MPhil in Global and Area Studies

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MPhil in Global and Area Studies

OSGA is excited to announce the launch of its new MPhil in Global and Area Studies.

This two-year programme draws on the multidisciplinary and multi-region strengths of the School’s seven regional centres, to deliver a unique and innovative programme, which addresses contemporary global challenges through the penetrating lens of Comparative Area Studies. 



As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the call for a programme like our Global Area Studies programme has never been louder.

Programme Structure


The programme comprises of six study components, facilitating an interdisciplinary approach to comparative study across two or more regions and a critical approach to area studies. 

The six study components (covering 8 assessed courses) are:

  1. Theories and Approaches in Global and Area Studies (two core courses);
  2. Comparative Area Studies (minimum of one course);
  3. Research Methods for Social Sciences and Humanities (minimum of two courses);
  4. Area Studies immersion (see below);
  5. Specialist Area Studies Options (three courses from across OSGA);
  6. Comparative Area Studies Research Thesis (30,000 words)

Further details are available in the visual guide to the MPhil GAS Programme Structure.


The MPhil in Global and Area Studies is assessed using a range of formative and summative assessments. Whilst many OSGA option courses are assessed through three hour written examinations, other elements of the course involve a range of different assessment modalities, including essay, take-home exam and project work

The Thesis


The centrepiece of the programme is of course the 30,000-word research thesis, which represents an advanced piece of independent (but supervised) postgraduate research incorporating a Global or Comparative Area Studies approach and/or addressing key cross-region challenges from an Area Studies perspective.

Possible topics of interest include but are not limited to: Global and Regional Health, Migration, Human Rights, the Environment, Democracy and Authoritarianism, International Relations, Political Economy, Social and Economic Inequality. The School has rich multidisciplinary expertise covering China, South Asia, Japan, Latin America, Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East (where we share courses with the Oriental Institute) and Africa.

Each student will have one formal supervisor from the beginning of the programme and progress with the thesis will be overseen by the Programme’s teaching committee who will help to facilitate additional consultations where appropriate.

Area Studies Immersion


During the second year, you will undertake a period of Area Studies immersion. Immersion options include but are not necessarily limited to: a period of overseas or domestic fieldwork research for your thesis; or for the development of language skills; auditing relevant substantive courses delivered at a partner university or approved alternative; an internship period at a relevant organisation (in the UK or abroad). The immersion period is intended to be flexible and inclusive and should facilitate intensive progress with the research thesis as well as the professional development of the student. Each student will receive a grant to help cover the additional costs relating to the immersion period.

Language requirements

There are no formal language requirements for the programme beyond the English language requirements which apply to all of OSGA’s programmes. There are some research topics that will require language skills and it is anticipated that students should have those language skills at the point of application. Language isn’t provided within the frame of the programme but there are opportunities for taking language classes through the Oxford University Language Centre and for using the immersion period to further develop language skills, as required.

Seminars and Workshops

Throughout the course, students are expected to attend seminars from the rich offering available through OSGA and through St Antony’s College (with whom we work closely).

OSGA is also leading on the development of a European Area Studies Network which we anticipate will provide increasing opportunities for cross-institution engagement for our MPhil GAS students. Partners within this Network are drawn from Paris, Berlin, Bonn, Leiden, Warsaw, Prague, St Petersburg and Moscow.

mphil linkpage

Students of the GAS MPhil programme will progress to a variety of different careers, including in government and diplomacy, business and political analytics, consultancy, banking and finance, NGOs, teaching and further research. With regard to the latter, OSGA’s DPhil in Area Studies, introduced in 2017, provides exciting opportunities for continuing inter-disciplinary doctoral research across one or more of the regions in which OSGA specialises.

Programme Management and Enquiries


The GAS Programme Director is Professor Christopher Gerry and the programme is supported by the GAS Administrator Graham Cockerill


If you have questions about the content of the programme please contact Professor Gerry. For administrative queries please contact Graham Cockerill