"Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2021/2022. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details."
Why choose Herts?
Flexible: This is one of the only Literature and Culture courses available online both full and part-time.
Teaching Excellence: Our lecturers have won many teaching awards and are active writers for leading academic publishers (see key staff section).
Employment Prospects: Our graduates work as academics, writers/authors, publishers, agents, and researchers for organisations including Warner Brothers, and The Corner Shop PR Agency.
About the course
Our online M.A. in Literature and Culture enables you to explore innovative and diverse texts and their many different contexts – historical, social and political. Your engagement will focus on themes at the forefront of contemporary culture, including identity politics, Otherness, and the environment. Online learning offers you the benefits of flexible opportunities to hone your critical and analytical skills with plenty of support from our research-active academic staff. You’ll also gain advanced research skills and have the opportunity to pursue your own research interests via a 13,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice.
Twenty-first-century literary scholarship challenges readers to engage with the cultural impact of globally significant issues such as sustainability, cultural difference and race relations, and inclusivity with regards to intersectional identities. The modules on this Master’s programme are specifically designed to develop students’ critical understanding of literature and related forms of cultural expression (film, music, and the visual arts) within these frameworks. Students will undertake three of the four following modules as part of their M.A. programme of study:
Our students come from a broad range of disciplines, with many attracted to our module on vampire fiction, “Reading the Vampire: Science, Sexuality and Alterity in Modern Culture”. Going beyond Gothic studies, this topic has generated national media interest and the accompanying Open Graves, Open Minds Project hosted by Herts’ Literature department is an important online research tool for our students and all those interested in Gothic studies, the fantastic and the magical in fiction and folklore.
In our ground-breaking “US Culture and #BlackLivesMatter” module you’ll engage with diverse contemporary texts ranging from novels and non-fiction to film, music, art, and television to consider the meaning of blackness and racial identity in twenty-first-century American culture. As inspired by the social justice movement against racism and violence from which it takes its name, this module foregrounds the diversity of black life, enabling students to engage with diverse cultural texts on topics such as identity, violence, politics, love, Otherness, and queerness. This innovative module has also been featured on BBC Radio 6 and The Independent.
It seems paradoxical that our complex contemporary world is characterised both by digital ‘interconnectedness’ and increasing experiences of fragmentation and isolation. One way to explore this is to scrutinise how the twentieth century ushered in an ever more urban and cosmopolitan world interconnected via networks of communication and transport as well as cultural networks of influence and exchange. Our “Networks of Modernism” module challenges more traditional versions of the modernist literary canon and considers an exciting range of early twentieth-century texts written at a time when ideas about gender, race, class and sexuality were changing rapidly. It explores a broad range of topics and tropes, from war to parties, from subways to greenwoods, from urban poverty to salon culture, from the behaviour of crowds to sexual transgression and taboo - and locations as diverse as Bloomsbury and Harlem, Dublin and Alabama. It engages with recent theoretical debates about modernist writing, including deconstructive, psychoanalytic, spatial and queer approaches.
From climate change and rising extinction rates to the preservation of the Amazon, contemporary environmental concerns proliferate on an urgent, global, scale. Such concerns underpin our module “Earth Words: Literature, Place and Environment” which traces the ways in which changing attitudes towards our environment (conceived in various ways), have been shaped, mapped, and critiqued by literary texts. A number of theoretical approaches to understanding the concepts of ‘space’, ‘place’ and ‘nature’ are explored, including the 'spatial turn' in cultural studies, and the burgeoning field of ecocriticism. Students are introduced to a diverse range of literary and cultural texts, including poetry, essays, novels, creative non-fiction and short stories, from the late eighteenth century to the present day. They are also encouraged to reflect on their own relationship to the immediate environment, and the places that have shaped their life and identity.
The interdisciplinary scope of the modules offered in this M.A. is reflected in the broad range of subjects chosen by our students for their dissertations. Recent topics have ranged from space, place and narrative in Young Adult fiction to the representation of disability in the Harry Potter novels, to fin de siècle vampire fiction. Graduates of the M.A. Literature and Culture have found it an excellent platform for further research in their chosen specialism at the PhD level, as well as an excellent grounding for a wide range of careers in the arts, education and the media.
At the University of Hertfordshire, we want to make sure your time studying with us is as stress-free and rewarding as possible. We offer a range of support services including; student wellbeing, academic support, accommodation, and childcare to ensure that you make the most of your time at Herts and can focus on studying and having fun.
Sandwich placement or study abroad year: n/a
Applications open to international and EU students: Yes