English Literature MA/PGDip
- Name: English Literature
- Qualification: MA/PGDip
- Duration: MA: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time; Diploma: 9 months full-time (also available part-time)
Our English Literature MA offers the opportunity to pursue English literary studies at an advanced level. Here you will be able to develop the skills and knowledge required for textual, theoretical and historical analysis in the your chosen field while participating fully in a vibrant research environment of published writers and researchers.
The programme consists of taught modules (Part One) mainly assessed by essays, followed by a dissertation (Part Two).
On this MA you can explore your interests across the wide-ranging field of English literary studies in their choice of taught modules, or they may elect to follow a programme of taught modules and one-to-one supervision in more specialised areas of interest. For those wishing to specialise there is also the opportunity to cluster module choices around particularly strong areas of department expertise, such as:
Medieval and Early Modern Literature: These are well-known and internationally recognised areas of expertise at Bangor. Members of the School of English undertake research in medieval English poetry, prose and drama; the literature of the Tudor period; the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries; early modern book history; and seventeenth-century literature in poetry and prose as well as on the stage. Particular areas of interest include Chaucerian studies, medieval romance, Arthurian literature, medieval and early modern drama, pre-modern travel writing, early modern memory studies, George Herbert and devotional poetry, autobiographical writing, Milton, polemical prose, words and music, manuscript studies, and the work of women writers across the medieval and early modern periods. These wide-ranging topics are reflected in the choice of modules and dissertation topics available to students.
Material Texts: This subject area introduces the postgraduate student to many of the methodologies associated with the history of the book, the sociology of texts, the history of reading and the theories associated with editing. The investigation of the material text and the circumstances of production and consumption are growing areas within the discipline of literary studies. Students may examine a range of texts from medieval and early-modern manuscripts, through early printed books (known as incunabula) and on to the serialised texts of the Victorian period, as well as looking at cinema, screenplays and contemporary technologies of self-representation. The modules on offer in this area make the most of the School’s expertise in book history and scholarly editing, as well as Bangor University’s particularly strong archive collections (including the Cathedral Library) which contain everything from locally produced printed ephemera to documents pertaining to plantations in Jamaica. The School is also actively involved in several digitisation projects, and many of the modules will consider the impact of the latest technological revolution upon literary studies.
Revolution and Modernity, 1750 to the Present: This area of expertise – unique in the UK – offers students the opportunity to become intimately acquainted with the historical, cultural and literary forces that have shaped our contemporary age. Here the student may explore a variety of visual and verbal print cultures, spaces and identities in order to unravel the complex relationship between texts and their contexts. Bangor University, with its neo-Gothic architecture (1911) and its proximity to Telford’s pioneering Menai Suspension Bridge (1826), is itself a physical embodiment of aesthetic revolution and the pursuit of modernity. Students are encouraged to make use of the University’s extensive archives and to take part in the research activities of the School and wider College of Arts and Humanities. While honing their knowledge of nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century texts, students will also become fluent in contemporary scholarly discourse and develop their own critical voice.
Four Nations Literature: This area of expertise offers the opportunity for pioneering study of the literatures of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. In so doing it represents a shift in the focus of the MA in English Literature, inviting postgraduate students to explore in greater detail the literatures of the four nations in the British Isles. It aims to widen the scope of traditional English Literature courses by seeking out continuities and contrasts between the literatures of Britain and Ireland in the modern period. In particular, the Four-Nations emphasis investigates the ways in which the literatures of Britain and Ireland register the effects of modernity on British and Irish culture and society, from the late eighteenth century to the contemporary moment. Bangor University, being conveniently located between London, Dublin and Liverpool, is the ideal place to examine such issues.
Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.
In the first part of the MA programme, all students are required to study four modules of 30 credits each (for full-time students, this means two modules per semester).
All students study the following compulsory modules:
- Introduction to Literary Theory, Scholarship and Research (30 credits): This module offers the opportunity to study alongside other MA students in English Literature, and to share ideas about authorship, the history of the book, and some key contemporary perspectives on the relationship between literature and the culture in which it is produced. For writers, this module offers a valuable insight into how your creative work relates to its wider context.
- Material Texts & Editing (30 credits): This module explores the rich field of working with texts - from manuscripts in the early medieval centuries to screenings in the digital age. Students have the opportunity to meet for seminars in the University archives department and to work with a team of practising academics showcasing their research experience with writings from the eighth to the twenty-first century.
In addition, students are required to choose two further modules from those on offer. Students may make an open selection of modules or explore more specialised interests. While modules may vary from year to year, recent options include:
- Welsh Literature in English
- Revolution & Modernity
- Pre-Modern Travel
- Gender & Devotion in Early Modern Literature
- Myth & the Early Modern Writer
- Medieval Arthur
- The European Renaissance
- Understanding the Middle Ages
- Manuscript & Printed Books
- Post-Medieval Arthur
In place of an taught module, students may elect to follow an Open Essay - a 30-credit module in which you will research a literary subject of their choice guided by one-to-one supervision with a chosen member of staff.
Note: It is also possible to take one optional module to the value of 30 credits from (1) the MA in Creative Writing (if the pre-requisites of creative writing experience are satisfied), or (2) another School in the College of Arts, Humanities and Business (again providing any pre-requisites are met).
After the completion of the four modules which make up Part One of the programme, Part Two consists of a 20,000-word dissertation (60 credits) on a subject of your choice, researched and written under the individual supervision of a subject specialist. If you are hoping to specialise in your literary studies, you are expected to write your dissertation in a research area relevant to that particular area of expertise.
Note: Students who successfully complete Part One of the MA programme but elect not to write a dissertation are awarded a postgraduate diploma.
Modules for the current academic year
Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the English Literature Modules page.
Applicants to this programme should normally hold an undergraduate BA (Hons) degree in English Literature or a related subject, demonstrating high achievement in elements relevant to the proposed research, or equivalent experience. Your application should also outline the area in which you wish to specialise. For international students whose first language is not English, the entry requirement includes an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall (with no mark below 6.0 in any aspect of the test).
For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.
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