Drawing on Birkbeck's position as a world-leading centre in the field of nineteenth-century studies, this MA offers you the chance to take a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to studying the literature, culture and history of Victorian Britain. You will encounter a compelling range of Victorian texts, contexts, themes and ideas on a degree course that does justice to the energy and variety of the Victorian period.
Two core modules, Progress and Anxiety, 1789-1859 and Modernising Victorians, introduce some of the most significant debates, ideas and events of the long nineteenth century, and offer you the chance to develop new critical approaches to Victorian studies. Weekly seminars take you from the French Revolution to the Boer War and investigate topics such as the discovery of geological time, movements for social and political reform, the aims and limits of realist fiction, the Great Exhibition, Darwinism, aestheticism, the religious imagination and the Gothic revival.
These compulsory courses are supplemented by a wide range of option modules, which allow you to pursue your own interests in the field of Victorian Studies and beyond. Recently offered option modules are listed below.
Students in their final year of study have the chance to take an internship module. Successful interns spend a term working with one of London's Victorian cultural institutions, gaining first-hand experience of working in the cultural sector and using their host institution's archives to develop a unique research project. Previous interns have worked with the Dickens House Museum, the Salvation Army Heritage Centre and Archive, and the Guildhall Art Gallery, and have developed their projects into funded doctoral research topics.
A schedule of visiting speakers and other events, organised by Birkbeck's Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, ensures that you have the opportunity to engage with leading Victorian studies specialists from around the world, and are welcomed into one of the country's liveliest research communities.
Staff teaching on this MA include:
Professor Hilary Fraser
Professor Laurel Brake
Professor David Feldman
Dr Nicola Bown
Dr Carolyn Burdett (Course Director)
Dr Luisa Calè
Dr Julia Laite
Dr David McAllister
Dr Emily Senior
Dr Heather Tilley
Dr Ana Parejo Vadillo.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
Explore this fascinating period through a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together literature, visual art, history and cultural studies.
Our graduates have an impressive record in competing for Arts and Humanities Research Council awards for research degrees.
Our lively Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies organises a dynamic range of year-round events that showcase the research of Birkbeck's academics, researchers and students, including our annual Dickens Day and our Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies. The Centre also established, and for many years hosted, the London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar.
Read 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, our free, open-access online journal that celebrated its tenth anniversary in November 2015 with a special issue on 'The Nineteenth-Century Digital Archive'.
Read more about our Dickens's Our Mutual Friend project, which culminated in November 2015 as part of the tenth-anniversary celebrations of 19.
Birkbeck is at the geographical centre of London's research library complex, a short distance from the British Library, the University of London Library, the Warburg Institute and the Institute of Historical Research.
The University of London Library has an outstanding collection of literary periodicals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.