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Course overview

This course lets you develop your specialism, or study what you love, without the constraints of a set curriculum. You can choose from a large number of ‘pods’ of study, created by subject experts, to build your own programme.

You can choose pods from across our different MA courses (listed below) or you can create a path that’s unique to you. In this case, you can graduate with an MA in Applied English. 

Alternatively, if you specialise in your pod choices, you can graduate with one of the following MA degrees:

  • MA Applied Linguistics
  • MA Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching
  • MA English Literature
  • MA Literary Linguistics
  • MA Medieval Englishes
  • MA Modern and Contemporary Literature
  • MA Name-Studies
  • MA Professional Communication
  • MA World Literatures

You don't need to decide right at the beginning where you will end up: your final degree depends on studying at least two-thirds of your course in a specialised area.

Why choose this course?

Join the community

meet your tutors and fellow students at our annual Summer School

Study your way

submit an assessment type to suit you, from presentations to blog posts

Flexible deadlines

choose your submission point

Tailor your study

choose a broad or specialised degree, with flexibility to change along the way

Top 100 University

Ranked in the top 100 Universities

QS World University rankings 2021

Ranked 9th

in the UK by 'research power'

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Course content

Course of study

The course has three phases, which you can choose to complete between two and four years. Each phase involves choosing six pods of study. At the end of each phase you submit a single portfolio of work for assessment.

There is an exit point, meaning you can choose to leave the course, at the end of each phase. If you leave at the end of phase one, you will have gained a Postgraduate Certificate qualification, at the end of phase two, a Postgraduate Diploma, and if you stay to the end of phase three, an MA qualification.

Large project option

In your second or third phase, you can choose to complete a large research project such as a traditional dissertation (of around 15,000 words) or other major piece of work such as a work-based report, extended creative writing, a linguistic experiment and write-up, a video or audio cast, and so on. This is the equivalent of six pods (so we call it a ‘hexapod’).

The hexapod includes extensive guidance on large project planning, research, implementation and writing up, plus supervision for independent study.

You also have the choice not to undertake a long project like this, and instead simply choose more pods from the large range available – to complete an equivalent non-dissertation masters.

Study support

You will be allocated a Personal Advisor. This is someone who works closely to support you, and help you to plan your pod choices, based on your interests and ultimate study goals.

Each pod is taught by your own Pod Tutor: these are expert academic members of staff who teach the content on the pods.

Finally, you will have access to different groups of other students on the programme, with the ability to chat together, study together, and progress through the course together.

Modules

You will begin your course with a free Orientation pod and will meet your Personal Advisor. This will allow you to create your own study plan and select your first pods. You can work on one pod at a time, or two, or three, or all six at once, if you prefer.

After six pods of study, you submit a portfolio of work that covers all six of these areas. Then you move on to the second phase and take six more pods, and then a final phase of another six pods to complete the masters.

In each of the three phases, you can choose from the following pods (listed alphabetically). We are continually adding new pods as well.

Applied Linguistics:

Calls, Speech, Writing, and Sign Language

This pod explores the psycholinguistic factors behind different forms of communication. You will examine: 

  • how various species of animals communicate 
  • what makes human language special
  • the main forms of language that humans have developed - speech, writing and sign 
Cognitive Narratology

This pod explores the relationship between narrative and the mind. You will: 

  • investigate a range of contemporary approaches to studying storyworlds, fictional minds, and narrative perspective 
  • engage with theories of cognitive reception 
  • examine emotion, ethics and empathy in relation to literary reading  
Core Concepts in Discourse Analysis

This pod explores the diverse field of discourse analysis, which focuses on the (co)-construction of meaning, identity, ideology, and power in spoken and written communication.

You will:

  • grapple with the concept of ‘discourse’ from a theoretical standpoint
  • consider the distinction between spoken and written discourse
  • learn how to apply discourse analytical tools such as conversation analysis and critical discourse analysis
  • develop your awareness of the role and implications of ethical considerations in data collection for discourse analysis.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to conduct your own empirical research in the field of discourse analysis.

Core Concepts in Linguistics

This pod explains the core concepts in linguistics – phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.

You will:

  • develop the skills to transcribe and analyse the sound patterns of spoken language
  • learn how to describe languages in terms of form, structure and meaning
  • consider how language is used in different socio-cultural contexts
  • apply linguistic theories and analytical frameworks to the study of natural language.

By the end of this pod, you will understand the main principles of each of the six core concepts in linguistics and will have improved your critical analysis skills.

Core Concepts in Professional Communication

This pod explores the role of communication in the workplace, explaining how to linguistically examine spoken and written interaction in a range of professional contexts.

You will:

  • examine key issues such as identity construction, workplace culture, and rapport at work
  • identify different types of talk at work (e.g. small talk, humour), exploring the various functions of each
  • analyse professional computer-mediated communication e.g. email, social networking sites, online reputation management
  • apply multimodal critical discourse analysis to analyse professional promotional materials e.g. advertisments, websites.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate the role played by language in the context of work.

Core Concepts in Second Language Acquisition

This pod explores Second Language Acquisition (SLA), a wide-ranging sub-field within applied linguistics that examines how second languages are learned.  

You will explore the key aspects of this complicated area, including the main terms and theories that have been proposed to describe and understand the process of developing second language (L2) knowledge and skills.  

Core Concepts in Vocabulary Studies

This pod introduces theory and research from the area of vocabulary studies. As a key aspect of second language (L2) competence, vocabulary includes a wide range of topics and issues.  

This pod: 

  • explores the nature of lexical knowledge in an L2, addressing the key question of what is involved in knowing a word in terms of its form, meaning and use  
  • discusses different categories of vocabulary, focusing on frequency of use 
  • explores how to conduct vocabulary research 

You will begin to understand how vocabulary research has benefitted from corpora (large databases of language), which have given new insights into the structure of vocabulary, lexical patterning, and the role of formulaic language and multi-word units.  

Through considering a range of original ideas and research, you will also learn how to formulate and investigate research questions related to the key role of vocabulary in successful language learning and use.  

Corpus Stylistics

This pod introduces the study of corpus stylistics, a particular application of corpus linguistics which focuses on issues of style, especially in literature. You will examine the main principles that underlie corpus design and compilation, and critically reflect on these principles in relation to corpus-stylistic practice.

You will investigate the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of corpus-stylistic analysis, learn how to handle and process data using appropriate corpus tools and software, and consider the implications of corpus linguistics for literary-linguistic and literary-critical research.

Culture and Communication

This pod describes the relationship between culture and communication, giving an overview of the different issues involved. 

You will:

  • study the theoretical and historical developments in the field of intercultural communication
  • grapple with the concept of ‘culture’ and explore how it manifests itself in interaction
  • learn how to apply theoretical frameworks and analytical tools to examine and describe communication across cultures
  • consider how verbal and nonverbal communication interact in complex ways to impact intercultural communication.

By the end of this pod, you will have developed your understanding of the concept of culture, as well as its impact on communication. 

English Language Teaching Methodology

This pod describes English language teaching (ELT) methodology for a wide range of learners and contexts.

You will:

  • examine the theoretical rationales and principles of syllabus design for ELT
  • consider the features, benefits and drawbacks of ELT methodologies, such as variations of the communicative approach
  • learn about alternative approaches to ELT such as humanism and the lexical approach
  • analyse and reflect on ELT practices from both a theoretical and empirical perspective.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to design an ELT syllabus and evaluate a range of approaches in ELT.

Factors in Second Language Acquisition

This pod explores the wide range of factors which influence second language acquisition (SLA) in different settings.

You will:

  • examine a range of internal (e.g. age, gender, language transfer) and external factors (e.g. instruction and culture) in SLA
  • evaluate research studies in SLA to consider the extent of the impact of different factors
  • develop an understanding of the importance of multidisciplinary research in SLA
  • reflect on your own experience of SLA either as a language learner or teacher.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to design a research study to investigate one or more factors in SLA.

Historical Pragmatics

This pod introduces you to the broad field of historical pragmatics. This is the study of language usage patterns in the past, combining both language-internal as well as language-external factors to understand how forms of discourse have changed throughout history.

 

As a particular case-study, the pod explores the histories of medical and scientific writing. How have (language-external) developments in science and medical culture influenced (language-internal) changes in medical writing?

After completing this pod, you will have a greater understanding and appreciation of the linguistic aspects of these particular genres and registers of writing, and also the ability to adapt your knowledge to other genres and styles across history.

Intercultural Competence in Context

This pod explores the importance of intercultural (communicative) competence (IC) when communicating in professional and everyday contexts.

You will:

  • examine the components of IC in different conceptual frameworks
  • consider the importance of IC in contexts such as business, the language classroom, healthcare, and the media
  • learn about the design and implementation of IC training programmes
  • evaluate existing IC assessment instruments.

By the end of this pod, you will have developed your understanding of the importance of IC in today’s globalised world and in a range of contexts.

Interlanguage Pragmatics

This pod explains the interdisciplinary field of interlanguage pragmatics (ILP) – a sub-field of both second language acquisition (SLA) and pragmatics. ILP explores how the speech acts of language learners compare to native speakers, and how pragmatic competence develops in a second language (L2). 

You will:

  • understand the main research questions in the field of ILP
  • consider the importance of pragmatic competence in a second language
  • critically evaluate theoretical concepts and frameworks in ILP studies
  • examine the effectiveness of methodological approaches to the teaching of L2 pragmatics.

By the end of this pod, you will have developed your understanding of the main theories and research areas in the field of ILP.  

Language and Gender in Professional Communication

This pod explores language and gender in a range of workplace settings.

You will:

  • consider different perspectives from which to study language and gender
  • learn how to apply theoretical concepts and analytical tools to analyse language and gender in professional contexts
  • study gendered discourse in a range of professional contexts e.g. the media, politics, and healthcare
  • examine research findings on the relation between language and gender in business meetings.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to conduct a linguistic analysis of talk at work with a focus on issues related to gender.

Learning and Teaching Second Language Vocabulary

This pod discusses key issues around learning and teaching vocabulary in a second language (L2). It focuses on how research findings from vocabulary studies inform language teaching, materials development and English language teaching methodology more broadly.  

This pod addresses topics such as: 

  • incidental and intentional vocabulary learning 
  • the role of vocabulary in syllabus design and language curriculum 
  • assessing lexical knowledge in different learning contexts and using different tools 

By reviewing the key terms and theoretical approaches, you will learn how the field’s current understanding of L2 vocabulary learning and use can help inform teaching in line with research-based principles.  

The pod will also describe a range of teaching resources and tools based on empirical research findings, that support the learning and teaching of vocabulary.  

Metaphor

This pod provides a linguistic overview of metaphor, with a particular emphasis on Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). Historical perspectives on metaphor are taken, from Aristotle to Ricoeur, leading up to our most current cognitive linguistic understanding of metaphor in language and thought. CMT and its associated approaches focus on the connection (or mapping) made between two different, often seemingly unrelated, semantic domains (like emotions and containers).

This pod examines how such metaphors gain prominence above and beyond the phrase or sentence, at the level of discourse. Domains of literary and political discourse are examined in detail to highlight how salient metaphor is in a range of language settings, and how significant it is for understanding human thought.

Narratology

This pod introduces the study of narrative, one of the most universal forms of human communication. It discusses influential concepts and models to analyse how narratives are structured and presented, and to understand how they convey meaning.  

Teaching And Assessing Second Language Skills

This pod provides the skills to plan, organise and evaluate the teaching on programmes for second language (L2) learners. It mainly covers the practicalities of teaching English as a foreign/second language (TESOL).  

You will consider various aspects of language teaching, allowing you to develop your own approach to supporting L2 learners in the classroom.  

This pod:

  • discusses specific skills related to L2 ability (e.g. reading, listening, speaking, writing, sociolinguistic and pragmatic skills) 
  • reviews and analyses the latest teaching techniques and practices 
  • addresses L2 assessment, including the key principles of language assessment, the main types of language tests, and discussing different ways of testing the knowledge of L2 skills
  • provides examples of lesson plans and teaching materials 
The Reader in Stylistics

This pod explores the use of empirical methods of reader response in stylistics. It examines both experimental and naturalistic research methods and investigates the relationship between empiricism and introspection.  

You will discuss applications in relation to a range of literary texts, with practical illustrations and activities being presented alongside real reader-response data. Through the combined study of reader data and literature itself, you will consider the critical benefits and limitations of reader-response methods for stylistic practice, as well as reflecting on the future of empirical research in this discipline.   

English Language Teaching:

Core Concepts in Discourse Analysis

This pod explores the diverse field of discourse analysis, which focuses on the (co)-construction of meaning, identity, ideology, and power in spoken and written communication.

You will:

  • grapple with the concept of ‘discourse’ from a theoretical standpoint
  • consider the distinction between spoken and written discourse
  • learn how to apply discourse analytical tools such as conversation analysis and critical discourse analysis
  • develop your awareness of the role and implications of ethical considerations in data collection for discourse analysis.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to conduct your own empirical research in the field of discourse analysis.

Core Concepts in Linguistics

This pod explains the core concepts in linguistics – phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.

You will:

  • develop the skills to transcribe and analyse the sound patterns of spoken language
  • learn how to describe languages in terms of form, structure and meaning
  • consider how language is used in different socio-cultural contexts
  • apply linguistic theories and analytical frameworks to the study of natural language.

By the end of this pod, you will understand the main principles of each of the six core concepts in linguistics and will have improved your critical analysis skills.

Core Concepts in Second Language Acquisition

This pod explores Second Language Acquisition (SLA), a wide-ranging sub-field within applied linguistics that examines how second languages are learned.  

You will explore the key aspects of this complicated area, including the main terms and theories that have been proposed to describe and understand the process of developing second language (L2) knowledge and skills.  

Core Concepts in Vocabulary Studies

This pod introduces theory and research from the area of vocabulary studies. As a key aspect of second language (L2) competence, vocabulary includes a wide range of topics and issues.  

This pod: 

  • explores the nature of lexical knowledge in an L2, addressing the key question of what is involved in knowing a word in terms of its form, meaning and use  
  • discusses different categories of vocabulary, focusing on frequency of use 
  • explores how to conduct vocabulary research 

You will begin to understand how vocabulary research has benefitted from corpora (large databases of language), which have given new insights into the structure of vocabulary, lexical patterning, and the role of formulaic language and multi-word units.  

Through considering a range of original ideas and research, you will also learn how to formulate and investigate research questions related to the key role of vocabulary in successful language learning and use.  

Corpus Stylistics

This pod introduces the study of corpus stylistics, a particular application of corpus linguistics which focuses on issues of style, especially in literature. You will examine the main principles that underlie corpus design and compilation, and critically reflect on these principles in relation to corpus-stylistic practice.

You will investigate the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of corpus-stylistic analysis, learn how to handle and process data using appropriate corpus tools and software, and consider the implications of corpus linguistics for literary-linguistic and literary-critical research.

English Language Teaching Methodology

This pod describes English language teaching (ELT) methodology for a wide range of learners and contexts.

You will:

  • examine the theoretical rationales and principles of syllabus design for ELT
  • consider the features, benefits and drawbacks of ELT methodologies, such as variations of the communicative approach
  • learn about alternative approaches to ELT such as humanism and the lexical approach
  • analyse and reflect on ELT practices from both a theoretical and empirical perspective.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to design an ELT syllabus and evaluate a range of approaches in ELT.

Factors in Second Language Acquisition

This pod explores the wide range of factors which influence second language acquisition (SLA) in different settings.

You will:

  • examine a range of internal (e.g. age, gender, language transfer) and external factors (e.g. instruction and culture) in SLA
  • evaluate research studies in SLA to consider the extent of the impact of different factors
  • develop an understanding of the importance of multidisciplinary research in SLA
  • reflect on your own experience of SLA either as a language learner or teacher.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to design a research study to investigate one or more factors in SLA.

Historical Pragmatics

This pod introduces you to the broad field of historical pragmatics. This is the study of language usage patterns in the past, combining both language-internal as well as language-external factors to understand how forms of discourse have changed throughout history.

 

As a particular case-study, the pod explores the histories of medical and scientific writing. How have (language-external) developments in science and medical culture influenced (language-internal) changes in medical writing?

After completing this pod, you will have a greater understanding and appreciation of the linguistic aspects of these particular genres and registers of writing, and also the ability to adapt your knowledge to other genres and styles across history.

Intercultural Competence in Context

This pod explores the importance of intercultural (communicative) competence (IC) when communicating in professional and everyday contexts.

You will:

  • examine the components of IC in different conceptual frameworks
  • consider the importance of IC in contexts such as business, the language classroom, healthcare, and the media
  • learn about the design and implementation of IC training programmes
  • evaluate existing IC assessment instruments.

By the end of this pod, you will have developed your understanding of the importance of IC in today’s globalised world and in a range of contexts.

Interlanguage Pragmatics

This pod explains the interdisciplinary field of interlanguage pragmatics (ILP) – a sub-field of both second language acquisition (SLA) and pragmatics. ILP explores how the speech acts of language learners compare to native speakers, and how pragmatic competence develops in a second language (L2). 

You will:

  • understand the main research questions in the field of ILP
  • consider the importance of pragmatic competence in a second language
  • critically evaluate theoretical concepts and frameworks in ILP studies
  • examine the effectiveness of methodological approaches to the teaching of L2 pragmatics.

By the end of this pod, you will have developed your understanding of the main theories and research areas in the field of ILP.  

Learning and Teaching Second Language Vocabulary

This pod discusses key issues around learning and teaching vocabulary in a second language (L2). It focuses on how research findings from vocabulary studies inform language teaching, materials development and English language teaching methodology more broadly.  

This pod addresses topics such as: 

  • incidental and intentional vocabulary learning 
  • the role of vocabulary in syllabus design and language curriculum 
  • assessing lexical knowledge in different learning contexts and using different tools 

By reviewing the key terms and theoretical approaches, you will learn how the field’s current understanding of L2 vocabulary learning and use can help inform teaching in line with research-based principles.  

The pod will also describe a range of teaching resources and tools based on empirical research findings, that support the learning and teaching of vocabulary.  

Metaphor

This pod provides a linguistic overview of metaphor, with a particular emphasis on Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). Historical perspectives on metaphor are taken, from Aristotle to Ricoeur, leading up to our most current cognitive linguistic understanding of metaphor in language and thought. CMT and its associated approaches focus on the connection (or mapping) made between two different, often seemingly unrelated, semantic domains (like emotions and containers).

This pod examines how such metaphors gain prominence above and beyond the phrase or sentence, at the level of discourse. Domains of literary and political discourse are examined in detail to highlight how salient metaphor is in a range of language settings, and how significant it is for understanding human thought.

Teaching And Assessing Second Language Skills

This pod provides the skills to plan, organise and evaluate the teaching on programmes for second language (L2) learners. It mainly covers the practicalities of teaching English as a foreign/second language (TESOL).  

You will consider various aspects of language teaching, allowing you to develop your own approach to supporting L2 learners in the classroom.  

This pod:

  • discusses specific skills related to L2 ability (e.g. reading, listening, speaking, writing, sociolinguistic and pragmatic skills) 
  • reviews and analyses the latest teaching techniques and practices 
  • addresses L2 assessment, including the key principles of language assessment, the main types of language tests, and discussing different ways of testing the knowledge of L2 skills
  • provides examples of lesson plans and teaching materials 

Literary Linguistics:

Core Concepts in Linguistics

This pod explains the core concepts in linguistics – phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.

You will:

  • develop the skills to transcribe and analyse the sound patterns of spoken language
  • learn how to describe languages in terms of form, structure and meaning
  • consider how language is used in different socio-cultural contexts
  • apply linguistic theories and analytical frameworks to the study of natural language.

By the end of this pod, you will understand the main principles of each of the six core concepts in linguistics and will have improved your critical analysis skills.

Cognitive Narratology

This pod explores the relationship between narrative and the mind. You will: 

  • investigate a range of contemporary approaches to studying storyworlds, fictional minds, and narrative perspective 
  • engage with theories of cognitive reception 
  • examine emotion, ethics and empathy in relation to literary reading  
Cognitive Poetics

This pod presents cognitive poetics, where you will be introduced to the ‘cognitive turn’ in literary studies, exploring topics such as: 

  • figure and ground 
  • prototypicality 
  • embodiment 
  • cognitive deixis 
  • negation  
  • scripts and schemas 

All of the above inform our understanding of how we read, process and understand literary texts.    

Corpus Stylistics

This pod introduces the study of corpus stylistics, a particular application of corpus linguistics which focuses on issues of style, especially in literature. You will examine the main principles that underlie corpus design and compilation, and critically reflect on these principles in relation to corpus-stylistic practice.

You will investigate the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of corpus-stylistic analysis, learn how to handle and process data using appropriate corpus tools and software, and consider the implications of corpus linguistics for literary-linguistic and literary-critical research.

Historical Pragmatics

This pod introduces you to the broad field of historical pragmatics. This is the study of language usage patterns in the past, combining both language-internal as well as language-external factors to understand how forms of discourse have changed throughout history.

 

As a particular case-study, the pod explores the histories of medical and scientific writing. How have (language-external) developments in science and medical culture influenced (language-internal) changes in medical writing?

After completing this pod, you will have a greater understanding and appreciation of the linguistic aspects of these particular genres and registers of writing, and also the ability to adapt your knowledge to other genres and styles across history.

Literary Linguistics

This pod explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through practical analysis and interactive tasks, you will consider a variety of linguistic explorations of poetry, prose and drama from a wide range of historical periods.  

You will: 

  • critically apply and evaluate key approaches to language and literature 
  • investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation
  • consider the scope and validity of stylistics, in relation to literature and literary studies 
Metaphor

This pod provides a linguistic overview of metaphor, with a particular emphasis on Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). Historical perspectives on metaphor are taken, from Aristotle to Ricoeur, leading up to our most current cognitive linguistic understanding of metaphor in language and thought. CMT and its associated approaches focus on the connection (or mapping) made between two different, often seemingly unrelated, semantic domains (like emotions and containers).

This pod examines how such metaphors gain prominence above and beyond the phrase or sentence, at the level of discourse. Domains of literary and political discourse are examined in detail to highlight how salient metaphor is in a range of language settings, and how significant it is for understanding human thought.

Narratology

This pod introduces the study of narrative, one of the most universal forms of human communication. It discusses influential concepts and models to analyse how narratives are structured and presented, and to understand how they convey meaning.  

Texts in a Digital World

This pod explores stylistic, cognitive and narratological approaches to studying digital fiction. It examines literary texts which are specifically designed to be read on a screen. 

You will focus on the language of hypertext fiction, ludic narratives, interactive film and app-based fiction. We will also explore the literatures of social media and investigate the experience of reading and engaging with digital texts. 

Text World Theory

This pod gives a thorough overview of the literary-linguistic framework ‘Text World Theory’. It mainly focuses on the application and development of the framework over the last twenty years.  

You will: 

  • explore contemporary advances in text-world research, examining topics from language in the classroom, through to the emotional experience of engaging with literary texts 
  • apply, expand and critically evaluate the framework 
  • explore a range of Text-World-Theory applications to discourse (both literary and otherwise) 

 consider the future potential of text-world published research 

The Language of Dystopia

This pod explores the language of dystopian literature. Through taking a stylistic approach, it will: 

  • examine the language which characterises dystopian narratives 
  • explore a range of textual examples from across periods 
  • investigate the evolution and hybridity of contemporary dystopia 

By applying a variety of literary-linguistic frameworks and approaches, you will examine the construal of dystopian worlds, the conceptualisation of dystopian minds, and the experience of dystopian reading.  

The Language of Multimodal Literature

This pod focuses on the language  of multimodal texts. Moving beyond traditional written presentations of narrative, multimodal texts experiment with more than one semiotic mode. They can incorporate graphics, creatively manipulate typeface, or feature tactile elements, all of which contribute to the reading experience. Through a mixture of stylistic, cognitive and narratological approaches, you will explore literary texts which manipulate narrative across modes, ranging from B. S. Johnson's infamous book-in-a-box through to contemporary transmedial literature and interactive fictions. 

The Language of Surrealism

This pod explores the artistic movement of surrealism. You will focus on its emergence and high point between the two world wars, though the later influence of surrealism will also be considered.  

The emphasis of this pod is on the form and technique of literary surrealist writing in English. You will explore forms of creative production, particularly in relation to the surrealists’ own understanding of language and linguistics.  

You will also consider surrealist output from a literary-linguistic and cognitive poetic perspective. This allows you to explore a view of surrealism and surrealist activity from the current understanding of language and linguistics.  

The Reader in Stylistics

This pod explores the use of empirical methods of reader response in stylistics. It examines both experimental and naturalistic research methods and investigates the relationship between empiricism and introspection.  

You will discuss applications in relation to a range of literary texts, with practical illustrations and activities being presented alongside real reader-response data. Through the combined study of reader data and literature itself, you will consider the critical benefits and limitations of reader-response methods for stylistic practice, as well as reflecting on the future of empirical research in this discipline.   

Professional Communication:

Core Concepts in Discourse Analysis

This pod explores the diverse field of discourse analysis, which focuses on the (co)-construction of meaning, identity, ideology, and power in spoken and written communication.

You will:

  • grapple with the concept of ‘discourse’ from a theoretical standpoint
  • consider the distinction between spoken and written discourse
  • learn how to apply discourse analytical tools such as conversation analysis and critical discourse analysis
  • develop your awareness of the role and implications of ethical considerations in data collection for discourse analysis.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to conduct your own empirical research in the field of discourse analysis.

Core Concepts in Professional Communication

This pod explores the role of communication in the workplace, explaining how to linguistically examine spoken and written interaction in a range of professional contexts.

You will:

  • examine key issues such as identity construction, workplace culture, and rapport at work
  • identify different types of talk at work (e.g. small talk, humour), exploring the various functions of each
  • analyse professional computer-mediated communication e.g. email, social networking sites, online reputation management
  • apply multimodal critical discourse analysis to analyse professional promotional materials e.g. advertisments, websites.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate the role played by language in the context of work.

Culture and Communication

This pod describes the relationship between culture and communication, giving an overview of the different issues involved. 

You will:

  • study the theoretical and historical developments in the field of intercultural communication
  • grapple with the concept of ‘culture’ and explore how it manifests itself in interaction
  • learn how to apply theoretical frameworks and analytical tools to examine and describe communication across cultures
  • consider how verbal and nonverbal communication interact in complex ways to impact intercultural communication.

By the end of this pod, you will have developed your understanding of the concept of culture, as well as its impact on communication. 

Intercultural Competence in Context

This pod explores the importance of intercultural (communicative) competence (IC) when communicating in professional and everyday contexts.

You will:

  • examine the components of IC in different conceptual frameworks
  • consider the importance of IC in contexts such as business, the language classroom, healthcare, and the media
  • learn about the design and implementation of IC training programmes
  • evaluate existing IC assessment instruments.

By the end of this pod, you will have developed your understanding of the importance of IC in today’s globalised world and in a range of contexts.

Language and Gender in Professional Communication

This pod explores language and gender in a range of workplace settings.

You will:

  • consider different perspectives from which to study language and gender
  • learn how to apply theoretical concepts and analytical tools to analyse language and gender in professional contexts
  • study gendered discourse in a range of professional contexts e.g. the media, politics, and healthcare
  • examine research findings on the relation between language and gender in business meetings.

By the end of this pod, you will have gained the knowledge and skills to conduct a linguistic analysis of talk at work with a focus on issues related to gender.

English Literature:

Alexander Pope and Eighteenth-Century Literary Contexts

In this pod you will study the writings of Alexander Pope in the wider literary and historical contexts of the early eighteenth century. You will explore Pope’s poetry in a range of forms and genres including epistles, essays, mock-classics, pastorals, translations, imitations, satires, and literary commentaries. In these works you will learn about the connections between classicism and modernity, and humour and politics.

You will analyse Pope’s contribution to the development of those literary forms, and through a study of his work will reflect on early eighteenth-century literary culture. 

Cognitive Narratology

This pod explores the relationship between narrative and the mind. You will: 

  • investigate a range of contemporary approaches to studying storyworlds, fictional minds, and narrative perspective 
  • engage with theories of cognitive reception 
  • examine emotion, ethics and empathy in relation to literary reading  
Cognitive Poetics

This pod presents cognitive poetics, where you will be introduced to the ‘cognitive turn’ in literary studies, exploring topics such as: 

  • figure and ground 
  • prototypicality 
  • embodiment 
  • cognitive deixis 
  • negation  
  • scripts and schemas 

All of the above inform our understanding of how we read, process and understand literary texts.    

Constructions of Madness, Nineteenth Century to the Present

This pod introduces the ways in which popular constructs of ‘madness’ are represented in literature and theatre from the nineteenth century to the present day. In tracing how these popular representations of ‘madness’ have developed over time, you will critique the relevant medical, political and social discourses with which they engage.

Through your analysis of this interplay between public discourse and private experience you will draw on debates surrounding patriarchal authority and female agency, individual and collective responsibility and the role of culture in determining what it means to be ‘mad’.

You will have the opportunity to apply these theoretical frameworks through close analysis of significant literary works by writers such as Willkie Collins and Sarah Waters, and of high-profile theatrical productions which include Nell Leyshon’s Beldam and Peter Brook’s Marat/Sade.

Contemporary Fairy Tale Literature

This pod explores literary retellings of traditional fairy tales. It takes a global approach to the study of fairy tale traditions and their literary adaptations from around the world.  

Focusing on fiction and poetry from the 1970s to the present, you will study the historical and political contexts behind the late-twentieth-century revival of fairy tale literature. In particular, we examine literature’s engagement with feminist movements of the era, as gender and feminist theory provide the major theoretical framework of this pod.  

You will gain skills in using the Aarne-Thompson-Uther system of folk and fairy tale classification, along with the work of prominent fairy tale scholars like Jack Zipes and Cristina Bacchilega. You will also contribute to a collaborative anthology of fairy tale literature, and learn about the theories and practicalities of anthologising texts.

Corpus Stylistics

This pod introduces the study of corpus stylistics, a particular application of corpus linguistics which focuses on issues of style, especially in literature. You will examine the main principles that underlie corpus design and compilation, and critically reflect on these principles in relation to corpus-stylistic practice.

You will investigate the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of corpus-stylistic analysis, learn how to handle and process data using appropriate corpus tools and software, and consider the implications of corpus linguistics for literary-linguistic and literary-critical research.

Correspondence in the Long Nineteenth Century

This pod introduces the most important (and necessary) form of written communication in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries - correspondence. You will: 

  • examine the function of letters and other correspondence in both literary texts and the everyday 
  • explore how to transcribe letters and how to use them as a primary resource 
  • explore how to embed correspondence in your studies of the long nineteenth century  
Death and Dying in Late Medieval Literature

Fear of death and what would come afterwards haunted writers throughout the Middle Ages. This pod introduces some of the key ways in which late medieval writing depicted and explored the nature of dying and death.

Covering a range of late medieval literature, you will evaluate the idea of a ‘good death’, and the influence of this on conceptions of identity, illness, faith, memory and emotion, to explore how medieval writers and readers thought about death, dying and the place of the dead in the culture of the living.

Ecocriticism

This pod presents a theoretical and critical introduction to ecocriticism and to environmental writing. It takes in broad chronological and generic perspectives, introducing the ways in which environmental ideas manifest themselves in poetry, fiction and the ‘new nature writing’, and considers writing from 1800-present.

The pod also takes a world literature approach to both the category of ecocriticism and the category of environmental writing – the theoretical approaches come from diverse national contexts, as does the writing itself, taking in not only anglophone writing from the UK, the United States, Australia and India, but also from writing in translation.

Ethical Criticism

This pod provides an overview of Ethical Criticism, with its blend of moral philosophy, politics, and literary analysis, through the lens of two twentieth-century writers: Henry James and Samuel Beckett.

You will analyse literary texts with the theoretical frames supplied by ethical critics such as Martha Nussbaum and J. Hillis Miller to the study of late Henry James; and cultural critics Theodor Adorno, David Cunningham and Steven Connor who interrogate the aesthetic and ethical concept of “meaning” in the novels and plays of Samuel Beckett.

Gothic Literature

This pod analyses a range of texts from the late eighteenth century to the present day. You will focus on understanding the cultural contexts of the texts in question, as well as tracing the influence of the Gothic through time and various cultural traditions.  

You will explore: 

  • the origins of the Gothic 
  • its aesthetic dimensions and thematic concerns 
  • how it relates to its historical context
  • ways in which it undermines, explores or challenges wider intellectual and cultural movements like Rationalism and the Enlightenment
Indian Literature of the Twentieth Century

This pod explores a range of Anglophone literature from the Indian sub-continent, written during the last decades of the British Empire and the growth of post-independence India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  

You will analyse poetry and fiction by Indian authors, developing an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts for this literature, as well as the approaches and readings suggested by postcolonial theories.  

This pod focuses in particular on the connection between literary texts and wider political debates around nationalism, caste, sex and gender.  

Literary Linguistics

This pod explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through practical analysis and interactive tasks, you will consider a variety of linguistic explorations of poetry, prose and drama from a wide range of historical periods.  

You will: 

  • critically apply and evaluate key approaches to language and literature 
  • investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation
  • consider the scope and validity of stylistics, in relation to literature and literary studies 
Metaphor

This pod provides a linguistic overview of metaphor, with a particular emphasis on Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). Historical perspectives on metaphor are taken, from Aristotle to Ricoeur, leading up to our most current cognitive linguistic understanding of metaphor in language and thought. CMT and its associated approaches focus on the connection (or mapping) made between two different, often seemingly unrelated, semantic domains (like emotions and containers).

This pod examines how such metaphors gain prominence above and beyond the phrase or sentence, at the level of discourse. Domains of literary and political discourse are examined in detail to highlight how salient metaphor is in a range of language settings, and how significant it is for understanding human thought.

Modernism and DH Lawrence

DH Lawrence was a major modernist figure and a writer deeply rooted in Nottinghamshire.  

This pod: 

  • studies Lawrence in the context of his literary contemporaries 
  • analyses his fiction and poetry in relation to literary realism and modernist experimentation
  • considers his work within wider contexts, such as gender and suffragism, and the First World War 
Narratology

This pod introduces the study of narrative, one of the most universal forms of human communication. It discusses influential concepts and models to analyse how narratives are structured and presented, and to understand how they convey meaning.  

Old English Literature

This pod introduces you to the rich variety of Old English literature in its original language, covering heroic poetry, elegy, biblical adaptations and hagiography, and riddles and charms.

You will begin by covering the art of translation with its aims and challenges. The particular difficulties of translating from Old English are addressed and a range of tools and approaches provided. We cover a range of genres, and you will develop your understanding Old English poetic form, as well asknowledge of the context of early medieval England.

Performing Space and Place

In this pod you will consider how theatre and performance engage with concepts of place, space and site. In so doing, you will draw on theoretical, practical and personal paradigms to understand how notions of place, space and site are represented, read, received and practiced within the context of theatre and performance.

Beginning with definitions of place, space and performance you will then move onto applying these concepts to the diegetic space contained within the play text. From here you will explore how theatrical space contributes to the process by which we decipher and experience theatre, before considering this dynamic in relation to site-specific performance.

Reading and Editing the Medieval Text

Before the advent of the printing press texts circulated in hand-written copies. Each manuscript was therefore unique and tells us about the tastes and habits of medieval readers. This pod introduces you to some of the specific skills and areas of knowledge necessary for working with, and editing, late medieval manuscripts.

Focusing on a fifteenth-century manuscript copy of Gower’s Confessio Amantis, you will develop and apply skills in transcription (palaeography), examine editorial choices, learn how to compile a glossary and provide an explanatory commentary.

Religion and Fantasy Literature

This pod offers you the materials and approaches to investigate the relationships between religion (specifically Christianity) and fantasy literatures. The pod centres on the case study of the CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, exploring the ways Narnia and Middle Earth present different religious visions. It sets these authors in their historical and intellectual contexts, allowing for close focus on how their milieu affected their beliefs and their fiction.

The pod also provides a longer chronological perspective on the roots of fantasy tropes in the Bible, The Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost and Pilgrim’s Progress. You will be encouraged to develop a critical approach to the embodiment of ideologies in fictional symbols, and to attend to the dialectic between the “real” and “supernatural” in fiction.

Southeast Asian Literature

This pod studies the literatures and contexts of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. You will learn about how literary texts overlap with their national contexts and literary traditions, as well as how they engage with the Southeast Asian region more broadly.  

With a focus on twentieth and twenty-first-century texts written in English, this pod compares different national and literary manifestations of: 

  • colonialism and postcolonialism 
  • multiculturalism and multilingualism 
  • globalisation 
  • climate catastrophe  
  • political oppression 

You will also analyse literary texts in relation to academic debates around Eurocentrism, decolonising academia and trauma theory.

Speculative Fictions (1500 to the Present)

This pod explores the literary representations of utopia and dystopia. It traces the evolution of speculative fiction from Thomas More’s Utopia of 1516, through to later writers such as HG Wells, Ursula K. Le Guin and JG Ballard.  

You will consider how specific visions engage with their historical contexts, as well as theoretical discussions of utopia and dystopia, and questions of form and genre. 

Texts in a Digital World

This pod explores stylistic, cognitive and narratological approaches to studying digital fiction. It examines literary texts which are specifically designed to be read on a screen. 

You will focus on the language of hypertext fiction, ludic narratives, interactive film and app-based fiction. We will also explore the literatures of social media and investigate the experience of reading and engaging with digital texts. 

Text World Theory

This pod gives a thorough overview of the literary-linguistic framework ‘Text World Theory’. It mainly focuses on the application and development of the framework over the last twenty years.  

You will: 

  • explore contemporary advances in text-world research, examining topics from language in the classroom, through to the emotional experience of engaging with literary texts 
  • apply, expand and critically evaluate the framework 
  • explore a range of Text-World-Theory applications to discourse (both literary and otherwise) 

 consider the future potential of text-world published research 

The Language of Dystopia

This pod explores the language of dystopian literature. Through taking a stylistic approach, it will: 

  • examine the language which characterises dystopian narratives 
  • explore a range of textual examples from across periods 
  • investigate the evolution and hybridity of contemporary dystopia 

By applying a variety of literary-linguistic frameworks and approaches, you will examine the construal of dystopian worlds, the conceptualisation of dystopian minds, and the experience of dystopian reading.  

The Language of Multimodal Literature

This pod focuses on the language  of multimodal texts. Moving beyond traditional written presentations of narrative, multimodal texts experiment with more than one semiotic mode. They can incorporate graphics, creatively manipulate typeface, or feature tactile elements, all of which contribute to the reading experience. Through a mixture of stylistic, cognitive and narratological approaches, you will explore literary texts which manipulate narrative across modes, ranging from B. S. Johnson's infamous book-in-a-box through to contemporary transmedial literature and interactive fictions. 

The Language of Surrealism

This pod explores the artistic movement of surrealism. You will focus on its emergence and high point between the two world wars, though the later influence of surrealism will also be considered.  

The emphasis of this pod is on the form and technique of literary surrealist writing in English. You will explore forms of creative production, particularly in relation to the surrealists’ own understanding of language and linguistics.  

You will also consider surrealist output from a literary-linguistic and cognitive poetic perspective. This allows you to explore a view of surrealism and surrealist activity from the current understanding of language and linguistics.  

The Lyric and its Language in Middle English

This pod provides a rigorous introduction to the fundamentals of Middle English language, poetics, and textual transmission. The primary texts include lyrics on love, religion and politics, giving insight into the major literary and cultural concerns of the period, and into this important genre.

The pod will train you to undertake linguistic analysis of these texts, and you will acquire the skills to explore how formal aspects of poetry communicate meaning. You will consider the ways in which Middle English lyric poetry was read in its early manuscript context and how modern editorial practice shapes the experience of modern readers.

The Reader in Stylistics

This pod explores the use of empirical methods of reader response in stylistics. It examines both experimental and naturalistic research methods and investigates the relationship between empiricism and introspection.  

You will discuss applications in relation to a range of literary texts, with practical illustrations and activities being presented alongside real reader-response data. Through the combined study of reader data and literature itself, you will consider the critical benefits and limitations of reader-response methods for stylistic practice, as well as reflecting on the future of empirical research in this discipline.   

The Reading Public in the Romantic Period

When we think of Romanticism, particular authors might immediately come to mind. But what happens when we shift the focus from those who wrote, to those who read and bought books? Should we pay attention to the books which sold well, instead of those which are seen as being worthy of study?  

This pod interrogates the facts and fictions of bookselling in the Romantic period, providing insights and questions which will be useful when studying all aspects of literary history.   

Understanding Performance
Vampire

In this pod you will consider questions such as: 

  • Where does the vampire myth come from, and how did it make its way into contemporary Western culture?  
  • What were the early vampire texts and how do they relate to modern representations of the vampire?  
  • Why do we study vampires, and what do they tell us about ourselves?  

You will also study theories around the Gothic, adaptation, gender and sexuality. These will provide backgrounds for critical analysis of vampire literature, cinema and television. 

World Literatures

This pod provides a detailed study of world literatures in the twenty-first century. You will: 

  • look at key developments and trends in the study and theory of world literatures 
  • consider how these affect the ways in which we read contemporary literary texts from around the world 
  • study the historical development of different global economic and political systems from colonialism to the present day

Focusing on the novel, we will look at texts with origins in Pakistan, Morocco and the UK - all of which have English as a common language.  

Modern and Contemporary Literature:

Cognitive Narratology

This pod explores the relationship between narrative and the mind. You will: 

  • investigate a range of contemporary approaches to studying storyworlds, fictional minds, and narrative perspective 
  • engage with theories of cognitive reception 
  • examine emotion, ethics and empathy in relation to literary reading  
Cognitive Poetics

This pod presents cognitive poetics, where you will be introduced to the ‘cognitive turn’ in literary studies, exploring topics such as: 

  • figure and ground 
  • prototypicality 
  • embodiment 
  • cognitive deixis 
  • negation  
  • scripts and schemas 

All of the above inform our understanding of how we read, process and understand literary texts.    

Constructions of Madness, Nineteenth Century to the Present

This pod introduces the ways in which popular constructs of ‘madness’ are represented in literature and theatre from the nineteenth century to the present day. In tracing how these popular representations of ‘madness’ have developed over time, you will critique the relevant medical, political and social discourses with which they engage.

Through your analysis of this interplay between public discourse and private experience you will draw on debates surrounding patriarchal authority and female agency, individual and collective responsibility and the role of culture in determining what it means to be ‘mad’.

You will have the opportunity to apply these theoretical frameworks through close analysis of significant literary works by writers such as Willkie Collins and Sarah Waters, and of high-profile theatrical productions which include Nell Leyshon’s Beldam and Peter Brook’s Marat/Sade.

Contemporary Fairy Tale Literature

This pod explores literary retellings of traditional fairy tales. It takes a global approach to the study of fairy tale traditions and their literary adaptations from around the world.  

Focusing on fiction and poetry from the 1970s to the present, you will study the historical and political contexts behind the late-twentieth-century revival of fairy tale literature. In particular, we examine literature’s engagement with feminist movements of the era, as gender and feminist theory provide the major theoretical framework of this pod.  

You will gain skills in using the Aarne-Thompson-Uther system of folk and fairy tale classification, along with the work of prominent fairy tale scholars like Jack Zipes and Cristina Bacchilega. You will also contribute to a collaborative anthology of fairy tale literature, and learn about the theories and practicalities of anthologising texts.

Corpus Stylistics

This pod introduces the study of corpus stylistics, a particular application of corpus linguistics which focuses on issues of style, especially in literature. You will examine the main principles that underlie corpus design and compilation, and critically reflect on these principles in relation to corpus-stylistic practice.

You will investigate the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of corpus-stylistic analysis, learn how to handle and process data using appropriate corpus tools and software, and consider the implications of corpus linguistics for literary-linguistic and literary-critical research.

Ecocriticism

This pod presents a theoretical and critical introduction to ecocriticism and to environmental writing. It takes in broad chronological and generic perspectives, introducing the ways in which environmental ideas manifest themselves in poetry, fiction and the ‘new nature writing’, and considers writing from 1800-present.

The pod also takes a world literature approach to both the category of ecocriticism and the category of environmental writing – the theoretical approaches come from diverse national contexts, as does the writing itself, taking in not only anglophone writing from the UK, the United States, Australia and India, but also from writing in translation.

Ethical Criticism

This pod provides an overview of Ethical Criticism, with its blend of moral philosophy, politics, and literary analysis, through the lens of two twentieth-century writers: Henry James and Samuel Beckett.

You will analyse literary texts with the theoretical frames supplied by ethical critics such as Martha Nussbaum and J. Hillis Miller to the study of late Henry James; and cultural critics Theodor Adorno, David Cunningham and Steven Connor who interrogate the aesthetic and ethical concept of “meaning” in the novels and plays of Samuel Beckett.

Indian Literature of the Twentieth Century

This pod explores a range of Anglophone literature from the Indian sub-continent, written during the last decades of the British Empire and the growth of post-independence India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  

You will analyse poetry and fiction by Indian authors, developing an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts for this literature, as well as the approaches and readings suggested by postcolonial theories.  

This pod focuses in particular on the connection between literary texts and wider political debates around nationalism, caste, sex and gender.  

Literary Linguistics

This pod explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through practical analysis and interactive tasks, you will consider a variety of linguistic explorations of poetry, prose and drama from a wide range of historical periods.  

You will: 

  • critically apply and evaluate key approaches to language and literature 
  • investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation
  • consider the scope and validity of stylistics, in relation to literature and literary studies 
Modernism and DH Lawrence

DH Lawrence was a major modernist figure and a writer deeply rooted in Nottinghamshire.  

This pod: 

  • studies Lawrence in the context of his literary contemporaries 
  • analyses his fiction and poetry in relation to literary realism and modernist experimentation
  • considers his work within wider contexts, such as gender and suffragism, and the First World War 
Narratology

This pod introduces the study of narrative, one of the most universal forms of human communication. It discusses influential concepts and models to analyse how narratives are structured and presented, and to understand how they convey meaning.  

Performing Space and Place

In this pod you will consider how theatre and performance engage with concepts of place, space and site. In so doing, you will draw on theoretical, practical and personal paradigms to understand how notions of place, space and site are represented, read, received and practiced within the context of theatre and performance.

Beginning with definitions of place, space and performance you will then move onto applying these concepts to the diegetic space contained within the play text. From here you will explore how theatrical space contributes to the process by which we decipher and experience theatre, before considering this dynamic in relation to site-specific performance.

Religion and Fantasy Literature

This pod offers you the materials and approaches to investigate the relationships between religion (specifically Christianity) and fantasy literatures. The pod centres on the case study of the CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, exploring the ways Narnia and Middle Earth present different religious visions. It sets these authors in their historical and intellectual contexts, allowing for close focus on how their milieu affected their beliefs and their fiction.

The pod also provides a longer chronological perspective on the roots of fantasy tropes in the Bible, The Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost and Pilgrim’s Progress. You will be encouraged to develop a critical approach to the embodiment of ideologies in fictional symbols, and to attend to the dialectic between the “real” and “supernatural” in fiction.

Southeast Asian Literature

This pod studies the literatures and contexts of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. You will learn about how literary texts overlap with their national contexts and literary traditions, as well as how they engage with the Southeast Asian region more broadly.  

With a focus on twentieth and twenty-first-century texts written in English, this pod compares different national and literary manifestations of: 

  • colonialism and postcolonialism 
  • multiculturalism and multilingualism 
  • globalisation 
  • climate catastrophe  
  • political oppression 

You will also analyse literary texts in relation to academic debates around Eurocentrism, decolonising academia and trauma theory.

Speculative Fictions (1500 to the Present)

This pod explores the literary representations of utopia and dystopia. It traces the evolution of speculative fiction from Thomas More’s Utopia of 1516, through to later writers such as HG Wells, Ursula K. Le Guin and JG Ballard.  

You will consider how specific visions engage with their historical contexts, as well as theoretical discussions of utopia and dystopia, and questions of form and genre. 

Text World Theory

This pod gives a thorough overview of the literary-linguistic framework ‘Text World Theory’. It mainly focuses on the application and development of the framework over the last twenty years.  

You will: 

  • explore contemporary advances in text-world research, examining topics from language in the classroom, through to the emotional experience of engaging with literary texts 
  • apply, expand and critically evaluate the framework 
  • explore a range of Text-World-Theory applications to discourse (both literary and otherwise) 

 consider the future potential of text-world published research 

Texts in a Digital World

This pod explores stylistic, cognitive and narratological approaches to studying digital fiction. It examines literary texts which are specifically designed to be read on a screen. 

You will focus on the language of hypertext fiction, ludic narratives, interactive film and app-based fiction. We will also explore the literatures of social media and investigate the experience of reading and engaging with digital texts. 

The Language of Dystopia

This pod explores the language of dystopian literature. Through taking a stylistic approach, it will: 

  • examine the language which characterises dystopian narratives 
  • explore a range of textual examples from across periods 
  • investigate the evolution and hybridity of contemporary dystopia 

By applying a variety of literary-linguistic frameworks and approaches, you will examine the construal of dystopian worlds, the conceptualisation of dystopian minds, and the experience of dystopian reading.  

The Language of Multimodal Literature

This pod focuses on the language  of multimodal texts. Moving beyond traditional written presentations of narrative, multimodal texts experiment with more than one semiotic mode. They can incorporate graphics, creatively manipulate typeface, or feature tactile elements, all of which contribute to the reading experience. Through a mixture of stylistic, cognitive and narratological approaches, you will explore literary texts which manipulate narrative across modes, ranging from B. S. Johnson's infamous book-in-a-box through to contemporary transmedial literature and interactive fictions. 

The Language of Surrealism

This pod explores the artistic movement of surrealism. You will focus on its emergence and high point between the two world wars, though the later influence of surrealism will also be considered.  

The emphasis of this pod is on the form and technique of literary surrealist writing in English. You will explore forms of creative production, particularly in relation to the surrealists’ own understanding of language and linguistics.  

You will also consider surrealist output from a literary-linguistic and cognitive poetic perspective. This allows you to explore a view of surrealism and surrealist activity from the current understanding of language and linguistics.  

The Reader in Stylistics

This pod explores the use of empirical methods of reader response in stylistics. It examines both experimental and naturalistic research methods and investigates the relationship between empiricism and introspection.  

You will discuss applications in relation to a range of literary texts, with practical illustrations and activities being presented alongside real reader-response data. Through the combined study of reader data and literature itself, you will consider the critical benefits and limitations of reader-response methods for stylistic practice, as well as reflecting on the future of empirical research in this discipline.   

Understanding Performance
Vampire

In this pod you will consider questions such as: 

  • Where does the vampire myth come from, and how did it make its way into contemporary Western culture?  
  • What were the early vampire texts and how do they relate to modern representations of the vampire?  
  • Why do we study vampires, and what do they tell us about ourselves?  

You will also study theories around the Gothic, adaptation, gender and sexuality. These will provide backgrounds for critical analysis of vampire literature, cinema and television. 

World Literatures

This pod provides a detailed study of world literatures in the twenty-first century. You will: 

  • look at key developments and trends in the study and theory of world literatures 
  • consider how these affect the ways in which we read contemporary literary texts from around the world 
  • study the historical development of different global economic and political systems from colonialism to the present day

Focusing on the novel, we will look at texts with origins in Pakistan, Morocco and the UK - all of which have English as a common language.  

World Literatures:

Contemporary Fairy Tale Literature

This pod explores literary retellings of traditional fairy tales. It takes a global approach to the study of fairy tale traditions and their literary adaptations from around the world.  

Focusing on fiction and poetry from the 1970s to the present, you will study the historical and political contexts behind the late-twentieth-century revival of fairy tale literature. In particular, we examine literature’s engagement with feminist movements of the era, as gender and feminist theory provide the major theoretical framework of this pod.  

You will gain skills in using the Aarne-Thompson-Uther system of folk and fairy tale classification, along with the work of prominent fairy tale scholars like Jack Zipes and Cristina Bacchilega. You will also contribute to a collaborative anthology of fairy tale literature, and learn about the theories and practicalities of anthologising texts.

Ecocriticism

This pod presents a theoretical and critical introduction to ecocriticism and to environmental writing. It takes in broad chronological and generic perspectives, introducing the ways in which environmental ideas manifest themselves in poetry, fiction and the ‘new nature writing’, and considers writing from 1800-present.

The pod also takes a world literature approach to both the category of ecocriticism and the category of environmental writing – the theoretical approaches come from diverse national contexts, as does the writing itself, taking in not only anglophone writing from the UK, the United States, Australia and India, but also from writing in translation.

Indian Literature of the Twentieth Century

This pod explores a range of Anglophone literature from the Indian sub-continent, written during the last decades of the British Empire and the growth of post-independence India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  

You will analyse poetry and fiction by Indian authors, developing an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts for this literature, as well as the approaches and readings suggested by postcolonial theories.  

This pod focuses in particular on the connection between literary texts and wider political debates around nationalism, caste, sex and gender.  

Southeast Asian Literature

This pod studies the literatures and contexts of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. You will learn about how literary texts overlap with their national contexts and literary traditions, as well as how they engage with the Southeast Asian region more broadly.  

With a focus on twentieth and twenty-first-century texts written in English, this pod compares different national and literary manifestations of: 

  • colonialism and postcolonialism 
  • multiculturalism and multilingualism 
  • globalisation 
  • climate catastrophe  
  • political oppression 

You will also analyse literary texts in relation to academic debates around Eurocentrism, decolonising academia and trauma theory.

The Language of Surrealism

This pod explores the artistic movement of surrealism. You will focus on its emergence and high point between the two world wars, though the later influence of surrealism will also be considered.  

The emphasis of this pod is on the form and technique of literary surrealist writing in English. You will explore forms of creative production, particularly in relation to the surrealists’ own understanding of language and linguistics.  

You will also consider surrealist output from a literary-linguistic and cognitive poetic perspective. This allows you to explore a view of surrealism and surrealist activity from the current understanding of language and linguistics.  

World Literatures

This pod provides a detailed study of world literatures in the twenty-first century. You will: 

  • look at key developments and trends in the study and theory of world literatures 
  • consider how these affect the ways in which we read contemporary literary texts from around the world 
  • study the historical development of different global economic and political systems from colonialism to the present day

Focusing on the novel, we will look at texts with origins in Pakistan, Morocco and the UK - all of which have English as a common language.  

Medieval Englishes and Name-Studies:

Death and Dying in Late Medieval Literature

Fear of death and what would come afterwards haunted writers throughout the Middle Ages. This pod introduces some of the key ways in which late medieval writing depicted and explored the nature of dying and death.

Covering a range of late medieval literature, you will evaluate the idea of a ‘good death’, and the influence of this on conceptions of identity, illness, faith, memory and emotion, to explore how medieval writers and readers thought about death, dying and the place of the dead in the culture of the living.

English Field-Names

This pod provides an overview of field-names, a type of place-name which allows investigation into the past landscape of an area which few other modes of research permit.

These invaluable fragments of linguistic evidence will be examined from various historical linguistic perspectives, including semantic change and dialect study, and you will explore some of the prominent themes present in field-names. Most importantly, you will develop a methodological awareness which will allow you to undertake your own field-name research, ranging from surveys to linguistic or thematic analysis. 

Essentials of Old Norse

This pod introduces the basics of Old Norse. Popularly thought of as the language of the Vikings, Old Norse had an important influence on the development of English, giving us everyday words like ‘their’, ‘sky’, ’happy’, and ‘law’. You will study real texts in Old Norse and explore some of the main forms of nouns, pronouns and adjectives, as well as learning about Old Norse syntax. By the end of the pod, you will be equipped to translate passages of Old Norse, as well as use it for other forms of research.

Old English Language

This pod introduces you to Old English, the language spoken in what became England from the fifth to the eleventh century. This is the language of Beowulf and Alfred the Great. It is the ancestor of modern English, but looks quite different, with a different orthography and grammar.

You will be introduced to the case system in Old English, as well as its orthography and pronunciation, before tackling pronouns, nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and prepositions, with detailed explanation accompanied by practice exercises. The language is studied through real Old English texts, building your linguistic knowledge alongside learning about early medieval culture.

Old English Literature

This pod introduces you to the rich variety of Old English literature in its original language, covering heroic poetry, elegy, biblical adaptations and hagiography, and riddles and charms.

You will begin by covering the art of translation with its aims and challenges. The particular difficulties of translating from Old English are addressed and a range of tools and approaches provided. We cover a range of genres, and you will develop your understanding Old English poetic form, as well asknowledge of the context of early medieval England.

Names and Language Change

Through this pod, you'll learn about the relationship between language change and the evidence provided by the names of people and places. We'll be thinking about dialect, vocabulary, linguistic contact, and semantic change, as well as the use of names in other disciplines.

Place-Names in the English Landscape

This pod introduces the language used to describe the landscape in the periods when many of England’s place-names came into existence. 

You will investigate landscape vocabulary in the areas of semantic change and linguistic contact. You will also become familiar with the detail of this precise terminology, especially in Old English and Old Norse. 

This pod considers the development of this area of study through the work of experts in the field. Through recent and ongoing research, you will learn about the contribution of place-name studies to interdisciplinary work in environmental management and policy.

Reading and Editing the Medieval Text

Before the advent of the printing press texts circulated in hand-written copies. Each manuscript was therefore unique and tells us about the tastes and habits of medieval readers. This pod introduces you to some of the specific skills and areas of knowledge necessary for working with, and editing, late medieval manuscripts.

Focusing on a fifteenth-century manuscript copy of Gower’s Confessio Amantis, you will develop and apply skills in transcription (palaeography), examine editorial choices, learn how to compile a glossary and provide an explanatory commentary.

Runes and Runic Inscriptions

This pod introduces you to runic writing systems in their various forms, their historical contexts and their value for linguistic and historical study. Runes are a form of alphabetic writing mostly encountered in inscriptions on physical objects, which provide some of our earliest evidence for the Germanic languages.

You will learn about the relationship of writing to speech, the adaptation of the writing system in different linguistic and cultural environments, and the challenges of reading and interpreting epigraphical texts. The pod also engages with modern adaptations and uses of runes (including in popular culture).

Surnames and Identities

This pod explores the origin, development and use of surnames. Emphasis is on names used in England from the medieval period to the earlier twentieth century.  

You will: 

  • examine the main categories of name, including their formation and development 
  • develop the skills to identify names and their possible origins
  • explore the evidence that names provide for linguistic, social, cultural and economic history 
The Language of English Place-Names

This pod introduces the study of English place-names. These were short texts which began as meaningful descriptions in the everyday languages spoken in Britain over the past millennia. 

You will explore the contribution of each of these languages to English place-names, considering scholarly arguments and historical-linguistic evidence. This pod also gives a background in onomastic research methodology, which will equip you to analyse place-name evidence. 

The Lyric and its Language in Middle English

This pod provides a rigorous introduction to the fundamentals of Middle English language, poetics, and textual transmission. The primary texts include lyrics on love, religion and politics, giving insight into the major literary and cultural concerns of the period, and into this important genre.

The pod will train you to undertake linguistic analysis of these texts, and you will acquire the skills to explore how formal aspects of poetry communicate meaning. You will consider the ways in which Middle English lyric poetry was read in its early manuscript context and how modern editorial practice shapes the experience of modern readers.

On the Applied English Programme, pods are taken in place of modules and may be subject to change over the duration of the course.

The above is a sample of the typical modules 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. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 18 November 2020.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

There are no fixed deadlines within each year. Instead, there are three submission points over the year and your personal adviser will help you schedule your portfolio work to submit at the time that suits you.

You will submit a portfolio of work for every six pods that you complete. Guided by your pod tutors and personal adviser, your portfolio will showcase your strengths and skills relevant to your own life and career. For example, if you currently work in teaching, you could choose to include lesson plans in your portfolio.

Your portfolio might include:

  • lesson plans
  • blog posts
  • website design
  • video presentations or films
  • conference papers
  • creative works (creative writing or performance productions)
  • essays

You’ll be supported to explore new ways of working through tasks and discussions within pods, where you will be given feedback.

Teaching methods include:

  • Videos
  • Audio lectures, interviews and discussions
  • Digital texts, databases and manuscripts
  • Interactive tasks to develop knowledge and analysis
  • One-to-one tutor support
  • Peer discussion forums

How you will be assessed

You will be assessed by your choice of assessment types, which may include:

  • Lesson plans
  • Syllabus design
  • Conference papers
  • Blog posts
  • Experiment design
  • Exhibition curation
  • Essays
  • Video/audio presentations
  • Journalism
  • Website design
  • Creative writing
  • Performance production

Contact time and study hours

This programme is designed to offer completely flexible distance learning, so you can study whenever and wherever you need.

You can study pods at your own pace, and take one or several at a time, up to six simultaneously. You can spend different amounts of time on different pods, as you prefer. You can pause your studies as your work or life determines, and pick up again easily when you are ready.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degreeTypically 2:1 or above, but we will consider 2:2 (or international equivalent), in any Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences subject. If you have other qualifications or professional experience, please contact us. We consider individual cases, including non-standard qualifications.

Applying

You can apply to start your course on either 21 September 2021 or 1 February 2022.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

Qualification All
Home / UK To be confirmed in 2020
International To be confirmed in 2020

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

Books

You'll be able to access most of the texts you’ll need through our online library, though you may wish to buy your own copies. On some pods, you may be advised to purchase texts - if this is the case, we will make students aware.

Summer school

Students who choose to attend our annual Summer School event are required to pay for their own transport and accommodation costs.

Funding

Distance learning fees

Distance learning students are charged a standard fee, with no differentiation between UK/EU and international students.

Fees are paid on a pod by pod basis. We offer a flexible payment plan, so you could choose to pay for a block of pods at a time, or all of your pods upfront, should you choose to do so. There is no upfront fee.

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

Student loans and course duration

If you are funded by a student loan, there will be restrictions on your course duration. We recommended that you visit the Student Loans from the Student Loans Company page on the website before you register for the course to make sure you understand the implications of this. We also recommended that you contact your funding body, to check you meet their requirements.

If you are funded through the Student Loans Company (SLC), you must complete the course within two years to be eligible for funding. This includes the taught element and your dissertation. If you do not complete the course within two years, you will be ineligible for funding.

The recommended duration of our Distance Learning programmes is three years. We recognise that the majority of our students are in full-time work and have workloads that fluctuate throughout the year, and we find a three-year duration most suitably accommodates this.

If you register for one of our courses with a student loan, we strongly recommend that you contact your personal advisor as soon as possible to let them know that you need to complete the course in two years. This way we can organise your study plan accordingly.

Please note: it is the student’s responsibility to check they meet the requirements of the loan provider before applying. If you have any questions about the requirements of your loan, please contact your funding provider.

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

The University also offers masters scholarships for international and EU students. Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding postgraduate study.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

This course will develop your ability to research and process a large amount of information quickly, and to present the results of your research in an articulate and effective way across a range of platforms and outputs.

In your assessments, you will produce work directly connected to careers in teaching, business and communications, digital and creative industries, the media and publishing, policy and more. You will also be well prepared if you are considering a PhD, or a career in academia.

Career progression

For postgraduate taught students from the School of English: 

  • 97.4% are in work or study 15 months after graduating
  • 81.6% are in graduate level work or study 15 months after graduating 

Source: University of Nottingham derived figures from HESA's Graduate Outcomes Survey of the Class of 2017/18 (Open Data Release 23rd June 2020)

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" With twenty years of experience in distance learning, the School of English has been at the forefront of delivering effective online education, providing students with the opportunity to study English from a wide range of perspectives and work with experts in the field. Also, since our courses are offered part-time, they provide flexibility to study alongside your work and other commitments. "
Dr Paweł Szudarski, Distance Learning Convenor
The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Wednesday 18 November 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.