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MA in Literary Studies: Pathway in American Literature & Culture

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department
    English and Comparative Literature
  • Funding available
Filip Bunkens

Course overview

This pathway of the MA in Literary Studies aims to enhance your knowledge and understanding of the literature that has sought to define or has emerged from 'America'.

The core module at the centre of this pathway, American Literature and Culture: Criticial and Theoretical Concepts, will engage you in a rigorous study of particular phases and applications of American literary criticism and theory, as well as consolidate your knowledge of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature.

In particular, you will study some of the ways in which nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature sought to understand the nation in the face of the fragmenting effects of modernity and postmodernity; competing readings of canonical American texts will enable you to assess how American critical and theoretical conceptions shape American literature, producing different “Americas”.

While the core module gives you a strong grounding in this field, the flexible structure of the MA will offer you the opportunity to pursue your wider interests by studying three options from the large provision of the department, choosing at least one of these in an area that is relevant to the literature and culture of the Americas.

Core module and options will draw on a variety of medias (verbal, visual, filmic). Both the core module and the options are taught by leading specialists of the subject.

You will be able to further develop your interest in American literature and culture through a 15,000-word dissertation to be submitted at the end of your programme of study.

All texts will be studied in English, in English translation, or, in the case of films, with English subtitles.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Maria Macdonald

Modules & structure

Core module Module title Credits
  American Literature & Culture: Critical and Theoretical Concepts 30 credits

In addition to the core module, you also take three option modules from the selection below.

Option modules Module title Credits
  Studies in Comparative Literature & Criticism 30 credits
  Theories of Literature & Culture 30 credits
  Modern Literary Movements 30 credits
  Literature of the Caribbean & its Diasporas 30 credits
  Nineteenth-Century Literature: Romanticisms 30 credits
  Shakespeare and the Early Modern 30 credits
  Rewriting Sexualities 30 credits
  Literature and Philosophy 30 credits
  Twentieth-Century American Poetry: Theory in Practice 30 credits
  Documenting America: The Photo Text 1910 to 1960 30 credits
  Reading Freud: Love & its Vicissitudes 30 credits
  Twenty-first Century American Fiction 30 credits
  Palestine & Postcolonialism 30 credits
  European Decadence and the Visual Arts 30 credits
  Writing the Mediterranean [Erasmus Intensive Programme, Malta, held during the Easter vacation; subject to EU funding] 30 credits
  Postcolonial Fiction: Theory and Practice 30 credits
  Romantic Shakespeare 30 credits
  The Contemporary American Novel in the Era of Climate Change 30 credits
  Interculturality, Text, Poetics 30 credits
  Elizabethan Style: Visual and Verbal 30 credits
  The Post-Imperial City in Literature and Film 30 credits
  Between Languages: Multilingualism and Translation in Contemporary Literature 30 credits
  Text in Performance: Shakespeare 30 credits

You can also choose linguistics modules as option modules.

Linguistics modules Module title Credits
  Analysing Discourse & Identity in Spoken Interaction 30 credits
  English in a Multilingual World 30 credits
  Intercultural Discourse & Communication 30 credits
  Language & Ideology in Written Discourse 30 credits
  English as a Lingua Franca and Language Teaching 30 credits

Download the programme specification, relating to the 2017-18 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Department

English at Goldsmiths is ranked:
2nd in London for creative writing*
18th in the UK for the quality of our research**
In the world’s top 100 universities for English language and literature***

English and Comparative Literature

Cervantes. Bukowski. Dostoevsky. Self. From classical literature and linguistics, to creative writing and contemporary fiction, we take a critical and creative approach to the discipline.

As a department we’re interested in a field of enquiry that extends from Old English to 21st-century literatures in English, French, Spanish and Italian. So you can study texts and films across a variety of periods and genres.

We’re engaged

We have a dedicated Writers’ Centre that encourages new writing and stimulates debate about all forms of literature. And we award the annual Goldsmiths Prize (for “fiction at its most novel”), which brings critically acclaimed writers like Ali Smith and Eimear McBride to campus.

We’re nurturing

We may be one of the largest departments at Goldsmiths but that doesn’t mean you won’t get personal support. Learn from our approachable team of academic staff and become part of the student-run English Society.

We’re vibrant

As one of the first departments in the UK to offer creative writing, you’ll be part of a hub of literary excellence – our graduates have gone on to win prestigious awards from the Orange Prize for Fiction to the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.

Find out more about the Department of English and Comparative Literature

*Guardian University Guide League Tables 2017
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
***QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

Skills & careers

Skills

You'll 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

Careers

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

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

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • An essay (written in English), as an example of your academic writing

When applying, please indicate your preferred pathway.

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Please submit an essay (written in English) together with your application, as an example of your academic writing.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Scholarships

This programme is eligible for one of the department's fee waivers. Find out more about how to apply.

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