Newman’s MA programme in Victorian Studies fuses historical, literary and philosophical approaches to the Victorian period to provide you with a deep and holistic understanding of the Victorian era. Situated in the ‘leading Victorian city of the age’ (Asa Briggs, 1962), Newman provides the ideal setting to study the Victorians. The course will make use of the facilities of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, home of one of the finest nineteenth century art collections in the UK.
Most other masters programmes in Victorian Studies tend to take a predominantly literary approach to the period, with only one or two discrete modules addressing historical or theological approaches. By contrast, Newman’s MA offers a truly interdisciplinary perspective on this fascinating period of history.
New methods of cultural and linguistic analysis in history and theology have created an academic climate in which barriers between subjects have become more porous. This course will offer modules that genuinely cross traditional curricular boundaries to truly reflect current academic scholarship and to offer an innovative approach to the subject.
The course will be assessed through a series of coursework tasks, initially submitted online. There will be compulsory seminars at which students will be required to present their interim research, and there will be a capstone dissertation project.
The course will run one evening per week over 12 months with 4 to 5 Saturday sessions, along with additional online activities run via Newman’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). There will be a further 3 months for the completion of the dissertation. The first module will be delivered online. Evening classes will take place at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Saturday sessions will be taught at Newman.
You will be supported by a History department with an outstanding reputation for quality of teaching and student support. You will also benefit from the use of the facilities of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
The MLitt in Romantic/Victorian Studies is an intensive one-year taught programme which considers texts and topics from across the 18th and 19th centuries.
Taught modules consist of weekly seminars and group discussions with class sizes ranging from three to ten students. Modules are assessed through coursework essays. The School of English prides itself on its support of student work through detailed feedback and commentary.
During the course of the year, but particularly during the last four months, students will research and write a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choosing.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.
The pathway’s compulsory module, ‘Victorian Voices’, introduces you to a range of Victorian literary representations of identity. The module challenges the popular notion that there is a monolithic Victorian view of things by presenting a wealth of different perceptions and perspectives.
Drawing on canonical and non-canonical poetry and prose by male and female Victorian authors, the module explores ways of expressing core aspects of self while also considering the implications of audience and contexts. In addition, you choose from a range of option modules specialising in aspects of the period’s fiction, poetry, drama, and journalism.
You’ll have the opportunity to develop your own individual interests and to conduct independent research through the writing of a dissertation supervised by a specialist in the field of Victorian Studies. QMUL’s Victorian scholars are particularly strong on the historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts for 19th-century writing.
You’ll be taught in small seminar groups and be introduced to key resources for the study of Victorian literature through a module in research methods. You will further benefit from our location in London’s historic East End.
You may also opt to take a cognate elective module offered by the Schools in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and by other Colleges of the University of London.
Academics delivering the MA Victorian Pathway have diverse interests such as the sublime and the visionary, London and the coast, and print media, but we are all committed to shedding new light on the relationship between aspects of material culture and the Victorian literary imagination. We all approach cultural history from fresh angles, such as the senses, the media, or geography. We have core strengths in both poetry and fiction, and have published on many of the era’s most famous authors such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, and W. M. Thackeray, but we also advocate for less familiar voices like Edward Bulwer-Lytton, John Addington Symonds, E. W. Hornung, and Vernon Lee.
We have all recently published new books. Matthew Rubery’s The Untold Story of the Talking Book (Harvard University Press, 2016) traces the evolution of sound recordings of literary texts back to the nineteenth century, Catherine Maxwell’s Scents & Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture (OUP, 2017) addresses perfume and the olfactory imagination in Victorian literary culture, while Matthew Ingleby’s Bloomsbury: Beyond the Establishment (British Library, 2017) explores the role one metropolitan neighbourhood has historically played in the production of new ideas, values, and lifestyles. We are all actively engaged in London’s vibrant Victorian studies research culture, convening and otherwise contributing to long-standing forums at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House, such as Media History Seminar and Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar.
You choose three modules from a list of options that changes from year to year (one can be from the range of modules offered across the MA English Studies curriculum).
In 2017-2018 we hope to offer the following. If members of our specialist research staff win research funding it will mean that their module won’t run, so for that reason this list is indicative only.
You may, subject to availability and the approval of the School, take one of your option modules from across a range offered by other Schools in the Humanities and Social Science Faculty, or from other Colleges of the University of London.
Taught by experts from the Centre for Victorian Studies, this course offers you the opportunity to study nineteenth-century literature and art history in the midst of the outstanding Victorian architecture of our Egham campus. With the magnificent Victorian Founder’s Building and unique resources including the College’s own Victorian Picture Gallery and archives you couldn’t ask for a better location in which to study this fascinating period.
A central element of the course is the study of Victorian London; you will explore a variety of texts from a range of perspectives, from Dickens to the phenomenon of the department store; from the painters of fashionable life to the panic surrounding the Whitechapel murders. With London just a short train ride away from the main College campus, you will benefit from first-hand experience of the Victorian cityscape and access to archives.
You will also complete three other courses covering specialist areas of this rich period of literature and art and immerse yourself in a topic of your choice when completing the dissertation.
Join a department that's joint 2nd in the UK for outstanding and world-leading research environments (REF 2014). You'll benefit from our incredible research: over two thirds of our research was judged ‘world leading and internationally excellent’ in REF 2014. All staff in the department are highly regarded scholars, writers and critics who are engaged in research, writing ground-breaking books, talking to or writing in the national media, and providing expert advice to organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Department for Education and other national and international bodies.
Designed to be flexible, this course can be studied full-time for one year or part-time over two years.
Methods and Materials of Research
This module is designed to introduce you to a number of key topics related to the methods of postgraduate research, and to some of the resources and materials that will be useful to your studies.
Aestheticism and Decadence in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture
This module aims to provide an advanced understanding of the complex field of aestheticism in nineteenth-century literature and culture, with particular attention to concepts of ‘decadence’ and the relationship between the written word and the visual arts. Classes cover key theoretical and critical interventions into nineteenth-century aesthetic debates, from Ruskin and Pater through to Oscar Wilde and selected women writers of the 1880s and 1890s.
This module provides a point of coherence for the interdisciplinary study of Victorian Culture. You will be introduced to the theories and methods of a variety of humanities disciplines through the medium of an in-depth study of the literature, history, geography, and visual culture of nineteenth-century London. You will be asked to reflect critically on your own approach to the material studied, through engagement with both primary materials and a variety of recent secondary sources.
The Nineteenth-Century Novel - Contexts, Theories and Readers
This module aims to equip you with a systematic understanding of the scope and range of the mid nineteenth-century novel in the context of Victorian publishing, reading and critical practices. In the first half you will read three Dickens novels in depth, and while in the second half you will concentrates on theories of realism and the 19th Century novel. The module seeks to integrate reflections on recent critical approaches to the texts in order to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the critical techniques and discourses that will be applicable to your own advanced scholarship in the assessed essay and final dissertation.
The Pre-Raphaelite Revolution - Poetry and Painting
This module aims to equip you with a systematic understanding of the scope and range of the Pre-Raphaelite Movement in the context of Victorian art criticism, attitudes to gender and poetics. The first five-week block concentrates on poetry and the visual arts in the first decade of the movement; the second five-week block of the course deals with second generation of Pre-Raphaelites and their links with Aestheticism.
This will be a piece of original written work, of between 12,000 and 15,000 words. The topic of the dissertation will be agreed between you and whichever member of staff is allotted as supervisor and is normally required to be submitted by the beginning of September in the year of the completion of the programme.
The Department has an impressive record for placing graduates in academic jobs and in prominent position outside academia. In the field of Shakespeare and Renaissance studies alone, our postgraduates have recently secured positions at the Universities of Edinburgh, Sussex and Leeds, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National University of Ireland. Recent postgraduates in America literature, modern and contemporary literature and theory have secured prestigious appointments in London.
The English Department also prepares postgraduates for successful careers in a variety of the other areas, such as:
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.