Guided by a team of internationally recognised experts, you will investigate the key texts and concepts which shape our understanding of literature and culture across a period of radical change from 1880 to the present. You will relate the literary texts you study to developments in other cultural practices, such as film, theatre and the visual arts.
Semester 1 - September to December
Semester 2 - January to March
Summer - April to September
All taught courses are 20 credits and are delivered in weekly 2 hour seminars or similar.
Seminars are taught to the extent that the student members meet regularly with a tutor and proceed through a planned sequence of reading and discussion. The working style however is exploratory rather than didactic; students are expected to engage fully with primary sources, to develop, express and take responsibility for their own opinions and to work towards independent argument and expression in their resulting coursework and dissertation.
The two compulsory Modernities courses are complementary.
Modernities 1: 1880-1945
In the first you will examine some of the foundational modernist movements and manifestos, and investigate some of the ways in which Modernism and modernity were theorised in the period 1880-1945.
Modernities 2: 1945 to the present
In the second core course you will examine the 'fallout' of these movements over the last half century or so. Primary reading consists of seminal texts from the modernist and post-modernist periods, as well as of theoretical formulations of early twentieth-century modernity and its continuities. Secondary reading serves as an introduction to recent critical approaches drawing on fields such as narratology, psychoanalysis, feminism, post-colonialism, and cultural theory.
Option courses will usually be taken from among the 20 credit courses listed under the general pathway. Not all options will be available in any given year, depending on staff availability. A number of option courses have been devised with the needs of the Modernities programme particularly in mind; these are:
With the convenor’s permission, you may also take option courses from elsewhere in the College of Arts and beyond, e.g. Comparative Literature, History of Art, Music, History, and many more.
Modernities has been producing successful graduates for over ten years and provides excellent preparation for PhD studies and an academic career, as well as developing key skills valued by employers in journalism, the heritage and creative industries, and other related educational and vocational careers.
We offer excellent candidates the opportunity to carry out research in one of the most dynamic institutions in Britain.
We specialise in, and welcome applications from prospective research students interested in the following areas: Corpus Linguistics, Cognitive Linguistics and Psycholinguistics and Stylistics and Discourse Analysis.
The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which an academic staff member will provide expert supervision.
The PhD – the most advanced research degree – leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff.
Our principal areas of research are:
The University of Birmingham is one of the world’s leading centres for research in corpus linguistics.
Our research is characterised by a strong cross-disciplinary reach with a particular focus on corpus-based approaches to literary stylistics, discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis, second language acquisition, specialised discourses, psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics, historical linguistics and statistics.
Cognitive Linguistics and Psycholinguistics
Our research expertise in cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics includes figurative language, idioms, embodied cognition, language and perception, sign language, gesture, second language acquisition and construction grammar.
Our current research projects are designed to ensure that the work we conduct has a significant impact on the lives of people outside academia. This includes the role played by metaphor and other types of figurative language in advertising and the ways in which it is understood by people from different cultures. We are also working on a Global Challenges project which explores the use of metaphor by people who have experienced pregnancy loss or stillbirth (and those who support them).
Stylistics and Discourse Analysis
Our research expertise includes the impact that gender, institution, and nationality have on the dominant patterns of form and function in various kinds of discourse. We have particular strengths in the analysis of academic, workplace and professional discourse and the application of this.
Our research often combines discourse analysis with corpus analytic methods. Ongoing projects reflect our interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary work, including research into language of the media, education, the language of evaluation and embodied interaction. We also have a long tradition of work in literary stylistics (especially of prose fiction) and narratology.
"Welcome to the School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, in the College of Arts and Law. This is one of the largest Schools in the College, and variety is our watchword. We offer one of the most extensive ranges of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the country. Our research expertise is equally diverse, and we welcome students and researchers from all over the world." - Professor Andrzej Gasiorek, Head of School
We particularly encourage creative thinking, with a range of pioneering programmes including Masters opportunities in Creative Writing, Film and Television and Shakespeare and Creativity. Our creative offerings are also strengthened by the development of our Department of Film and Creative Writing – established in 2015 – which has opened up exciting new opportunities for postgraduates to benefit from synergies between the two fields.
Our well-established Departments also provide an excellent environment for postgraduate study. The Department of Drama and Theatre Arts has a highly respected national and international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. We are also one of the leading centres for the postgraduate study of English in the UK, spanning language and literature. The Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics is a world-leading centre of excellence for both teaching and research in this field.
We are also proud to be home to the world-renowned Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon. Situated within walking distance of Shakespeare’s birthplace, school and grave, and the theatres of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), the Shakespeare Institute offers postgraduate students and scholars an academic experience unrivalled by any other university.
There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding
Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit
If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk