MA Dickens and Victorian Culture
The School of English has a strong international reputation and global perspective, apparent both in the background of its staff and in the diversity of our teaching and research interests.
Our expertise ranges from the medieval to the postmodern, including British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history. The international standing of the School ensures that we have a lively, confident research culture, sustained by a vibrant, ambitious intellectual community. We also count a number of distinguished creative writers among our staff, and we actively explore crossovers between critical and creative writing in all our areas of teaching and research.
Our reputation for research excellence was confirmed in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (2008) in which our research was recognised to be world-leading. The University of Kent is a research-led institution, which means that the research that the academics are engaged in continues to inform their teaching, and that you, as a student in the department, are at the centre of a dynamic and thriving academic environment.
As the only named Master’s programme within the UK devoted to Charles Dickens, this programme studies the author in a place that perhaps offers more Dickensian associations than anywhere else in the world. It combines a focus on both the local and the global author through compulsory modules contextualising the variety of ways in which Dickens engaged with the social, cultural and political issues of his age. Interdisciplinary approaches are employed, using Dickens as a focus, to consider the relationships between19th-century fiction and journalism, the Victorians’ engagement with material culture, and their fascination with the body and its metaphors.
Assessment is by a 5-6,000-word essay for each module and a 12-15,000-word dissertation.
This programme aims to:
- provide excellent postgraduate-level study that deepens and extends your understanding of work in the field of Dickens and Victorian culture
- develop your understanding of, and engagement with, the critical and methodological paradigms that inform the field of studies in Dickens and Victorian culture
- develop your independent critical thinking and judgement
- develop your research skills in the relevant field so as to provide a pathway for you to undertake PhD work in the area of Dickens and Victorian culture
- build upon and extend an already-established reputation at Kent for distinction in the learning and teaching of Dickens and Victorian culture.
Knowledge and understanding
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
- primary sources and recent scholarship concerning Dickens as a major figure in Victorian print culture and English literature more generally
- the relationship of Dickens to his age in terms of relevant contexts such as the newspaper and periodical market, the theatre, politics, economics, imperialism, the law, religion, science, education, gender, class, and visual culture
- the part played by Victorian literature in addressing contemporary social problems
- the theoretical and methodological challenges presented by researching a past historical moment.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- the acquisition of advanced skills in the use of bibliographic and other research methods essential to the pursuit of original research at graduate level
- the demonstration of competence in critically evaluating research tools and findings
- the ability to conceptualise and formulate a substantial research project
- the ability to synthesise information from a range of primary and secondary sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of theory and practice
- the ability to criticise analytically.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- the research, analysis and evaluation of Victorian texts, including both primary and secondary sources
- a developed, critical understanding of a variety of scholarly approaches to the study of literature and other cultural forms in this period
- an ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of various kinds of text and their political, cultural and historical contexts
- a developed scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work, of bibliographic practices, and of structuring and developing an argument over an extended piece of written work.
You will gain the following transferable skills:
- advanced oral and written communication skills, including the capacity to argue for a point of view with clarity, organisation, cogency and sophistication
- a capacity for independent research and learning, including the ability to think independently, analytically, critically and self-critically
- the ability to assimilate and organise substantial quantities of complex information of diverse kinds
- IT skills: word-processing, email communication, the ability to access electronic data and evaluate online resources.
A first or second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent).
General entry requirements
Please also see our general entry requirements.
English language entry requirements
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Research in the School of English comes roughly under the following areas. However, there is often a degree of overlap between groups, and individual staff have interests that range more widely.
The particular interests of the Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century converge around gender, class, nation, travel and empire, and the relationship between print and material culture. Staff in the Centre pursue cutting-edge approaches to the field and share a commitment to interdisciplinary methodologies.
The Centre regularly hosts visiting speakers as part of the School of English research seminar programme, and hosts day symposia, workshops and international conferences.
The 19th-century research group is organised around the successful MA in Dickens and Victorian Culture and the editorship of The Dickensian, the official publication outlet for new Dickens letters. Other staff research interests include literature and gender, journalism, representations of time and history, sublimity and Victorian Poetry.
Research in north American literature is conducted partly through the Faculty-based Centre for American Studies, which also facilitates co-operation with modern US historians. Staff research interests include 20th-century American literature, especially poetry, Native American writing, modernism, and cultural history.
The Centre for Creative Writing is the focus for most practice-based research in the School. Staff organise a thriving events series and run a research seminar for postgraduate students and staff to share ideas about fiction-writing. Established writers regularly come to read and discuss their work.
Medieval and Early Modern
The Faculty-based Canterbury Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies has a distinctive brand of interdisciplinarity, strong links with local archives and archaeological trusts, and provides a vibrant forum for investigating the relationships between literary and non-literary modes of writing in its weekly research seminar.
The Centre for Modern Poetry is a leading centre for research and publication in its field, and participates in both critical and creative research. Staff regularly host visiting speakers and writers, participate in national and international research networks, and organise graduate research seminars and public poetry readings.
Established in 1994, the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Research has acquired an international reputation for excellence in research. It has an outstanding track record in publication, organises frequent international conferences, and regularly hosts leading postcolonial writers and critics. It also hosts a visiting writer from India every year in association with the Charles Wallace Trust.
As a guide only, the 2014/15 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
Dickens & Victorian Culture - MA at Canterbury:
Full-time: £5100 UK/EU; £12450 Overseas
Part-time: £2550 UK/EU; £6240 Overseas
School: School of English
Subject area: English
Course type: Taught
Mode of study: Full-time or part-time
Attendance mode: Campus
Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
Total Kent credits: 180
Total ECTS credits: 90
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