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Master English

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  • Entry requirements
    You should normally hold an upper second class honours degree, or its equivalent, in English literature or in a related subject. If it is some time since you completed your undergraduate education or you do not meet the standard requirement, it may be possible to consider your application based on evidence of other relevant personal and professional experience, the support of your referees and examples of written work. If English is not your first language you will need to provide certification of your English language proficiency. For this course you will need an IELTS score of at least 7, or TOEFL 600 (paper-based) or 250 (computer-based). Applications should be received no later than 1 August, though it is advisable to apply much earlier than this. If you are intending to apply to the Arts and Humanities Research Council for a studentship award we must receive your application before 1 March.
  • Academic Title
    MA / PGDip / PGCert English
  • Course description
     MA / PGDip / PGCert

    The MA in English is a programme of advanced study combining the development of subject expertise with the ability to undertake independent research projects in your areas of interest.

    These abilities are fostered through taught seminar courses which allow you to study specific subjects in-depth, and through training in independent research undertaken for the dissertation. Specialist options are currently available in fiction, poetry, drama and language studies, and they range in period coverage from the Renaissance to contemporary.

    There are three MA pathways to choose from:

        *
          Pathway in 19th-Century Literature and Culture

    This pathway allows students to focus their study on literary and cultural production of the 19th century, and gives them the opportunity to take modules that examine in depth the historical, political and aesthetic contexts that influenced the making of the Romantic and Victorian periods. This broad pathway enables analysis of a variety of forms of writing and modules will be dedicated to specific thematic, generic and stylistic aspects of the century. Topics covered will include: the development of the romantic sensibility; the place of religion in the 19th century; the role of women in literature and culture; travel and empire; the limits and possibilities encompassed by the definitions of ‘Romantic’ and ‘Victorian’.

        *
          Pathway in Modern and Contemporary Writing and Culture

    This pathway allows students to focus their study on literary and cultural production of the last century, and gives them the opportunity to take modules that examine in depth the historical, political and aesthetic contexts that influenced the making of the 20th century. This broad pathway enables analysis of prose, poetic and dramatic forms of writing from the Anglophone world, but will also encompass critical/creative rewriting and film studies in its discussion of cultural trajectories from 1900 to the present. Modules will be dedicated to specific thematic, generic and stylistic aspects of the period and topics covered will include: the development and expression of a modernist sensibility; the liberations and limitations of postmodernism; the search for place in 20th-century writing of identity; the gendering of voices, and the formulation and parameters of the literary text as a creative act.

        *
          Pathway in Modern and Contemporary Poetry

    The 20th century produced some of the most dynamic, experimental and challenging poetry from Britain, Ireland and America. From the disruptive texts of modernism through to more recent retrenchments and requisitioning, the poetry has consistently confronted issues of tradition, technique, identity, politics, and aesthetic value. This pathway aims to familiarise you with the major movements and ideas in the poetry across the century – and into the 21st century – and also to allow you to study in more depth poets of your own choosing.

    You will have the opportunity to work closely with a faculty which is a leading contributor to the discipline. The English  Department at Oxford Brookes University has consistently been ranked among the best in the UK and is recognised as a centre of academic excellence in both teaching and research. Shorter graduate courses in English are also available  – the postgraduate diploma and the postgraduate certificate  – and it is possible to transfer between these programmes.

    Previous students on this programme have been awarded financial support by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) postgraduate studentship scheme, and by the British Council. For further information, visit the MA in English  web page.

    Course content

    All pathways within the MA in English share the same structure, consisting of four modules: a compulsory core module, two elective modules and a dissertation. Postgraduate diploma students take Modules 1,2 and 3; postgraduate certificate students take Module 1 and one elective module.

    Modules may change from time to time; an indicative list is shown below.

        * Module 1: Key Concepts and Methods in Humanities Research (English) Every student takes this compulsory core module in advanced literary studies, which is designed to help you make the transition from undergraduate to graduate-level work. You will be introduced to a variety of perspectives on theory and method in English, and you will acquire the advanced study skills needed to engage in independent research. You will also receive training in the use of electronic research resources. This module is taken in Semester 1 and is assessed by two written assignments.
        * Modules 2 and 3:
              o Early Modern Literature: Bodies and Spaces*
              o Shakespeare*            
              o Romanticisms: including Revolutions in Poetics and Politics; Gender and Sexuality; Periodical Culture; Slavery and Ethnicity; Napoleon and Literature; Class Consciousness; Folk Culture; Travel
              o 19th-Century Writing: Visions and Revisions: including Women and Victorian Literature; Literature and Culture in 1859
              o Modern and Contemporary Poetry & Poetics: including Irish Poetry; American Poetry; Women’s Poetry
              o 20th-Century Texts: topics include: Changing Literature; History, Space and Identity; Technology and Texts; Modernism in Literature and Culture; Tales of the City; Perspectives on the Harlem Renaissance
              o Modern and Contemporary Fiction: topics include: Literature and Psychoanalysis; Jewish American Writing; The Novel after Postmodernism; The Booker Prize, Aesthetics and Commerce; The Contemporary American Novel; The ‘Lost Generation’

    Full-time MA students take one elective module in each semester. Part-time MA students take their first elective in Semester 2 of the first year and their second elective in Semester 1 of the second year.

    * these run in alternate years

        *   Module 4: Dissertation This is the capstone of the master's programme. You will have the opportunity to conduct a major in-depth investigation into a literary topic of your choice, leading to the production of a 15,000-word thesis. The topic may be related to one of your elective modules or may be chosen from another area of interest. You will be supported in your research by individual supervision from a specialist tutor and by group workshops on advanced research design that take place during Semester 2 (for part-time students this is taken in Year 2). The dissertation is completed over the summer and submitted by 1 September.

    Higher degrees by research
    The English Department welcomes applications from suitably qualified candidates for research degrees in any of its areas of specialisation. Both degrees are available in full-time and part-time mode and are examined entirely by thesis. The MPhil takes two years (four years part-time) and requires the production of a thesis of 50,000 words (max). The PhD takes three years (six years part-time) and is examined by a thesis of 100,000 words (max). Most PhD students are required to register for the MPhil in the first instance and transfer to the PhD after 18-24 months without submitting for the MPhil. Research students are supervised by a team of tutors, including a director of studies and at least one other supervisor. You will benefit from further research training programmes offered by the School of Arts and Humanities and by the University.
    Teaching, learning and assessment

    The MA programme is taught through small-group seminars, workshops and individual tutorials. Classes are held in the evenings, and the sessions run from 6.30pm to 9.00pm. Part-time students attend the University one evening per week and should be able to devote an additional 12-15 hours per week to private study. Full-time students attend classes on two evenings per week and spend 30 hours per week in private study. Assessment is entirely by written work. There are no examinations.

    Quality

    The English Department at Oxford Brookes University was rated 5 in the previous national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), denoting research of national and international excellence.

    The department has particular strengths in 20th-century poetry; modern fiction studies; gender studies; travel writing; Renaissance writing, including drama and performance history; 19th-century fiction; 20th-century Irish and American writing; textual intervention and change; and post-colonial writing.

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