Normally a good (2:1 or upper-second class honours, or better) undergraduate degree or its equivalent in a relevant or related subject (including but not limited to philosophy, psychology, literature, politics, film, media and cultural studies, fine art and visual culture, modern languages). Applicants with other kinds of qualifications will be considered on an individual basis.
Months of entry
The course is based on a structured study of the fundamental texts of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis. It provides the perfect foundation for doctoral research in clinical psychoanalysis or psychoanalysis applied to other fields such as literature and philosophy, film and media.
The Psychoanalysis MA is the only MA in the UK taught with the support of psychoanalysts in connection with the Department of Psychoanalysis at Paris-8 University. This Department was founded by Jacques Lacan himself.
What will you study
Freud and Lacan's teachings highlight the inseparable relationship between culture and clinical practice. The MA offers the opportunity to study the fundamental texts of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, current research in the Freudian field and the application of analytical concepts in practice. The programme begins with a foundation module on Freud's metapsychology. Other topics studied include Freud's theory of culture and the social bond, Jacques Lacan's return to Freud, and Jacques-Alain Miller's recent clinical elaborations such as ordinary psychosis. You will study four taught modules and prepare a dissertation on a topic of your choice.
London is a historical centre for psychoanalysis and annual trips to the Freud Museum and other areas of historical and current significance will be undertaken.
Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.
This module is designed to enable students to demonstrate their ability to undertake a sustained piece of independent research in Psychoanalysis at an advanced level (12-15,000 words). This will usually take the form of some primary research into a particular case study, archive or canon in combination with an engagement with secondary material, criticism or literature review. Students are also required to attend research skills workshops that will be focussed on humanities or social science research methods as appropriate. As such, they may be streamed along methodological lines, but all workshops will cover constructing a proposal, editing and composition, referencing and on online and electronic research methods; students will also make an oral presentation of their dissertation proposal.
Psychoanalytical Case Studies
The transmission of the psychoanalytic theory of clinical practice uses the method of the case study. This module is designed 1) to provide an epistemological justification for the method of the case study over the statistical series of evidence-based models; 2) to give an introduction to psychoanalytic technique (themes include differential diagnosis, interpretation, handling of transference, session length…); 3) to study Freud’s foundational case-studies and the clinical structures they formalized (obsessional neurosis, hysteria, psychosis, phobia…); 4) to discuss and compare cases from different orientations about a given ‘symptom’ to study the relationship between theory and case construction; 5) to study contemporary case-studies produced in the pass procedure to formalize the trajectory and ends of an analytic experience.
The theory module is designed 1) to specify the epistemological conditions and ethical principles of psychoanalysis as distinct from other forms of psychotherapeutic practices; 2) to provide an introduction to the key concepts of psychoanalytic practice (drive, unconscious, transference and repetition) introduced by Freud in his metapsychological writings and developed by Lacan over the course of his teaching; 3) to apply these concepts to study specific questions in terms both of theoretical implications and clinical indications (themes include fetishism, autism, sexuation, ordinary psychosis, addictions, depression…) using the works of Freud and Lacan but also contemporary work in the Lacanian orientation as developed in the Clinical Sections of the Freudian Field and the University Jacques Lacan.
Critical and Cultural Theory: Identity and Representation
Are we born the way we are or do we become who we are? How does where we live affect how we live and who we are? How is our identity constituted by others and by society? How important is language for the way we think? How are our selves and the way we think about them constituted through cultural and theoretical discourses? Who were the thinkers who have radically changed the way we think about these things and how do they relate to each other? How have these insights changed the way literature is written and thought about?
On this module you will think about these questions by interrogating and engaging with a range of critical and theoretical writings including, but not limited to, queer theory, feminism, postcolonialism, speech act theory, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis and analytic philosophy. The module will embed this discussion in the context of one or two key literary texts, and students will be encouraged to make systematic use of theoretical thinking about literature in their own writing and research, exploring the ways in which theoretical writing can produce both divergent and complementary readings of literary texts.
Gender and Sexuality
Literature has a long history of representing the erotic, and of exploring, affirming and contesting ideas about the body. This module explores how writers have responded to the legal, scientific and psychoanalytic definitions of sexuality formulated in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as the impact of feminism and queer theory upon the ways in which we think about gender, sexuality and writing. The module will consider a range of topics, such as the emergence of the concept of separate spheres, issues of sexual morality and censorship, the effects of the criminalisation of homosexuality upon literary representations of homosexual desire, the poetics and ethics of pornography, the effects of new technologies on the representation of sexual desire, and utopian and radical visions of sex and society.
- Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Cinema
This module invites students to reflect on changing constructions of gender and sexuality in contemporary cinema. Theoretical approaches to gender and sexuality in film will be explored, with particular reference to notions of spectatorship and the body. Students will have the opportunity to analyse the construction of gender and sexuality in a range of contemporary films, taking account of the role played by their particular historical and cultural contexts.
Humans and Animals
This optional module problematizes the notion of ‘the human’ from a range of critical and philosophical standpoints. It asks whether technological developments, from artificial intelligence to virtual reality, have decentred our traditional understandings of consciousness, perception and embodiment, and if new political and social formations undermine any meaningful sense of shared human experience. It also interrogates the moral and epistemological bases for significant relationships between humans and other species, and asks what, if anything, humans can learn from non-human agents. These questions inform a critical engagement with a selection contemporary works of global literature.
Philosophy and Psychoanalysis
Each year this module focusses on a study of a different selection of Freud's major and minor works, mining them for their philosophical significance and reflecting on the implications of psychoanalysis for philosophy, particularly in relation to the philosophical notion of the subject. Where appropriate the module will discuss the critical development of this theoretical framework by psychoanalysts such as Jacques Lacan and Jean Laplanche, its reception and deployment in the tradition of Freudo-Marxist critical theory, and the theoretical transformation and political critique of Freudian theory in feminist and queer theory.
Psychoanalysis and Media
This module takes up psychoanalysis as a type of media theory, starting from Jacques Lacan’s contention that the unconscious is an effect of language operating ‘mechanically’ as a medium of ‘the world of the symbolic [that is also] the world of the machine’ (Kittler). In the context of psychoanalysis’s historically contested relationship with science, the module focuses particularly on the age of the internet where we are more than speaking beings: we are multiply symbolized and symbolizing beings, counting beings whose being is determined by statistics; we are networked beings in which a range of virtual identities are determined in various profiles enabled and delimited by different codes and algorithms. The module therefore addresses specifically the role of new media in the emergence of new symptoms and discontents contemporary with the rise of digital culture.
- Sex and Text
Literature has a long history of representing the erotic, and of exploring, affirming and contesting ideas about the body. This optional module explores how modern writers have, from the late-nineteenth century to the present, engaged with moral, legal and scientific understandings of sexuality, and considers the impact of feminist criticism, queer theory and pornography studies upon how we think about the complex and often difficult relationship between sex and writing. You will critically examine provocative and formally challenging textual material in order to debate a range of contentious issues and themes, such as sexual morality and censorship, literary and journalist accounts of prostitution, the supposed distinctions between literature, erotica and pornography, the effects of new technologies on the representation of sexual desire, and utopian and radical visions of sex and society.
Information for international students
All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Please make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we'll consider.
Fees and funding
Please see http://www.kingston.ac.uk/postgraduate-course/psychoanalysis-ma/fees-and-funding.html for details
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- Admissions team
- 08448 544972/+44 (0)20 3308 9929