Taught course

Victorian Studies

Birkbeck, University of London · School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication

Entry requirements

Normally a second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in a relevant subject such as English, history, philosophy or history of art, but a degree in other subjects will be considered, as will other qualifications.

Prior to interview, you will need to submit a short piece of written work (up to 500 words) on any Victorian topic.

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


Course content

Our MA Victorian Studies is a fascinating course offering you the chance to take a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to studying the history, literature and culture of nineteenth-century Britain.

Why choose this course?

  • You will have the opportunity to encounter a compelling assortment of texts, objects and images and engage with a wide range of contexts, themes and ideas on a degree course that does justice to the energy and variety of the Victorian period.
  • You will be taught by world-leading academic researchers who invite you to explore a dynamic period in history, which continues to shape the modern world.
  • The course is ideal if you have always been intrigued by the Victorian period and want to broaden and deepen your knowledge of its literature, history and culture. You may be a teacher in this subject at GCSE or A-level wanting to develop your understanding of important historical contexts and critical approaches to a range of nineteenth-century texts. Or perhaps you are looking to work in museums, galleries or archives and you want to explore the visual and material culture of the nineteenth century and take part in our heritage internship programme.

What you will learn

Our two core modules will introduce you to some of the most significant debates, ideas and events of the long nineteenth century, and offer you the chance to develop new critical approaches to Victorian studies. You will then be able to pursue your interests choosing from a range of option modules in the field of Victorian studies and beyond. Students in their final year of study can apply for our internship module and spend a term in the Salvation Army Heritage Centre, gaining first-hand experience of working in the cultural sector and using the institution's fascinating archives to develop a unique research project. Read about one intern’s experience.

How you will learn

This MA Victorian Studies is available to study full- or part-time with classes in the evening so you can pursue other commitments. You will learn in lectures and seminars where we explore topics that include the British Empire and its legacies, the debates over the ‘Woman Question’, the impact of industrialisation, and the literature and visual culture of decadence.

You will be taught in small groups which maximise your engagement and participation and will have the opportunity to take part in workshops at Senate House Library where you will be able to explore and handle a range of nineteenth-century printed material. Some option modules also include visits to museums and galleries. You will be supported by one-to-one supervision on your culminating dissertation, in which you will research and write on a topic of your choice.


Careers and employability

On successfully graduating from this MA Victorian Studies, you will have gained an array of important transferable skills, including:

  • a sophisticated use of written and spoken English
  • an advanced critical ability in the use of theoretical perspectives
  • advanced research skills.

Studying this course will prepare you for roles in a range of fields including career paths in academia and the wider education sector, publishing and editing, the creative arts, library and archive work, arts administration, journalism and writing-based careers.

You may also find it valuable if you are interested in further study progression at PhD study and you want to develop your research and writing skills, while exploring ideas for a doctoral project.

Some of our graduates from this course have gone on to be employed at the following organisations, including:

  • Policy Adviser at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Classics Editor at Penguin Books
  • Curator at the Guildhall Art Gallery
  • Company Manager at the Jupiter Theatre in Florida
  • Curator of Contemporary Literary Archives at the British Library.

We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 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

Student Advice Service
+44 (0)20 3907 0700