Taught course

English (Contemporary Literature)

University of Northampton · School of the Arts

Entry requirements

Minimum upper 2nd Class Honours degree in an appropriate subject; exceptionally other candidates are considered; applicants whose 1st language is not English may be required to demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English.

Months of entry


Course content

This exciting programme, offered as a one or two year course, will examine the role of contemporary literature in a number of different contexts. You will have an opportunity to explore a diverse range of texts from Modernists such as Samuel Beckett through to popular narrative mediums including film and comic books​.

Course modules (16/17)

· Critical Theory & Methodologies (Core module Y)

This compulsory module provides an in-depth analysis of key concepts and debates in contemporary literary and critical theory and offers training in Learning Technology and research skills.

· Dissertation (core module Y)

Consists of a presentation on the research proposal (10%) and submission of a 15-18,000 word dissertation (90%).

· Pulp Visions (Core module N)

Explores the fascinating ways in which 'high theory' interacts with 'low culture' through the analysis of a range of popular narratives including popular fiction, film, comics and the graphic novel.

· Literary Modernism in the Postmodern World (Core module N)

Examines Modernist writing through selected texts by James Joyce, Katherine Mansfield, Dorothy Richardson and others, in the light of contemporary critical debates and literary cultures.

· Contemporary British Gothic (Core module N)

Selects an aspect of contemporary British writing such as the historical novel or the Gothic genre for in-depth discussion and analysis.

· Gender and Writing (Core module N)

Develops an understanding of literature in the context of critical debates about gender and writing, examining poetry, novels, short stories, and theoretical works by female and male writers from Britain and beyond.

· Narrative and the Deviant Body (Core module N)

Looks at the representation of marginal or 'deviant' bodies across gender, sexuality, race, and class in Anglo-American literature since the 1960s.

· Brave New Worlds (Core module N)

Provides the opportunity to explore utopian and dystopian writing through the study of texts from different historical periods with a focus on issues relating to gender, politics, popular culture and historical context. Less

· Postcolonial Literature (Core module N)

Considers literature from a diversity of cultural and linguistic backgrounds - including Australian and Maori writing, South African writing, and Asian-British fiction - with reference to theories of postcolonialism and the diáspora.

· Trauma Fiction (Core module N)

Examines recent writing about the Holocaust, 9/11, slavery, and depression in the light of trauma theory and the burgeoning fi­eld of trauma studies.

· Down to Earth: Contemporary Poetry (Core module N)

Provides the opportunity to explore modern and contemporary poetry through the study of texts from different geographical regions of the UK and North America.

· Twenty-First Century Storytelling (Core module N)

Focuses on specific methods of storytelling across a diverse range of literary genres in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Less

· Telefantasy (Core module N)

· Adaptations (Core module N)

Information for international students

The course welcomes applications from international students; students from Chile, China, India, Italy, Pakistan, Palestine, Romania, Poland and Spain have successfully taken the course in recent years.

Fees and funding

Under our new Postgraduate Mentoring Scheme you can apply to act as a mentor to a BA Dissertation student and get £1000 towards your MA fees. For information about the Postgraduate Mentoring Scheme and for further course details contact Sonya Andermahr

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


part time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written coursework / continuous assessment65
Dissertation35 (18000 words)

Course contact details

+44 (0) 1604 735500
+44 (0) 1604 720636