About the course

Our MA Literature and Culture draws on the research specialisms of our staff to offer you an innovative and exciting exploration of diverse texts and their many different contexts – historical, social and political.

You’ll develop your critical and analytical skills as you investigate a variety of theoretical approaches to literature and the role of literary culture in modern society. You’ll also gain advanced research skills and have the opportunity to pursue your own research interests via a 13,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Our students come from a broad range of disciplines, with many attracted to our module on vampire fiction, Reading the Vampire: Science, Sexuality and Alterity in Modern Culture.  Going beyond Gothic studies, this topic has generated much media interest, with course leader Dr Sam George exploring this pioneering area of academic study in the Independent, The Times and the BBC World Service. The accompanying  Open Graves, Open Minds Project hosted by the Literature department is an important online research tool for our students and all those interested in Gothic studies, the fantastic and the magical in fiction and folklore.

An emphasis on difference and identity provides a thematic link between the subject modules offered on this MA. Each module considers identity and difference through an exploration of sub-cultures, whether of sexuality, race, class or gender. In our ground-breaking US Culture and #BlackLivesMatter module you’ll look beyond the novel to explore a range of contemporary texts – from Beyonce’s lyrics to the graphic novel of Black Panther – linked to the social justice movement against violence and racism.  This innovative module has also been featured on BBC Radio 6.

Our Networks of Modernism module explores otherness in gender, androgyny and difference through the study of early 20th century women writers such as Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield and Jean Rhys.  In this module you’ll also examine recent theoretical debates about modernist writing, including deconstructive, psychoanalytic, spatial and queer approaches.

The interdisciplinary scope of the modules offered in this MA is reflected in the broad range of subjects chosen by our students for their dissertations. Recent topics have ranged from space, place and narrative in Young Adult fiction to the disability narrative in the Harry Potter novels and fin de siècle vampire fiction.

Graduates of this MA Literature and Culture have found it an excellent platform for further research in their chosen specialism at PhD level, as well as an excellent grounding for a wide range of careers in the arts, education and the media.

Fact sheets 2019 Course fact sheet 1 MA Literature and Culture
Programme specifications 2019 Programme specification 1 MA Literature and Culture

Why choose this course?

Top reasons to study MA Literature and Culture at the University of Hertfordshire

We give you:

  • A fresh, contemporary examination of the role of literary culture in modern society
  • Excellent research-informed teaching by experts in their field
  • Training in research methodology and theoretical approaches to the study of literature
  • An opportunity to pursue independent research into a subject you are passionate about

What our
students say

For me, the vampire module was the perfect module. The lecturer was so enthusiastic about the subject (which made us enthusiastic), her selection of primary and secondary texts gave us a strong sense of things from week one (but were also enjoyable reads), and this all leads towards an essay of our choosing that we can submit to an academic journal. I would thoroughly recommend this module. What you think you know about the vampire is probably wrong.

Brian Jukes

Course details


The advanced research skills you’ll gain on this MA, alongside transferable intellectual and personal skills, are of value in a wide range of careers, including teaching, publishing, the arts and media. Many of our graduates go on to higher levels of study, engaging in PhD research in their chosen fields.

MA graduate Daisy Butcher is now a PhD student of literature and film at Herts, while MA graduate Olivia Steen has worked on the film Fantastic Creatures and is now a visiting lecturer in Creative Arts with a new PhD project.

MA graduate Sam Cooper went on to take a PhD at Nottingham Trent University, where he now teaches and publishes, while Amelia Eikli started her own publishing house and is a writer and blogger.

Teaching methods

You’ll be taught in two-hour weekly workshops, supported by a programme of one-to-one supervision. Discussions are student-led, with an opportunity to present to the group. Assessment is normally by coursework only. Outstanding online support is offered via StudyNet, our virtual learning environment.

Offered over one year full-time or two years part-time, the MA comprises six modules including a final dissertation project, which gives you the opportunity to develop an extended piece of research on a topic of your choice, supported by a supervisor.

The Literature department has a lively research culture and you will have opportunities to meet visiting authors and academics and participate in a programme of research seminars alongside staff.

Our MA students are encouraged to attend events and conferences and present their papers as part of their teaching and learning. You’ll participate in a postgraduate research forum and be expected to attend the annual international conference hosted by the Literature department as part of its groundbreaking online Open Graves, Open Minds Project.


  • Level 7
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Literature Dissertation 60 Credits Compulsory
    Literature Research Methods 1: Critical and Theoretical Debates 15 Credits Compulsory
    Reading the Vampire: Science, Sexuality and Alterity in Modern Culture 30 Credits Compulsory
    Literature Research Methods 2: Advanced Research Skills B 15 Credits Compulsory
    The Networks of Modernism 30 Credits Compulsory
    U.S. Culture and #BlackLivesMatter 30 Credits Compulsory
  • Fees & funding

    Fees 2019

    UK/EU Students

    Full time
    • £8400 for the 2019/2020 academic year
    Part time
    • £700 per 15 credits for the 2019/2020 academic year

    International Students

    Full time
    • £12650 for the 2019/2020 academic year
    Part time
    • £1050 per 15 credits for the 2019/2020 academic year

    Discounts are available for International students if payment is made in full at registration

    *Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

    View detailed information about tuition fees

    Read more about additional fees in the course fact sheet

    Other financial support

    Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

    Living costs / accommodation

    The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

    View detailed information about our accommodation

    Entry requirements

    We normally require at least an upper second class Honours (or equivalent) degree with a significant element (at least 50%) of Literature. Graduates with an Honours Degree in any discipline who have otherwise demonstrated potential to succeed at postgraduate level in Literature will also be considered. IELTS requirement- 6.5.

    If you do not have the required level of English for entry, our academic English courses can help you to achieve this level.

    How to apply

    Course length
    • Full Time, 1 Years
    • Part Time, 2 Years
    • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    17/09/202031/07/2021Apply online (Full Time)
    17/09/202031/07/2021Apply online (Part Time)


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    17/09/202131/07/2022Apply online (Full Time)
    17/09/202131/07/2022Apply online (Part Time)
    We welcome applications from international and EU students