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English: Issues in Modern Culture MA

This MA programme introduces students to major works of 19th and 20th-century British, French and American writers and provides a context for those works in philosophical and technological developments of the period. The programme explores a wide range of genres and authors and encourages the development of independent research skills.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Part-time: 2 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£9,020 (FT) £4,510 (PT)
£18,670 (FT) £9,285 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 1 April 2016

Entry Requirements

A minimum of anupper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard will normally be required. This is a competitive MA, however, and the majority of our successful applicants either have, or are predicted to gain, a first class undergraduate degree (or overseas equivalent).

English Language Requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

Degree Information

The core module develops a close reading of works by writers of the period, while the optional modules offer the opportunity to analyse some of the technologies, media, philosophical perspectives and art forms whose development during the 20th century has made itself felt in modernist and postmodernist writing.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one core module (60 credits), three optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core Module

  • Authors (including Henry James, Walter Pater, D.H. Lawrence; T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Alfred Hitchcock, Toni Morrison, David Foster Wallace). Please see UCL English website for more.


  • The majority of students elect to take Contexts, which which explores the relationship between modern culture and the city from the 1860s to the present day, and may include the following topics:
  • The American Scene
  • Epiphany and the Everyday
  • Documenting the City
  • Suburbia
  • Graphic Cities
  • Filming New York
  • Queer Fictions and the City
  • Students then take further optional modules. Options available change every year, but in recent years have included:
  • Post-War American Poetry
  • American Counter-Culture
  • 21st Century Fiction
  • Modernism, Sex and Redemption
  • Freud
  • James Joyce Among the Modernists
  • Marxist Aesthetics in the 20th Century
  • Cultures of Chance: Accident, Error, and Catastrophe in post-1945 Literature and Culture
  • Detective Fictions


All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

Each course is taught through a weekly seminar. Assessment is through take-home written examination, essays and the research dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site English: Issues in Modern Culture MA


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


The programme is an ideal preliminary stage to doctoral research and candidates who obtain the MA and have found a promising subject requiring further study are encouraged to apply to the UCL MPhil/PhD programme.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Editorial Assistant, Granta Books (2012)
  • Researcher, BBC (2012)
  • Research Analyst, Retail Banking (2012)
  • Rights Assistant, Quercus Publishing (2012)
  • Business Development Executive, CBRE (2013)

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL English has an outstanding record for research; many staff publish in mainstream as well as academic media: some are regular reviewers for newspapers and periodicals.

Excellent facilities are provided by the UCL library. It has several important holdings including the James Joyce Collection and the George Orwell Archive.

Our graduate students have access to an incomparable range of archives and libraries, including Senate House Library and the British Library, both of which are nearby.

Student / staff ratios › 31 staff › 73 taught students › 45 research students

Department: English Language & Literature

Degree reviews

Staff review

"UCL English is a world-class department with a reputation both for prioritising the pedagogic relationship between academic staff and students and for nurturing original literary-historical scholarship. My research over the last few years has focused on the history and representation of metropolitan cities, especially at night. The various modules are terrifically rewarding, especially as the department encourages thinking outside narrow scholarly specialisms."

Matthew Beaumont

English: Issues in Modern Culture
UCL English Language and Literature

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme is particularly suitable for graduates with a first degree in English, although applicants holding a degree in another subject will be considered. The programme gives students a thorough grounding in the skills needed for independent research, and is an ideal foundation for further academic study in this field.

Application deadlines

All applicants
1 April 2016

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:
  • why you want to study English: Issues in Modern Culture at graduate level
  • why you want to study English: Issues in Modern Culture at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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