Queen Mary University of London

Course Introduction

Our MA English Studies: Contemporary Writing pathway offers you the opportunity to engage with American, British, Irish, and world Anglophone literary cultures. The pathway brings together a variety of genres and critical approaches to contemporary literature, enabling you to explore fiction, poetry, and life writing, as well as debates in cultural theory and philosophy about the very nature and periodization of contemporaneity.

We are home to one of the largest and most diverse groups of staff in this field of any department in the country, and expertise in late'twentieth' and twenty'first'century culture brings together perspectives that are regional and transnational, theoretical and historicist. Distinctively, the pathway will also give you the opportunity of working with our leading postcolonial scholars, and to think about contemporary cultural production in global contexts of reception.

A range of optional modules will enable you to study major novelists and poets from national literary traditions within and beyond an Anglo'American frame. This range of modules will allow you to pursue the forms and writers that interest you the most.

The core module, ‘Writing and the Present’, equips you with a set of foundational critical vocabularies with which to engage historically, formally, and philosophically with contemporary literature. The module will allow you to explore contemporary writing in relation to broader contentions about the present, including the problems of periodicity along with the current state and function of criticism. One of the key aims of this module is to establish a context of non'fictional writing, philosophy, and social theory that will help you to characterize the contemporary moment. Special attention will be devoted to issues of technology, innovation and social change that bring into question the category of ‘writing’ itself, its role in theoretical debates, its place in contemporary philosophy, and its transformations in the context of digital culture.

This module, coupled with your optional modules and your dissertation, encourage you to examine the most urgent intellectual issues of our time that relate to the notion of ‘the contemporary’, not only in academic contexts but also in lived social experience.

Course Modules

Please refer to our website for modules related to this programme.

Duration & Attendance Qualification Tuition fees Fee type
1 year
Full Time
2 years
Part Time

Qualifications required:

  • An upper 2nd class Honours degree in English or such related fields as history, cultural studies and media studies. Where a North American marking scheme is used, applicants should have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.2. Applicants without formal qualifications can be considered on an individual basis.