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Course content

Critical theory has become increasingly important as a way of understanding and intervening in cultural debates. This programme will allow you to read the work of critical theorists from different fields and approaches with sensitivity and critical insight, as well as exploring the complex dynamics of literature, culture and politics.

You’ll develop your knowledge of research methods in critical and cultural studies through a core module and you’ll choose from a range of options allowing you to explore theories and thinkers that suit your own interests. You can even choose one module from elsewhere in the School of English, giving you the chance to broaden the scope of your understanding.

With the support of active researchers and access to our extensive library and research resources, you’ll be able to learn more about the evolution of critical and cultural debates, while gaining high-level skills that are valuable in a range of careers.

You’ll learn in a stimulating environment with access to excellent resources for your research. The world-class Brotherton Library has extensive holdings to support the study of literature, and our Special Collections are full of archive and manuscript material. The University Library offers full training to help you make the most of them, equipping you with valuable skills in the process.

Course content

A core module in your first semester will develop your understanding of research methods in critical and cultural theory, as well as allowing you to build and improve your research skills. You will also take three option modules, one in semester one and two in semester two. At least two of these modules should be related to critical and cultural theory. Your third option module can be taken from the full range on offer across the School of English.

Throughout the programme, you’ll use different theoretical lenses to explore the complex relationships between art, culture and politics with a specific focus on literature. You’ll also specialise in an area of critical and cultural theory of your choice when you complete a dissertation or research project, which you’ll submit by the end of the programme.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll take fewer modules in each year and study over a longer period.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Studying English: Research Methods 30 credits
  • Research Project 60 credits

Optional modules

  • Reading (with) Psychoanalysis 30 credits
  • So Where do you come from? Selves, Families, Stories 30 credits
  • Poetry of Catastrophe: Reading Paul Celan 30 credits
  • Feeling Time 30 credits
  • The Magic of Mimesis 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Critical and Cultural Theory (English Studies) MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Critical and Cultural Theory (English Studies) MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

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.

Assessment

Most of our modules are assessed by a single essay of around 4,000 words, which you submit at the end of the semester in which you studied the module. You may also be expected to submit unassessed essays to gain feedback on your work, or give presentations in your seminars. The research project/dissertation is 12,000-15,000 words in length.

Career opportunities

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.

Careers support

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.


Visit the Critical and Cultural Theory (English Studies) MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

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