From the poetry of Dunbar and Henryson to the fiction of James Kelman and A.L. Kennedy, Scottish literature presents an extraordinarily rich and varied subject of study, whether considered as a tradition in its own right or in terms of its interaction with English, European or world literatures.
Whether you’re interested in poetry, fiction or drama, the literary dimensions of the Scottish Enlightenment, the relationship between modernism and nationalism, Walter Scott or Irvine Welsh, Muriel Spark or Robert Louis Stevenson, this programme offers you the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of supervised independent research in your chosen area.
We are the oldest department of English Literature in the world, and at the last Research Assessment Exercise were awarded the highest research rating possible, of 5*A. We have one of the largest graduate programmes in this area in the country and a rich research culture covering all aspects of literatures in English.
We offer supervision in all areas of Scottish literature, and have particular strengths in medieval Scottish writing, in comparative approaches to Scottish literature, in Scotland’s transatlantic connections, in the relationship between literature and philosophy in Scotland, in 18th and 19th century writing and culture, and in modern and contemporary Scottish literature.
The research of staff has made valuable contributions to the areas of literature and philosophy, modernism/postmodernism, medieval and early modern literature, history of the book, romanticism, transatlantic studies and performance studies.
English Literature houses the Centre for the History of the Book and is one of the UK's leading forces in this area. It works closely with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and with the National Library of Scotland. The latter's recently acquired Murray Archive is crucial for studies in Romanticism, Book History, Bibliography and Archive Studies.
The course includes a 15,000 word dissertation, completed under the supervision of one or more of the course tutors. Students will undertake a seminar based programme of research methods training in core research skills and subject specific methodologies. They will also take two option courses covering areas of Scottish literature related to their chosen fields and will write two extended essays in relation to these courses.
The academic staff you will be working with are all active researchers or authors, many of them prize winners and leading scholars in their fields. As well as benefiting from their expert supervision, you will undertake a seminar-based programme of training in core research skills and subject-specific methodologies. You will also have the opportunity to develop other transferable skills through the University’s Institute for Academic Development
We encourage you to share your research and learn from the work of others through a vibrant programme of Work-in-Progress seminars, reading groups, visiting speakers and conferences.
Our postgraduate journal, Forum, is a valuable conduit for research findings, and provides an opportunity for editorial experience.
On hand are all the amenities you would expect, such as computing facilities, study areas and a common room and kitchen. Our location gives you easy access to the University’s general facilities, such as the Main Library and our collections, as well as to the National Museum, National Library and National Galleries of Scotland at the heart of the city.
In addition to the impressive range of resources available at the University’s Main Library (more than two million printed volumes and generous online resources) and the nearby National Library of Scotland, we host a number of collections of rare and valuable archival materials, all of which will be readily available to you as a postgraduate student.
Among the literary treasures are the libraries of William Drummond, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Hugh MacDiarmid, Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart and Norman MacCaig, plus the WH Auden collection, the Corson Collection of works by and about Sir Walter Scott and the Ramage collection of poetry pamphlets.
Our cultural collections are highly regarded and include a truly exceptional collection of early Shakespeare quartos and other early modern printed plays, and world-class manuscript and archival collections.
This programme offers students an introduction to the study of the ways in which writing in English has shaped or mediated political identities in England, Scotland and Ireland.
This programme introduces you to the relationship between literary writing and political and social discourse in Britain and Ireland between the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 and the end of the 19th century. This is the period of the creation of the Britain in which we live today, and also the time in which ancient British, Scottish and Irish national cultures were conceptualised as a response to radical literary, social and political innovations.
In examining the role of literary writing in this period, you will evaluate the ways in which it changed in response to social and political developments. You will also explore how Romantic conceptions of history, society and the aesthetic are developed and questioned during the course of the 19th century.
The programme will be taught through a combination of seminars and tutorials over two semesters, after which you will complete an independently researched dissertation. You will complete two compulsory and two option courses, along with courses in research methods.
Option courses may include:
Students who successfully follow this programme will gain:
This programme will help you to identify possible topics for advanced research in English literature, potentially leading to an academic career. The transferable skills you gain, such as communication, project management and analysis, will give you an edge in a competitive employment market.
The programme examines a range of US literary and historical contexts, introducing ways in which the production of an idea of 'America' is variously achieved and contested between 1776 and the present.
You will explore the way literary, cultural, political and philosophical texts have contributed to the development, interrogation and revision of American identity and culture between 1776 and the present day.
You will be introduced to the rich diversity of American writing over the past 250 years by academic staff who can offer outstanding research and teaching expertise in this fascinating field. The compulsory courses, specifically developed for this masters programme, offer you the opportunity to think critically about some of the most pressing concerns in literary and cultural studies.
You will find a wealth of resources on hand at the University’s many libraries and the National Library of Scotland, which holds both the Hugh Sharp Collection (more than 300 volumes) of first editions of English and North American authors, and the Henderson Memorial Library of Books on America (more than 700 volumes), containing 19th and early 20th century works mainly on cultural history, description and travel, sociology and biography, and relating mostly to the Civil War.
You will take two courses per semester, one compulsory and one chosen from a range of options, each consisting of a weekly two-hour seminar. You will also take courses in research skills and methods. After your two semesters of taught courses you will work towards your dissertation, with supervisor support.
Option courses may include:
Students who successfully complete this programme will gain:
You will develop research and analytical skills that can be extended into future advanced study in English literature. You will also be equipped with skills that could be beneficial for a teaching career or a role within a cultural institution. The array of transferable skills you will acquire, such as communication and project management, will prove highly valuable to potential employers in whatever field you choose to enter.