One year full-time or two years part-time
Two evenings a week full-time or one evening a week part-time, October to June
Other entry years for this course2017
Drawing on Birkbeck's position as a world-leading centre in the field of 19th-century studies, this MA offers you the chance to take a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to studying the literature, culture and history of Victorian Britain. You will encounter a compelling range of Victorian texts, contexts, themes and ideas on a degree course that does justice to the energy and variety of the Victorian period.
Two core modules, and Modernising Victorians, introduce some of the most significant debates, ideas and events of the long 19th century, and offer you the chance to develop new critical approaches to Victorian studies. These compulsory courses are supplemented by a wide range of option modules, which allow you to pursue your own interests in the field of Victorian Studies and beyond.
Students in their final year of study have the chance to take an internship module. Successful interns spend a term working with one of London's Victorian cultural institutions, gaining first-hand experience of working in the cultural sector and using their host institution's archives to develop a unique research project. Previous interns have worked with the Dickens House Museum, the Salvation Army Heritage Centre and Archive, and the Guildhall Art Gallery, and have developed their projects into funded doctoral research topics.
- Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 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.
- Explore this fascinating period through a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together literature, visual art, history and cultural studies.
- Our lively Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies organises a dynamic range of year-round events that showcase the research of Birkbeck's academics, researchers and students, including our annual Dickens Day and our Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies. The Centre also established, and for many years hosted, the London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar.
- Read 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, our free, open-access online journal that celebrated its 10th anniversary in November 2015 with a special issue on 'The Nineteenth-Century Digital Archive'.
You take two core modules, which will introduce you to different types of primary material and different approaches, and you choose two option modules from a range of topics.
In the final phase of your studies you research and write a 15,000-word dissertation.
To find out more, read our programme handbook.
Indicative option modules
- Colonialism and Modernity
- Death in Victorian Culture
- Race and the Victorians
- The Book Unbound
- The Victorian Fin De Siecle
- The Victorian Supernatural
- Victorian Emotions
- Victorian Literature and Disability
- Victorian London: Literature, Culture and the Urban Experience
- Victorian Pasts, Presents, Futures
- Victorian Poetry
Option modules change from year to year - the list here is indicative.
We welcome a wide range of qualifications, from the UK and abroad, and we will also consider your non-academic achievements.
Normally a good degree in a relevant subject such as English, history, philosophy or history of art, but a degree in other subjects will be considered, as will other qualifications.
Prior to interview, you will need to submit a short piece of written work (up to 500 words) on any Victorian topic.
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.
Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)
If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.
We offer advice on all the options for financing your studies. You can pay your fees interest-free by direct debit and postgraduate loans are available for all Home/EU students.
Fees (2017/8)Part-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.
At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.
Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading.
Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.
In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor.
Methods of teaching on this course
The core modules consist of lectures, seminars and workshops. Option modules are taught in seminar groups. For your dissertation, you will be allocated a personal supervisor.
Staff teaching on this MA include:
Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).
Indicative class size
Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to large groups, with 30 to 100+ students in attendance, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups of 10 to 30 students, led by an academic.
Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:
- academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
- written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
- numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).
Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.
Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.
Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short– or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.
Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations. You will be given time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.
Unseen written examinations are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June, and, in most cases, are held during the day on a weekday – if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance. Exam timetables are published online in March each year.
Methods of assessment on this course
Assessment is by coursework essays and a dissertation: one piece of work for each of the two core modules; a 5000-word essay for each of the two option modules; and a dissertation of up to 15,000 words.
As well as a mark for your coursework and exams, you will also receive feedback from your marker(s) to help you learn, improve and succeed. We encourage you to discuss feedback with your module tutor.
Feedback can come in different forms: notes via Moodle (our online learning environment); a paper copy of a completed feedback form; or in-class or face-to-face feedback. The College Policy on Feedback on Assessment sets out what you can expect from your feedback.
Your department will usually provide you with your marked coursework within four weeks of submission. Your initial mark is provisional until the relevant Board of Examiners has confirmed it.
Your official coursework and exam results will be made available to you via your My Birkbeck Profile online.
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 on to careers in education/academia, editing and the creative arts. Possible professions include archivist, academic librarian, or editorial assistant. This degree can also be useful in becoming a primary/secondary school teacher, information officer, arts administrator, or writer.
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.
Application deadlines and interviews
We recommend you apply as early as possible. Later applications may also be considered, subject to availability of places.
New Birkbeck initiative provides life-changing education opportunities for asylum seekers
20 asylum seekers from troubled places around the world joined Birkbeck at the start of the new academic year thanks to the Compass Project, a ground-breaking initiative that provided fully-funded places for them to study undergraduate or postgraduate certificate courses of their choice.
Birkbeck student wins prestigious Institute of Business Ethics’ Competition
David Kerr has been announced as the winner of this year’s Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) student essay competition, for his exploration of the ethical questions of tax avoidance.
Professor Bill Bowring awarded Fellowship of the Academy of Social Sciences
Professor Bowring is a leading expert in the UK on legal and human rights issues in Russia and the countries of the Former Soviet Union, and Eastern and Central Europe.
Quest for justice
A quest for justice leads Marie Hydara to a law degree at Birkbeck.
Trailblazing in Maths
Professor Sarah Hart marks International Women’s Day.
Podcast: Advice from an elder
Dan Reagan studied at Birkbeck in 1969. Now aged 84, he offers advice to today's students.