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MA Dickens and Victorian Culture

Course Description

As the only named Master’s programme within the UK devoted to Charles Dickens, this programme studies the author in a place that perhaps offers more Dickensian associations than anywhere else in the world.

It combines a focus on both the local and the global author through compulsory modules contextualising the variety of ways in which Dickens engaged with the social, cultural and political issues of his age. Interdisciplinary approaches are employed, using Dickens as a focus, to consider the relationships between19th-century fiction and journalism, the Victorians’ engagement with material culture, and their fascination with the body and its metaphors.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/219/dickens-victorian-culture

About the School of English

The School of English has a strong international reputation and global perspective, apparent both in the background of its staff and in the diversity of our teaching and research interests.

Our expertise ranges from the medieval to the postmodern, including British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history. The international standing of the School ensures that we have a lively, confident research culture, sustained by a vibrant, ambitious intellectual community. We also count a number of distinguished creative writers among our staff, and we actively explore crossovers between critical and creative writing in all our areas of teaching and research.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has produced very strong results for the School of English at Kent. With 74% of our work graded as world-leading or internationally excellent, the School is ranked 10th out of 89 English departments in terms of Research Intensity (Times Higher Education). The School also received an outstanding assessment of the quality of its research environment and public impact work.

Course structure

You take two modules in the autumn term and two in the spring term; two core modules and two optional modules. You are also expected to attend the Faculty and School Research Methods Programmes.

You then write a dissertation on a subject related to Dickens and/or Victorian culture between the start of the Summer Term and the end of August.


In 2015 the following three specialist modules were available: EN836 Dickens and the Material Culture of the Victorian Novel, EN876 Dickens and the Condition of England, EN835 Dickens, the Victorians and the Body. Students would be required to take at least two. These should be considered indicative of the types of modules available, which may vary from year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

EN835 - Dickens, The Victorians and the Body (30 credits)
EN836 - Dickens and the Material Culture of the Victorian Novel (30 credits)
EN876 - Dickens and the Condition of England (30 credits)
MT864 - Reading the Medieval Town: Canterbury, an International City (30 credits)
MT865 - Encountering the Holy: Devotion and the Medieval Church (30 credits)
EN842 - Reading the Contemporary (30 credits)
EN850 - Centres and Edges: Modernist and PostcolonialQuest Literature (30 credits)
EN852 - Colonial and Postcolonial Discourses (30 credits)
EN857 - Body and Place in the Postcolonial Text (30 credits)
EN862 - Contemporary Arab Novel (30 credits)
EN865 - Post-45: American Literature and Culture in the Cold War Era (30 credits)
EN866 - The Awkward Age: Transatlantic Culture and Literature in Transition, 18 (30 credits)
EN872 - Provocations and Invitations (30 credits)
EN888 - Extremes of Feeling: Literature and Empire in the Eighteenth Century (30 credits)
EN889 - Literary Theory (30 credits)
EN897 - Advanced Critical Reading (30 credits)
EN818 - American Modernism 1900-1930 (Teaching Period I) (30 credits)
EN832 - Hacks, Dunces and Scribblers: Authorship and the Marketplace in the Eig (30 credits)
EN834 - Imagining India (30 credits)


Assessment is by a 5-6,000-word essay for each module and a 12,000 word dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide excellent postgraduate-level study that deepens and extends your understanding of work in the field of Dickens and Victorian culture

- develop your understanding of, and engagement with, the critical and methodological paradigms that inform the field of studies in Dickens and Victorian culture

- develop your independent critical thinking and judgement

- develop your research skills in the relevant field so as to provide a pathway for you to undertake PhD work in the area of Dickens and Victorian culture

- build upon and extend an already-established reputation at Kent for distinction in the learning and teaching of Dickens and Victorian culture.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website (http://www.kent.ac.uk/english/staff).

- Dr Vybarr Cregan-Reid:

Lecturer in English and American Literature
Nineteenth-century literature and culture, especially representations of nature and the environment, time, history, queer theory; sublimity; ecology and psychogeography.

- Dr Sara Lyons:

Lecturer in Victorian Literature
Nineteenth-century literature and culture; Victorian poetry and critical prose; fin-de-siècle aestheticism and decadence; the interrelations between literature, religion, secularism in the long nineteenth century.

- Professor Wendy Parkins:

Professor of Victorian Literature
Victorian modernity; gender and sexuality in the 19th century; the Victorian novel (especially Dickens, Gaskell, Collins); literature of the fin-desiècle period; aestheticism and William Morris.

- Dr Catherine Waters:

Professor of 19th-Century Studies
Victorian literature and culture, especially fiction and journalism; Dickens; Sala; George Eliot; literature and gender.

- Dr Sarah Wood:

Senior Lecturer in English and American Literature
Creative critical writing; 19th and 20th-century poetry and fiction, especially Robert Browning and Elizabeth Bowen; writing and visual art; literary theory; deconstruction, especially Derrida; psychoanalysis; continental philosophy.


Many career paths can benefit from the writing and analytical skills that you develop as a postgraduate student in the School of English. Our students have gone on to work in academia, journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; as well as more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the MA Dickens and Victorian Culture page on the University of Kent website for more details!

Student Profiles

School of English MA scholarships - 12 Awards

School of English MA scholarships 2015/16Scholarships are still available for excellent candidates applying for our taught-MA programmes.
•Part-time students and students applying for programmes with a term in Paris are also eligible
•Applications will be accepted up until May 15, 2015. All students who make an application to study on one of our MA programmes will automatically be considered for a scholarship (no separate application is required)
•Previous applicants for MA scholarships need not re-apply

Scholarship Fund
The School of English highly values its postgraduate community. Over the last few years the School has continued to invest in its students with a range of scholarships and opportunities that have supported exceptional research from awarded students. To further support the postgraduate community the school will be increasing the MA scholarship fund for 2015/16.
Successful applicants in 2015/16 will be eligible for the following scholarships, all of which aim to support one student on each of our specialist MA programmes. The scholarships will be in the form of a fee waiver, but with an additional maintenance bursary of £1500. Part-time students and students applying for programmes with a term in Paris are also eligible. These scholarships are:
•The Woolf scholarship (for students on the MA in English and American Literature)
•The Dickens scholarship (for students on the MA in Dickens and Victorian Culture)
•The Burney scholarship (for a student on the MA in Eighteenth Century Studies)
•The MA in Postcolonial Studies scholarship
•The MA in Critical Theory scholarship
•The MA in The Contemporary scholarship
•The Creative Writer’s scholarship In addition to these new scholarships the school will continue to offer the following:
•One fully funded School of English MA scholarship – a fee waiver plus an additional stipend at AHRC rate (currently set at £9,681 p/a for 2014/15)
•One international scholarship (to cover fees at the international rate)
•One fee-waiver scholarship for part-time students
•Two departmental awards. The Ian Gregor Scholarship, which pays home fees and a £500 bursary for one year’s full-time study, and the Sasha Roberts Scholarship, which is an award of £2,000. PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of the scholarships is to award candidates with the strongest academic records. The School of English reserves the right to distribute the scholarships amongst candidates in a way that will honour that commitment.

Value of Scholarship(s)



A first or second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent). In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path.These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies. The purpose of the scholarships is to award candidates with the strongest academic records.

Application Procedure

All students who make an application to study on one of our MA programmes will automatically be considered for a scholarship (no separate application is required).

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent). For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages (View Website).

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