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MA Jane Austen's England

Course Description

The author Jane Austen's lifetime (1775-1817) spans a fascinating period of British history and both she and her writings need to be understood in the context of her time.

This MA concentrates on the world in which Austen lived and it explores the wider social, political and cultural history of a vital period between the American Revolution and the end of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, events that bookend Austen’s life.


The course takes students from the last years of George III's active monarchy through to the Regency, and it also encourages students to engage with a complex society that was undergoing rapid growth, commercial/industrial development and growing demands for reform at home, while simultaneously restoring its imperial credentials and expanding to become Europe's leading international power. Additionally it examines the nature of contemporary debates and discussions about gender through Austen's life, work and the characters that she created reflecting the gendered expectations and tensions that operated in both women's and men's lives at the time.

Those studying this course will also benefit from its location in Bath and from the well-established association of Bath Spa University with the heritage sector, specifically through our close connections with the Jane Austen Centre, Jane Austen’s House Museum, Chawton House Library, and the Holburne and other Bath Museums. This will enable students to learn how Jane Austen’s England is used to generate both income and provide jobs in the contemporary local and international worlds, and encourage them to use their own knowledge and imagination to contribute to this. It also allows opportunities to use academic expertise across Bath Spa University and in the multi-disciplinary Centre for History and Culture.


The MA is awarded by successfully completing 180 credits as follows:

- two 30-credit compulsory modules;
- a combination of optional modules totalling 30/60 credits depending on Dissertation;
- a 60/90-credit Dissertation.


Compulsory Modules (30 credits):
- Austen’s England, c.1775–1820 – a two-week summer school in August
- Research Skills and Method

Optional Modules (30 credits) - these would include but are not restricted to:
- Austen’s England, the Historical Context
- Gender and Society in Austen’s England, c.1775–1820
- Navy and Nation in Austen’s England
- A module from ‘The Country and the City’ strand of the MA: Landscape, Literature and Environment

Students will also be able to take an optional 30-credit module from within the BSU taught postgraduate framework.

Dissertation (60/90-credit):
Students will be assigned an individual dissertation supervisor, who will work with them on a one-to-one basis to develop an original piece of historical research of 15,000/20,000 words. The 60-credit dissertation represents a detailed piece of research carried out by the student who, although supervised by a member of the academic staff, will be expected to work independently, to demonstrate sufficient mastery of the chosen topic and an appropriate ability in the organisation and presentation of the material. The 90-credit dissertation is offered to students who demonstrate a clear grasp of their subject matter, and who therefore would benefit from devoting themselves more fully to the dissertation topic, rather than taking another taught module

Visit the MA Jane Austen's England page on the Bath Spa University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants will normally have a good first degree (2.1 or above). Applicants without a first degree may be considered if they can demonstrate considerable relevant experience; they may be asked to attend an interview.

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