MLitt in Contemporary Studies

University of St Andrews

Program Description

MLitt in Contemporary Studies

University of St Andrews

Course information

The MLitt Contemporary Studies is a one-year interdisciplinary Masters degree that explores the nature of the contemporary and draws on epistemologies and methodologies from the humanities, the social sciences, and the physical and life sciences.

This interdisciplinary degree involves academic staff from the following Schools:

  • Art History
  • Classics
  • Computer Science
  • Economics and Finance
  • English
  • Management
  • Modern Languages
  • Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Philosophical, Anthropological, and Film Studies
  • Physics and Astronomy.


  • Brings together students and academic staff from the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences offering a unique interdisciplinary degree.
  • Broadens students’ knowledge base and greatly enhances their skills of analysis, synthesis, and communication.
  • Enables those looking to continue to doctoral study to return to and potentially enrich their “home” disciplines with new perspectives and methodologies.
  • Summer research project can take the form of a practice-based submission comprising a practical component (such as a video essay, curation work, website design) with a written reflective component or a standardly written dissertation.

What might a specialist in English literature, a computer scientist, and a physicist have to say about climate change? How might a linguist, a social anthropologist, and a biologist approach concepts of time in the 21st century? The MLitt Contemporary Studies considers how issues deemed to be contemporary are approached differently by different academic disciplines as well as by those outside academia. Bringing together academic staff from the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences, this programme offers an interdisciplinary degree that is unique within St Andrews and rare in an academic context in the UK.

The multidisciplinary approach means that you will think beyond the concepts, theories, and methodologies of any single academic discipline as well as learn how to challenge disciplinary stereotypes and start to develop a common lexicon that bridges disciplinary divides.

You will also have the opportunity to complete two short placements (of up to three days each). Placements will be hosted within the University or with an external agency. The placements serve to promote engagement and communication beyond the academic context and to build on the skills set that you can offer to future employers.

Whatever your disciplinary background, the MLitt Contemporary Studies will help you to see it in a new light.

Teaching format

The MLitt degree requires two semesters of full-time coursework, normally equivalent to six modules.

The MLitt involves both independent and group study. Modules have different methods of delivery, including:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials.

Assessments include:

  • written assignments
  • practical work
  • presentations.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.


Each semester is organised around core modules exploring the concepts and methodologies needed to complete the end of programme project.

Semester 1

  • Being Contemporary: Knowledge, Methodology, Skills 1 – explores how disciplines define what is contemporary; a short placement gives insights to contemporary challenges.
  • Contextualising the Contemporary – focuses on a single topic defined as contemporary and encourages students to develop a more flexible approach to problem-solving.

Semester 2

  • Being Contemporary: Knowledge, Methodology, Skills 2 – building on Semester 1, students explore further disciplinary perspectives and complete a further short placement.


Optional modules allow you to shape the degree around your own personal and professional interests.

Research Project

Over the summer students research a contemporary studies-related topic in depth.

The project combines the concepts and methodologies learned in the core modules. Students agree their project topic with their project supervisor and the programme director.

Projects take one of three forms:

  • 15,000-word dissertation based on one discipline and supervised in one School
  • 15,000-word dissertation based on two or more disciplines and co-supervised by two or more Schools
  • practice-based submission comprising a practical component (such as a video essay, curation work, website design, etc.) and a 7,500-word reflective component.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Certificate or a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PG Cert or PGDip instead of an MLitt.


The MLitt Contemporary Studies provides the subject knowledge and general skills needed for a range of leadership and professional careers. It will be of particular interest if you are considering a career in academia or research. You will:

  • synthesise multiple perspectives and generate new approaches
  • combine and apply different methodologies to contemporary global issues
  • engage with the latest research on the nature of the contemporary
  • develop your broader transferable skills in areas such as project management, team working and communicating academic concepts to mixed audiences.

Course dates

  • Start date: 10 September 2018
  • End date: 30 September 2019

Entry requirements

A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.

Postgraduate English language requirements

The University of St Andrews welcomes postgraduate students from many countries. To enter the University of St Andrews as a postgraduate student you must be able to provide evidence that you meet our minimum English language requirements. Your evidence should be one of the following:

  • a first or an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree in an appropriate subject OR an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard from a recognised higher education institution
  • proof that you are from a majority English-speaking country

a valid English language test from this list:

  • IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System - Academic version)
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English - Academic version)
  • CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English)
  • CAE (Cambridge English: Advanced)
  • TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based test)
  • Trinity ISE (Trinity Integrated Skills in English)

Application deadline

Applications should be submitted as early as possible and normally by early June. However, applications will continue to be accepted until early August 2018 (applicants from outside the EU) or early September 2018 (applicants from the UK and EU). You should also apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • personal statement explaining why you have applied for this course, how it relates to your personal or professional ambitions, and how your academic and professional background show you have the skills needed to work effectively at the postgraduate level
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • English language requirements certificate.

Tuition fees

  • UK and EU: £8,500
  • Overseas: £17,600

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 5, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
1 year
Full time
8,500 GBP
UK and EU: £8,500; Overseas: £17,600
United Kingdom - Saint Andrews, Scotland
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Sept. 30, 2019
Sept. 2019
United Kingdom - Saint Andrews, Scotland
Application deadline Request Info
End date Sept. 30, 2019