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.
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.
Visit the English Literature (Victorian pathway) MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!