Incarceration studies hero

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education

MA in Incarceration Studies

Postgraduate - Taught MA

Open for admission in 2023/24 to home (UK) students

Closed for admission in 2023/24 to international students

Qualification Full time Part time
MA 1 year 2 years

About the course

This innovative new programme combines teaching, research and practical experiences that are linked by four ideas – Culture, Criminology, Creativity, and Community.

Graduates will display intellectual confidence and flexibility in several different academic disciplines.

This course takes the concept of incarceration as a focal point to spark discussion and analysis, underpinned by the four Cs of "big ideas" of incarceration: Culture; Criminology; Creative-Critical Practices; and Community.

Though incarceration is often associated with imprisonment in jail or prison, the word has a host of contexts including historical slavery, pandemic lockdowns, wartime camps, modern-day trafficking and even situations of domestic abuse. On this programme, you'll explore incarceration in a range of forms in the UK, US and other situations globally, far beyond the traditional prison context.

This course combines traditional seminar-style classes with unique environments outside of the classroom, whether working with ex-prisoners locally or organising an academic conference on campus.

Students on the MA in Incarceration Studies will be affiliated with the Cultures of Incarceration Centre at the University of Hull, which provides opportunities to attend talks, present at seminars, and network.

If you are a home (UK) student and want to apply for this postgraduate programme please contact admissions on 01482 466850 or

What you'll study


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

  • Incarceration Culture in Context: Research Methods and Theory in Interdisciplinary Studies

    On this module, you will examine and scrutinise a broad range of texts that address incarceration. This may include poetry by African political prisoners, Orange is the New Black (TV), artwork from Guantanamo Bay, Caribbean memorials to slave rebellions, Native American captivity stories, modern slavery documentaries and photography documenting Northern Ireland.


  • UK & US Prison Cultures; Redemption and Resistance

    This module will analyse a range of cultural responses to the prison experience, from film to poetry to music, to understand and explain the US and UK prison systems as well as US/UK history and society more widely. The module will include guest speakers who have first-hand experience of living/working in US or UK prisons, and who can speak to the module’s interest in prison cultural texts.


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

  • Crimes of the Powerful

    Explore the crimes of the powerful between 1965 and 2022. The module will introduce you to relevant theories and case studies, which can then be applied and evaluated in terms of their ability to explain crimes of the powerful. This module will consider resistance to crimes of the powerful and the potential of criminology and social harm in both explaining and reducing harms of the powerful.

  • Competing and Comparative Justice: Values and Ethics in the Criminal Justice Process

    This module introduces the complexity of ethical problems that arise in the criminal justice arena, challenging preconceptions of what is “right” and “wrong” in a range of situations in the UK and abroad. You will critically analyse some of the key debates about values underpinning law-making and criminal justice.

  • Through the Prison Gate

    This module explores the experience of the transition from prison to the community. In doing so, this module identifies and examines the often-challenging nature of the rehabilitation and reintegration process for people in the criminal justice system. It will consider relevant legislation, theoretical debate and the precariousness of life after prison. 

  • Immigration Control: Carcerality, and Confinement

    This module is concerned with the immigration and asylum processes, and incarceration and confinement. The module seeks to interrogate and critically examine the immigration and asylum systems as a frontier of incarceration and carcerality. It will also encourage students to think critically and creatively about reform and social change.

  • Writing Creative Non-Fiction: Reflecting Reality

    On this module, you will be introduced to a wide range of non-fiction prose, including travel writing, true crime, narrative history and biography. You will produce a portfolio of non-fiction and reflective writings yourself and will also be expected to partake in guest talks/writing workshops with tutors who have taught for many years in prison and in other contexts of incarceration. 

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.

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Hull Campus

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Fees and funding

  • Home £9,400 (2023 entry)
    £10,500 (2024 entry)

UK students can take out a Masters Loan to help with tuition fees and living costs. For 2023 entry, they provide up to £12,167 for full-time and part-time taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Find out more about Postgraduate Loans.

  • International £12,000 (2024 entry)

On courses where a part-time study option is available, fees are charged pro-rata to the full-time fee, according to the number of credits being studied.

Graduate PGT Scholarship

The University of Hull is pleased to offer graduates progressing from undergraduate to postgraduate taught study a £1,000 scholarship towards the cost of their tuition fees.

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

Scholarships and Bursaries

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

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

Study under experts across American Studies, Criminology and Creative Writing.

Spend time studying in unique learning environments, such as HMP Hull alongside prisoners.

Superb facilities include the Brynmor Jones Library which is open 24/7 and boasts cutting edge technology and more than a million books.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a Bachelor's Honours degree (typically 2:2 or above, or international equivalent) in American Studies, English, History, Criminology or other Arts & Humanities/Social Science equivalent.

In order to ensure our students have a rich learning and student experience, most of our programmes have a mix of domestic and international students. We reserve the right to close applications early to either group, if application volumes suggest that this blend cannot be achieved. In addition, existing undergraduate students at the University of Hull have a guaranteed ‘Fast Track’ route to any postgraduate programme, subject to meeting the entry criteria (excluding Social Work).

International students

Language requirements

If you require a student visa to study or if your first language is not English you must provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires academic IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. See other accepted English language proficiency qualifications.

If your English currently does not reach the required standard, you may be interested in our pre-sessional English Language programmes.

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

Future prospects

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this degree, you'll develop a range of knowledge and skills to help you stand out in the job market. 

As well as mastering new disciplines, you'll develop your skills in research, team-work, project management, writing and presentation skills. The development of your research and analytical skills will give you a firm grounding if you wish to progress to PhD study.