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Languages, Literature & Cu…×

Birkbeck, University of London, Full Time MA Degrees in Languages, Literature & Culture

We have 9 Birkbeck, University of London, Full Time MA Degrees in Languages, Literature & Culture

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This Master's degree offers you an opportunity to engage critically with the study of comparative literature. Read more
This Master's degree offers you an opportunity to engage critically with the study of comparative literature. The primary focus is on English-, French-, German-, Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking cultures, and while we welcome students able to work in these and other languages, you may work exclusively through the medium of English.

Students with a particular interest in French or German culture and/or with high-level French or German language skills are encouraged to apply, as it is possible to take a French or German pathway through the programme.

You will have the opportunity to develop your understanding of key critical concepts associated with the comparative study of literature and cultures, such as literary history and the canon, genre, theme, influence, intertextuality and translation across genres and media. You will gain practical experience of working with these concepts in your reading of texts. You will also be given a grounding in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary theory, exploring its development in a cross-cultural context and investigating how it can change the way we read texts and the cultures that produced them.

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 literature from a comparative perspective and in the context of other cultural forms.
Examine the ways in which literary and cultural theories can change how we read cultures and the texts they produce.
Follow a pathway in French and/or German culture and language, if this is your specialist interest.
Courses taught in English by subject specialists from a variety of language areas.
Ideal if you wish to embark on doctoral research, further your career prospects (particularly in arts-related fields), or build on a personal interest.
You will have access to outstanding specialist libraries, including the collection of the Institute of Modern Languages Research at Senate House.
The departments involved in teaching this programme run a series of research events for both their taught and research postgraduates.

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MA Renaissance Studies explores the question of what the Renaissance was and what approaches are best suited to understanding it. Read more
MA Renaissance Studies explores the question of what the Renaissance was and what approaches are best suited to understanding it. The programme considers different aspects of Renaissance culture, particularly the social and intellectual histories of England, France, Italy and Spain. You will study with Birkbeck's internationally recognised experts in Renaissance English literature and culture, history of art, French, history and Spanish, tailoring your module choices towards chosen specialisms. By the end of the course you will be able to demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the questions associated with the study of the Renaissance and will have had the opportunity to either specialise or work in an interdisciplinary way. From the start, you will undertake training in postgraduate research skills.

You begin with a core course which examines the way the Renaissance has been understood and then you go on to take 3 options in areas of specialist interest. You can see detailed descriptions of our core course and all the option modules below. Finally, you will be individually counselled in your choice of dissertation topic.

We are based in Bloomsbury in central London and the unrivalled resources both within and near to Birkbeck will enable you to develop advanced research skills, which will support your dissertation writing and provide a thorough preparation for PhD study. Many of our students progress to MPhil/PhD level at Birkbeck and other institutions, including other colleges of the University of London and the University of Oxford.

In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many Birkbeck Renaissance events. This includes the London Renaissance Seminar, which brings many internationally renowned academics to Birkbeck, and events specific to the Birkbeck Renaissance group, including our day on 'Researching the Text'.

To find out more, read our programme handbook.

What is special about this MA?

You decide how to use the MA. You can choose to work within a discipline (e.g. English literature) or explore the full interdisciplinary possibilities of Renaissance Studies.
We offer research internship placements at the Globe Theatre.
Students specialising - in Spain, Shakespeare, Rome or London, for example - benefit immensely from putting that specialism into a wider context by learning about a range of approaches to the Renaissance in the core module.
We are committed to personal tuition. Each student has many opportunities to discuss their work and plan one-to-one meetings with specialist tutors who are working at the cutting-edge of Renaissance studies.
You can decide as you study if you want to progress beyond your MA and undertake further, independent research.
Birkbeck's prestige in this area means it has an unrivalled range of Renaissance activities: join the early modern society, bring your friends to Renaissance events in Arts Week and take part in our 'Researching the Text' day, as well as attending the London Renaissance Seminar.

What our students say

'Deciding to undertake an MA in Renaissance Studies was one of the wisest things I have ever done. It gave me huge intellectual satisfaction and insight into curatorial and research skills that are essential to my role in running a national museum.' (Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group)

'I thoroughly enjoyed my course in MA Renaissance Studies, especially researching on the theme of women and Islam during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I am very appreciative of all the help I was provided with during the MA and couldn't have developed my career without doing this course. When applying for jobs as an English teacher, my MA helped immensely during the application process, as well as continuing my professional development in this field.' (Maarya Desai, English teacher)

'Deciding to do the MA Renaissance Studies course at Birkbeck was one of the best decisions I could have made, especially as a student coming from the USA. The evening modules allowed me to explore London to its fullest during the day and to use the British Library for my research.' (Christeen Abee)

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This degree offers the possibility of following advanced study in the histories of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American cultures in the light of contemporary theoretical developments in the fields of literature, cultural studies, cultural geography, film and the history of art and media. Read more
This degree offers the possibility of following advanced study in the histories of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American cultures in the light of contemporary theoretical developments in the fields of literature, cultural studies, cultural geography, film and the history of art and media. You may specialise in either Spain and Portugal or Latin America, as well as in different historical periods and media, or combine interests.

Birkbeck is a world-renowned centre of Iberian and Latin American Studies. Our work is distinguished by its innovative character, its engagement with other disciplines and its challenge to received ideas. We are committed to a continual rethinking of the fields we research and the subjects we teach, creatively and critically.

We are also known for our unique student population, including a high number of Spanish and Latin American undergraduates and postgraduates. This brings a particular richness and variety of experience and knowledge to our courses and seminars.

Our international staff specialise in diverse aspects of cultural history and critique, with a strong emphasis not only on the literary and linguistic but also the audiovisual expression of Latin America and the Iberian peninsula past and present.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Can be taken as a first step to doctoral research, to enhance your career prospects or simply for interest.
Our School of Arts is one of the best centres of Iberian and Latin American studies in the country.
Our work is distinguished by its innovative character, its engagement with other disciplines and its challenge to received ideas.
The department hosts the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS), offering a unique environment in which to undertake collaborative, cross-disciplinary and comparative research on visual subjects in the Hispanic and Lusophone world, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The School has achieved notable success in obtaining external funding for research. In addition we have an excellent team of research students (just over 20 at present), several of whom attend MA modules out of interest, ensuring a high level of intellectual discussion and allowing you to benefit from being part of a lively postgraduate community. You are in turn welcome to attend Research Seminars and the Postgraduate Conference, as well as all talks and conferences organised by the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS). As about a third of our students come from Spain, Portugal or Latin America, you also have easy access to native speakers of Spanish and Portuguese, socially as well as academically.
Postgraduate research seminars are held throughout the year, offering a stimulating forum for discussion among our research students, MA/MRes students, staff and invited speakers.
We offer a lively student experience, as well as student support and facilities.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Modern Languages and Linguistics achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 73% of our research was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.

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Birkbeck’s MA Contemporary Literature and Culture offers you the opportunity to specialise in twenty-first-century literature and culture, as well as exposing you to the most important literary and theoretical developments of the last few decades. Read more
Birkbeck’s MA Contemporary Literature and Culture offers you the opportunity to specialise in twenty-first-century literature and culture, as well as exposing you to the most important literary and theoretical developments of the last few decades. This MA considers the legacy of postmodernism, the effects of new technologies on narrative form, and the aesthetic, spatial and political coordinates of writing produced in an increasingly networked and globalised world.

Through a range of literary and interdisciplinary options, you have the opportunity to pursue your own interests, whether they lie in contemporary poetics; in fiction from Britain, the US, Europe or postcolonial nations; in the changing forms of the book in a digital age; or in historical approaches to issues like nation, race, gender and sexuality. The MA's programme of study opens up the aesthetic, historical and political dimensions of contemporary literature and culture.

Key staff teaching on this programme

Grace Halden (Programme Director 2016-2017)
Caroline Edwards
Anna Hartnell
Joe Brooker
Roger Luckhurst
Carol Watts
Esther Leslie
Joanne Winning
Mpalive Msiska
Stephen Clucas
Peter Fifield.

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.
Introduces you to the cutting-edge of contemporary literature and culture, offering the unique opportunity to specialise in the post-2000 period.
Provides grounding in some of the key concepts that shape understandings of the contemporary world, including consideration of terms like hybridity, performance, trauma, memory and the uncanny, as well as wider cultural conceptualisations like globalisation and postcoloniality.
Exposes you to a wider community of scholars and thinkers via a uniquely rich and diverse research culture, involving graduate seminars, reading groups, guest lectures - including those by practising writers - and the wider arts network accessible in Central London.
In particular, this environment is fostered by close links between the MA and the Centre for Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, which runs a wide variety of talks and conferences in this field.
You will also have access to a host of other relevant research centres in the School of Arts, including the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, the Centre for Contemporary Theatre and the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre.
The School is also actively involved in a number of College-wide institutes specifically designed to foster work across disciplines at Birkbeck and beyond: Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, Birkbeck Institute for Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism. These institutes are driven by the work of world-class scholars including Laura Mulvey, Slavoj Žižek, Lynne Segal and David Feldman.
Birkbeck is at the geographical centre of London’s research library complex, a short distance from the British Library, the University of London Library and the Institute of Historical Research.

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The MA Museum Cultures offers you the opportunity to study this expanding and dynamic field at close proximity to the most world-distinguished museums and galleries. Read more
The MA Museum Cultures offers you the opportunity to study this expanding and dynamic field at close proximity to the most world-distinguished museums and galleries. If you are contemplating a career in the museum and gallery sector and if you are interested in developing an in-depth understanding of contemporary debates about museums and their cultural significance, then this is the course for you. Our MA gives you the chance to develop a range of key skills, from critical thinking and writing to practical experience through a work placement in a museum, gallery or archive. Museums have been of enormous importance in shaping empires, nations and cities, and their collections are connected to wider histories of conflict and social change. To study museums is to study the development and fierce contestation of our collective cultural imagination and memory.

You begin with a core course that introduces interdisciplinary perspectives on the study of museums and a research skills module where you work collaboratively with your classmates. You then take 2 options in areas of specialist interest and either an independent research project or a work placement in a museum, gallery or archive. Finally, you will be individually counselled in your choice of dissertation topic.

The Department of History of Art at Birkbeck has an international reputation for its innovative approaches to the history of art, visual culture and museum studies. Our expertise extends into areas such as postcolonial museums, museums in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, the senses and museums, architecture and museums, museums and art, museums and memory, museums and conflict, museums and gender, small museums, and museums, politics and heritage. As well as regular gallery and museum visits, we offer an exciting study trip abroad every spring. Students are encouraged to become involved in the lively research culture of the department through the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, the Architecture, Space and Society Centre and the Vasari Research Centre, which has pioneered the field of digital art history. In addition to the core teaching and individual research support, students benefit from many events in the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, including: the department’s postgraduate events; the annual Murray lecture where speakers have included Penelope Curtis, director of Tate Britain and Neil McGregor, director of the British Museum; and the programme of exhibitions and displays at the Peltz Gallery, the School of Arts' purpose-built exhibition space. Students are also welcome to attend other seminars and events across the School of Arts and at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

Our flexible approach to full-time and part-time evening study is ideal if you are thinking about undertaking paid or voluntary work experience in London’s museums and galleries during the daytime, while studying for a postgraduate degree that can give you a head start in a competitive jobs market.

We offer taster events and information evenings for prospective students interested in our MA Museum Cultures programme throughout the year.

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.
Taught by scholars across Birkbeck, including our Department of History of Art, Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies and Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. This programme offers an interdisciplinary perspective on contemporary debates within museum studies and encompasses museums in Africa, Asia and the Americas as well as in Europe.
We provide students with supervised work placements in museums, galleries and archives including Tate, the British Museum, the Whitechapel Gallery and the Horniman Museum. Past students have helped design and run schools programmes, documented collections that were previously uncatalogued, conducted visitor research and assisted curators in producing exhibitions.
This course of study offers you access to cutting-edge research by some of Britain’s foremost scholars and all the flexibility of evening study at Birkbeck. Whether you have a busy job, have other commitments or want to maximise library time during the day, evening study makes MA study work better.
You can choose option modules from postgraduate courses including History of Art and Arts Policy and Management.
Students studying Museum Cultures are invited to attend postgraduate events in the Department of History of Art and across the School of Arts. Guest speakers include international curators, museum directors, art historians and artists.
The department attracts a rich programme of visiting scholars and practitioners. Our History and Theory of Photography Research Centre and the newly established Architecture, Space and Society Centre offer students the opportunity to develop their knowledge of those areas, as does the Centre for Film and Visual Media which is based in the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies.
The Department of History of Art has an outstanding reputation for offering critical and creative programmes designed and taught by leading academics and practitioners in the field, within a learning environment that is supportive of the needs of students from a wide range of educational backgrounds.
With our location in Bloomsbury in central London, you can explore some of the world's best architecture, galleries and museums, collections and arts spaces - many of which are on our doorstep or a short distance away. The British Library is within close proximity as is the British Museum, Sir John Soane's Museum, Foundling Museum, Wellcome Gallery, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and V&A.
We have a state-of-the art cinema and exhibition spaces, all housed in a historic building that was a former home to key members of the Bloomsbury Group, including the author Virginia Woolf and the artist Vanessa Bell.
Birkbeck Library has an extensive collection of books and journals in art history and museum studies. You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, the British Library and the National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

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This degree offers the possibility of following advanced study in the histories of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American cultures in the light of contemporary theoretical developments in the fields of literature, cultural studies, cultural geography, film and the history of art and media. Read more
This degree offers the possibility of following advanced study in the histories of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American cultures in the light of contemporary theoretical developments in the fields of literature, cultural studies, cultural geography, film and the history of art and media. You may specialise in either Spain and Portugal or Latin America, as well as in different historical periods and media, or combine interests.

Birkbeck is a world-renowned centre of Iberian and Latin American Studies. Our work is distinguished by its innovative character, its engagement with other disciplines and its challenge to received ideas. We are committed to a continual rethinking of the fields we research and the subjects we teach, creatively and critically.

We are also known for our unique student population, including a high number of Spanish and Latin American undergraduates and postgraduates. This brings a particular richness and variety of experience and knowledge to our courses and seminars.

Our international staff specialise in diverse aspects of cultural history and critique, with a strong emphasis not only on the literary and linguistic but also the audiovisual expression of Latin America and the Iberian peninsula past and present.

Read less
This interdisciplinary Master's degree explores critical and cultural debates across disciplines in the arts and humanities, offering you the chance to examine work in a diversity of media, including print culture, painting, film, new media and popular culture. Read more
This interdisciplinary Master's degree explores critical and cultural debates across disciplines in the arts and humanities, offering you the chance to examine work in a diversity of media, including print culture, painting, film, new media and popular culture. It combines a thorough exposure to contemporary critical methods and debates with a diverse range of advanced study options.

In consultation with tutors, you will be able to build a dynamic programme of study that allows you to follow themes and issues across different disciplines, and develop your interests accordingly.

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.
Flexible interdisciplinary programme, which allows you to assemble a course of study suited to your individual needs.
Gives you the chance to cross disciplines and explore topics in literature, film, other media, history, and cultural and critical theory.
Aimed at people with wide-ranging, interdisciplinary interests in the humanities and those interested in contemporary theoretical debates.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 91% of eligible staff submitted research, of which 75% was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.

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This Master's degree in modern and contemporary literature begins with an investigation of literary and theoretical conceptions of modernity in early twentieth-century literature, focusing on topics such as urbanisation, technology, mass culture, individualism and subjectivity. Read more
This Master's degree in modern and contemporary literature begins with an investigation of literary and theoretical conceptions of modernity in early twentieth-century literature, focusing on topics such as urbanisation, technology, mass culture, individualism and subjectivity.

You will also have the chance to analyse the historical transformations of literature and cultural thought from 1945, using the contexts of post-war reconstruction, decolonisation, the fate of avant-garde art, and theories of postmodernity and globalisation. The emergence of international literary paradigms during the twentieth century is reflected in the choice of texts from British, American and post-colonial contexts.

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.
Enables you to gain a thorough grounding in the key concepts of modernism, modernity and the contemporary.
You will be introduced to key texts and paradigms that shape our conception of literature from the early twentieth century to the present.
Opportunities to join a number of graduate seminars and reading groups, and occasional discussions with practising novelists and poets.
Birkbeck is at the geographical centre of London’s research library complex, a short distance from the British Library, Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research.
Senate House Library has an outstanding collection of literary periodicals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, while the nearby University College London Library also has an important James Joyce archive. The Poetry Library at London’s South Bank Centre is rich in twentieth-century poetry.
Birkbeck's School of Arts hosts the internationally acclaimed Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, which regularly features visiting poetic practitioners.

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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. Read more
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.

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