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English Literary Studies (Twentieth Century and Contemporary) (MA)

English Literary Studies (Twentieth Century and Contemporary) (MA)

Different course options

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Literature Modern History (17th To 20th Century) (Uk) English Language Contemporary History (Post-1945) Modern History (17th To 20th Century)

Course type


Course Summary

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


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)
  • education
  • international PhD programmes
  • teaching
  • broadcasting
  • creative industries

Assessment methods (Outcome qualification level)

On this course you'll learn through a range of activities that may include small seminar groups, student-led debates
group work, oral presentations, individual consultation.

You'll be able to demonstrate what you have learnt through a variety of assessment methods, such as essays, group presentations, independent research project and dissertation.

You’ll be supported by a personal academic tutor, and you'll have access to a senior tutor. Your contact hours will vary depending on your module choices.


This core module for the MA English Literary Studies (Twentieth-Century) pathway, taught by all those contributing to the pathway in a given year, will introduce students to the key critical, theoretical, historiographical and conceptual debates surrounding the study of the long twentieth century. It will emphasise the issues which have been central to the emergence and revision of key areas of scholarship on the period over the last quarter century, and to effective methods for archival research.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

Students will need a 2:1 degree in English literature or a related subject. You will also need to provide a sample of written work for assessment. The sample should be approximately 2,500 words in length.

University information

The University of Southampton is an institution with a strong heritage, with more than 100 years of history and tradition supporting a modern educational model that focuses on student success. Southampton is one of the founding members of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group, a network of research-focused and prestigious universities. Today, the 2023 Complete University Guide league table places Southampton among the top 13 institutions...more