During the nineteenth century, many of the features of modern cultural, social, and political life were established. This programme allows you to study literature in English with a focus on the Victorian period, placing texts in the context of massive upheaval.
You’ll develop your understanding of research methods, improving your skills in preparation for writing the dissertation as well as for a range of careers. You’ll also choose from optional modules within the Victorian pathway – and you can take a broader approach with modules from across the School of English. Taught by leading researchers in their fields, you’ll be able to focus on your interests and explore new texts and contexts.
You’ll benefit from studying in a major nineteenth-century cultural and industrial centre, with all of the archives, museums, galleries and architecture the region has to offer. The family home of the Brontës is a short trip away in Haworth, and the city’s galleries and libraries contain substantial material to support your research.
Our extensive library resources help to make the University of Leeds a stimulating environment for critical thinking. The world-class Brotherton Library contains a wealth of archival, manuscript, and printed material in its Special Collections, including the original manuscript of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Sylvia’s Lovers (1864) and her only surviving manuscript diary. You’ll also find works, including much correspondence, by the Brontë family as well as extensive collections of letters to and from figures including Gaskell, Thackeray, Dickens, Henry James, Thomas Hardy, and Bram Stoker among others.
In your first semester you’ll take a core module which builds your knowledge of research methods in literary studies. You’ll also take the first of your three optional modules – at least one optional module must focus on the Victorian period, but you can choose up to two modules from across the range offered by the School of English if you want to expand your knowledge in different directions. You’ll take your two remaining optional modules in the following semester.
Throughout the programme you’ll gain specialist knowledge in areas that suit your interests as well as improving your skills in research and analysis. You’ll demonstrate these qualities when you submit your dissertation by the end of the programme in September – an independent research project on a Victorian literary topic of your choice.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
You’ll generally have two-hour weekly seminars in each module where you discuss the themes and issues arising from your reading, and you’ll be able to enhance your learning by attending the wide range of research seminars and talks by visiting speakers that we arrange throughout the year. You’ll also benefit from supervisions throughout semester 2 with your dissertation supervisor.
However, independent study is a vital part of the degree as it allows you to build your skills and explore your own ideas.
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.
Our taught MA pathway in Romantic and Victorian Literary Studies offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise within this field. You can learn from the rich variety of research expertise in the Department and you also have the chance to concentrate on a particular area of literary study within the field. Our commitment to research-led teaching means that students are able to explore the cutting edge of the discipline - from Romantics legacies to the representation of women in Victorian poetry and painting, to critical theory. We provide an intimate, dynamic and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds and nationalities.
Our programme offers up-to-date training in research methods and skills. You will choose three modules, at least two of which are from within the pathway, and you will write a dissertation on a subject related to Romantic and/or Victorian studies.
An MA in Romantic and Victorian Literary Studies is often the platform for further research at PhD level, as well as providing an excellent grounding for jobs in education, the arts and the media.
If you choose to take this named pathway, you will be expected to select at least two modules from those available within the pathway and to write your dissertation in an area related to it. Your third optional module may, if you wish, be chosen from the full list of MA modules on offer in the Department. Students may, with permission, take one module from other modules on offer elsewhere in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. All students must take the core Research Methods and Resources module and the dissertation alongside their three optional modules.
Typical modules might include:
Modules are subject to staff availability and normally no more than five of the above will run in any one year.
Please use the 'additional comments' section of the application form to indicate your choice of modules as well as to provide a personal statement.
One of the distinctive features of the Durham MA in Literary Studies is that it permits both a broad-based, eclectic study of literary topics from the earliest periods of literature to the present and the possibility of specialisation through designated pathways in such areas as Medieval and Renaissance Studies or Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Studies. All students take 3 optional modules, taught in small seminar groups of up to 10, with each module generating 18 hours of contact time (9 seminars x 2 hours) over the academic year. A strong emphasis is placed on independent research, and seminars usually involve a considerable amount of preparation, including short presentations and workshop activities. Assessment for these modules is usually by coursework essay.
All students also register for the Research Methods and Resources module, which generates an additional 20 hours of contact time over the academic year. Again, a strong emphasis is given to independent research. Both pieces of assessed written work for the Research Methods and Resources module involve significant preparation for the MA dissertation (and in some cases for doctoral study later on). The MA dissertation is supported by 3.5 hours of dedicated individual supervision time. Drafts of the dissertation are read and commented upon by the supervisor.
Each MA student is assigned an Academic Advisor who can guide and support her or his progress during the programme of study.
Throughout the taught MA degree programme, all students are strongly encouraged to participate in a lively series of staff-postgraduate research seminars, usually involving invited guest speakers from the UK and beyond.
The literature of the Victorian era offers an extraordinary range of styles, themes and intellectual ideas. This diverse and dynamic literary field reflects a period which witnessed rapid change in almost every area of existence.
Writers such as Dickens, Eliot, the Brontë sisters, Stevenson, Tennyson, Browning, and Christina Rossetti used their work to explore new developments in topics that ranged from religion to sexuality, evolution to imperialism, and mass culture to aestheticism. This programme offers you the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of supervised independent research in your chosen area.
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 Victorian literature, and have particular strengths in social, historical and philosophical approaches to literature, in gender studies, and in the literary culture of the fin de siecle.
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.
The course includes a 15,000-word dissertation, completed under the supervision of one or more of the course tutors. 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 Victorian literature and culture related to their chosen fields and will write two extended essays in relation to these courses.
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.