The Cultural and Critical Theory MA will give you a sophisticated appreciation of the limits of human understanding, the interdependence of philosophy and theory, and the implications of these for political action, aesthetic sensibility and representation in art and activism.
The course offers three distinct pathways:
All pathways provide for the development of an advanced understanding of specialist areas in cultural and critical theory, and effective preparation for doctoral research.
The core course, delivered during the autumn and spring terms, is complemented by a research methods module and two elective modules that offer opportunities for study across the range of humanities provision.
The course culminates in the submission of a specialist 20,000-word (or equivalent) project, which allows you to apply your advanced philosophical and theoretical understanding to an issue or text of your choice.
Taught courses are delivered with a maximum size of 12 students. Supervision for the project, and for pre and post-essay tutorials, is on a one-to-one basis with the appropriate tutor.
Delivered during the autumn and spring terms, the core course consists of a common lecture line and two modules in aesthetics and cultural theory, philosophy and critical theory, or political and cultural globalisation, depending on your chosen specialist area.
You also take a research methods module, which prepares you for the research project by considering the various approaches taken by relevant disciplines, interrogating the requirements of MA-level research and addressing how your intended research topic might best be refined.
The project itself normally consists of 18-20,000 word dissertation (or 12,000 words alongside a video, an installation or studio-based work) in which you apply your knowledge of cultural or critical theory to an issue or text of your choosing. Your work towards this submission is supported by one-to-one project supervision.
The elective modules can take one of three forms:
About a third of graduates from the Cultural and Critical Theory MA go on to PhD study, equipped with advanced research skills and specialist knowledge of their subject area. Others start or continue work as museum or gallery curators, in arts administration, journalism, social work, education or politics.
Critical Theory is an exciting and dynamic field encompassing diverse intellectual approaches to literature, culture, society, and politics. It entails reflection on the premises, concepts and categories used in different disciplines.
This programme provides expert-led teaching on the wide range of theoretical approaches that constitute the contemporary critical vocabulary within the humanities.
Seminar-based teaching will allow you to critically engage with theoretical approaches as diverse as poststructuralism, postcolonialism, and the Frankfurt School, and with the work of thinkers such as Heidegger, Derrida and Deleuze.
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 English literature, historical and/or theoretical.
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.
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 critical theory related to their chosen fields and will write two extended essays in relation to these courses.
The programme includes a 15,000-word dissertation, completed under the supervision of one or more of the programme tutors.
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.
Critical Methodologies is a unique interdisciplinary taught course focused on the study and applications of critical theory.
Students get to explore some of the major modern schools of thought and contemporary theories and practices of interpretation, from Formalism and Structuralism through Barthes and textuality to queer theory, psychoanalysis and feminism, and materialist and postcolonial theories. The course also gives students the opportunity to follow their own interests from a wide range of optional modules across humanities and social sciences, all of which draw on the varied and lively research culture of King's in these fields.
Leads to careers in universities, the media, arts, teaching and journalism.
Our interdisciplinary course in Critical Methodology is built around a required module in critical theory. This will introduce you to the main debates in current critical theory through the exploration of a series of key texts. It explores theories and practices of reading, from Formalism and Structuralism through Barthes and textuality to queer theory, psychoanalysis, materialist and postcolonial theories. In addition to this required module, you will be able to choose from a list of modules linked to critical theory in a range of subjects. You will investigate and write a dissertation on a topic that links the required module to the material of one or more of your optional modules. This course is ideally suited to you if you have a humanities degree and are looking to prepare for PhD study, or if you want to pursue a career in teaching, journalism, the media and the arts.
For students with arts & humanities degrees who wish to further their knowledge of critical theory and its practice across a range of fields and/or to prepare for PhD study. To develop a knowledge of the broad implications of critical theory, and the skills of interpretation and analysis in relation to specific fields of study.
If you are a full-time student, we will provide six hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake around 34 hours of independent study.
If you are a part-time student, we will provide two to four hours of teaching through lectures and seminars each week, and we will expect you to undertake between 16 and 18 hours of independent study.
For your dissertation, we will provide a further six hours of supervision.
We assess the majority of our modules through coursework, typically a 4,000-5,000-word essay for every 20 credits. We will assess your dissertation through an oral presentation (10%) and a 12,000-word essay.
This pathway of the MA in Literary Studies enables you to study, principally through its core module Theories of Literature and Culture, a range of theoretical issues, currents and thinkers in literary and cultural theory from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day.
This starts with Nietzsche and including, for example, Freud, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Benjamin and Adorno, Structuralism, Blanchot, Derrida, Gender and Postcolonial Theory. The main focus will be on the relationship of theory to literary and cultural criticism but you will also be able to concentrate on theoretical concepts in their own right.
While the core module gives you a strong grounding in literary and cultural theory, you also have the opportunity to pursue your wider interests thanks to the flexible structure of the MA, by studying three options from the large provision of the department, choosing at least one of these in an area that is relevant to modern literary theory. Both the core module and the options are taught by leading specialists of the subject.
You will be able to further develop your interest in literary theory or literary-theoretical approaches to literature and culture through a 15,000-word dissertation to be submitted at the end of your programme of study.
All texts will be studied in English or in English translation.
In addition to the core module and dissertation, you also take three option modules. Please visit the website for more information
You'll develop transferable skills, including:
Graduates of this programme have gone on to pursue careers in:
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.