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.
This programme takes a philosophical, theoretical and historical approach to cultural studies, exploring the work of cultural criticism, reception and production through new critical perspectives, interdisciplinary insights and a vast spectrum of applications and opportunities.
We study the major traditions of cultural theory, including semiology, deconstruction, feminism, psychoanalysis, and Frankfurt School theories of the aesthetic, the media and technology. This training enables you to shape your thinking critically and develop your interests in a rigorously analytical context.
These theoretical and historical perspectives allow us to tease out the critical charge embedded in the notion of culture itself, and the transformative potential of creative and critical work in the arts and humanities.
Close reading and textuality are at the heart of the course, encouraging you to think critically about issues of modernity and postmodernity, the postcolonial, subjectivity and sexuality.
Diverse and dynamic
Founded in 1987 (as MA Cultural Studies), and situated in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies, this programme appeals to students from across the humanities who are interested in a broad range of objects and genres including literature, film and the visual arts, performance, music, and philosophy.
You’ll work alongside students in different creative and critical disciplines and benefit from the diverse research interests of our tutors. It’s a dynamic environment where you’ll gain valuable knowledge and skills in a city with a vibrant cultural life.
Leeds University Library is one of the major academic research libraries in the UK with extensive print, online and manuscript collections. The University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them. The School houses Parallax, published by Taylor and Francis, an internationally distributed journal of cultural theory and analysis.
The two modules that sit at the heart of this course will develop your understanding of cultural theory over time.
A core module in Cultural Theory offers an introduction to key paradigms, focusing on theories of the commodity, language, discourse, subjectivity and sexuality.
The second core module, Cultural History, explores the genealogies of contemporary theory in relation to a longer tradition of cultural criticism that emerged, with modernity itself, in the 18th century. Emphasis is given to practices of close reading, the question of textuality and the case study.
You will develop an understanding of the ideas of ‘commodity’ and commodity fetish’ that are central to the study of consumer culture, as well as issues around language, sign and discourse and subjectivity. You will put this into the context of the development of cultural studies, focusing on thinkers from Rousseau to Kant and Homi Bhabha. You will use film and other texts to explore these ideas.
In each semester, you will also have the chance to specialise when you choose from a range of optional modules.
We provide an integrated course of training in advanced level research. The skills you will develop, combined with the specialist knowledge built through your optional modules, will ultimately be focused in your dissertation ― an independent and self-devised research project, which you will undertake with the guidance of your supervisor. In Semester 2, you will present some of your own research at the annual MA Symposium.
If you choose to study part-time, you will study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
To help you benefit from the expertise of our tutors, we use a range of teaching and learning methods. These include seminars, film screenings, lectures, online learning and tutorials. Independent study is also a crucial component, allowing you to form your own ideas and develop your research and critical skills.
Assessment methods will vary depending on the modules you choose. However, among others they may include essays, in-course assessment, group and individual presentations, poster presentations and portfolio or e-portfolio work.
This programme will develop your critical and cultural awareness and expand your subject knowledge in theories and histories of culture. In addition, it will equip you with sophisticated research, analytical, critical and communication skills that will put you in a good position to succeed in a variety of careers.
Many of our graduates have also continued with their research at PhD level and secured external funding to support them – including AHRC scholarships. A large proportion of our former research students are now developing academic careers in the UK, Europe, Asia, USA and Australia.
Some have taken up posts working as curators and education staff in museums and galleries, as well as in journalism, publishing, arts marketing, public relations, university administration and teaching.
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.
Studying our French Literature & Culture MA means joining a lively and welcoming French department and dipping into London’s unparalleled cultural and intellectual life, including its collections of French art and its French film festival, plus other connected events. The course offers research methodology and critical theory as a core component, with a wide choice of options ranging from Medieval Occitan to Contemporary French Women’s Writing.
Leads to careers in universities, the media, arts, teaching, journalism and many other sectors.
This French Literature & Culture MA centres on a module in literary and critical theory. Our optional modules, which reflect the research interests and expertise of our staff, range from the Middle Ages to the present day, including modern French thought and Francophone literature. This gives the course a unique depth and range and offers you the opportunity to explore a variety of interests. You will also have the opportunity to take our innovative modules in advanced French language studies (subject to availability) as well as modules from other courses to provide a rich and diverse course, tailored to your own interests and needs. If you are looking to further your knowledge of French literature and culture and/or to prepare for research, this course is ideally suited for you.
For students seeking to further their knowledge of French literature and culture and/or to prepare for research.
If you are a full-time student, we will provide six hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars. We will expect you to undertake 34 hours of independent study.
If you are a part-time student, we will provide two to four hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 16 to 18 hours of independent study.
For your dissertation we will organise a workshop and provide you with four hours of supervision.
Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.
We will assess you through a mixture of coursework and occasionally exams. Your coursework will normally consist of a 5,000-word essay per module (two for the required module Research Methodology). We will assess your dissertation module through an oral presentation and a 12,000-word essay.
King’s College London is regulated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.