MA Literary Studies

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The MA in Literary Studies at Aberystwyth offers you a stimulating engagement with English literature in all its depth and diversity, with the opportunity to develop particular expertise in one of a number of specialist areas. By studying the latest developments in critical theory and research methodology you will cultivate the necessary skills to undertake your 15,000 word MA Dissertation, an extensive piece of critical research in your chosen field. You will also develop a host of transferable skills which you may deploy in a range of other academic or employment contexts.

As a student on the MA in Literary Studies at Aberystwyth, you will benefit from the University’s superb library and information technology resources and have access to the unrivaled collections of the National Library of Wales, one of the five elite research libraries in the UK.

Key Facts

Duration:

12 months full-time; 24-36 months part-time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September.

Assessment:

Assessment takes the form of: a research proposal, including a critical bibliography; examined oral presentations; and essays of 3,000- 5,000 words. In the third semester, each student will complete a MA Dissertation of 15,000 words on a specialist topic chosen by the student.

Entry Requirements:

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in a related subject. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page.In addition please see the overview tab for further application details.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.

Funding:

Funding opportunities may be available; please check our funding calculator for details.

Overview

The MA in Literary Studies provides a number of modules in fascinating subject areas, including Romanticism's Radical Cultures, Ethnic American Literature, Postmodern Genres and many more. An important part of the course is the writing of a 15,000-word Dissertation in a field chosen by you in consultation with a specialist supervisor. We will take great care in assigning you a supervisor whose interests match your own as closely as possible. 

A substantial part of the course is devoted to research preparation skills including exploiting library resources, using electronic journals and other IT skills, building a bibliography, researching and writing a proposal, structuring your Dissertation, developing and sustaining an argument, footnotes and referencing, and oral presentation skills. You will also be taught to interrogate the different kinds of 'textuality', or aspects of the literary text, which need to be taken into account in the study of literature at postgraduate level and beyond.

The department has a proud tradition of research excellence, as demonstrated in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment. It found that 97% of research assessed was found to be of international standing or higher.

Our Staff

All academic staff in the Department of English and Creative Writing are active scholars and experts in their fields. They are either qualified to PhD level or have commensurate experience. Our Lecturers either hold or are working towards a Higher Education teaching qualification and the majority of academic staff also hold the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Options You should choose two options each semester from the following list

Semester 1

Postwar American Fiction ENM1220

Medieval Lives ENM1320

Women, Fiction And Female Community, 1660-1792 ENM1620

Semester 2

Postmodern Genres ENM1420

Romantic Radical Cultures ENM1520

Sensational Sales: Victorian Popular Literature 1848-1894 ENM1720

Writing Ireland, Writing Wales ENM1820

Understanding Creativity ENM6420

Employability

Qualification: MA in Literary Studies

This degree will suit you:

  • If you are fascinated by particular developments in English Literature
  • If you want to contribute to the academic understanding of periods in literary history
  • If you wish to cultivate your own skills as a writer
  • If you want to develop your research and analysis skills for future work in academia

Employability

Every MA course at Aberystwyth University is specifically designed to enhance your employability. In addition to developing your writing and research skills, this course will help you to master key skills that are required in almost every postgraduate workplace. You will be pushed to improve your approaches to planning, analysis and presentation so that you can tackle complex projects thoroughly and with professional independence. Your MA in Literary Studies will place you in the jobs marketplace as a professional writer with highly desirable skills suitable for a career in the arts, literature, journalism and many others.

Key Skills and Competencies Study Skills

You will learn how to identify and interrogate the most relevant materials and literature in your field. You will be taught to master a range of investigative methodologies and, importantly, you will learn to justify your preferred methodological approach to your subject. You will learn how to deploy your research and analysis in critical discussion to assert your expertise and build your academic argument. You will learn to quickly assemble, assimilate, interpret and present a broad range of information regarding your specialism, a set of skills keenly sought by many employers from the civil service and journalism to industry and commerce.

Self-Motivation and discipline

Studying at MA level requires high levels of discipline and self-motivation from every candidate. Though you will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of Departmental staff, you are ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your MA degree. This process will strengthen your skills in planning, executing and analysing work projects in ways that reflect standard practice in the world of employed work.

Transferable Skills

The MA is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of research interests and employment contexts. Upon graduation, you will have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within time frames and to specific deadlines.

How to Apply

Postgraduate applicants can submit their application either on-line or off-line. Please see our How to Apply page for further information.

In addition to completing the standard University application package, candidates are asked by the Department to supply the following supplementary documents:

(1) A letter of application (1 side of A4) that explains why you want to enrol on the MA Literary Studies. It should include a brief account of your academic study to date, touching on relevant literary/critical issues as appropriate – you might mention, for example, the authors to whose work you are particularly drawn, the topics and ideas that are of special significance to you, and the methodologies you have found particularly valuable in your encounter with literary works. The account will be important in helping us to arrive at a decision about your general suitability for the programme.

(2) A representative sample of critical work, written during the past three years, of no more than 3000 words. You are allowed to send work submitted as part of a previous degree.

Departmental contact details 

Tel: (01970) 621945

Fax: (01970) 622530

Email: jxr@aber.ac.uk

Department of English and Creative Writing
Aberystwyth University
Penglais Campus
Aberystwyth
SY23 3DY

If you'd like to see how we assess your application please click and watch our Application videos.

Further Information

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