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MA The Contemporary Novel: Practice as Research

Course Description

This is an innovative and exciting programme in which you focus on writing a full-length, literary novel of between 90,000 and 150,000 words.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/232/contemporary-novel-practice-as-research

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 meet regularly with your supervisor and have the opportunity to take part in informal reading groups and research seminars to which students, staff and visiting speakers contribute papers. You also benefit from a series of research skills seminars that run in the spring term, which gives you a chance to share the research expertise of staff and postdoctoral members of the department.

As a basis for advanced research, you must take the School and Faculty research methods programmes.

Research areas

Research in the School of English comes roughly under the following areas. However, there is often a degree of overlap between groups, and individual staff have interests that range more widely.

Eighteenth Century
The particular interests of the Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century converge around gender, class, nation, travel and empire, and the relationship between print and material culture. Staff in the Centre pursue cutting-edge approaches to the field and share a commitment to interdisciplinary methodologies.
The Centre regularly hosts visiting speakers as part of the School of English research seminar programme, and hosts day symposia, workshops and international conferences.

Nineteenth Century
The recently established Centre for Victorian Literature and Culture provides a stimulating and distinctive research environment for staff and students through seminars, conferences and collaborative research projects. The MA in Dickens and Victorian Culture is the only MA of its kind in the UK, and both the MA and the Centre places a particular emphasis on Victorian literature and culture associated with Kent and the south-east.

American Literature
Research in north American literature is conducted partly through the Faculty-based Centre for American Studies, which also facilitates co-operation with modern US historians. Staff research interests include 20th-century American literature, especially poetry, Native American writing, modernism, and cultural history.

Creative Writing
The Centre for Creative Writing is the focus for most practice-based research in the School. Staff organise a thriving series of events and run a research seminar for postgraduate students and staff to share ideas about fiction-writing. Established writers regularly come to read and discuss their work.

Medieval and Early Modern
The Faculty-based Canterbury Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies has a distinctive brand of interdisciplinarity, strong links with local archives and archaeological trusts, and provides a vibrant forum for investigating the relationships between literary and non-literary modes of writing in its weekly research seminar.

Modern Poetry
The Centre for Modern Poetry is a leading centre for research and publication in its field, and participates in both critical and creative research. Staff regularly host visiting speakers and writers, participate in national and international research networks, and organise graduate research seminars and public poetry readings.

Established in 1994, the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Research has acquired an international reputation for excellence in research. It has an outstanding track record in publication, organises frequent international conferences, and regularly hosts leading postcolonial writers and critics. It also hosts a visiting writer from India every year in association with the Charles Wallace Trust.


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 The Contemporary Novel: Practice as Research page on the University of Kent website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Denica Shute

I chose Kent primarily because its module structure is extremely flexible, allowing me to write only prose and continue writing my novels throughout most modules. The same goes for poetry writers and for those who wish to write in both areas. Now that I'm further into the course I realise I'm very lucky to have been taught by some award winning novelists, and those who aren't award winning come with years of experience of writing and the industry. My favourite part of the course so far is the The Magazine module: you work in a team to produce a literary and creative writing magazine. The module is invaluable in that it shows just how a creative course like this can be applied in the work place and how much dedication and hard work it requires.


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) and, normally, a taught MA qualification.

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