Course information


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

We will be making some changes to the way our programmes will be delivered in 2021-22 to ensure we continue to respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All programmes will be delivered in-person on campus with some specific sessions within each programme being delivered online in a pre-recorded format. Where necessary, changes will also be made to assessment formats.

This pathway of the MA Literary Studies focuses especially on twentieth and twenty-first century literature.

Why study the MA Literary Studies: Modern and Contemporary Literature pathway at Goldsmiths?

  • On the compulsory module for this Masters programme, you'll look at the most significant trends, influences, and movements in twentieth-century literature. This includes literary realism, expressionism, absurdism, writing on the Holocaust, and the emergence of poststructuralism and postmodernism. 

  • We study some of the most important European and American texts of this time period and situate them within their relevant cultural contexts. We'll get you reading and analysing works by James Joyce, André Gide, Samuel Beckett, W.G. Sebald, Primo Levi and Virginia Woolf – among others.

  • You'll have 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 modern literature.

  • 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.

The convenor of this pathway is Dr Carole Sweeney

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Department of English.

What you'll study

Compulsory module Module title Credits
  Modern and Contemporary Literary Movements 30 credits

You also take three option modules from the selection below, in addition to the compulsory module and dissertation.

Option modules Module title Credits
  Studies in Comparative Literature & Criticism 30 credits
  Theories of Literature & Culture 30 credits
  Literature of the Caribbean & its Diasporas 30 credits
  Nineteenth-Century Literature: Romanticisms 30 credits
  Shakespeare and the Early Modern 30 credits
  Postcolonial Fiction: Theory and Practice 30 credits
  Postmodernist Fiction 30 credits
  Modern and Contemporary Women's Writing: 1920s To Present 30 credits
  Literature and Philosophy 30 credits
  Contemporary Indigenous Literatures: Place, Politics and Identity 30 credits
  English as a Lingua Franca and Language Teaching 30 credits
  Documenting America: The Photo Text 1910 to 1960 30 credits
  The Contemporary American Novel in the Era of Climate Change 30 credits
  Twenty-First-Century American Fiction 30 credits
  Palestine and Postcolonialism 30 credits
  European Decadence and the Visual Arts 30 credits
  Text in Performance: Shakespeare 30 credits
  Contemporary African American Literature 30 credits
  Historicising the Field of Black British Writing: From the Romans to the Present 30 credits
  The Genres and Aesthetics of Contemporary Black British Writing 30 credits
  American Science Fiction: 1950 Onwards 30 credits

Download the programme specification. 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.

For 2021-22 and 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the programme changes page.

What our students say


"I love the energy and creativity of Goldsmiths."

"I’ve worked at Goldsmiths for a few years and I’ve always loved the energy and creativity of the university. I’d been thinking about doing a masters for a while and having already met several people from the English department in meetings as part of my day job, I knew the staff were friendly and welcoming. They haven’t disappointed.

Before I started I was nervous about getting back into education after several years out of academia, but everyone has been really supportive. The lecturers are always happy to talk, and the department runs seminars throughout the year on subjects like research methods and structuring essays. These have been a great way to remind myself about the expectations of academia and to prepare myself for the jump from undergraduate to postgraduate study.

I was also worried about the workload, especially as I’m working full-time, but I’ve found that as long as I use my weekends effectively I can get all the reading done on time. As a part-time student I’ve only been studying one module a term which means I can really immersive myself in it.

The core module on my course was brilliant - it forced me to read texts I’d been meaning to read for years, and to engage with a variety of different literary themes. It gave me a great overview of modern literature and was the perfect way to ease myself back into higher education.

The optional modules are extremely varied and include subjects like American literature, translation and photography, so everyone’s degree can be tailored to their particular interests. I’ve deliberately chosen modules on subjects I’ve never studied before, so that I can benefit from as much of the department’s expertise, and widen my own knowledge base, as much as possible."

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.

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing and no element lower than 6.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £8370
  • Home - part-time: £4185
  • International - full-time: £16120

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.


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

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.



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


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

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