School of Humanities and Performing Arts

MA English Literature

Study literature and culture through an exciting variety of thematically conceived modules on the MA English Literature. Drawing on staff expertise, the programme covers a broad range of periods from the early modern period to the present. On this diverse and challenging degree you’ll gain advanced research skills, which you’ll apply throughout your studies and beyond. Learn more about an existing area of interest, or discover something new on our highly adaptable and varied MA.

This course is also available to study part-time.

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Key features

  • Develop your research interests in literature and culture across the ‘long Modern’ period.
  • Define your own programme with modules which rotate yearly, offering a fresh choice each year.
  • Choose from modules closely integrated with staff research interests, while being able to pursue your own ideas.
  • Benefit from small tutorial groups across all modules, providing you with invaluable face-to-face contact with your tutors.
  • Hone your skills with a compulsory initial module which shows you how to carry out postgraduate research.
  • Benefit from adaptable study routes, allowing you to find a means of studying which fits around your other commitments. 
  • Access resources at any time with the University library, open 24 hours, 365 days a year, offering a vast range of electronic and print materials, including a rare books collection.
  • Engage closely with unique local resources such as the nationally designated eighteenth-century Cottonian Collection, or the University’s own rare books collection stocked with 19th century and 20th century periodicals.
  • Build on your experience - some of our students have been involved in curating exhibitions and organising conferences. 
  • Tailor your time at university to meet your needs by fitting your study around work and personal commitments. Our part-time route allows you to study over two years, giving you the flexibility to study at a pace which suits you.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • In your first semester, you’ll take our compulsory research methods module, plus one other elective module from the list below. In your second semester, you’ll take two elective modules. The summer period will see you take the dissertation module in a subject of your choice, involving one-to-one supervision and support. This will be a chance to work independently on a project which interests and excites you. On a part-time route, you can complete the programme over two years. After completing research methods in the first term, you’ll usually study one module per term for two years (although other arrangements are possible). You’ll then do your dissertation in the spring and summer of the second year, finishing the MA in two years, or defer the dissertation to the following year and complete in three years.


    Core modules

    Research Methods and Debates in Literary and Cultural Studies:

    This module will provide research skills including library and IT skills, the use of databases, archival research and the structuring, managing, and presentation of a project. It will explore current areas of debate within literary studies in English, including the nature of cross-disciplinary research.

    Dissertation:

    The dissertation module provides the opportunity for students to undertake a supervised, self-directed, research project (about 15-20,000 words in length), on any topic of their choice, independent of the modules they have studied. It will make use of the IT, library, and other research and scholarly skills learnt on the Research Methods module and developed through subsequent modules.


    Elective modules for Semesters 1 and 2

    The elective modules on offer will change each year but will be selected from the list below.

    Writing War 1850-1950: The impact of Modernity:

    This module to will explore the impact of modernity on literary representations of the experience of warfare from c. 1850 to the end of the Second World War. Using a range of written records by both men and women, and examining a variety of genres the module will track the influence of technological, social, political and cultural developments on representations of war.

    The Haunted Mind: Ghosts 1750 to the present:

    This module examines the distinctly modern form of the ghost in the haunted spaces and minds of nineteenth and twentieth-century literature and culture. We explore the ways in which the ghost embodies new modes of experience across a number of fields, including psychoanalysis, evolutionary theory, economics and new communications technologies. Writers studied will include, for example: Sheridan Le Fanu; Wilkie Collins; Henry James; Sarah Waters and Don DeLillo.

    Poetry and the Environment:

    On this module we cover some of the major landmarks in recent “eco-critical” thinking through an extended focus on poetry, ranging from Wordsworth and the Romantics to postcolonial Australian poetries.

    The Legacy of War: Fiction of the 1920s and 30s:

    This module explores the literary developments of the 1920s and 1930s, with a primary focus on fiction. It examines the way in which society recovered from the First World War and the political and cultural upheavals that followed, and how these influenced the production of new literatures.

    Ocean Modernity: Literature and the Sea 1850-the present:

    On this module we encounter a diverse array of literary engagements with the ocean, ranging from Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad to contemporary writers like Amitav Ghosh and Caroline Bergvall. We’ll explore how these ocean imaginaries reveal shifting and intertwined cultural, global and ecological relations.

    Poetry and the Modern Self:

    Focusing on lyric and the short poem from the 18th century, the module traces the changes to important concepts in philosophical and cultural ideas of the self, and assesses how they impacted on poetic content and practice over time until the present day.

    Fictions of femininity in eighteenth-century England:

    This module explores imaginations of women in literary and visual culture during the making of the modern world, engaging with contexts from emergent global capitalism and social mobility through the first articulations of feminism. Incorporating material by turns complex, comic, and cynical, the course also draws on local connections in the Cottonian Collection and other archival resources.

    The Utopian Novel and Modernity:

    This module examines the intersection of utopian thinking, theory and the novel from the late nineteenth century to the present, and traces how this intersection relates to issues such as globalism, gender and the environment. The module engages with prominent theorists of utopia such as Ernst Bloch and Fredric Jameson, and writers such as William Morris, Ursula Le Guin, and Kim Stanley Robinson.

    Independent Research Project:

    This module allows you to negotiate, plan and carry out a small-scale independent research project, under the supervision of an appropriate expert from the English team. This option gives you the opportunity to pursue a focused topic of your own choosing as well as building invaluable project management skills.


    The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

    Core modules
    • MAEL700 Research Methods and Debates in Literary and Cultural Studies

      This module will provide research skills including library and IT skills, the use of databases, archival research and the structuring, managing, and presentation of a project. It will explore current areas of debate within literary studies in English, including the nature of cross-disciplinary research, and may include breakaway session's specific to the exit awards.

    • MAEL701 MA English Literature Dissertation

      The dissertation module provides the opportunity for students to undertake a supervised, self-directed, research project (15-20,000 words in length), on any topic of their choice, independent of the modules they have studied. It will make use of the IT, library, and other research and scholarly skills learnt the core Research Methods module and developed through subsequent modules.

    Optional modules
    • MAEL702 Writing War 1850-1950: The impact of Modernity

      This module will explore the impact of modernity on literary representations of the experience of warfare from c. 1850 to the end of the Second World War. Using a range of written records by both men and women, and examining a variety of genres the module will track the influence of technological, social, political and cultural developments on representations of war.

    • MAEL707 Ocean Modernity: Literatures of the sea, 1850- the present

      This module explores literary and cultural representations of the ocean from 1850 to the present. By engaging with a diverse array of literary and cultural texts, including fiction, poetry, non-fiction, theory and visual art, it will examine diverse and shifting cultural imaginaries of the sea. In so doing, it will also investigate wider relations between humanity and the non-human world in modernity.

    • MAEL708 Poetry and the Modern Self

      Focusing on lyric and the short poem from the 18th century, the module traces the changes to important concepts in philosophical and cultural ideas of the self, and assesses how they impacted on poetic content and practice over time until the present day.

    • MAEL710 Independent Research Project

      This module enables students to conceive, plan and carry out an independent research project, with guidance from a supervisor. It gives students the opportunity to engage with a topic, period or genre relevant to the study of English Literature but not currently covered by the Programme¿s other modules.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA English Literature Programme Specification 2017 18 6046

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

To apply for this programme you should normally possess one of the following:
  • a first or upper second (2:1) degree with honours (in a humanities subject or related field) or professional qualification, recognised as being equivalent to degree standard
  • an ordinary degree, foundation degree, higher national diploma, or university diploma, accompanied by substantial experience in an appropriate field.
Applicants with overseas qualifications can check their comparability with the UK equivalent through NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 7.

For academic queries please contact the course leader, Dr Mandy Bloomfield.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £6,500 To be confirmed
International £13,250 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

How to apply

Applying for postgraduate taught study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Postgraduate Admissions and Enquiries team are on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

If you would like any further information please contact the Postgraduate and Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858

Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 


Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

 

Applying for postgraduate research study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. The Doctoral College is available to answer any queries on our postgraduate research degrees.  If  you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk

If you would like any further information please contact the Doctoral College:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 587640

Email: doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk


Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

Leanne Tough - MA English and Culture graduate

I’ve enjoyed my time at Plymouth University, achieved my goals, and had more opportunities to get involved and build on my experience than I had originally anticipated.

Read more about Leanne's career path since graduating

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