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MA Literature, Culture & Identity

Course Description

Why take this course?

This course is designed for those who have developed interests in questions of gender, sexuality and ethnicity and who wish to express this through literary analysis of a range of writing from the English-speaking world, and from mainland Europe in translation. Key topics include the consideration of ideas of the ‘self/other’, travel and migration, war, postcolonial and national identities, geography and the relationship to physical space, and gender and sexuality.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Study a degree enhanced by the research expertise of our Centre for Studies in Literature members
Explore theories of psychoanalysis, feminism, postcolonialism and postmodernism in relation to contemporary literature

What opportunities might it lead to?

The programme will prepare you for postgraduate work in the fields of queer theory, gender studies, and postcolonial literature and theory. The course is directly tailored to meet national benchmarks for research training, with a strong emphasis on the development of research skills and analytical abilities. It is therefore designed for those thinking about future doctoral-level study, as well as offering a valuable boost to your personal profile if you are an education professional or simply looking to expand your portfolio with a challenging and rewarding advanced qualification.

More generally, it will improve your employability in an increasingly competitive job market as you will acquire skills which show an ability to research independently and study a contemporary topic at an advanced level.

Module Details

At the heart of the course is the production of a dissertation – a substantial piece of individual research work. Supporting your achievement in this are a series of taught units, introducing advanced research skills, analytical techniques and methodological perspectives that you will need for work at the cutting edge of contemporary humanities.

In addition, you will study a core unit, Cultural Identities: Self and Other, which will introduce key theoretical issues. You will then choose to study either Body Maps or European Others, plus one further option drawn from:

Performing Genders
Postmodern Detectives
Independent Project

You will also take a research management unit to support the research for your dissertation. For the dissertation you will pursue in depth an approved topic of your choice.

Programme Assessment

You will experience a blend of seminar-based teaching and tutorial project support. Seminars will take place one day a week, generally in two two-hour sessions. Tutorials are arranged by mutual convenience and support can also be given by email.

You will be given comprehensive materials for the seminars, including prepared readings necessary for participation in discussions. As with any course of study, the MA Literature, Culture and Identity will require a significant commitment of time outside formal teaching hours – especially if taken full-time – for reading, preparation and assessment, but you will have plenty of support and guidance to help you meet your goals.

For the unit Humanities Research Skills, you will be expected to produce two or three short pieces of work. For each of the remaining taught units, you will give a short presentation and produce a 5,000-word essay.

Student Destinations

Portsmouth has a solid reputation for graduate employability and our concern with your development is maintained during the MA with sessions emphasising the transferability of the advanced skills you develop on the course. You will develop transferable skills in constructing coherent and convincing arguments in relation to complex debates and source materials, detailed analysis of a variety of documents and texts, advanced literacy and language skills, and research and communication skills. All these abilities equip or prepare you for a range of career outcomes including teaching, management and a variety of research posts, as well as preparing you for further study at doctoral level.

Visit the MA Literature, Culture & Identity page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

A good second class honours degree, or above, in the field of literature or a related combination of subjects.English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 with no component score below 6.5.

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