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Course content

This programme allows you to engage with texts and writers from across the 20th and 21st century as well as the cultural, critical, conceptual and political contexts that have shaped them.

You’ll have the chance to study major canonical and lesser-known authors as well as popular literature and film adaptation, engaging with some of the defining and urgent cultural issues and legacies of this period. This may include psychoanalysis, post-war writing, postcolonial literatures, mass and popular culture and eco-criticism and the environment. You could even select modules from other periods to broaden your knowledge.

At the same time, you’ll develop your understanding of research methods in literary studies, preparing for further study or a career in a range of different sectors. Taught by leading researchers and using our impressive library resources and Special Collections, you’ll explore how writers have responded to the complexities of the modern world.

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 highest levels of academic study of theliteratures of these periods, and our Special Collections are full of archive and manuscript material as well as correspondence, notes, lectures and other papers from writers and poets from Simon Armitage to Tony Harrison, Geoffrey Hill to Stan Barstow, Sophie Hannah to Arthur Ransome and the critic George Wilson-Knight. The University Library offers full training to help you make the most of them, equipping you with valuable skills in the process.

Course content

You’ll begin the programme with a core module that develops your knowledge of research methods and approaches in literary studies, helping you prepare for the rest of your studies.

At the same time you’ll take the first of your three optional modules, allowing you to pursue topics that interest you in particular. You may focus entirely on modern and contemporary literature, or you can choose to take up to two from the full range of options across the School of English. You’ll take two optional modules in Semester Two.

Throughout the year, you’ll develop your high-level skills in research and analysis while developing specialist knowledge of your chosen topics. You’ll expand on this in your dissertation or research project, where you’ll research a topic of your choice in British or Irish modern and contemporary literature and submit your work by the end of the programme in September.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll take fewer modules in each year and study over a 24 month period.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

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

Optional modules

  • Caribbean and Black British Writing 30 credits
  • Reading (with) Psychoanalysis 30 credits
  • The Enigmatic Body of Modernism 30 credits
  • Global Indigeneity 30 credits
  • Culture and Anarchy: 1945-1965 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read English Literature (Modern and Contemporary pathway) MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read English Literature (Modern and Contemporary pathway) MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Most of our MA modules are taught in two-hour weekly seminars, where you’ll discuss issues arising from your reading with a small group of students and your tutor. You’ll also have the chance to expand your learning by making the most of the range of visiting speakers and research seminars that we run throughout the year. You’ll also benefit from supervisions throughout semester 2 with your dissertation supervisor.

However, independent study is still crucial to this degree, allowing you to pursue your interests and build your skills.

Assessment

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.

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 English Literature (Modern and Contemporary pathway) MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

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