Taught course

Contemporary Literature and Culture

Institution
Birkbeck, University of London · English, Theatre and Creative Writing
Qualifications
MA

Visit the institution website for COVID‑19 updates

Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in literature, cultural studies, history or another relevant subject.

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry

September

Course content

Birkbeck’s MA Contemporary Literature and Culture offers you the opportunity to specialise in twenty-first-century literature and culture, as well as exposing you to the most important literary and theoretical developments of the last few decades. It considers the legacy of postmodernism, the effects of new technologies on narrative form, and the aesthetic, spatial and political coordinates of writing produced in an increasingly networked and globalised world.

Through a range of literary and interdisciplinary options, you have the opportunity to pursue your own interests, whether they lie in contemporary poetics; in fiction from Britain, the US, Europe or postcolonial nations; in the changing forms of the book in a digital age; or in historical approaches to issues like nation, race, gender and sexuality. The MA’s programme of study opens up the aesthetic, historical and political dimensions of contemporary literature and culture.

Highlights

  • In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 91% of eligible staff submitted research, of which 75% was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • In particular, this environment is fostered by close links between the MA and the Centre for Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, which runs a wide variety of talks and conferences in this field. You will have access to a host of other relevant research centres in the School of Arts, including the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, the Centre for Contemporary Theatre and the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre. The School is also actively involved in a number of College-wide institutes specifically designed to foster work across disciplines at Birkbeck and beyond: Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality and the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism. These institutes are driven by the work of world-class scholars including Laura Mulvey, Slavoj Žižek, Lynne Segal and David Feldman.
  • Birkbeck is located in the heart of literary London, in Bloomsbury, WC1. You could be studying in a building that was once home to Virginia Woolf and frequented by members of the Bloomsbury Group, now home to our School of Arts. The building houses our own creative hub which includes the Peltz Gallery, the Gordon Square Cinema and a theatre and performance space.
  • The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.
  • The School of Arts is an official partner of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Opportunities for students have included a year’s free membership of the ICA, private views, discounts on all talks and events, free members' screenings and £3 cinema tickets on Tuesdays, up to 25% off ICA Artists' Editions and a monthly e-newsletter.
  • The Summer Research Programme is a programme of events run for a closely connected cluster of MAs in the School of Arts, on a weekly basis throughout the 11-week summer term. The programme includes a series of dissertation workshops that supplement one-to-one supervision, but it also reflects the dynamic and wide-ranging nature of contemporary studies in the School. It includes guest speakers, debates and film screenings, takes in Birkbeck’s annual Arts Week and is concluded by a student-led conference that showcases the work of MA students across the School.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Name
Student Advice Service
Email
studentadvice@bbk.ac.uk
Phone
+44 (0)20 3907 0700