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Victorian Gothic: History, Literature and Culture MA (Distance Learning)

Victorian Gothic: History, Literature and Culture MA (Distance Learning)

Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Nineteenth Century English Literature Literature: Specific Periods Social History Cultural Studies

Course type


Course Summary

Victorian society and culture was a contradiction – an era of bold vision and technological wonders entwined with deep social fears and cultural anxieties. Why do we associate the Victorians with darkness, sin, hypocrisy and monstrosity? Why does the Gothic seem to best encapsulate how we think about and remember the Victorians? These are some of the questions you'll explore on this course. This MA explores not just 19th-century Gothic cultures but, more generally, the fears, wonders, and dark imagination of the Victorian era. Through a rich and fascinating range of historical, literary and folkloric texts, themes and approaches, you'll probe the darker side of the Victorian age. The course gives you access to a wealth of online resources and digitised archival material relating to Victorian culture and draws on local literary and cultural resources, such as the Conan Doyle Collection (Lancelyn Green Bequest) in Portsmouth’s Central Library. You'll have the freedom and scope to pursue your own areas of interest and research via an individual research project and 15,000-word dissertation. What you'll experience On this course you'll: Be taught by experts from both the history and English departments at the University of Portsmouth Develop your research skills, critical thinking and literary analysis Work through 2 core content modules, focussed on the cultural tensions between Victorian anxieties (crime, poverty, slums, and degeneration) and Victorian enchantment (stage magic, spiritualism and the occult, the development of Victorian celebrity culture, the struggle of intellect to break from folkloric magic and supernatural superstition in a ‘modern’ age) Use our Library’s wealth of online archival material including London Low Life, Victorian Popular Culture, The Old Bailey Online, The Charles Booth Archive, and the British Library Newspaper Archive Have opportunities to undertake research in the Charles Dickens Collection and Arthur Conan Doyle Collection (Lancelyn Green Bequest), both housed in the Portsmouth Central Library, Portsmouth Get to study any topic of interest within the broad scope of the Victorian Gothic and the history of Victorian culture Be able to base your studies around more recent Neo-Victorian re-imaginings of the nineteenth century in their research projects, exploring areas such as crime or supernatural fictions, or steampunk culture Get to take optional field trips Careers and opportunities As well as giving you greater expertise in the field of Victorian Gothic literature, this course also enhances your knowledge and skill in other areas. During this course, you'll: develop the skillset required to work in the heritage industry, the arts and media develop a strong grounding for pursuing more advanced levels of academic study, including PhDs and careers in academia have the opportunity to gain experience in event organisation, voluntary work, management and promotion, such as for local cultural events, for example, Portsmouth DarkFest improve your broader academic skills, such as the ability to analyse, assess, synthesise and evaluate develop your archival and research skills, as well as data analysis and interpretation abilities improve your oral and written communication, time and workload management, and other transferable skills.

Different course options

Distance without attendance | University of Portsmouth | 2 years | SEP-20

Study mode

Distance without attendance


2 years

Start date



Dissertation - Core
Victorian Anxieties (content module 1) - Core
Theory, Skills and Approaches (critical skills and archives module) - Core
Victorian Enchantments (content module 2) - Core
Independent Project - Core

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

A good second-class honours degree, or equivalent, in History, English, or a relevant subject, or a master's degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. Applicants may be subject to interview.

University information

With just under 4,000 postgraduate students on campus, the University of Portsmouth is an ideal choice for postgraduate students. The university has great research credentials, excelling in areas such as astrophysics, forensics and sports science. A massive 89% of its research in physics and 90% of its research in allied health professions was rated as either ‘World Leading’ or ‘Internationally Excellent’ by the Research Excellence Framework...more