Activism & Social Change, M.A.

  • N/A
    Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
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This multi-disciplinary course brings together the worlds of academia and social struggle. It is run by academics working and researching with a variety of campaigns, social movement organisations and communities struggling against social and ecological injustice, and for a more equal, just society.
  • Overview
  • Programme outline
  • Key facts
  • Admission requirements
  • Fees and funding


This multi-disciplinary course brings together the worlds of academia and social struggle. It is run by academics working and researching with a variety of campaigns, social movement organisations and communities struggling against social and ecological injustice, and for a more equal, just society.

We engage students in a questioning of the fairness and sustainability of the current capitalist world order and explore empowering ideas and examples of how to challenge the status quo.

The course offers:

  • An introduction to core ideas in radical and transformatory social theories and strategies
  • An overview of global social movement struggles with particular reference to anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism
  • Grounding in participatory action research methods relevant to campaigning and social change
  • Contemporary political debates about the critical challenges we face and how to respond
  • Guest lectures and workshops by journalists, campaigners, researchers and activists
  • Opportunities to engage in action research projects with a variety of social struggles


Typical roles undertaken by recent graduates

  • Housing Research and Policy Officer
  • Access Officer
  • Research Associate
  • Community Research Consultant
  • Partnership Information Analyst
  • PhD study

Examples of organisations/companies worked for

  • Rochdale Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • Centre for Regional, Economic and Social
  • Bradford Resource Centre
  • Wakefield Metropolitan District Council

Programme Structure

In the following modules you will engage with a set of exciting and important theoretical debates within critical and radical geography and related social sciences such as politics, sociology, management and communication studies as well as environmental studies.

Core modules include:

  • Researching for Social ChangeThis module gives you grounding in the principles, methods and strategies available to the campaigning researcher (or researching campaigner), and encourages free and open discussion and independent thinking.
  • Action Research DissertationThe module is built around a placement with a group/organisation, during which you undertake original, primary research for your 10,000 word dissertation.
  • Campaigning for Social ChangeIf you want to change society for the better you have to campaign. But what tactics and strategies work best? What skills and techniques are needed? What lessons can be learned from social movements past and present? This module provokes thought and debate around these issues.

Optional modules include:

  • Spaces of Radical ThoughtPolitical activism today has its roots in a body of social theory that has evolved over the last 100 years. Here you will be introduced to selected thinkers and their works that represent different strands of contemporary radical thinking.
  • Research Frontier: Citizenship and BelongingThis module Includes research into social identity, social inclusion, equality and diversity, the transnational society, and diaspora.
  • Qualitative Research MethodsYou will become adept at research design, data collection, and analysis including participant observation, interviewing and textual analysis. You will also be introduced to the use of qualitative analysis software.
  • Cities and Social JusticeThis module will explore the city as a site for social conflict, from the classical works of urban theorists to more recent analysis of neoliberal urbanisms. We will delve into specific examples of urban struggles in the Global North and South and different forms in which citizens around the world are organising and responding.
  • Quantitative and Spatial MethodsYou will learn how to apply geographical analysis methods to real world problems and to use statistical and GIS software.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Full-time duration 12 months
  • Study intensity Part-time, Full-time
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Duration part-time 24 months
    • Part-time variant
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

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Academic Requirements

Undergraduate qualifications

Our normal minimum requirement is a good second class Honours degree or equivalent in geography or a related subject. However, many candidates are still in their final year of undergraduate study when they first apply, in which case we take note of what your academic referee's assessment of your abilities.

Successful candidates in recent years have included those with good first degrees in related subjects such as sociology & social policy, politics English and business studies. If you think that you might be interested in our course, but feel unsure as to whether you have the necessary background, get in touch with us to discuss your position. The same may apply if you have been away from geographical study at a university level for a while and want to use the course to update your understanding and skills; we are pleased to offer advice on the status of your existing qualifications.

Work experience

Relevant work experience is viewed positively and is taken into account particularly for candidates whose first degree grade is slightly below our requirement.

Part-time study

We usually recruit several part-time students every year who take the course over two academic years and combine study with paid work or other commitments. This means that you can work to fund your studies, or gain a new qualification without giving up an existing job. We aim to be particularly flexible in helping you to put together a part-time course structure that meets your academic goals while recognising the constraints upon your time for study.

Overseas students

We welcome applications for full-time study from overseas and EU candidates.

In recent years we have attracted students from all around the world including the USA, Italy, Spain, Nigeria, Canada, Australia and India. To be able to get the most out of our course we ask that you have an academic qualification equivalent to a good second class degree from a British university.

English language qualifications

If you feel that your level of English is not adequate for your course, you should consider enrolling on one of the full-time pre-sessional English language courses run by the Language Centre at the University of Leeds. These courses are of six or ten weeks duration and prepare students in the English language skills needed for study and provide a useful orientation to academic and social life in Britain. Even if you already fulfil the University's English language requirement, you may still find the preparation given by these courses very helpful.

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • GBP 13100 International
  • GBP 5100 EU/EEA


StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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