Taught course

Literature and Culture

University of Birmingham · Department of English Literature and Creative Writing

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Entry requirements

Honours degree upper second classification or equivalent.

Months of entry


Course content

This programme draws on the wide research expertise of the School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham in order to develop your critical and analytical skills in the field of literary and cultural studies.

You can either take a general route through the programme, choosing core and optional modules from a variety of literary periods, or take one of a number of pathways, each focusing on a different period or literary genre. Possible pathways may include: Reformation to Reform; The Long Nineteenth Century; Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literature. A wealth of optional modules relating to your pathway, taught by leading international scholars, allow you to specialise in areas which suit your particular interests and you will also complete a supervised 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice.

In addition to these optional and core modules, this programme is unique in offering you the chance to gain hands-on independent archival research and direct experience of relevant non-academic careers

This programme will provide a solid grounding in the key intellectual debates within scholarship on a range of period and context specialisms and develop the skills required for writing a research thesis.

It includes a mixture of compulsory and optional modules taken across the autumn and spring semesters:

  • Semester 1: Core Period module 1; Period Option 1; Research Skills
  • Semester 2: Core Period module 2; Period Option 2; Period Option 3

Over the course of the year you will also complete a supervised 15,000-word dissertation, to be submitted in September. You will undertake independent research, which may be based on but will extend work undertaken for previous modules in the programme. There should be some element of originality in the research and the research may make some contribution to the field of study.

Core modules

Your core modules will be from the same pathway, if you are specialising in a literary period, or can be from different pathways if you are taking a general route through the degree.

  • Reformation to Reform pathway: Writing Revolutions 1: Politics, Publics and Professionalism in Literary Culture, 1580-1700 and Writing Revolutions 2: Politics, Publics and Professionalism in Literary Culture, 1700-1832
  • The Long Nineteenth Century pathway: Literature and Aesthetics in the Long Nineteenth Century; Cultures and Literatures of the Long Nineteenth Century
  • Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literature: Modernism; Contemporary Literature.

All pathways also include a compulsory ‘Research Skills’ module. For full descriptions, see 'modules' below.

Optional modules

You will choose three optional modules from a range covering a variety of authors and themes from the medieval period to the 21st century. If you are following a pathway through the MA, at least two of these optional modules will be taken from a set group relevant to your chosen literary period. If you are following a more general route through the degree you can pick optional modules from any literary period.

Optional modules are each assessed by a 4,000-word essay.

Alongside the programme you will also have the chance to participate in a bespoke MA conference and form part of the department’s thriving academic research community.

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at one of our on-campus open days.

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year.

Fees and funding

Please visit our website

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

Postgraduate enquiry service
0121 414 5005