Course information


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

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

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.

Module title Credits
Introduction to Modern and Contemporary American Literature and Culture 30 credits
Nineteenth-Century Literature: Romanticisms 30 credits
Literature of the Caribbean & its Diasporas 30 credits
Literature in the World: Encounters, Comparison, Reception 30 credits
Theories of Literature & Culture 30 credits
Historicising the Field of Black British Writing: From the Romans to the Present 30 credits
American Science Fiction: 1950 Onwards 30 credits
The Contemporary American Novel in the Era of Climate Change 30 credits
Contemporary Indigenous Literatures: Place, Politics and Identity 30 credits
Interculturality, Text, Poetics 30 credits
Modern and Contemporary Women's Writing: 1920s To Present 30 credits
Genre and Aesthetics: Contemporary Black British Writing 30 credits
Postmodern Fiction 30 credits
Literature and Philosophy 30 credits
European Decadence and the Visual Arts 30 credits

You can also choose options from a range of Linguistics and Translation modules.

Module title Credits
Discourse and Identity in Spoken Interaction 30 credits
Thinking Translation: Introduction to Translation Theory 30 credits
Decolonising English Language Teaching 30 credits
Language in its Sociocultural Context 30 credits
Intercultural Discourse & Communication 30 credits
Core Issues in English Language & Linguistics 30 credits
English in a Multilingual World 30 credits
Language & Ideology in Written Discourse 30 credits

Download the programme specification.

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

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 2024/2025 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £9630
  • Home - part-time: £4815
  • International - full-time: £18560

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 under a student visa. 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 academic qualifications
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively a copy of your academic reference
  • Copies of your educational transcripts or certificates
  • 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
  • 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

Similar programmes

MA Literary Studies: Pathway in Literature of the Caribbean & its Diasporas

This pathway will introduce you to a wide range of Caribbean texts, and gain an understanding of the social, political, and historical contexts that impact these literatures. This includes history, memory, the impacts of Colonialism, post-Colonialism, and Globalisation. You will study texts either in English or in English translation.

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