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MA in English Literature - 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 critical and theoretical perspectives have changed over time and how they bear on the practice of literary research at postgraduate level
  • the ability to use a range of research tools and methods appropriate to postgraduate study in literature
  • independent research, specialisation and detailed knowledge of a chosen specialist topic.

Cognitive skills

You will develop an ability to:

  • engage critically with a range of literary texts and complex critical, theoretical and historical material
  • recognise a potential area for research in literature and literary culture
  • evaluate and research appropriate supporting materials for your chosen research area.

Practical and/or professional skills

You will develop your ability to:

  • present findings in different formats; constructing coherent and persuasive written and oral arguments
  • apply critical and analytical thinking to a variety of texts and documents
  • independently design a research proposal
  • communicate effectively and plan and write a substantial piece of work with appropriate scholarly apparatus
  • 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

Teaching will be via module texts, electronic media and online forums. The module materials will be made up of approximately 30 per cent content delivered by the module team and the rest being found content. These materials will provide a balance of teaching resources relevant to the learning outcomes and tuition activities for the module. At postgraduate level, it is expected that the materials will be mainly text based and provided online.

You will be required to spend an average of 25 hours per week on studying. In part 1, module-directed hours will account for 50 per cent of your workload, and the remainder is independent study hours. In part 2, independent study is higher at 70 per cent with the remainder being module-directed to reflect the focus on writing a dissertation.

There are nine assessment preparation weeks that have no taught content allowing you time for assessment writing. However, all study weeks throughout the module incorporate time and support for preparation and writing of assessed work. Each module has three tutor-marked assessment points and an end-of-module assessment. A qualification-level approach to assessment will be taken across both modules, building towards the 12,000-word dissertation in part 2.

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