Incarceration studies hero

Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education

MA in Incarceration Studies

Postgraduate - Taught MA

Open for admission in 2021/22

Full time Part time
MA 1 year 2 years

About the course

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

Though incarceration is often associated with imprisonment in jail or prison, the word has a host of contexts including historical slavery, Native American captivity, 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.

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. One of the key modules takes place in its entirety at HMP Hull, whereby university students will “Learn Together” with prison learners.

Application date to be confirmed.

What you'll study

Compulsory modules

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

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

    Examine and scrutinise a range of texts that address incarceration, which 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.

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

    Examine the complexity of ethical problems that arise in the context of the criminal justice system. You will critically analyse some of the key debates about values underpinning lawmaking and criminal justice.

  • Writing from Life

    Through the likes of travel writing, true crime, narrative history, and biography, learn how to take readers with you as you explore your world. You will mine creative non-fiction writers to see how they conjure effects, learn how to investigate archives and conduct field trips and interviews, and expand your writing's horizons.

    Students will produce a portfolio of non-fiction and reflective pieces that address themes and situations that fit with the remit of "Incarceration".

  • Learning Together at HMP Hull – UK & US Prison Cultures; Redemption and Resistance

    On this module, you'll attend lectures at HMP Hull and learn alongside prisoners. You'll explore some of the cultural responses about the prison experience that have thrived as a result of the ways in which prison culture has grown into a recognised genre. 

    Attendance on this module will be subject to security clearance. Please contact the MA convenor if any queries about these checks or to discuss alternative arrangements.

  • Dissertation

    You will make an original contribution to research by designing, carrying out and writing up your own project on a topic you choose, supported by your dissertation supervisor.

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: £7,850

Home (part-time):
£870 (20 credits), £2,615 (60 credits), £3,925 (90 credits)

UK students can take out a Master’s Loan to help with tuition fees and living costs. For 2020 entry, they provide up to £11,222 for full-time and part-time taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas, increasing to £11,570 for entry in the 2021/22 academic year. Find out more about Postgraduate Loans.

  • EU/International: £7,850

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 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.

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.

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

Normally a Bachelor Honours degree (typically 2:2 or above, or international equivalent) in American Studies, English, History, Criminology or other Arts & 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. Indeed, we are looking for applicants with a genuine interest in Incarceration (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

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.