Literature, Culture and Identity
Advanced insight into a diverse range of literary texts
Why take this course?
This course is designed for those who have developed interests in questions of gender, sexuality and ethnicity and who wish to express this through literary analysis of a range of writing from the English-speaking world, and from mainland Europe in translation. Key topics include the consideration of ideas of the ‘self/other’, travel and migration, war, postcolonial and national identities, geography and the relationship to physical space, and gender and sexuality.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Study a degree enhanced by the research expertise of our Centre for Studies in Literature members
- Explore theories of psychoanalysis, feminism, postcolonialism and postmodernism in relation to contemporary literature
What opportunities might it lead to?
The programme will prepare you for postgraduate work in the fields of queer theory, gender studies, and postcolonial literature and theory. The course is directly tailored to meet national benchmarks for research training, with a strong emphasis on the development of research skills and analytical abilities. It is therefore designed for those thinking about future doctoral-level study, as well as offering a valuable boost to your personal profile if you are an education professional or simply looking to expand your portfolio with a challenging and rewarding advanced qualification.
More generally, it will improve your employability in an increasingly competitive job market as you will acquire skills which show an ability to research independently and study a contemporary topic at an advanced level.
The MA course gave me the opportunity to hone my research skills and develop a project centred around my own interests. I was exposed to a wide range of new and exciting ideas which enabled me to improve my writing and critical skills enormously.
Alexandra Messem, MA Literature, Culture and Identity student
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
A good second class honours degree, or above, in the field of literature or a related combination of subjects.
English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 7.0 or equivalent with no component less than 6.5
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man full-time students: £4,500, part-time students: £2,250 p/a* (2 years)
International full-time students: £10,500, part-time students: £5,250 p/a*
*Please note that all fees are subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 8299
- School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
Structure & Teaching
At the heart of the course is the production of a dissertation – a substantial piece of individual research work. Supporting your achievement in this are a series of taught units, introducing advanced research skills, analytical techniques and methodological perspectives that you will need for work at the cutting edge of contemporary humanities.
In addition, you will study a core unit, Cultural Identities: Self and Other, which will introduce key theoretical issues. You will then choose to study either Body Maps or European Others, plus one further option drawn from:
- Performing Genders
- Postmodern Detectives
- Independent Project
You will also take a research management unit to support the research for your dissertation. For the dissertation you will pursue in depth an approved topic of your choice.
Teaching and Assessment
You will experience a blend of seminar-based teaching and tutorial project support. Seminars will take place one day a week, generally in two two-hour sessions. Tutorials are arranged by mutual convenience and support can also be given by email.
You will be given comprehensive materials for the seminars, including prepared readings necessary for participation in discussions. As with any course of study, the MA Literature, Culture and Identity will require a significant commitment of time outside formal teaching hours – especially if taken full-time – for reading, preparation and assessment, but you will have plenty of support and guidance to help you meet your goals.
How are you assessed?
For the unit Humanities Research Skills, you will be expected to produce two or three short pieces of work. For each of the remaining taught units, you will give a short presentation and produce a 5,000-word essay.
Dr Maggie Bowers
Literature, Culture and Identity
This course is distinct because it provides the opportunity to study a really wide range of contemporary and twentieth-century literature with the structure of a thematic focus on identity. The range of texts is innovative, being drawn from many different continents and cultural traditions. The students really seem to appreciate the mix of theory and fiction. I really enjoy teaching this course as there are always interesting discussions and new ideas and texts to consider.
Facilities & Features
You will be taught by specialist staff who are actively undertaking research in the field of twentieth and twenty first-century literature, ensuring your learning keeps you abreast of the latest developments. Staff are members of the Centre for Literary Studies (CSL), Portsmouth's research cluster for scholars from different fields within literary studies, launched in 2009.
The Study Centre
A suite of rooms with a comfy seating area, desks where you can work, printers, Mac workstations and access to the wireless network so you can log in using your own laptop. There are also several study rooms where you can work on group projects, in addition to the University's 3rd Space.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
The MA Literature, Culture and Identity is a great chance to stretch your interest in literature further. This course is fantastic because it covers a wide range of topics, meaning you can focus on your own specialism. You can gain an excellent qualification enhancing the knowledge of a subject you are really passionate about.
Becky James, MA Literature, Culture and Identity student 2013
Careers & Opportunities
Portsmouth has a solid reputation for graduate employability and our concern with your development is maintained during the MA with sessions emphasising the transferability of the advanced skills you develop on the course. You will develop transferable skills in constructing coherent and convincing arguments in relation to complex debates and source materials, detailed analysis of a variety of documents and texts, advanced literacy and language skills, and research and communication skills. All these abilities equip or prepare you for a range of career outcomes including teaching, management and a variety of research posts, as well as preparing you for further study at doctoral level.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degrees students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service – Purple Door – can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree. We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.