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MA in English - Learning Outcomes

Educational aims

The academic purpose of the MA is to equip you to take higher level study in English by building on your existing knowledge of, and interest in, the study of literature. It will provide you with appropriate training in methods of research in literature at postgraduate level. It will give you the opportunity to carry out a substantial piece of independent research and write this up using the appropriate scholarly apparatus. The MA will function both as a standalone post-graduate qualification and as preparatory training in the research methodologies required for doctoral study.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills, and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

You will develop knowledge and understanding of:

  • how competing and overlapping critical and theoretical perspectives bear upon the practice of literary research at postgraduate level
  • how the academic study of literature has developed over time
  • the ability to use a range of research tools and methods appropriate to postgraduate study in literature
  • the importance of textual and bibliographical study in postgraduate work in literature
  • a chosen topic within a specialist area.

Cognitive skills

An ability to:

  • engage critically with a range of literary texts and complex critical, theoretical and historical material
  • contribute in an informed way to current debates about literature
  • recognise a potential area for research in literature.

Practical and/or professional skills

You will develop your ability to:

  • construct and present sophisticated, coherent and persuasive written and oral arguments
  • collect, sift and organise substantial bodies of material, and evaluate their significance
  • independently to design a research proposal
  • plan and write a substantial piece of work, presented with appropriate scholarly apparatus and acknowledgement of the work of others
  • use a research library and a range of electronic information resources.

Key skills

You will develop your ability to:

  • communicate ideas effectively in the form of extended postgraduate-level essays, presented in an appropriately academic manner
  • undertake academic tasks of increasing length and complexity
  • design a programme of independent research and writing
  • use feedback from tutors, fellow students and other resources effectively to improve performance.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding are assessed in the 120-credit module of this MA by means of written tutor marked assignments (TMAs) and an end of module assessment (EMA). The TMAs will be structured so as to emphasise particular learning outcomes at appropriate stages of the module. For example, the first two TMAs focus on developing an understanding of critical and theoretical perspectives in the context of close textual analysis, while the third and fourth TMAs further encourage you to develop a sense of the historical development of the discipline by bringing a broader picture of reception and interpretation into view. The EMA focuses on developing an understanding of literary and book history, relevant particularly to the first two Learning Outcomes under 'Knowledge and understanding'. The remaining three Knowledge and understanding Learning Outcomes are assessed throughout this module in preparation for the 60-credit dissertation module that follows. In the latter, work on a chosen topic within a specialist area is assessed by means of a dissertation.

Cognitive skills, Practical and Professional skills and Key skills are assessed in TMAs and an EMA throughout part 1 (A815). The module builds towards research for the dissertation in part 2 (A816). An ability to independently recognise a potential area for research in literature is therefore a skill developed and assessed over both modules of the MA and is especially important to the assessment of the final dissertation. Through tuition and the marking of assessments, tutors with subject and teaching expertise will guide you towards achieving skills of evaluation and analysis appropriate to MA level.

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