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MA in the Contemporary

Course Description

The MA in the Contemporary is an interdisciplinary programme in the field of contemporary culture. This new programme is a unique collaboration between the University of Kent and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London which allows students to choose from a range of modules, each focusing on different aspects of contemporary culture. Jointly taught by academics and practitioners in the School of English and the School of Arts at the University of Kent and the ICA, the programme allows students to enrich their academic knowledge with a practical internship at the ICA.

*This course will be taught at the Canterbury campus*

Visit the website: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/209/the-contemporary

Course detail

The MA in the Contemporary will provide students with a deep understanding of the relationship between disciplines in the arts and an appreciation of the way in which interdisciplinary thinking makes it possible to grasp and respond to key issues in contemporary culture. This pioneering educational opportunity will equip students with the skills, knowledge and professional experience to progress into areas such as artistic practice, related higher postgraduate research, arts management and policy and a variety of other careers within the arts.

Students will be able to choose from a wide variety of modules in the areas of Contemporary Literature, Creative Writing, Film, Drama and History and Philosophy of Art. Students will also be invited to attend an induction at the ICA at the start of their studies to introduce them to the facilities and will be encouraged to make use of the ICA’s programme of seminars and events.

The Contemporary MA is also available with a term in Paris: https://www-test.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/766/the-contemporary-paris

Format and assessment

Besides engaging with ICA curators through the core module in Reading the Contemporary, students will also participate in three research trips in the autumn, spring and summer terms, led by ICA curators and responding to contemporary artistic developments, media and platforms.

Each student will be invited to undertake an internship at the ICA (for a maximum of 2 days a week over a month) between February and June (Tue-Fri). Each group of students will work in the ICA studio, supervised by the Associate Curator of Education, and will have access to the ICA programme and ICA archive where necessary. The experiences and research undertaken will feed into their final project whilst gaining vocational experience at the ICA.

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


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.

How to apply: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Why study at The University of Kent?

- Shortlisted for University of the Year 2015
- Kent has been ranked fifth out of 120 UK universities in a mock Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) exercise modelled by Times Higher Education (THE).
- In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Kent was ranked 17th* for research output and research intensity, in the Times Higher Education, outperforming 11 of the 24 Russell Group universities
- Over 96% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2014 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.
Find out more: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/why/

Postgraduate scholarships and funding

We have a scholarship fund of over £9 million to support our taught and research students with their tuition fees and living costs. Find out more: https://www.kent.ac.uk/scholarships/postgraduate/

English language learning

If you need to improve your English before and during your postgraduate studies, Kent offers a range of modules and programmes in English for Academic Purposes (EAP). Find out more here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/international/english.html

Visit the MA in the Contemporary 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). English Language requirements: View Website

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