This Masters is concerned with outlining and critically evaluating the concept of the ‘avant-garde’ both theoretically and in terms of its applicability to representative areas of 20th-century art. Dealing with art from the early twentieth century to the present, you will investigate concepts such as historical avant-garde, neo-avant-garde, and post-avant-garde, paying close attention to the theorists who have elaborated these ideas.
Closely focused on the visual and historical specificities of the subject, the core teaching will have you examining the politically oppositional and ‘transgressive’ impulses of the avant-garde.
You will interpret ‘transgression’ in the widest sense and in relation to a range of diverse historical contexts, including: the anti-art concerns of Dada; the political tensions arising from conflicts between nationalist and internationalist currents in European art of the early 20th century and the Nietzschian/Bataillean testing of the boundaries of conventional moral positions, particularly regarding sexual identity and the body.
The optional courses available are closely geared to the research interests of our staff. Their content will draw upon current exhibitions and debates.
You will take five core courses and one optional course. This is followed by a period of self-study towards a dissertation 15,000 words in length (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) and will be on a topic chosen in consultation with the tutors and the programme convenor.
You may choose from the following options in the College of Arts
Or from courses run by History of Art
Students on this programme are invited to take part in an optional study trip of approximately one week, which is funded by the student. Previous destinations include Berlin and Dublin.
Career opportunities include positions in curation, digitisation and research within museums and other cultural and heritage institutions. The programme also provides an excellent platform for you to move onto PhD studies and an academic career.
It’s not every graduate who can claim to have earned a degree at the oldest department of English Literature in the world. We first offered courses on ‘rhetoric and belles lettres’ 250 years ago, and have been renowned as a vigorous centre of scholarship, teaching and learning ever since.
At the last Research Assessment Exercise, we were awarded the highest research rating possible, 5*A, making us one of the top three departments of English Literature in the UK.
We have one of the largest graduate offerings in English Literature in the country, with an expansive range of research possibilities. These include each of the main periods of English and Scottish Literature – Medieval, Renaissance/Early Modern, Enlightenment, Romantic, and the 19th and 20th centuries – along with all genres of literary analysis: literary and critical theory, literary history, the history of the book, cultural studies, gender studies, post-colonial literature and American studies. Scottish literature is particularly favoured: we are home to the Centre for Scottish Writing in the 19th Century.
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.
Our interdisciplinary approach also encourages the development of research projects that span various subject areas across our School, the wider University and the cultural life of the city itself.
The MSc by Research English Literature I programme is a highly flexible programme allowing you to undertake a research degree by writing two substantial essays of 6,000 words on related topics of your own choice, as well as Research Skills and Methods assignments, before building on this with a dissertation of 15,000 words.
The MSc by Research English Literature II programme allows you to undertake a research project of your own devising, leading to a 30,000 word dissertation.
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.
You can also apply your analytical and critical skills to the UK’s oldest and most distinguished literary awards: PhD students form part of the judging panel for the prestigious James Tait Black Prizes.
Our location in the first UNESCO City of Literature places you at the heart of a major cultural centre, enriching your experience with opportunities for literary engagement through world-class facilities and events.
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.
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.
This programme allows you to engage with texts and writers from across the 20th and 21st century as well as the cultural, critical, conceptual and political contexts that have shaped them.
You’ll have the chance to study major canonical and lesser-known authors as well as popular literature and film adaptation, engaging with some of the defining and urgent cultural issues and legacies of this period. This may include psychoanalysis, post-war writing, postcolonial literatures, mass and popular culture and eco-criticism and the environment. You could even select modules from other periods to broaden your knowledge.
At the same time, you’ll develop your understanding of research methods in literary studies, preparing for further study or a career in a range of different sectors. Taught by leading researchers and using our impressive library resources and Special Collections, you’ll explore how writers have responded to the complexities of the modern world.
You’ll learn in a stimulating environment with access to excellent resources for your research. The world-class Brotherton Library has extensive holdings to support the highest levels of academic study of theliteratures of these periods, and our Special Collections are full of archive and manuscript material as well as correspondence, notes, lectures and other papers from writers and poets from Simon Armitage to Tony Harrison, Geoffrey Hill to Stan Barstow, Sophie Hannah to Arthur Ransome and the critic George Wilson-Knight. The University Library offers full training to help you make the most of them, equipping you with valuable skills in the process.
You’ll begin the programme with a core module that develops your knowledge of research methods and approaches in literary studies, helping you prepare for the rest of your studies.
At the same time you’ll take the first of your three optional modules, allowing you to pursue topics that interest you in particular. You may focus entirely on modern and contemporary literature, or you can choose to take up to two from the full range of options across the School of English. You’ll take two optional modules in Semester Two.
Throughout the year, you’ll develop your high-level skills in research and analysis while developing specialist knowledge of your chosen topics. You’ll expand on this in your dissertation or research project, where you’ll research a topic of your choice in British or Irish modern and contemporary literature and submit your work by the end of the programme in September.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll take fewer modules in each year and study over a 24 month period.
Most of our MA modules are taught in two-hour weekly seminars, where you’ll discuss issues arising from your reading with a small group of students and your tutor. You’ll also have the chance to expand your learning by making the most of the range of visiting speakers and research seminars that we run throughout the year. You’ll also benefit from supervisions throughout semester 2 with your dissertation supervisor.
However, independent study is still crucial to this degree, allowing you to pursue your interests and build your skills.
We use different assessment methods, but most of your modules will be assessed by a single 4,000 word essay, which you submit at the end of the semester. Your research project or dissertation is usually between 12,000 and 15,000 words. During the year you may also be expected to give presentations on your reading during seminars, or submit unassessed essays to get feedback on your work.
This programme will equip you with a wide range of advanced transferable skills which are valuable in a wide range of careers.
You’ll be a confident researcher who can work independently as well as within a team. You’ll be a strong communicator, both verbally and in writing, and be able to think critically and analytically. In addition, you’ll have a strong level of cultural and critical awareness, and you’ll be able to look at a situation from different points of view.
All of these qualities are attractive to employers across sectors, and you’ll be well equipped to pursue a career in a wide range of fields depending on your interests. These could include teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising, broadcasting and law. Many of our graduates also progress to PhD-level study and you’ll be in a good position to develop a career in academia.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.