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Modern and Contemporary Pathway (within MA English Literature)

Course Description

About the course

You’ll study modern and contemporary fiction and poetry, with a focus on literature since 1900. Modules include: memory studies, contemporary poetry, urban and postmodern literature, the Cold War, life-writing, race, gender and animal studies.

Your career

You’ll examine early modern texts, language and culture. Staff expertise includes palaeography, rhetoric, news writing, the sermon, drama, and issues of political, sectarian and national identity between 1400 and 1700. Modules (including modules from History) can be tailored to suit your interests. You’ll complete one core module, optional modules and a dissertation.

Cultural life

Study eighteenth-century literature to develop a broad range of advanced skills. The focus is on the interface between historical and literary approaches, and you’ll be introduced to current academic debates and research methods in the field. Spanning eighteenth century prose and poetry, Romantic poetry, prose, and drama, and Gothic literature, there’s an incredible range to choose between.

First-rate facilities

We’re based in a brand new building at the heart of the campus. There are computer workstations especially for postgraduates and a DVD library with viewing facilities. Our theatre workshop is a fully equipped teaching/performance area with excellent film-viewing facilities and audio suites.

Specialist resources

The University Library subscribes to the major periodicals and full-text electronic archives, including Early English Books Online and Eighteenth-Century Collections Online. Special collections include an outstanding collection of Restoration drama, the Hope Collection of eighteenth-century periodicals, the Jack Rosenthal scripts collection, and papers of contemporary writers such as Anita Brookner, Marina Warner, Fay Weldon and Peter Redgrove.


There are a number of studentships and fee bursaries available, funded by the University. Deadlines for funding applications are usually in winter/early spring. For details, see our website.

Research training for PhD

If you intend to progress to a PhD, your course can be tailored to include essential research training. The same applies to students on the online course.

Part-time study

Part-time students usually take one taught module in each semester. In the second year, you’ll also take a dissertation module. For most courses, you’ll need to come in for one half-day per week. The MA Creative Writing is taught in the evening. Some modules, such as Theatre and Performance, may require greater time commitment. We try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the different needs of our students.

Examples of optional modules

You’ll choose four modules from a range which may include: Tales of the City: the living space in contemporary American fiction; Exchanging Letters: art and correspondence in twentieth-century American culture; Memory and Narrative; Rocket State Cosmology; Contemporary Poetry; White Like Me: reading whiteness in American literature; Interpret the Brutes: the animal in postcolonial writing.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is by seminars. You’ll be assessed on your essays, coursework and a 15,000-word dissertation.

Visit the Modern and Contemporary Pathway (within MA English Literature) page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!

Entry Requirements

At least a 2:1 or the international equivalent in English, or a combined degree including a substantial element of English Literature. English language requirements: overall IELTS grade of 7.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

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Recipient: University of Sheffield
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