UCL Graduate degrees


English: Issues in Modern Culture MA

This MA programme provides the opportunity to explore some of the most exciting and challenging works written in English, by writers from across the world, since the mid-nineteenth century – along with major artistic achievements in film, music and popular culture. It provides contexts for understanding these works in relation to historical, social, political, philosophical and technological developments of the period.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 28 August 2020

Tuition fees (2020/21)

£11,170 (FT)
£23,340 (FT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper 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:

About this degree

The programme explores a range of media, forms and genres using a variety of scholarly approaches, and encourages the development of independent research skills. The core module encourages close reading of works by writers of the period, while the optional modules offer the opportunity to analyse technologies, media, philosophical perspectives and art forms underpinning writing from 1850 to the present.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of one core module 'Authors' (60 credits), three optional modules, which are usually 'Contexts' and two 'Options' offered by the English department (60 credits), and a 12,000 word research dissertation (60 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MA in English: Issues in Modern Culture.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory module

The compulsory Authors module (60 credits) is taught over two terms and assessed by a take-home exam at the end of April. Please see the English department website for details of course contents.

  • Authors

Optional modules

The majority of students elect to take 'Contexts' (60 credits) and two of the six 'Options' (15 credits each) run by the English department.

  • Recent topics in Contexts include:
  • Modernity and the City
  • Underworlds
  • Filming New York
  • The Wireless Imagination
  • Hauntings
  • Blackness and the City
  • Queer Fictions and the City
  • Options modules change each year, but recent years have included:
  • Psychoanalysis and Modern Culture
  • Chance and the Avant Garde: Accident, Error and Catastrophe in Literature and Culture since 1960 to the Present
  • Queer Literature, Queer Theories
  • Metafiction and the Novel after 1945
  • The Literature Machine
  • Contemporary Poetry
  • Marxist Aesthetics in the 20th Century
  • Cultures of Offence
  • Global Anglophone Literature

Students on this MA programme may request to take a module taught elsewhere in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UCL.


All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 words (60 credits), to be submitted at the end of August.

Teaching and learning

Each module is taught through a weekly two-hour seminar. Assessment is through take-home written examination (Authors), essays (Contexts and Options), and the research dissertation.

Additional costs

Additional costs may include expenses such as books, stationery, printing or photocopying, and conference registration fees.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates from this MA will be strongly equipped to find employment in fields such as professional writing, publishing, journalism, film and television, advertising and marketing, third-sector work, social enterprise, and teaching. The programme is also an ideal preliminary stage to doctoral research in literature; candidates who obtain the MA and have found a promising subject requiring further study are encouraged to apply to the UCL MPhil/PhD programme.


Studying on this MA programme will help students to develop their written and oral communication skills; their ability to analyse and synthesise ideas and to organise complex materials in a lucid manner; their capacity for logical argumentation and critical thinking; and their time management and independent working skills.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL English has an outstanding record of world-leading research. Staff publish in mainstream as well as academic media, and some publish original creative work.

Excellent facilities are provided by the UCL library. It has several important holdings including the James Joyce Collection, the Little Magazines, Alternative Press and Poetry Store Collections, and the George Orwell Archive.

Students have access to an incomparable range of resources, including those at Senate House Library and the British Library nearby. The department holds regular research seminars and facilitates engagement with a range of events and institutions of literary culture in London.

Department: English Language & Literature

What our students and staff say

Staff view

"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."

Professor 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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

The programme is particularly suitable for graduates with a first degree in English, although applicants holding a degree in a related 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
28 August 2020

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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 31 July 2020