MA Postcolonial Studies

University of Kent, School of English

Program Description

MA Postcolonial Studies

University of Kent, School of English

MA Postcolonial Studies


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.

Course structure

The MA in Postcolonial Studies develops your understanding of the politics of culture in relation to both the imperialist world’s interpretation of the colonial, and postcolonial assertions of autonomy. In this context, while ‘postcolonial’ refers primarily to societies of the so-called ‘Third World’, it also includes questions relevant to cultures such as those of Ireland and Australia.

The University of Kent was one of the first universities to establish postcolonial literary studies in Britain and has continued to play a significant part in the development of the field. Among the teachers involved in the programme are Abdulrazak Gurnah, Caroline Rooney, Alex Padamsee and Donna Landry (see staff research interests for further details).


Assessment is by a 5-6,000-word essay for each module and a 12-15,000-word dissertation.

Learning outcomes

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • explore a wide range of writing resulting from the encounter between imperialist and colonised countries and cultures
  • examine this writing in the wider context of colonial and postcolonial history
  • study how this writing and its history have been theorised
  • develop your research skills to the point where you are ready to undertake a research degree
  • develop your oral skills to the point where you are able to present a conference-type paper to your peers.

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • a wide range of colonial and postcolonial texts, primarily but not exclusively in English
  • the interaction between colonial and postcolonial texts, in terms of the imperialist world’s rendering of the colonial and postcolonial assertions of autonomy
  • the relation between critical theory in general, and various kinds of postcolonial theory
  • the concepts, terminology and modes of thought specific to postcolonial theory and criticism
  • the cultural conditions of production of contemporary postcolonial literatures
  • the wider intellectual and academic context from which postcolonial studies has developed.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the application of the skills needed for academic study and enquiry at graduate level.
  • the evaluation of research findings
  • 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 make discriminations and selections of relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge
  • the ability to think conceptually and to criticise analytically.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • advanced skills in the close critical analysis of colonial and postcolonial writing
  • developed and critical understanding of the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of postcolonial literatures
  • developed scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work, of bibliographic and annotational practices, and of structuring and developing an argument over an extended piece of written work
  • a nuanced understanding of how cultural norms and assumptions influence questions of judgement.

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • developed powers of communication and the capacity to argue a point of view, in extended oral and written form, with clarity, organisation, cogency and sophistication
  • the ability to think independently, analytically, critically and self-critically
  • the ability to assimilate and organise substantial quantities of complex information of diverse kinds
  • an advanced level of competence in the formulation, planning and execution of extended written projects
  • an advanced level of competence in the formulation, planning and formal oral presentation of research papers
  • the experience of collaborative intellectual work
  • the ability to understand, interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives
  • trained research skills, including scholarly information retrieval skills
  • IT skills: word-processing, email communication, the ability to access electronic data.

Entry requirements

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.


As a guide only, the 2014/15 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Postcolonial Studies - Taught MA at Canterbury:

Full-time: £5100 UK/EU; £12450 Overseas

Part-time: £2550 UK/EU; £6240 Overseas

Key facts

School: School of English

Subject area: English

Award: MA

Course type: Taught

Location: Canterbury

Mode of study: Full-time or part-time

Attendance mode: Campus

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time

Start: September

Total Kent credits: 180

Total ECTS credits: 90

This school offers programs in:
  • English
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
1 - 2 years
Part time
Full time
Start date Sept. 2017
United Kingdom Canterbury, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 1 - 2 years
Price Request Info