MA (Culture and Colonialism)

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Course overview

The MA (Culture and Colonialism) is a multi-disciplinary taught Master of Arts programme, designed for graduates from the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Colonialism’s historical origins lie in the control and exploitation of dependent territories by more dominant nations, but colonialism’s legacies lie beneath today’s headlines about political and cultural conflicts – and their fragile resolutions. The MA engages with an international range of literary, chronological and geographical contexts, from Ireland to India, from Africa to the Middle East. Students are trained in multiple disciplinary perspectives, learning to analyse imperial ascendancies, race and racial theories, nationalist movements, postcolonial experiences, the rise of neo-colonial thought, multiculturalism and interculturalism, and the spread of globalisation and development. The MA (Culture and Colonialism) has a distinguished history in the University. Established since 1994, the programme has continuously re-invented itself in response to changing societal and theoretical political climates while maintaining its primary goal: a critical education in the cultural discourses of power.


Key facts

Entry requirements

NQAI Level 8 at H2.2 in relevant subject area (history, literature, sociology, politics, cultural studies or economics), GPA 3.0 or equivalent international qualification. IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent if applicable. An interview may form part of the selection process.

Duration: 1 year, full-time
2 years, part-time

Next start date: September 2015

ECTS weighting: 90

Average intake: 20

Closing date: You are advised to apply early, which may result in an early offer; see the offer round dates

Mode of study: Taught

Course outline

Our teaching staff has been drawn from the departments of English, History, Political Science and Sociology, Economics, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Classics, and is supplemented by Irish and international guest lecturers. Modules/coursework on offer may include:

• Colonialism in 20th-Century Cultural Theory
• Approaches to the Study of Culture and Colonialism
• Decolonization and Neo-Colonialism: The Politics of ‘Development’
• Studies in the History of Colonialism and Imperialism
• Research Seminar
• Literature and Colonialism
• The Political Economy of Global Capitalism
• Cinema and Colonialism
• Travel Literature

Applications and selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who teaches this course?

  • Dr Louis de Paor (Scoil na Gaeilge): Colonialism in Cultural Theory
  • Dr Su-Ming Khoo (Department of Political Science and Sociology): Decolonization and Neo- Colonialism
  • Dr Lionel Pilkington (Department of English): Approaches to Culture and Colonialism
  • Dr Laurence Marley (Department of History): History of Colonialism and Imperialism
  • Dr Sean Ryder (Department of English): Approaches to Culture and Colonialism
  • Dr Tony Varley (Department of Political Science and Sociology): Decolonization and Neo-Colonialism
  • Dr Muireann O'Cinneide ( Department of English): Literature and Colonialism
  • Dr Fiona Bateman (Moore Institute): Cinema and Colonialism
  • Dr Daniel Carey (English): Travel Literature

Requirements and assessment

Students take six courses spread over two semesters, (as well as an unexamined/assessed research seminar) and complete their degree with the writing of a 15,000-word dissertation. Courses are usually assessed through submission of written assignments.

Find out more

Dr. Muireann Ó Cinnéide
T 353 91 492 581  

PAC code

GYA02 (full-time)
GYA39 (part-time)

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €6,015 p.a. 2015/16 (inclusive of Levy)
 - Tuition: €5,791 p.a. 2015/16
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2015/16
Non-EU (Total): €13,250 p.a. 2015/16

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Graduate profile

Stephanie Flaherty-Klapp

"I did the MACC 2008/2009, after several years working in the private sector, and the return to full-time education was slightly daunting at first. However, I need not have worried. All the professors lecturing on the MACC were very helpful and approachable, we were never told that someone did not have time to assist with a genuine query. I chose the MACC because it is an interdisciplinary course, offering insights into different approaches towards looking at a complex problem. Coming from the discipline of history, I found the cultural theory particularly interesting and challenging, it really opened my mind a lot. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Since then, I have applied for the Higher Diploma in Education, and hope that all the additional knowledge I acquired will help me be the best teacher I can be!"

Graduate profile

John McGeady

"Politics, structures of power and imperialism have always fascinated me and the study of colonialism and how it interacts with culture has allowed me to deepen my knowledge of these issues. As well as the historic experience of colonialism the MA in Culture and Colonialism also involved studying postcolonial theory and issues of neo-colonialism and developmentalism that deal directly with the legacy of the colonial process.

The MA in Culture and Colonialism seemed like a natural progression for my studies as it drew deeply on the subjects I had studied as part of my primary degree in arts. Modules based in the disciplines of history and literature allowed me to use the skills and information I had gained from my Bachelor’s degree to further get to grips with the themes of the course. At the same time the MA offered me the exciting opportunity of widening my knowledge base with modules in politics, cultural theory and political economy: disciplines that were entirely new to me. Throughout the year I learned a huge array of new things and, looking back, even now I’m amazed that I could fit so much into a single year.

The quality of teaching for the MA was excellent with a wide range of lecturers from different schools all contributing in a seminar setting. As well as giving the class access to their wealth of experience and knowledge, they were all attentive to our needs and willing to help. This was generally the case throughout the university which has a friendly staff and a vibrant atmosphere for students to both work and socialise. As for Galway itself, much the same can be said for it; an easy and relaxed city it provides an excellent place to live."