? Or extend psychoanalytic knowledge outside the psychoanalytic setting? Expand your knowledge of key psychoanalytic concepts by exploring their use in various situations, clinical and non-clinical. Test the limits of these theories on a contemporary topic, building skills that you use in your dissertation.

Teaching

  • Teaching takes place in relatively small seminars and fora, with a focus on group discussion
  • You also have a personal tutor who advises you about your work on an individual basis

Assessment

  • For most modules, assessment is by coursework only, typically an essay of between 3,000-5,000 words

Dissertation

  • You develop a dissertation of 12,000 words, in which you define and research into an area of special interest to you
  • We provide you with advice and guidance on researching and writing your dissertation
  • Your dissertation is submitted mid-September in your final year of study

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

A 1st, 2:1 or good 2:2 degree.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email pgadmit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

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Visit us

Open days

We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

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