National and International Literatures in EnglishCentre for Manuscript & Print Studies - Inst English Studies
Price on request
MA in National and International Literatures in English
Aims of the programme
The opportunities provided for the study of National and International Literatures in English under the aegis of the School of Advanced Studies and with the participation of so many of London’s major institutions are without parallel. This new MA reflects the University of London’s commitment to the development of a programme of cross cultural and interdisciplinary study in this growing area of literary research. The MA benefits from unrivalled library provision within the University of London Research Library Services, comprising Senate House Library and the libraries of the Institutes of the School of Advanced Study, and at the British Library, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and other London research collections. By bringing together the expertise of a wide range of distinguished staff across the University and other related institutions, the course aims to give students an intellectual diversity of a kind difficult to find elsewhere. Whilst the core course and several options are based at the Institute of English Studies, the programme offers students the opportunity to experience relevant modules at partnership institutions such as the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies at King’s College, Queen Mary College, where the internationally renowned literary journal, Wasafiri, is published, and Goldsmith’s College, which supports a specialist centre in Caribbean Studies.
Programme outcomes, and how they are achieved
Outcomes can be broadly defined as increasing cultural and social understanding through the exploration of texts from many parts of the world, and through close examination of postcolonial theory and practice. The programme draws substantially on the active research of teachers in the specialist areas of study.
Knowledge and understanding
Students will acquire:
- A detailed understanding of the main historical approaches and methods underpinning the subject
- An awareness of current scholarship and the ability to evaluate it
- The development of a sound analysis and knowledge of chosen literatures, both regionally and culturally specific
- A broad theoretical foundation based on contemporary appraisal and refinements in cultural studies, including the History of the Book
- The ability independently to consider, evaluate and synthesise evidence drawn from primary sources and argument drawn from secondary sources to reach and support sound conclusions.
- The ability to communicate and present the results of their researches in a rigorous scholarly way Skills and other attributes
Students will acquire the ability to
- understand and comment on primary source material
- read scholarly publications critically
- conduct independent research at an advanced level
- communicate complex ideas in writing, oral presentations and group discussion
- produce written work in an appropriate style, with good organisation of ideas, clarity of expression, argument and presentation making use of the proper scholarly conventions
- make effective use of electronic resources
- familiarise themselves with the principal sources of information in a variety of subjects
Teaching, learning and assessment strategies
Learning strategies include small weekly classes and seminars, private reading and independent research, as well as a short series of Saturday schools, given by senior teachers in the University and covering such topics of research methodology as are required by the British Academy. Classes usually take place in the Institute and at other institutions in partnership with it.
All students are required to produce a portfolio of four essays (two for the Core Course and one for each of two options) of 5,000 words length, to be submitted at appointed dates. They must also submit a dissertation of between 12-15,000 words by the end of September. Students are encouraged to discuss their work with any of the teachers and, because of the small number involved, students have unusually frequent contact, formal and informal, with staff.
The course begins in late September with an Induction Week, in which students are introduced to the main topics and themes to be covered over the year and visit the Senate House Library and the British Library to acquire some understanding of the resources available to them. All students take the two strands of the core course which runs throughout the first terms and, depending whether they are full-time or part-time, one or two one options in the second term. One strand of the core course offers an introduction to various aspects of post-colonial theory and debate, while the second strand gives students the opportunity to apply the ideas they have encountered in the first strand to literary texts. There are currently ten options which run in rotation:
- Literature and Cultural Identity
- Postwar American Literature and History
- Visions of Home and Abroad: Literatures of the South Asian Diaspora
- Anthropological and Travel Writing
- Postcolonial Life-Writing
- Scottish and Irish Literary Cultures, 1890-1930: the material and publishing context
- The Harlem Renaissance
- Contemporary Australian Literature
- Imagining Britain through Im/Migrant Eyes
- Uses of History in African and Caribbean Literature
- The third term and summer are spent in researching and writing a dissertation, under the guidance of an appropriate supervisor.
Assessment regulations and marking scheme
Assessment is based on coursework and the dissertation. For assessment purposes the programme is divided into four elements, each of which is worth 25% of the total: the Core Course (25%); the two options 25% each and the dissertation 25%. Candidates are normally required to pass all elements. For a pass, a candidate must normally have an aggregate of at least 200. Candidates who fail the dissertation will fail the programme. Failure in one other element of the programme is permitted, providing that the candidate achieves an aggregate of 220 with no mark of less than 40, and a mark of at least 50 on the dissertation and two other elements. MAs are graded overall as Distinction (70% or over), Merit (65-70%), and Pass (5064%).
Support for learning
Students have access to a wide range of libraries with great metropolitan and national collections. A day is spent in the British Library to which students are given a formal introduction by BL staff. They have access to the Senate House Library, situated in Senate House, the libraries of other Institutes within the School, the library at the Africa Centre and are actively encouraged to use the unrivalled selection of specialist libraries within London.
Students who do not have personal computers have access to them in the SAS computer room in the Institute of Historical Research, with internet and e-mail connections. A free e-mail address on the SAS server is given to all students who like one.
The normal minimum entrance requirement is a good second-class honours degree from a British university, or an equivalent qualification from a foreign institution, in any discipline. Applications may also be considered from candidates who do not meet the formal academic requirements, but who offer alternative qualifications or who have considerable work-related experience.
UK candidates are asked to attend for interview at the Institute. Overseas applicants are asked to submit a piece of written work in English on a relevant topic and, in addition, are interviewed by telephone by the Course Director and Course Tutor.
Competence in English
Students whose first language is not English must be able to demonstrate competence in English, both written and spoken. The Institute requires one of the following:
- either an overall score of 7+, with 7 in reading and writing, in IELTS
- or a TOEFL score of 637 + in the paper-based test or a score of 270 in the computer-based test
- or a Grade A in the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English
Other qualifications or proof of competence may be accepted. Any student from an overseas background who has studied for at least three years at a university in a ‘native’ English-speaking country may be exempted from submitting formal test evidence.