Approaches to Text (Distance Learning)
This module is a core course in English Studies. It introduces the variety of ways in which written texts, particularly (though not exclusively) literary texts, can be critiqued and analysed in order to give a sense of the multi-disciplinary character of English Studies. To this end, the module attends both to familiar critical theories and practices—including varieties of historicism, editorial theory and cultural criticism—as well as theories and methodologies traditionally associated with other disciplines or specialisms—such as book-history and bibliography, discourse analysis, performance studies, and archaeology. It aims to show how these diverse approaches can be brought to bear on an understanding of what constitutes ‘text’.
Psycholinguistics 1 (Distance Learning)
This module considers three fundamental and interrelated questions about psycholinguistics:
- acquisition, or how language is acquired
- comprehension, or how words, sentences, and discourse are understood
- production, or how words, sentences, and conversations are produced
Potential topics include, but are not limited to: lexical influences on sentence comprehension and production; first and second language acquisition; reading; language disorders (e.g., dyslexia, aphasia).
Literary Geographies (Distance Learning)
This module will explore the importance of ideas of space and place in literary texts from the eighteenth century to the present day. Students will be introduced to a range of critical perspectives that arise from recent interdisciplinary convergences between literary criticism and cultural geography. Topics for discussion might include:
- ecocriticism and ecopoetics
- maps and cultural cartographies
- urbanism and the literature of cities
- nature and culture
- travel and literary tourism
- regional and provincial literature
- nationalism and cosmopolitanism
- ideas of community and dwelling
- the relation between literary and spatial forms
A range of writers and texts will be considered.
The History of the Book: 1200-1600 (Distance Learning)
This module introduces the study of the book as artefact. Students will learn about methods of construction and compilation, handwriting and early printing techniques, reading marginalia as well as text; they will also be introduced to the benefits and applications, as well as the problems, of applying an understanding of the artefact to the texts contained within.
Shakespeare, Space and Place (Distance Learning)
Focussing on the works of Shakespeare, this module pursues a burgeoning interest across the field of early modern studies in ideas of place and location. In tandem with the general turn in literary studies towards critical cultural geography, 'Shakespeare, Space, and Place' will integrate a range of theories relating to space and place to explore the presence of Shakespeare and his work in place making and place meaning through questions of performance, language and cultural resonance. The module will allow students to work on individual but related units covering encounters with the 'foreign' or 'other', the urban and the pastoral, and notions of thematic wildness and how these are realised lingustically, allowing for formative textual analyses and small project work en route. Case-studies focussed on individual plays and/or clusters of plays across a range of genres, as well as on specific sites of production such as the early modern playhouses, will encourage a range of geographically and historically informed explorations of different kinds of place-based relationships. Independent projects on Shakespeare and/in place will be encouraged for the assessment.
DH Lawrence and Modernism (Distance Learning)
This module will explore DH Lawrence’s relationship to literary modernism and modernity, reading his work in several genres against the aesthetic practises of his modernist contemporaries, while locating it in the historical context of the early twentieth century. Topics for consideration might include:
- Lawrence, realism and literary experimentalism
- Lawrence and the modernist visual arts
- Lawrence and Imagism
- Lawrence as literary and cultural critic
- Lawrence and the Great War
- Lawrence and exile
- Lawrence, gender and suffragism
Investigating Health Communication (Distance Learning)
This module is intended to introduce students to the rapidly expanding field of health communication. The module focuses on two key areas in the field: narratives of healthcare and healthcare documentation. It will equip students with a high level knowledge of narrative and documentation theory and explore how much of what takes place in healthcare exchanges is governed by the kinds of narratives and documents that are used. Students will also develop and practice skills in identifying and analysing narratives of, and documents relating to, patients, professionals and policy makers. Students will understand how knowledge of healthcare texts can be used to enhance therapeutic interventions and practices across a range of healthcare disciplines. Students will appreciate how healthcare environments, structures and practices are informed by broader, macro-level organisational narratives and policies.
Old English Texts 1 (Distance Learning)
A knowledge of Old English is crucial to the in-depth study of the history and development of the English language, English place-names, culture and society in pre-modern England. This module offers students the opportunity to explore the literary ideas and culture of Anglo-Saxon England through the study of selected original texts. Using Peter Baker’s Introduction to Old English, the module will introduce basic elements of Old English grammar and syntax to prepare students for reading and enjoying the texts. Wide reading of texts in translation, and discussion of poetry and prose in the light of historical and critical scholarship will form an important part of the module.
The Gothic (Distance Learning)
This module will provide you with a knowledge and understanding of the Gothic as a genre, introducing you to a range of texts from the late eighteenth-century to the present day. The term ‘texts’ is used here in its most expansive sense and you will encounter works in a variety of formats, including poetry, prose, film and a combination of text and image as presented in the illuminated works of William Blake and the contemporary graphic novel. Emphasis will be placed not only on understanding the cultural contexts out of which the texts under investigation emerged, but also on tracing lines of intellectual inheritance and cultural legacies across periods. This two-pronged approach will in turn lead to an appreciation of the way in which Gothic aesthetics, culture and community intersect in a variety of complex and meaningful ways.
Intercultural Business Communication (Distance Learning)
This module will explore the use of language in interactions between speakers of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds from three different perspectives: Description, Development, and Assessment. With a growing proportion of interactions in the world today taking place between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, it is important to identify and describe language use which may lead to misunderstanding and communicative breakdown. This module will look at ways in which language barriers might be overcome in such interactions, and at the key factors in this process. We will examine intercultural interactions in a variety of contexts, e.g. business and other professional encounters, the language of the media, the foreign language classroom, etc.
Performance: Contexts and Frameworks (Distance Learning)
This module introduces key contexts and frameworks for performance in order to enable critical exploration of central questions about the relationships between the making and reception of drama, theatre and performance. What is performance? Why do we perform? How does performance make meaning? And who for? The module draws on a range of theoretical frameworks for analysing performance, engaging with key critical thinkers such as Brecht, Bakhtin, Carlson and Schechner to consider a range of performances from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from both conventional and radical stages. The focus throughout is on the multiple potential relationships between performance and audience in a variety of contexts of performance on and beyond the stage: Students will encounter performance that engages directly with politics, history and place and have the opportunity to develop appropriate critical vocabulary and frameworks to analyse these interactions. As well as working with a wide variety of material contained within the module, students will be encouraged to draw upon their own encounters with performance.
Literary Linguistics 1 (Distance Learning)
This module explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through a series of practical analyses, students will be introduced to a range of linguistic explorations of poetry, prose, and drama from a wide range of historical periods. The course will invite students to use the analyses as an occasion for the critical evaluation of the various approaches to language and literature, to investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation, and to consider the scope and validity of stylistics in relation to literature and literary studies.
Discourse Analysis (Distance Learning)
The module looks at various approaches to the study of spoken language. These include structural models based on the work of the Birmingham discourse analysts, as well as more sociolinguistically inspired approaches to conversation analysis and recent developments in spoken corpus linguistics. Each learning unit takes a different kind of discourse and progressively builds up a classification of discourse types or genres. Real spoken data are used throughout, for exemplification and practical analysis tasks. The implications for language pedagogy and other branches of applied linguistics (e.g.applications in other professional contexts) are considered, and students are encouraged to consider these in their own written work if appropriate.
Language and Gender (Distance Learning)
The course will explore the relationship between language and gender in spoken interaction and written texts, drawing on key approaches in the areas of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. The extent to which gender affects the language we produce when interacting with one another in a variety of contexts will be focused on, along with the issue of sexism in language use. Various theoretical paradigms that have been presented to explain language and gender differences will be critically examined, along with gender ideologies which operate in society. Students will be encouraged to combine theoretical thinking with hands-on analyses of data from authentic examples of spoken interaction and from a variety of publications including the popular media. The practical consequences of the discipline in terms of how findings can have a political impact on wider society are also discussed.
Cognition and Literature (Distance Learning)
This module represents a course in cognitive poetics. It draws on insights developed in cognitive science, especially in psychology and linguistics, in order to develop an understanding of the processes involved in literary reading. The module also develops skills in stylistics and critical theory.
What is Literature? (Distance Learning)
This module addresses the question 'What is literature?' by introducing key critical methodologies and theoretical frameworks that have been developed to study literary and dramatic texts. The primary aim is to encourage you to become more reflexive about your own practice as a literary critic. We want you to come away from this module confident in your ability to use different critical methodologies and theoretical frameworks to read literary texts. For this reason, the range of the module is purposely broad. Each Unit introduces a particular critical methodology or theoretical framework, and works through significant issues by examining a particular author, period or genre, ranging broadly over literatures from the fourteenth century to the present day.
Narratology (Distance Learning)
This module surveys key work in narratology, from literary, stylistic and sociolinguistic perspectives, with each unit written by an area specialist. The module introduces key approaches to the study of narratology and offers students insight into the development of narrative from Chaucer to the present day. The emphasis will be on literary narratives, though comparative exploration of non-literary and narratives will also appear.
Middle English Romance (Distance Learning)
This module considers twenty-first century historicized readings of a major English literary genre, and demonstrates that medieval English romance texts can be set in complex and profound critical relationship to each other and to other artistic media. Such an approach is possible largely because of the vibrant and privileged international socio-literary milieu in which many romance tracts were first written and received. Students will be encouraged to explore how reading Middle English romance texts can equip us with vocabulary and concepts to discuss the cultural specificities of the literary representations of romance, love and chivalry in this period, the representations of public and private identities, and the questions regarding individuality and selfhood that arise in literature produced in a volatile period of religious and social uncertainty and dissent. These are all issues that now define “the Middle Ages” for modern scholars.
English Place-Names: Language, Landscape, History (Distance Learning)
English place-names are short texts, coined as transparent descriptions in the languages spoken in Britain over the past millennia. Many of them originated in the speech of everyday people, and therefore record perspectives unrecoverable from early texts which emanate from centres of power or learning. They therefore provide valuable evidence of all sorts – about early language(s) (British, Latin, English, Scandinavian, and French), history, historical geography, and landscape. This module will provide a background in onomastic research methodology and the ways in which place-names can be used to explore questions about the past. Students will complete assessments to demonstrate that they are able to take a sound historical-linguistic approach to place-name evidence, and undertake a project which will assess the value of that evidence for research into the past.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
All taught modules are assessed by written work of around 4,000 words or equivalent. Tutors provide feedback on practice exercises as preparation, and detailed comments on assignments. A final 60 credit dissertation completes the MA.
You will have access to many online resources, as well as your own personal tutor for each module that you take.
Particular features of the programme include:
- a theoretical grounding in research methodology
- one-to-one tuition with expert members of staff
- innovative and engaging teaching methods
- access to many online resources
- great flexibility in course content, optionality, and changes in direction.