About this course
Explore 20th century and contemporary English literature with a master’s degree at the University of Southampton.
Our course gives you the chance to specialise in contemporary culture and history, covering topics such as:
- science and climate change
- politics and globalisation
- the relationship between literary and visual cultures
- sexuality, gender, race and disability
On completion of the course, you’ll be ready for a career in teaching, publishing, librarianship or cultural heritage.
You’ll get the chance to carry out advanced-level research and independent critical thinking, and to make effective use of archives, manuscripts, and research libraries.
This pathway is linked to the Southampton Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing. This group brings together academics, writers and research students with interests in the relations between writing and contemporary culture. The centre also hosts events including guest lectures, seminars and research study days.
We offer a flexible module structure which is designed to give you an advanced understanding of cultural analysis, textual interpretation and theoretical method.
You’ll explore the interrelations of text, theory and culture across the field of English literary and cultural studies. We’ll work with you to:
- develop your knowledge of critical and research methods
- raise your awareness of the historical and critical reception of literature in various periods
- explore the role of literature in a contested cultural framework
The part-time study option for this course will not be running in the 2020 to 2021 academic year.
If you prefer, you can apply to study this course as:
- a part-time master's - study the same course content over 2 or more years
Your modules and fees may vary if you choose a different study option.
Your course leader has research interests in Anglophone postcolonial world literatures, postcolonial theory, critical theory, poetics and politics, visual culture and globalisation. Visit Professor Stephen Morton’s staff profile to learn more about his work.
We offer 3 other specialist pathways on our MA English Literary Studies degree:
If you'd prefer a more general approach you can choose individual modules from each pathway.
This course is based at Avenue.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the programme specification
The programme specification sets out the learning outcomes of this course and details how the course is taught and assessed.
You'll need a 2:1 degree in English literature or a related subject.
If you are over 21 and feel you would benefit from degree-level studies, we can be more flexible with our entry requirements. We’ll expect you to demonstrate your commitment by means of some recent serious study, such as:
- at least 1 A level pass
- completion of an Open University foundation course
- completion of an appropriate Access course
Got a question?
If you're not sure that you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course please contact our enquiries team; we're very happy to help.Email: email@example.com
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
This is a full-time master’s course. You’ll study for 12 months, from September to the following September.
In the first 9 months (semesters 1 and 2) you’ll study the taught part of your course.
This is made up of modules that everyone on the course takes, and modules we’ll ask you to choose from a list of options. We’ll also begin preparing you for your independent research project and dissertation.
For the last 3 months, over the summer, you’ll work independently to research and write your dissertation. You’ll have one-to-one meetings with your supervisor during this time to discuss your progress.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
For entry in Academic Year 2020-21
You must study the following modules in year 1:
You must also choose from the following modules in year 1:
Learning and assessment
We’re committed to giving you a relevant, modern and above all enjoyable experience that will ensure you graduate with the skills and understanding you need for your chosen career or further research. Our module leaders are experts in their chosen fields and will engage you with their own experiences of research. Their teaching methods will challenge you intellectually and expose you to new ideas, approaches and perspectives.
The learning activities for this course include:
- small seminar groups
- student-led debates
- group work
- oral presentations
- individual consultation
We also offer additional opportunities such as exploring a unique collection of early women's writing at Chawton House Library, visiting a 19th-Century handpress printing workshop, and the chance to hear from visiting speakers from international universities.
A large part of postgraduate study is independent learning. This course will develop your critical awareness, encouraging you to reflect on the methodologies employed in further study and to apply these to your reading and research. Subject to availability, you may choose to take 2 special projects in an area of departmental expertise.
Depending on the modules you choose, we’ll assess you through a combination of:
- group presentations
- independent research project and dissertation
You’ll complete independent research, with guidance from a supervisor, to produce an in-depth, scholarly study of an aspect or body of literature which interests you. The 15,000-word dissertation is your chance to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you have developed throughout the course.
You’ll have access to:
- sample anonymised dissertations from previous years
- research seminars and visiting lectures
- general guidance and support from your Personal Academic Tutor
- dissertation guidance from your supervisor
A master's in contemporary literature is excellent preparation for a career in teaching, publishing and arts administration. Our graduates go on to careers in:
- writing (from journalism to fiction)
- international PhD programmes
- creative industries
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a vibrant entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK/EU students pay £9,250.
- International students pay £18,812.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and all examinations.
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK and EU nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
Funding your postgraduate studies
A variety of additional scholarships, grants and bursaries may be available to help you fund your master’s study, both from the University and from other organisations.
How to apply
You can apply directly through our online form by using the apply button on this page.
Applications must be received no later than 4 weeks before the start of the course. You must supply all supporting documentation at least two weeks before starting your course.
We recommend you apply at least 6 weeks before the start of the course to ensure you're able to meet our requirements and apply for a visa in time.
We cannot guarantee students who do not meet these deadlines will be able to begin their course.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
You may also be asked to provide:
- a sample of written work
Learn more about how to apply with our postgraduate application guide.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We will assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We'll get back to you within 6 weeks with a decision about your application.
We may invite you to an interview, which will take place by phone if you live abroad. You'll get an email from the admissions tutor if we'd like to talk to you before offering you a place.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000