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Masters Degrees (Narratology)

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The Aberystwyth Masters’ in Creative Writing will help you develop your creative vision and writing abilities through a balanced programme of reading, analysis and writing workshops. Read more
The Aberystwyth Masters’ in Creative Writing will help you develop your creative vision and writing abilities through a balanced programme of reading, analysis and writing workshops. You will be exposed to a range of contemporary writers of both prose and poetry, so that your own creative approach may be stimulated and developed into a more mature form. You will also engage in discussions about technique and undertake an exploration of the wider issues related to the practice of writing, such as the significance of myth, autobiography and publication.

You will receive individual tuition from the excellent Departmental staff, many of whom are published creative writers. Under their guidance, you will produce a substantial portfolio in the form of poetry (10,000 words) or prose fiction (20,000 words). In addition, you will develop a host of key transferrable skills that you may deploy in a range of academic or employment contexts.

The department has a proud tradition of research excellence, as demonstrated in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment. It found that 97% of research assessed was found to be of international standing or higher.

See the website http://courses.aber.ac.uk/postgraduate/creative-writing-masters/

Suitable for

This degree will suit you:

- If you want comprehensive training in methods of creative writing
- If you want to develop your creative vision and writing skills
- If you are looking for a detailed and constructive critique of your work
- If you want to work within a dynamic structure for producing a portfolio of creative writing

Course detail

You will study two core modules together with four option modules from the Department’s portfolio of MA provision or other relevant study areas. The core modules will cover the essential subjects of narratology and poetics to illuminate theoretical approaches to writing, and the option modules will enable you to direct your study into areas of specific interest. Each module comprises five weeks of study with a weekly two-hour group meeting and provision for tutorial consultation. This framework for learning will inspire you to widen your artistic horizons and push you to develop your abilities within a constructive critical environment.

The centrally important component of the course is your Writing Portfolio. This piece, to comprise either prose or poetry, will be accompanied by a critical commentary explaining the work in its context and in appropriate analytical terms. We will take great care in assigning a supervisor to guide you whose interests will be as closely matched to your own as possible.

Format

Twelve months full-time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September.

Assessment

Assessment takes the form of: portfolios of prose and poetry, including critical commentaries and annotated bibliographies; a case study of a research project; and a study of a particular publisher of creative writing or type of publication. In the third semester, each student will complete a Writing Portfolio of creative writing with a critical commentary. The Portfolio can be in the form of poetry (10,000 words) or prose fiction (20,000 words), but not a combination of the two.

Application Details

In addition to completing the standard University application package (How to apply), candidates are asked by the Department to supply the following supplementary documents:

(1) A letter of application (1 side of A4) that explains why you want to enrol on the Creative Writing MA. It should include a brief account of your creative work to date, touching on relevant literary issues as appropriate – you might mention, for example, the authors who have influenced you, or themes and ideas of particular significance to you. The account will be important in helping us to arrive at a decision about your general suitability for the programme.

(2) A representative sample of creative work, written during the past three years, to include:
- EITHER 5–6 poems of not more than 40 lines each
- OR two prose pieces of 1,500 to 2,000 words each
- OR one prose piece of 3,000 to 4,000 words in total

You are allowed to send work submitted as part of a previous degree. If your work has been published we should like to see a copy, in its published form; this will be returned

Employability

Every MA course at Aberystwyth University is specifically designed to enhance your employability. In addition to developing your writing and research abilities, this course will help you to master key skills that are required in almost every postgraduate workplace. You will be pushed to improve your approaches to planning, analysis and presentation so that you can tackle complex projects thoroughly and with professional independence, and confidently present robust projects to the scrutiny of a group. Your MA in Creative Writing will place you in the jobs marketplace as a professional writer with highly desirable skills suitable for a career in the arts, literature, journalism or many other fields.

- Key Skills and Competencies:
Study Skills Upon graduating from this MA in Creative Writing, you will have mastered an array of technical and creative skills relating to writing. You will be highly competent in factual research, evaluative writing and problem-solving with the process of writing. You will understand genre and register, narrative viewpoint and voice, and be able to justify your creative choices within your chosen form. You will possess an awareness of your intended readership and identify your place in the wider context of literary fiction and/or poetry. You will also have experience in giving and receiving stringent but supportive criticism within a positive group setting.

- Self-Motivation and discipline:
Studying at MA level requires high levels of discipline and self-motivation from every candidate. Though you will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of Departmental staff, you are ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your MA degree. This process will strengthen your skills in planning, executing and analysing work projects in ways that reflect standard practice in the world of employed work.

- Transferable Skills:
The MA is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of academic and employment contexts. A significant proportion of postgraduate jobs demand both particular expertise and strength in breadth. Therefore, as a trained writer with proven creative abilities, you will be desirable to any employer seeking individuals who can balance creative flair and artistic vision with a dependable work ethic and highly adaptable writing skills.

Find out how to apply here https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/

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Design and carry out your own visual projects, exploring the relationships between word and image, as you prepare for a career as a visual artist in a growing creative industry. Read more
Design and carry out your own visual projects, exploring the relationships between word and image, as you prepare for a career as a visual artist in a growing creative industry.

Overview

Whatever your artistic background, our Master's course will develop your visual practice in areas that are important for illustrators and book artists, such as visual sequencing and visual text. It will challenge you to cross the divide between fine art and applied art found on many undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, making it a unique course for the UK.

Studying in our purpose-built studios at Cambridge School of Art, much of your work will be practice-based. You’ll propose and undertake self-directed projects, attending group critiques and tutorials that will help you develop your creative skills.

You'll also attend a series of integrated lectures and seminars. These serve two purposes. You’ll explore aspects of illustration and book art, such as the relationships between word and image, narratology and visual language. And you'll receive guidance on research methods and critical writing - which you'll put to immediate use on the course, as well as in your future career.

Throughout the course, you’ll collaborate and discuss your work with staff, visiting professionals and fellow students, giving you an invaluable opportunity to see how others respond to it. All of our teaching team are practising artists, so you’ll hear about the latest news and issues in the industry, and have access to sound careers advice.

Teaching times: 9am-5pm Tuesdays and Wednesdays (full-time); 9am-5pm Wednesdays in Year 1, Tuesdays in Year 2 (part-time).

Careers

Our course will prepare you for a career as a freelance illustrator or freelance book artist. In recent years these roles have been increasingly in demand thanks to the growth of interest in artists' books, graphic novels, self-publishing, e-books and an awareness of small, batch publishing. You’ll also gain skills that will be useful in many other fields, such as bookbinding or teaching. You might even find a way to combine it with your current career, as did Dr Katy Shorttle, whose artwork on health issues was recently featured by The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/gallery/2015/sep/25/ebola-mumps-old-age-inspire-doctors-artwork-in-pictures).

Modules

Process and Practice as Research
Visual Text
Sequence and Series
Master's Dissertation Art and Design
Master's Project: Art and Design

Assessment

You’ll show your progress through your self-directed visual projects, which will include written project proposals, developmental and final visual work, and a reflective commentary. On the Master's Dissertation module, you’ll submit a 6,000-word essay. Finally, the Master's Project will allow you to build on all previous modules to design a visual project which shows mastery of your subject.

Specialist facilities

You’ll work in purpose-built art and design studios, with open access to our printmaking, bookbinding, letterpress and laser cutting facilities, and training from dedicated technicians. We also have many digital imaging resources that you’ll be able to use, including Macs, scanners, and A3/large-format printers, as well as photography darkrooms, animation and moving image studios and 3D workshops. Our University’s Media Services Unit stocks photographic and recording equipment that you can borrow.

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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 1900 to the present. Read more
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 1900 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.

Why this programme

-You will have access to world class libraries and museums, as well as the extraordinary diversity of cultural, literary and artistic events that make Glasgow such an enriching place for postgraduate study.
-The programme includes tailored workshops with the University’s archives.

Programme structure

The programme involves taught sessions plus a period of research and writing over the summer. You will study two core and two optional (special topics) courses, and undertake supervised study of a specialised topic of your choice, researching and writing a 15,000-word dissertation.

You can choose two of the bespoke Modernities special topic courses; with the convenor’s permission, you may select one special topic from any MLitt course offered in the College of Arts.

You will also take the school graduate training course which covers research skills, writing at postgraduate level, crafting a research proposal and writing a dissertation, communicating your work to a variety of audiences, and preparing a proposal and funding application for PhD work, should you choose to pursue doctoral research.

The programme is made up of three components: Two core courses. Two special topic courses. A dissertation.

Part-time students take both core courses and the graduate training course in the first year and two special topic courses and the dissertation in their second year of study.

Core and optional courses

Core courses
The core course is divided into two parts: part 1 consists of an examination of some of the foundational modernist movements and manifestos, and an investigation of some of the ways in which Modernism and modernity were theorised in the period 1900-1945; part 2 examines 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.

Special topic courses
Specialist modules may include:
-African Modernities: Colonialism and Postcolonialism in the Novel
-The American Counterculture, 1945-75
-American Fiction of the 1930s
-F Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton and Dialogues of American Literary Modernism
-The Mind of the Contemporary American Novel
-The Modern Everyday
-Modernist Sexualities
-The Novel Now
-OULIPO
-Proust in Theory
-Virginia Woolf Writes Modernity

You may also opt for courses from other Masters programmes in the College of Arts (subject to the approval of the relevant convener), such as the MLitts in American Studies; European Studies; Fantasy; Theology & Religious Studies; Twentieth Century Avant-Gardes; Victorian Literature. For further information, contact the Modernities convener.

Dissertation
The two terms of coursework are followed by one term of supervised work towards a dissertation of up to 15,000 words for submission at the beginning of September. The topic normally arises out of the work of the previous two terms, but the choice is very much open to the student’s own initiative. The only restrictions are that the topic should be capable of serious scholarly treatment, and that adequate supervision is available. The supervisor helps you to develop the proposal and plan the most appropriate reading and methodology.

Career prospects

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.

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You’ll study the sociocultural, historical and structural complexities of the English language with the possibility to study other modern languages as well, if you choose. Read more

About the course

You’ll study the sociocultural, historical and structural complexities of the English language with the possibility to study other modern languages as well, if you choose.

There are four pathways to choose from: Literary Linguistics, Social and Historical Approaches, Structural and Theoretical Linguistics, and Modern Languages (co-run with the School of Modern Languages and Cultures). You can follow one exclusively or combine the four.

The Literary Linguistics pathway examines a range of approaches to literary linguistic study including cognitive poetics, corpus stylistics and narratology; Social and Historical Approaches investigates complex real-world language problems in different social and historical contexts; Structural and Theoretical Linguistics explores the foundational mental structures and processes underlying language; and Modern Languages offers students the opportunity to study similar aspects of Slavic, Germanic and/or Romance languages.

As your understanding of theory develops, you’ll learn how to analyse language and how to carry out research projects. If you choose a work placement, you might also develop skills in marketing, archiving, teaching or publishing.

Your career

Our graduates are working in teaching (primary, secondary, FE, HE and TESOL), publishing, marketing, libraries, fundraising, charities and the public sector. A masters from Sheffield is a sound basis for a PhD at any leading university.

How we teach

Our expertise covers all aspects of the subject, so whatever you’re interested in you’ll get the best possible advice and support. We provide training in research methods and you can choose to go on a work placement as part of your course.

You’ll be taught by academics whose work is published internationally. Their specialisms include language acquisition, historical language studies, applied linguistics, literary linguistics, discourse analysis and sociolinguistics.

We have a lively research culture. Through lectures and weekly seminars we’ll introduce you to the latest ideas. You’ll have the opportunity to explore these ideas in your own research.

With the School of Languages and Cultures, we established the new University Centre for Linguistic Research to gather and support postgraduate linguistics research across the University.

Our resources

We have specialist recording equipment for fieldwork and experimental work. Interactive computer-based workshops will introduce you to corpus-linguistic technology.

The University library subscribes to several electronic databases including JStor, Early English Texts online and Eighteenth-century Collections online. For more advanced reading, there’s a regular free minibus service to the British Library at Boston Spa.

Core module

Research Methods.

Examples of optional modules

Linguistics in Context; Linguistics in Practice; Research Practice; Literary Language: narrative and cognition; Literary Language: history and culture; Work Placement with Research Project.

Teaching and assessment

The MA offers world-leading expertise in all areas of English language and linguistics, and is therefore capable of offering the best possible support for students’ interests on any topic. You’ll benefit from our expertise in many fields, from language variation and change, psycholinguistics and syntax to conversation analysis, dialectology and the language–literature interface. Our enthusiastic staff publish internationally. Within the School of English, we hold weekly research seminars which give you the chance to hear about the latest developments.

You’ll be taught through seminars and workshops. There are also work placement opportunities in schools, museums, libraries or local businesses. Assessment varies by module, but includes essays and presentations.

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