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MA in Culture and Thought after 1945

Course Description

The MA in Culture and Thought after 1945 is a flexible taught programme that draws on the rich offerings of six departments and centres at York.

Students have the opportunity to explore the key developments of the contemporary period in original and exciting ways, from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The MA allows students to construct a programme that suits their particular interests: students can choose from a wide range of option modules and explore the methodologies and subject matter of multiple disciplines.

Students can take the course full-time (one year) or part-time (two years). All students follow the team-taught core module and three MA optional modules offered by partner departments (English, the Centre for Women’s Studies, History, History of Art, Sociology and Theatre, Film and Television). Coursework consists of four assessed essays of approximately 4,500 words each. The Summer Term and the rest of the academic year are devoted to the production of a c.15,000-20,000-word dissertation, which is submitted at the end of September.

Core module

The core module, ‘Framing the Contemporary’, introduces students to a variety of approaches to studying the art, culture, and thought of the period post-1945 to the present. Because the MA is interdisciplinary, the core course has a strong methodological bent, providing students with an introduction to the various means by which different disciplines conceptualise and analyse the period. The module is team taught by tutors from the different departments involved in the MA, each contributing sessions that highlight a central way in which their discipline categorises the period (for example, the shift from modern to postmodern in English, or the end of Empire in History), while providing examples of the methodological tools used to construct this way of reading the period.

Option modules

The MA is fully modularised and divided into 4 taught modules - the compulsory core module (Framing the Contemporary) plus three option modules.

Choosing Options

In the Autumn Term full-time students take one option module from relevant programmes in our partner departments: Archaeology, English, History, History of Art, Sociology and the Centre for Women's Studies. In the Spring Term two option modules are taken.
Part-time students take their first option module in the Spring Term of Year 1, and their second and third option modules in the Autumn and Spring Terms of Year 2.
The option modules offered vary from year to year, depending upon the interests and availability of staff (see our website for details: http://www.york.ac.uk/modernstudies/study/ma_culture_and_thought_after_1945/#tab-4).

Visit the MA in Culture and Thought after 1945 page on the University of York website for more details!

(Student Profile)


1732.jpg As an undergraduate I was particularly interested in literary and political theory, so I was immediately intrigued by the interdisciplinarity and theoretical content of this exciting new MA. The course is simultaneously challenging, stimulating and enjoyable, and has given me the confidence to apply an academic framework to my personal interests and passions. From the autumn of this year, I will begin a PhD reading the politics of food in world literature. The Centre for Modern Studies also provides excellent intellectual and pastoral support, and the staff are always friendly and helpful.

(Student Profile)


3403.jpg I chose to study the MA in Culture and Thought After 1945 because the diverse and flexible syllabus of the course encouraged an interdisciplinary approach. This was an approach that I had begun to really enjoy near the end of my undergraduate degree in literature.

Culture and Thought provided a challenging environment where my ideas and thinking were tested every week by complex contemporary issues in various fields. One of the most enjoyable aspects of studying this MA has been taking advantage of the incredible teaching staff available. This is particularly exciting given that through postgraduate interdisciplinary study, you can engage with experts within multiple departments- a fantastic opportunity.

(Student Profile)


3404.jpg After an undergraduate degree in English and Creative Writing, I decided I wanted more exposure to critical and theoretical study, so I decided to look for a course that combined a broad theoretical scope with opportunities to specialise through the optional modules. Culture and Thought After 1945 was exactly what I was looking for.

I am now nearing the end of my second year here, having chosen to take the MA part-time to allow more flexibility to balance other interests and paid work. Over the last two years, I have also had the chance to be involved in a range of other projects. I have helped organise a national conference, presented work at various forums and symposia, organised a film screening series and even administered a research network. None of this would have been possible without the open and vibrant Humanities Research Centre, where I’ve met collaborators for various academic projects, and friends who I will keep for life. The CModS staff have also been fantastic, not only in an academic sense, but for their genuine interest in their students and their desire to see, and to help, us succeed.


Centre for Modern Studies scholarship - 3 Awards

We are offering three £1000 scholarships towards tuition fees for the MA in Culture and Thought after 1945 for the academic year 2016-17. These are available to full- or part-time UK, EU or overseas candidates who are not in receipt of any other award.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Available to full- or part-time UK, EU or overseas candidates who are not in receipt of any other award.

Application Procedure

We will take your acceptance of a place on the MA as a sign that you would also like to be considered for the scholarships. If you do not wish to be considered, please indicate that on your MA application. All applicants who have accepted their place by 1 July 2016 will be considered, and the successful applicants will be informed by 1 August 2016.

Further Information



York Graduate Loyalty Discount - No. of awards TBC

The University will offer a 5% discount in taught postgraduate Masters tuition fees to all UK and EU alumni who have graduated with an undergraduate degree from the University of York.

Value of Scholarship(s)

5% discount on tuitition fees


Available to UK and EU students.

Application Procedure

Eligible York alumni will automatically receive the discount.

Further Information



Centre for Modern Studies bursary - No. of awards TBC

The Centre for Modern Studies will offer an additional bursary of 5% of the discounted taught Masters tuition fee to UK and EU alumni of any department of the University of York, and of 5% of the overseas fee to Overseas alumni of any department of the University of York who are offered a place on the MA in Culture and Thought after 1945.

Value of Scholarship(s)

5% discount on tuition fees


UK/EU and overseas alumni of the University of York

Application Procedure

All eligible York alumni will automatically receive the discount.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

We are looking to attract applicants with a strong 2:1 or 1:0 undergraduate degree in an arts, humanities or social science subject and we expect the degree to have provided some foundation for theoretical and interdisciplinary considerations of culture and thought after 1945.

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