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MMU's English Studies MA – open for applications

Want to see the world in a new way? MMU have a range of cultural MA courses that'll broaden your mind and your career options

Published on August 5th 2010.

MMU's English Studies MA – open for applications

The Department of English at MMU has recently widened its range of Masters courses to play to the strengths of its researchers and teachers and it looks as if what they offer catches the spirit of the times. Some of their courses directly address contemporary culture, exploring up-to-the-minute topics in literature, film and television and exploring a range of theoretical standpoints about how we live now.

Have we ever been more fascinated with the dead, the undead, and all the paraphernalia of the paranormal?

Something wicked this way comes

New to this suite of postgraduate courses is a pathway specifically geared to the Gothic. It is the only MA in Gothic Studies in England – and looks likely to be popular. With gothic horror permeating our culture through writers like Margeret Atwood, Peter Ackroyd and Angela Carter, television series like Buffy and a succession of films from Hollywood, Europe and beyond, have we ever been more fascinated with the dead, the undead, and all the paraphernalia of the paranormal?

The course digs up the bones of the Gothic in writers like John Webster before immersing itself in classic texts from Horace Walpole, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe and many more. The course then shows how we are still haunted by the Gothic – from Iain Sinclair, Sarah Waters and Cormac McCarthy to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen.

The way we live now

MMU’s pathway in ‘Contemporary Literature and Film’ has set itself a challenge – to keep up-to-date when it explores how contemporary culture is represented and to question how we go about defining the contemporary. It currently takes the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 as its starting point, looking at how novels like Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs and films like Good Bye Lenin dealt with the topic.

9/11 is also addressed (through novels like Don DeLillo’s Falling Man and a range of feature films which were based on the attacks on the Twin Towers). On the way, the course takes topical issues – how we perceive the natural world, how we construct our ideas of childhood, what it means to be cosmopolitan, and what it means to live in a cosmopolitan city – looking at a range of written and filmed material.

The theoretical perspective

MMU’s Department of English has long had a recognized expertise in contemporary critical theory. A third MA pathway has been developed in Critical Theory for students who wish to sharpen their theoretical teeth: semiotics, post-structuralism, the nature and meaning of subjectivity and of the text itself: all these are considered through a thorough engagement with Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida. There’s also a detailed study of what we mean by ‘Modernity’, taking in writers from Marx and Engels, Nietzsche and Freud.

All three of these pathways are supported with a range of optional units covering topics as diverse as contemporary queer cultures, ethics, American Gothic literature and postcolonialism. Students who don’t want to follow any one pathway can opt to take a ‘general’ route through the MA, and all students get a solid training in postgraduate research skills.

Said one recent MA English Studies graduate: "I found all the teaching staff very approachable and extremely knowledgeable in their subject area; the units were all engaging, challenging me to broaden my critical and literary horizons."

The courses are open for applications right through until the start of term in late September, and further details can be found at:


You are also welcome to contact the MA Team direct:

  • MA English Studies: Contemporary Literature and Film,
    Programme Leader – Prof Berthold
  • MA English Studies: Critical Theory,
    Programme Leader - Dr Kate McGowan
  • MA English Studies: The Gothic,
    Programme Leader – Prof Sue Zlosnik
  • MA English Studies (General Pathway),
    Programme Leader – Dr Andy Moor

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