Taught course

The Gothic Imagination

University of Stirling · Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

A sample of work (e.g. English Essay) is required.

Months of entry


Course content

Contemporary culture is characterised by nothing if not a reawakened interest in the Gothic, be that in the form of the current vogue for horror film, in the heightened preoccupation with terror and monstrosity in the media, the extraordinary success of writers such as Stephen King and Stephenie Meyer, or in manifestations of an alternative Gothic impulse in fashion, music and lifestyle.

As the countless adaptations and retellings of texts such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818; 1831) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) in our own day attest, the Gothic, though once relegated to a dark corner of literary history, has assumed a position of considerable cultural prominence.

The MLitt in The Gothic Imagination at the University of Stirling provides students with the unique opportunity to steep themselves in the scholarly appreciation of this mode, providing a rigorous and intensive historical survey of its literary origins and developments, and charting its dispersal across a broad range of media and national contexts. In so doing, the course equips its graduates with the necessary theoretical vocabulary to address, and critically reflect upon, the Gothic as a complex and multi-faceted cultural phenomenon, while also preparing them for further postgraduate research in the rich and vibrant field of Gothic Studies. In addition to these subject-specific objectives, the MLitt in The Gothic Imagination also provides its graduates with several invaluable transferable skills, including critical thinking, theoretical conceptualisation, historical periodization and independent research.

Course Objectives

The MLitt in the Gothic Imagination consists of four core modules, two option modules, and a dissertation. The core modules allow students to rigorously ground themselves in key Gothic texts, critics and theories, while the optional modules provide an opportunity for students to develop their own interests. The dissertation is a substantial piece of academic writing, which will allow students to demonstrate their engagement with the field over the year. The course aims to provide as rich and varied an exposure to the academic study of the Gothic as possible.

The first two core modules offer a critical and theoretical overview of both the development of the Gothic, and of Gothic studies. Students will encounter the work of writers such as Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis alongside nineteenth century greats such as Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker; at the same time key critics in Gothic studies will be introduced, as will crucial theoretical terms such as the uncanny, the grotesque and others.

The third and fourth core modules build on the theoretical and critical basis of the first two, tracing the Gothic’s development in the twentieth and twenty-first century, exploring the genre’s encounters with modernity, postmodernity and mass culture, and its development as a genuinely international phenomenon. The courses focus on a wide range of authors, such as Algernon Blackwood, H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Toni Morrison and others.

Option modules vary from year to year, depending on student interest and demand. Courses on the Gothic and Gender, and the Gothic and Transnational Cinema are often offered; as are courses that allow for an extended examination of particular author or a special topic within Gothic studies.

At the dissertation stage, students are encouraged to undertake independent, supervised research on any particular interest within Gothic studies that they might wish to pursue. Subject to the agreement of the course director, a creative writing dissertation may be undertaken at this stage.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6 (minimum 5.5 in each skill), or TOEFL: Listening 21, Reading 22, Speaking 23, Writing 21.

Fees and funding


Qualification and course duration


part time
27 months
full time
12 months


part time
21 months
full time
9 months


full time
3 months
part time
9 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written coursework / continuous assessment66
Dissertation34 (15000 words)

Course contact details

Dr Timothy Jones
+44 (0) 1786 467508