English Literature: Modern and Contemporary Fictions MA
Alternative attendance modes for this course
Courses start in September, unless otherwise stated
View course-specific entry requirements
You should have a good Honours degree (usually 2:1 or above, or equivalent) in a relevant subject area. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of at least 6.5 with 7.0 in writing (or equivalent). Applicants may also be asked to provide an example of previous written work as part of the application. The University offers pre-sessional summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course.
This course gives you the chance to study English literature in a modern university environment, while taking advantage of the wealth of resources offered by London's rich cultural life. You will examine literary texts in the wider context of cultural production and relate them to the social, historical and political circumstances from which they emerge.
The course team consists of academic specialists who make use of the many nearby museums, galleries and libraries in their teaching. The course will be of particular interest to those wishing to prepare for further study at MPhil or PhD level, and those teaching English who want to gain a further qualification and investigate recent and current developments in the field.
The English Literature: Modern and Contemporary Fictions MA at the University of Westminster is designed to offer a coherent programme of postgraduate study that allows for both chronological range and specific topical focus. It gives you the opportunity to revisit and reinvestigate the texts, critical practices, institutions and periods that make up the discipline in order to see it in new and exciting ways.
It consists of three core modules. Subjectivities constructs a critical sense of the discipline by focusing on the notion of subjectivity. It investigates the idea of a self as relevant to questions of literary form, to reading, and to writing. Institutions and Histories looks at the institutional and material conditions that produce our ideas of what literature is and the way literary texts are determined by them. Topics covered include the institution of publishing, questions of history, and globalisation, and a critical investigation of the premises and assumptions of academic study. The Dissertation, which can be written on an appropriate topic of your choice, is also a core module. The option modules provide an opportunity for you to deepen and extend your knowledge of a range of periods, issues and forms across the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
This extended piece of research work is an opportunity for you to pursue a topic of individual interest, and is conducted through individual study and directed supervision.
The module is designed to support and develop your independent research skills.
Institutions and Histories: Modern and Contemporary Fictions
The module examines a range of topics at the heart of writing in the 20th and 21st centuries and of literary studies itself. You will examine a range of topics, including: genre and history; literature’s contemporary globalisation; the historical development of English Literature as a discipline; the history and theorisation of the notion ‘literature’ itself; and the material cultures of literary production and consumption.
Subjectivities: Modern and Contemporary Fictions
This module investigates the basis of the literary and of literary studies via the idea of the subject. As a part of this, you will explore different critical approaches, such as feminism and post-colonialism, as well as looking at key issues in literary studies such as the roles of the author and the reader. An independent module, it is also designed to give you the opportunity for preparatory discussion of topics in optional modules.
Choose four from:
Experimental Women’s Writing, Photography and Film
This module explores innovations by women through the 20th and 21st centuries in the areas of writing, film and photography. Through paying close attention to their experimental practices, it will explore questions of gender and sexuality in relation to the formal conventions of, among others, narrative, voice, montage, mimesis and the intertextual. In particular, it will explore how a range of women artists over the period have experimented by moving between and combining writing, film and photography.
London Vortex: The City and Modernism
This module focuses on the literature and art of the first half of the twentieth century produced in and engaging with London. It considers how the city shaped the writing and visual art of the period, and in so doing investigates the idea of modernism, its debates, its meaning and its boundaries.
Reading Contemporary Culture
This module examines the idea of British literary culture since the 1990s. By focusing particularly on the relationships between writing and film, and writing and the visual arts, the module investigates the state and status of literary writing during this period. Authors studied include A. S. Byatt, Sarah Kane, Zadie Smith, Irvine Welsh, Ian McEwan and Stewart Home.
Trauma in American Modernity: The Nation and its Limits
This interdisciplinary module explores the emergence of American trauma culture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Drawing upon key literary, cultural, and critical texts, the course interrogates the ways in which evolving conceptions of trauma are inherently related to the changing conditions of historical modernity, informed by processes of industrialisation, technologisation, militarisation, and securitisation. Seminars will highlight the paradoxes and inconsistencies inherent to various trauma paradigms, examining the ambiguous relations they construct between individuals and collectives, internal and external borders, mind and body, past and present, private and public life.
Using a range of theoretical, historical, literary, cinematic, visual and other cultural texts, you will explore the idea of urban culture as it has developed since the mid-19th century. The module considers a variety of different representations of the city, and the ways in which they understand the specificity of urban experience itself. You will also explore the changing global forms and interrelations of ‘western’ and ‘non-western’ urban forms.
Work Placements in Cultural Institutions
This module offers students a chance to spend time in a working environment and to think critically about the issues raised by their time there. In the past students have gained work placement places in schools, galleries, publishing companies and translation agencies, among others.
The course is particularly relevant to those employed in a range of professions, including English teachers wishing to update their professional skills, and professional researchers. The part-time course would appeal to those interested in studying English literature for career development and general interest.
Length of course
One year, full-time or two years, part-time (January start available)
Central London (Regent)
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
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We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.
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In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.
For more details, visit the employability section on our site.
Career Development Centre
Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.
We can help you to:
- find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
- explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
- plan your career development
- identify your career options
- market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
- develop your enterprise skills
We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.
Find out more about the Career Development Centre.
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More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.
Career options in your subject area
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