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MA Old English Studies

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  • Objectives
    The School of English Studies has a long established reputation for teaching and researching the earliest forms of the English language. This course offers you an integrated programme of study in the Old English language and its literature. During the MA, equal status is given to the linguistic and literary dimensions. You are able to undertake a close analysis of selected texts alternating with an investigation into the history of the Old English language, in respect both of its Germanic and Indo-European roots and of its later development into Middle and Modern English. Philology is also an important element of the course, though specialist linguistic knowledge (for instance, of historical sound-changes) is not expected in advance.
  • Academic Title
    MA Old English Studies
  • Course description
    Key facts

    • Prospective students are expected to have prior knowledge of Old English at undergraduate level. In exceptional circumstances, those without this knowledge may be admitted to the course, in which case extra language supervision will be provided for the first four weeks of the first semester.
    • The course convenor and principal tutor is Dr Richard Marsden but other tutors with expertise in specific areas contribute to the teaching, especially of Old English in History.

    Course Content
    The course aims to provide you with:

    • a practical understanding of the origins of the Old English language, its development during the Anglo-Saxon period, and its subsequent evolution;
    • a detailed knowledge of the literature of Anglo-Saxon England in its early medieval context;
    • an informed knowledge of research approaches and methodologies in Old English language and literature;
    • and a firm research background for future doctoral research.

    Text-work on this course includes a detailed study of Beowulf.

    In addition, you will be able to choose from a range of optional modules to consolidate further your knowledge of Anglo-Saxon culture and/or to extend your academic experience into related areas of early medieval studies.

    Full details about the content of the MA in Old English Studies is available on the School of English Studies website.

    Course Structure
    This course can be taken over one year, full-time (September to September) or part-time over two to three years.

    The programme is organised round two core modules — Old English Texts (I and II) and Old English in History (I and II). These are both taught (in two-hour seminars, in alternate weeks) throughout the autumn and the spring semesters.

    All taught modules are assessed by written work of between 3,000 words (for a 15-credit module) and 6,000 words (for a 30-credit module) which is set towards the end of the semester in which the module is taught.

    The dissertation module is assessed by written work of 12-15,000 words.

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