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MA in Eighteenth Century Studies

Course Description


This is a fully interdisciplinary programme, involving the Departments of English, History, History of Art, and Philosophy. It offers the opportunity for you to study the culture and cultural history of the eighteenth century from new perspectives, as well as to lay foundations for higher degrees within the various disciplines involved in the programme.
We do not assume that you have any prior knowledge of more than one discipline, or that you wish to abandon whatever discipline you pursued in your earlier studies. Our aim is to encourage you to develop a kind of intellectual curiosity that is open to different methods of inquiry, and interested in exploring many different aspects of the period.

Core Module

The core module, Changes of Meaning, Narratives of Change, looks at some of the most important terms and narratives by which writers attempted to explain changes in the structures and values of their societies, such as ‘manly’, ‘feminine’, 'luxury', 'progress', 'public', and 'private'. These questions are studied mainly in relation to Britain, but with attention also to how they were being addressed in France. The module also addresses some of the issues raised by the rapid expansion of empire , and provides an opportunity to consider the implications of commercial and cultural colonialism. The primary texts studied on the module are concerned with politics, history, literary history, the history of art, the law, and political economy, and the module invites students to examine how far these now separate disciplines were involved in a common debate about the processes and effects of cultural change in an era of developing global consciousness, and how far they are beginning to develop divergent and specialised accounts of those processes and effects.

MA Structure

In addition to their core module, students follow one optional module in the first term, and two optional modules in the second term. A range of module courses taught by staff from the English, History, Philosophy and History of Art Departments are available each year.
All courses are taught by weekly two-hour seminars. Assessment is by four term papers and a 20,000-word dissertation written over the summer term and vacation; part-time students are encouraged to use the first summer term of their two years to begin working on their dissertation topic. Students will also take classes in research training.

Language Requirements

Applicants for whom English is a second language are normally expected to have achieved one of the following scores: IELTS: 7.0; or (preferably) Cambridge Proficiency: A or B.

Visit the MA in Eighteenth Century Studies page on the University of York website for more details!

Entry Requirements

2:1 (upper second class honours degree) or overseas equivalent in an appropriate subject. Sympathetically consider your application if you are a mature candidate seeking specialist qualifications after professional experience (such as an in-service teacher)

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