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MA Literary Studies: Pathway in Critical Theory

MA Literary Studies: Pathway in Critical Theory

Different course options

Full time | Goldsmiths, University of London | 1 year | SEP

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Critical Theory

Course type


Course Summary

This pathway of our MA Literary Studies degree gives you the chance to study critical literary and cultural theory.

Why study the MA Literary Studies: Critical Theory pathway?

  • You will look at a range of theoretical issues in literary and cultural theory in both its historical and contemporary modalities. This begins with Aristotle, Luther, Kant and Nietzsche and includes thinkers like Freud, Heidegger, Blanchot, Derrida, Benjamin and Adorno. You'll also look at structuralism, gender, and postcolonial theory.
  • The main focus will be on the relationship of theory to literary and cultural criticism but you will also be able to concentrate on theoretical concepts in their own right.
  • You also have the opportunity to pursue your wider interests thanks to the flexible structure of the MA by studying three options from the large provision of the department, choosing at least one of these in an area that is relevant to literary and critical theory.
  • You will be able to take advantage of the unique resources available in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, which is home (together with Sociology) to the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought (, which runs an annual research seminar, and hosts numerous public lectures, workshops, and conferences throughout the year.
  • You will be able to further develop your interest in literary theory or literary-theoretical approaches to literature and culture through a 15,000-word dissertation to be submitted at the end of your programme of study.


You will develop transferable skills, including:

  • enhanced communication and discussion skills in written and oral contexts
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate different textual materials
  • the ability to organise information; the ability to assimilate and evaluate competing arguments


Graduates of this programme have gone on to pursue careers in:

  • publishing
  • journalism
  • public relations
  • teaching
  • advertising
  • the civil service
  • business
  • industry
  • the media


This coremodule for the pathway in ?Modern Literary Theory? surveys key currents in literary and cultural theory from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day. Beginning with the examination of shifting ideas and theories of the ?literary? in themodule of the discipline?s development, it goes on to explore ten key thinkers and tendencies, starting with Nietzsche. These will include Freud, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Benjamin and Adorno, Structuralism, Blanchot, Derrida, Gender and Postcolonial Theory. Although the question of the relationship of theory to literary and cultural criticism is a central one, themodule will enable you to focus on theoretical concepts in their own right. You will also be asked to consider the theoretical implications of the particular formal and stylistic choices made by the thinkers covered.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Students should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject. Students might also be considered for some programmes if they aren’t a graduate or their degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that students have the ability to work at postgraduate level.