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Course content

English Literature at Cardiff is taught by staff with an international reputation for innovative and influential research. Our passion for the subject and the strength and range of our scholarship enable us to offer a degree which is:

• Inclusive. We teach across the whole chronological span of English Literature, from Middle English to literature of the twenty-first century. We offer modules in a range of critical approaches, from bibliography and textual studies to contemporary women’s writing, and from Barthesian semiotics and postcolonial ways of reading, to theories of gender and queer studies. We are intrigued by the connections between literature and popular culture and literature and theory, and our teaching reflects these interests.

• Challenging. Staff offer modules on their research areas of expertise. This means that students engage with new, up-to-date ideas that are helping to shape and define the future of the discipline.

• Diverse. There are no compulsory modules. You have the freedom to use any critical, theoretical perspective to analyse any type of (aesthetic, cultural, historical) material.

• Engaged. The MA in English Literature is a successful programme of study that has a strong reputation for offering a comprehensive range of modules from all periods and genres that bring the latest developments in literary and critical theory to bear upon the reading of literary and cultural texts.

Distinctive features

• A wide-ranging programme of research-led modules taught by specialists in the field
• A series of dedicated research pathways, including Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Romantic and Victorian Studies; Modern and Contemporary Literature; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Cultural and Critical Theory
• Access to skills training and various research activities
• The freedom to assemble a programme of study tailored to personal and professional interests
• High-level training in the latest research methods, critical theory and scholarly writing and presentation skills in a non-assessed core module
• Popular two-day residential conference and workshop at Gregynog Hall, where you will present short 15-minute papers in a supportive and lively atmosphere
• One-day symposium dedicated to increasing your employability skills
• Opportunities to take part in a series of dynamic research seminar series
• Access to specialist library collections

Structure

Our flexible structure allows you to assemble programmes of study tailored to your personal and professional interests. You can opt for the open pathway, or choose one of our specialist pathways: Medieval and Renaissance; Romantic and Victorian Studies; Modern and Contemporary Literature; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Cultural and Critical Theory, which groups together groups of taught modules with related research activities and skills training available in the School.

The degree is structured in two parts.

• Part one

You choose four modules from a range of specialist options. You take two modules per semester (one module per semester for part-time study)

All teaching is by seminars and workshops structured around student participation, featuring opportunities to present your work. Each module consists of a two-hour seminar per week and is assessed by a 4,000-word essay (or equivalent).

In addition to the taught modules, you attend weekly workshops on research methods and scholarly presentation.

• Part Two

You undertake a dissertation of 16,000-20,000 words on a subject of your choice, developed in consultation with a supervisor in the field. You begin to plan and research your dissertation in the second semester for submission in September.

Core module:

English Literature Ma Dissertation

Optional modules:

The Myth of King Arthur in The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Violent Death in Renaissance Drama
Reading/Theory
Constructing Shakespeare
Neo-Victorian Metatextualities
Writing and Experimentation
Heroes and Villains from Chaucer to Shakespeare
Spectral Femininities
Writing Victorian Science
Children's Fantasy Fiction Since 1900
Before Homosexuality? Representing Same Sex Desire from Smollett to Sexology
Romantic Poetry and Place
Project Management and Advanced Research Skills
Narrative and Nation: Romantic Prose 1980-1830
White
Virginia Woolf's Modernism
Ecotheories
Digital Theory

Teaching

Teaching is delivered in seminar groups for all modules. The teaching for each module is text-based and revolves around the exploration of concepts and ideas from a range of literary, historical, and theoretical perspectives within the broad field of English Literature.

The learning activities vary from module to module as appropriate, but will include such as activities as interactive discussions of prepared texts/topics and, in some cases, student-led presentations.

Encouraged to explore our excellent library resources, you are expected to undertake preparation including wide-ranging reading to enable full participation.

Assessment

Each module on Part One is assessed by a 4,000-word essay or equivalent (which can include up to 10% of the module being assessed by oral presentation).

Part Two is examined by a 16,000-20,000-word dissertation.

Career prospects

Postgraduate study is a gateway to many careers within and beyond academia.

Many of our alumni enter (or return to) various professions including academia, primary and secondary education, journalism, publishing, archival and library work, the Civil Service, arts administration and the creative industries.

In addition to taught modules and academic workshops, we also offer dedicated sessions to increase your transferable skills and employability prospects. We also encourage all students on the programme to work closely with the University’s Careers and Employability office.

Visit the English Literature MA page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

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