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The Wilberforce Institute and Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education

MA in Contemporary Slavery Studies and Critical Victimology

Postgraduate - Taught MA

Open for admission in January 2021

Start in January

Full time Part time
MA 1 year 2 years

About the course

We need to address modern slavery, human trafficking and forced labour, both in the UK and abroad.

The University of Hull's Wilberforce Institute, with its multi-disciplinary approach to the study of slavery, is best placed to offer a programme that will transform and educate our future scholars and professionals in this field.

The programme provides a comprehensive curriculum where the specific histories of how forms of slavery have developed, how these have been codified in law, the diverse political and policy environments of these practices and the variety of understandings and interventions developed for those affected by them are all critically engaged with.

This MA offers an academically robust and transformative learning experience, where students learn how to help shape the landscape in terms of policy and practice across diverse geo-political contexts.

International partnerships

This MA is delivered jointly by the Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education and the renowned world-leading Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation.

What you'll study

  • A comprehensive and critical understanding of forms of slavery in a global context
  • The study, comparison and evaluation of different historical and contemporary approaches to critically conceptualise and theorize slavery and victimhood
  • Critical exploration of methodological approaches to understanding the experience of enslavement, exploitation and how groups have fought for rights to freedom, dignity and social justice
  • In-depth knowledge of how responses to forms of slavery have developed in relation to geo-political diverse contexts
  • A range of tools to critically examine and evaluate anti-slavery policy in a global context 

Compulsory modules

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.


  • Contemporary Slavery Studies

    Gain a broad and critical overview of forms of slavery historically and across a multitude of contexts. Familiarise yourself with complex theoretical debates on analytical categories such as ‘slavery’, ‘forced labour’, ‘debt bondage’ and how these related to the lived experiences of people across socio-historical contexts. You will examine a range of cross-disciplinary academic literature and research, including in history, anthropology, sociology, politics, criminology and law. Past and current research at the Wilberforce Institute will contribute to developing a critical and multi-layered understanding of concepts, ideas and public discourses and how these have been moulded and how they have shifted across time.

  • Critical Victimology and Contemporary Slavery

    Examine the definitions and representations of victimisation in slavery studies. You will also critically examine the limitations and challenges of existing criminal justice approaches to victimisation, even when these are victim-centred. You'll examine theoretical explanations of victimisation and explore the relationship between victimisation and social divisions of class, ethnicity, age, gender, nationality, immigration status, etc.

  • Methodologies in Contemporary Slavery Studies

    Develop an overview of a variety of research methodologies, techniques and skills necessary to conduct research on contemporary forms of slavery, both as an academic practice but also relevant to contexts of policy and practice. In addition, it will offer you some of the most commonly used methods in social science research, including more innovative and creative approaches which have been developed to address ethical, power and social justice dilemmas. You will have the opportunity to explore questions of design and execution of a research project of your choice.

  • Policing and Contemporary Slavery

    This module bridges theoretical and more practical elements in tackling contemporary forms of slavery. Working alongside the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, you'll develop a comprehensive understanding of the historical, legal, social and practical approaches in working directly in the field. The module takes a very broad approach to policing, considering critically impact on victims and non-victims.

  • MA thesis or equivalent practice-based portfolio project

    Throughout the MA, you will gain knowledge and skills to critically evaluate different theoretical, technical, normative, moral and political approaches when considering contemporary forms of slavery. In your thesis, you'll demonstrate advanced scholarship and academic abilities in an original, creative and ethical way to find an effective solution to a real-life problem or issue. You can undertake a small-scale project relevant to the workplace, such as a programme evaluation, development of new initiative, or restructuring of current activity.

Methodologies in Contemporary Slavery Studies

You'll develop an overview of a variety of research methodologies, techniques and skills necessary to conduct critical research on slavery and victimology, both as an academic practice but also relevant to contexts of policy and practice. In addition, it will offer you some of the most commonly used methods in social science research, including more innovative and creative approaches which have been developed to address ethical, power and social justice dilemmas. You'll have the opportunity to explore questions of design and execution of a research project of your choice.

Policing and Contemporary Slavery

This is a module that bridges both theoretical and more practical elements in tackling contemporary slavery. Working alongside the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, you'll develop a comprehensive understanding of the historical, legal, social and practical approaches in working directly in the field. The module takes a very broad approach to policing, considering critically impact on victims and non-victims.

MA thesis or equivalent practice-based portfolio project

Throughout the MA, you will gain knowledge and skills to critically evaluate different theoretical, technical, normative, moral and political approaches when considering contemporary forms of slavery. In your thesis, you'll demonstrate advanced scholarship and academic abilities in an original, creative and ethical way to find an effective solution to a real-life problem or issue. You can undertake a small-scale project relevant to the workplace, such as a programme evaluation, development of new initiative, or restructuring of current activity.

Core modules

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.


Contemporary Slavery Studies

Gain a broad and critical overview of forms of slavery historically and across a multitude of contexts. Familiarise yourself with complex theoretical debates on analytical categories such as ‘slavery’, ‘forced labour’, ‘debt bondage’ and how these related to the lived experiences of people across socio-historical contexts. You'll examine a range of cross-disciplinary academic literature and research, including in history, anthropology, sociology, politics, criminology and law. Past and current research at the Wilberforce Institute will contribute to developing a critical and multi-layered understanding of concepts, ideas and public discourses and how these have been moulded and how they have shifted across time.

Critical Victimology and Contemporary Slavery

Examine the definitions and representations of victimisation in slavery studies. You will also critically examine the limitations and challenges of existing criminal justice approaches to victimisation, even when these are victim-centred. You'll examine theoretical explanations of victimisation and explore the relationship between victimisation and social divisions of class, ethnicity, age, gender, nationality, immigration status, etc.

Where you'll study

The location below may not be the exact location of all modules on your timetable. The buildings you'll be taught in can vary each year and depend on the modules you study.

Click to view on Google Maps
Hull Campus

Click to view directions on Google Maps

Fees and funding

  • Home/EU: £7,700

UK and EU students can take out a Master’s Loan to help with tuition fees and living costs. They provide up to £11,222 for full-time and part-time taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Find out more about Postgraduate Loans.

Home/EU fees for 2021 entry have not yet been confirmed. The fees shown are for 2020 entry.

  • International:  £14,500

International applicants may need to pay a tuition fee deposit before the start of the course. Visit our tuition fee deposit page for more information.

Graduate Scholarship

The University of Hull is pleased to offer graduates progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate taught study a £3,000 scholarship towards the cost of their tuition fees.

Find out if you’re eligible by visiting the University of Hull Graduate Scholarship page.

International Scholarships and Bursaries

For a list of all scholarships and bursaries for international students, please visit the International Scholarships and Bursaries page.

We also offer an International Studentship Scheme Discount of up to £3,500.

UK and EU Scholarships and Bursaries

The University offers a range of scholarships to help you with your studies.

For more information, please visit the UK and EU Scholarships and Bursaries page.

Specialist resources include the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, plus one of the UK's best university libraries and Hull History Centre.

Study under active researchers whose historical expertise and passion underpins the modules they teach.

Hull pioneered study into Criminology more than 30 years ago and is one of the UK's leading criminology centres.

Entry requirements

Normally a Bachelor Honours degree (typically 2:2 or above, or international equivalent) in History, Criminology, Sociology, Social Policy, Law, Social Work, Anthropology or other Humanities / Social Science equivalent.

If you hold a degree in another area, or if you have been out of education for a significant period of time, we would still encourage you to apply. We are looking for applicants with an interest in Victimology and Modern Slavery (broadly defined) and would be happy to consider your application even with a different academic background, or with professional experience.

International students

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires academic IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. See other English language proficiency qualifications accepted by this University.

If your English currently does not reach the University's required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.

Visit your country page to find out more about our entry requirements.

Future prospects

Graduates from this programme will pursue a wide range of careers in research, academia, voluntary/third sector, government agencies and departments both in the UK and abroad. The Wilberforce Institute has an extensive range of partnerships in the sector and you will contribute and benefit from these in your time with us and beyond.

The University of Hull has been highly ranked nationally for its achievements in employability among its graduates. We work closely with the University Careers and Employability Service, which has recently been granted the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) award for employability, ensuring that our postgraduate students make the most of their teaching and learning experience with us.