2 years part-time or 1 year full-time
1 evening a week part-time or 2 evenings a week full-time, October to September
This Master's degree in modern and contemporary literature begins with an investigation of literary and theoretical conceptions of modernity in early twentieth-century literature, focusing on topics such as urbanisation, technology, mass culture, individualism and subjectivity.
You will also have the chance to analyse the historical transformations of literature and cultural thought from 1945, using the contexts of post-war reconstruction, decolonisation, the fate of avant-garde art, and theories of postmodernity and globalisation.
The emergence of international literary paradigms during the twentieth century is reflected in the choice of texts from British, American and post-colonial contexts.
Why study this course at Birkbeck?
- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
- In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 91% of eligible staff submitted research, of which 75% was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
- Enables you to gain a thorough grounding in the key concepts of modernism, modernity and the contemporary.
- You will be introduced to key texts and paradigms that shape our conception of literature from the early twentieth century to the present.
- Opportunities to join a number of graduate seminars and reading groups, and occasional discussions with practising novelists and poets.
- Birkbeck is at the geographical centre of London’s research library complex, a short distance from the British Library, Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research.
- Senate House Library has an outstanding collection of literary periodicals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, while the nearby University College London Library also has an important James Joyce archive. The Poetry Library at London’s South Bank Centre is rich in twentieth-century poetry.
- Birkbeck's School of Arts hosts the internationally acclaimed Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, which regularly features visiting poetic practitioners.
- The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.
- Find out more about our range of world-class research resources.
- Find out what our students say about studying English and humanities at Birkbeck.
- Watch videos of our postgraduate students discussing their experience of studying at Birkbeck.
You take two core modules and choose two option modules, which vary from year to year.
You also complete a dissertation on any aspect of twentieth-century and contemporary literature, written from Easter to September in your final year.
Indicative option modules
- A Confusion of Tongues: Illness, Language, Writing
- Aesthetics and Cultural Theory
- African and Asian Filmic Narrative
- Contemporary British Poetry
- Contemporary US Fiction
- Memory Trauma and Cultural Identity
- Narrating Nation after 9/11
- Postcolonialism: In Theory
- The Book Unbound
- Twenty-First Century Feminist Fiction and the World in Crisis
- Voiceworks: Collaborative Song Project
MA Modern and Contemporary Literature dissertation
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
Good second-class degree in English or a related subject.
Non-standard entry qualifications or appropriate training and experience will be considered.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.
If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.
Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.
Fees and finance
We are committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies.
FeesPart-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa
Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
Part-time overseas students: £ 7225 pa
Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa
Teaching and assessment
Our innovative, engaging teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments.
Seminars and lectures
Two core courses, one essay each; two option modules, one essay each; dissertation of 15,000 words.
Careers and employability
To help you get ahead in your career, we offer free advice and training and our recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, can connect you with employers.
Careers and employability
Graduates go in to careers in writing and journalism, editing, publishing, research, marketing and public relations, and education. Possible professions include newspaper/magazine journalist, editorial assistant, or writer. This degree may also be useful in becoming a secondary school teacher, publisher, public relations officer, or marketing executive.
Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.
We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck.
How to apply
You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application.
Need help with your application? Watch videos featuring our academic experts giving advice on applying to Birkbeck and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.
Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.
Application deadlines and interviews
We recommend you apply as early as possible. Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Most of our students live in private accommodation, but we also offer student accommodation and access to the professional services of the University of London Housing Services.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
Birkbeck is committed to doing everything we can to help you finance your studies. Find out about what is available, how to apply and the advice and support we provide.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research universities. Discover more about our vibrant, intellectually challenging and exciting research culture.
Boost your career
Discover how Birkbeck's unique evening teaching, coupled with our comprehensive careers and employability services, can help you get ahead in a highly competitive job market.
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
There are lots of ways to come and visit us and meet our staff and former students, including Open Evenings, Open Days and guided campus tours. Discover more here.
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