The Master of Western Literature is a unique initial master's programme aimed at an in-depth, intercultural and comparative study of literature in different Western traditions and epochs. As one of the world's oldest universities, located in a multi-lingual society and at the heart of Europe, KU Leuven is a unique location for a programme that focuses on the dynamic interactions between various literatures, languages, and cultures, as well as on intercultural and international aspects of literature.
This master's programme stands out both nationally and internationally for its advanced degree of specialisation in literary studies and its unique intercultural and multilingual perspective.
Specialists in various national literatures and in literary theory collaborate to ensure the high level and quality of the courses. The programme's broad spectrum of national literatures allows you to combine these according to your own interests and thus to deepen your knowledge, à la carte. At the same time, this advanced level of specialisation is combined with a critical, theoretical and broadly comparative perspective. Finally, the concept of 'Western' literatures is thoroughly examined and questioned against the background of more general social, political, and cultural perspectives, both from historical and contemporary points of view.
This is an initial master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
The programme does not take for granted the key terms in its title: 'Western' and 'literature.' Rather, it aims to investigate the development of literature, literary systems, and traditions in the West and to address the challenges that these phenomena meet with in our contemporary globalised society.
Notions like the canon, tradition, literary genre, and poetics are critically examined and placed within relevant historical contexts. They are studied in relation to the general concepts that determine them, such as civilization, culture, identity, and alterity. The idea of 'Western' literature is also scrutinized from an ideological perspective: what is the relation between literature, nation, language and territory and how has this relation changed in a context of decolonization, globalization, and changing relations between East and West? Within this general theoretical and comparative perspective, the 'building blocks' of Western literature - the different linguistic or national literary traditions - are not neglected and a wide range of elective courses offer ample opportunities for studying these literatures in more detail.
As a graduate of the Master of Western Literature programme, you will have acquired a wide range of skills that you will be able to use in a large number of professional contexts. Your strengths will mainly be your ability to reflect on complex cultural phenomena, your insight into and facility with plurilingualism and interculturality, and your ability to bring those insights across in the media and/or in educational contexts.
Through your advanced insight in intercultural relations, you will be exceptionally well placed to work in an international context (e.g., embassies, European institutions, translating services, and international companies). In addition, you will have acquired an extensive knowledge of literature and the skills for reporting on it. The publishing world, the media, and journalism will therefore offer more possibilities.
After taking a teacher training programme, you will also be able to start teaching.
The master's programme in Literary Studies at Leiden University offers you a specialised qualification in one of four languages and cultures or a comparative perspective on literature and culture, with each programme offering considerable scope for individual customisation.
We believe that freedom plays an important role in unlocking potential. The master’s programme in Literary Studies has a high degree of flexibility to enable you to tailor the programme to your particular interests. Your curriculum could include a single or combined major and electives from other specialisations – even other master’s programmes. You are also free to go abroad for a specific university course or an internship in order to deepen or widen your focus.
Academics from the renowned Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) teach the master’s programme in Literary Studies. This means that every class you attend is taught by scholars of international standing who are true experts in their fields. Small, interactive classes or one-on-one mentoring ensure you get the most from their expert guidance and advice. An important objective is to teach you the value of questioning: you will acquire a broad, investigative and critical approach to problem solving that can be applied to any challenge in any role.
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Modern Languages at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
Modern Languages at Swansea encompasses Arabic, French, German and Hispanic Studies with research strengths in written culture from the medieval period to the present day, including contemporary European cinema. We also have language expertise in Italian and Mandarin Chinese, but, depending on your choice of topic, advanced knowledge of a language is not an entry requirement. Some comparative projects in both literature and film can be researched in English translation.
The MA by Research in Modern Languages is ideal for those who want:
an MA qualification in niche areas where taught programmes are not offered;
the experience of a research degree without committing to a PhD at the outset.
Research proposals are invited on any topic in Modern Languages for which staff can provide supervision. It is advisable to email a member of academic staff in the appropriate area before applying (see staff web pages).
An MA by Research in Modern Languages gives you the chance to pursue a project based around your own passions and interests, leading to a qualification which can open the door to an academic career or boost employment prospects outside academia (typically in the private sector, the Civil Service, or education).
It will give you the freedom to explore a topic of your choosing in Modern Languages and develop a methodology under the close supervision of two experienced academics but without attending regular classes as required in taught programmes.
You will be supervised closely by two experienced academics in your field. Typically, you will meet them fortnightly in the first term and at regular intervals thereafter. Meetings are logged and goals agreed each time.
All research students in Modern Languages are required to attend skills and training courses at College and Institutional level. They give presentations to other research students and staff at departmental seminars and the annual departmental postgraduate symposium in June and the College of Arts and Humanities conference in October. Advanced research students may have opportunities to teach undergraduate tutorials and seminars. You have a budget (currently £200 per year) to attend conferences outside Swansea.
MA by Research degrees typically last from one year (full-time study) to two years (part-time study). Some students choose to ‘upgrade’ at the end of their first academic year to an MPhil or PhD. This can be permitted on the recommendation of the two supervisors. If they do upgrade their year on the MA counts towards the MPhil or PhD.
Our expertise in Modern Languages ranges from the French medieval lyric and Enlightenment drama, women's writing and feminism; travel; the conflicted memories of World War Two; film and literature about the Baader-Meinhof Group; and the works of the Nobel Laureates, Elias Canetti, Jean Cocteau, Günter Grass, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Herta Müller. Our dynamic research environment which has won attention and funding from outside bodies such as the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Modern Humanities Research Association, the Wellcome Trust and the EU.
We support the following research centres all of which also house postgraduate research students:
Contemporary German Culture (http://www.swansea.ac.uk/riah/researchgroups/ccgc);
Gender in Culture and Society (GENCAS, http://www.swansea.ac.uk/gencas);
The Comparative Study of the Americas (CECSAM, http://www.swansea.ac.uk/riah/researchgroups/cecsam);
Medieval and Early Modern Research (MEMO, http://www.swansea.ac.uk/riah/researchgroups/memo).
For further information on research specialisms and supervisory interests of our staff visit: http://www/swansea.ac.uk/artsandhumanities/about-us/.