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Literature and Culture


School - School of Arts & Media

Subject area - English and Creative Writing

Start Date(s): September


MA (one year full-time or two years part-time)

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

UK - £7,560

International - £13,860

In Brief:

  • Study in an interdisciplinary environment and learn to develop your own unique project
  • Acquire specialist knowledge, and a range of practical skills
  • Exploit our links with local archives, libraries and museums
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

This programme is your chance to gain in-depth knowledge and refine your critical skills through analysis of a wide-range of literary and cultural texts, including film and photography. During your time with us, you’ll learn in a lively, interdisciplinary research and teaching environment which will allow you to develop interesting and innovative approaches to your work and will encourage you to take critical and creative risks. Thinking and writing in different ways is a key feature of the programme.  

You will also get out of the classroom and benefit from our links with local archives, cultural organisations and libraries, including the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, and the Working Class Movement Library.

You will develop confidence as you master literary and cultural theory, and will be stimulated by a range of research-led modules, taught by staff who will also guide you in your independent studies. You will enjoy taking on an active role in organising our MA Conference day, and sharing your work with your peers and mentors.And finally you will reap the rewards of the taught elements of the programme as you identify the member of staff you want to work with and to pursue your own research project.

Andrew Marsden (2016-17)

After returning to academic study several years after completing my BA degree in Film & Drama, I found that the MA Literature, Culture and Modernity programme was easy enough to get into but provided the necessary step-up in teaching I needed to develop my knowledge and support my own research project. I found the range of texts taught on the programme to be varied (including novels, films, and dramatic texts) and engaging, and I discovered works and interests which I may never had thought of had I not done the course, such as novels by B.S. Johnson and Muriel Spark and testimonial literature from Hiroshima and the Holocaust.

The programme’s interlinking of literature, theory, and culture highlights how all three strands feed into and enrich one another and offers students a wide range of ideas which they can explore in their assignments. I found the MA Conference to be a useful day which gave my cohort and myself experience of organising and presenting at an academic conference. Overall the programme offered the right balance between independent thinking and research and taught classes.

Course Details

MA Literature and Culture helps you to acquire specific skills in a number of areas including interdisciplinary thinking, research methods, cultural and literary theory, and critically analysing a range of literary and cultural texts.

You will develop your analytical and conceptual thinking skills and gain the expertise to focus on a specific research topic that interests you. During this programme you will carry out advanced research and produce original and innovative studies. You will also gain experience of working in archives.

The syllabus consists of two core taught modules, and four research-led modules which will vary from year to year depending on staff availability. The programme ends with a dissertation or an archive-based project.

The core module will equip you with the skills to read and apply theory to your work; and range of research and professional skills.  

Modules focus on nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century literature and culture, and explore regional and world literatures; questions of sex, gender and sexuality; the representation of violence and trauma; graphic novels and photography; the varieties of comedy; and the politics of adaptation, translation and re-telling. There are dedicated modules on the work of Anthony Burgess, and the legacy of Shakespeare beyond drama.
The course has both a one year full-time and a two year part-time route.

Course Structure

Full-time study option

Trimester 1

You will concentrate on the beginnings of modernity in the late eighteenth century. You will also have the opportunity of developing advanced theoretical skills, by benefiting from a hands-on approach to applying theory to literary and cultural texts.


  • Theory, Text, Writing (CORE 30 credit module)    
  • 2x 15 credit optional modules (from list below)  

Trimester 2  

This term takes the concept of modernity into the twentieth and twenty first century. You will also have the opportunity of starting to develop your own research topic in close consultation with an expert supervisor, which you could then develop for your Dissertation.  


  • Professional Practice (CORE 30 credit module)      
  • 2x 15 credit modules (from list below)    

Trimester 3    

For this trimester, you will complete your final project.    


  • Final project (CORE 60 credit module)      

Part-time study option    

Year 1    

Trimester 1    


  • Theory, Text, Writing (CORE 30 credit module)        

Trimester 2      


  • 2x 15 credit modules (from list below)        

Year 2      

Trimester 1      


  • 2x 15 credit modules (from list below)        

Trimester 2      


  • Professional Practice (CORE 30 credit module)        

Trimester 3      


  • Final project (CORE 60 credit module)

Core Module Titles and Descriptions      

This module explores foundational and recent pioneering critical theory alongside a range of innovative and experimental literary texts, and debate will include a range of key issues such as gender and sexuality, capitalism and public politics, language and power, embodiment and creativity, and meanings of things. Students will have the option to produce critical, creative and hybrid work.                        

This module will provide research and professional skills, including writing grant and funding applications; project management; conference organisation and the building of an online digital profile. Students will also visit local libraries, museums and arts organizations, where opportunities for archival          research and work experience will be provided; and industry and guest-expert speakers will offer guidance on career development.                        

This final module provides students with the opportunity to develop their specific research interests, including archive-inspired interests, in consultation with supervisor and professional archivists, and to produce an independently researched 12,000-14,000 word project.                

Optional Module Titles and Descriptions      

Only four of the following specialist modules will run in any particular year, and which will depend on staff availability, please contact us for details.    

In collaboration with the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, this module will offer students an opportunity to explore the literary, journalistic and critical work of a key post-war writer. The students will study canonical work by Burgess, alongside lesser known texts, including autobiography and biography. Students will have access to the unique archive at the Foundation, which includes film scripts, correspondence and journalism, and this will inform the assessment.                

This module looks at questions of nation, place, class and identity in texts composed in English and its closely related varieties (such as Scots, African American, and other national and regional dialects), and will explore debates relating to cosmopolitanism, globalisation, and postcolonialism. Students taking this module may opt to work on an archive-based project for their assessment, and those using the University’s Walter Greenwood archive may submit their work for the annual Walter Greenwood Prize.                

This module examines constructions of sex, gender and sexuality in literature and culture. Theoretical frameworks derived from sexological, feminist, psychoanalytical and/or queer approaches will be used to examine a range of fictional and non-fictional texts from across the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Specific topics may include race, pleasure, intimacy, sensation, disability and utopia.                

This module will explore the aesthetic, ethical and political challenges of representing violence and trauma, and the role played by art and culture in post-conflict society and peace-building initiatives. This will involve the analysis of an interdisciplinary range of fictional and non-fictional texts, and the study of the Holocaust, Hiroshima, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, 9/11, the Balkan war, serial killing, and rape. Students will have the opportunity to write a critical essay or offer a creative response.                  

This module offers an innovative approach to the issue of Shakespeare’s cultural identity and to his role as key figure in critical, cultural, and intellectual debates beyond the realm of drama. Students will be encouraged to explore the various, often imaginative ways and means in which producers, readers, and spectators have been influenced by Shakespeare’s work. The module will look, for example, at the emergence of a distinct field of Shakespeare criticism in the eighteenth century, at how Shakespeare was produced and received in Manchester in the nineteenth century, at film, television, and social media adaptations of his works in the twentieth and twenty first century, and at innovative approaches to Shakespeare criticism.                

This module explores novels which exploit their visual form, and will discusses the role and place of photographs in modernist, experimental and contemporary novels; the development of the graphic novel and its historical, national, and global contexts; and the importance of typography and other forms of visual textual emphasis. Students will have opportunity to submit a photo-essay or a visually experimental text.                    

This module will identify the differences between satire, slapstick and spoof as modes of comedy; and develop an understanding of the function of laughter and humour across a range of cultural texts, particularly film, exploring questions of taste, as well as gender, class and race. Students will analyse issues of language, communication, performance and context in the service of humour; and will debate issues around comedy as a genre and as a necessary licenced cultural means for negotiating areas of social and political tension.                

This module will explore the creative and critical challenges presented by adapting plays for stage, and novels for screen; translating texts across languages, time and space; and the politics of retelling classics from marginal and neglected points of view. Students will have opportunity to produce interdisciplinary outputs, and to work specifically with the University’s Arthur Hopcraft archive.

Entry Requirements

Normally a 2:1 Honours degree in English or a related Arts subject will be required.

Applicants with a 2:2 Honour's Degree (or equivalent) may begin as a PgDip student. If you passes all modules, you can progress to writing the dissertation to obtain the MA.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International students must provide evidence of proficiency in English – IELTS with an overall band score of 6.5 (no individual band less than 5.5) or an equivalent recognized Secure English Language Test score

Suitable For

Graduates in the humanities who want either a broad-based Master's qualification or who are looking for a disciplined introduction to further study at a PhD level.

Applicant profile

This course is for you if you are interested in literature, cultural texts, theory or the complex cultures of modernity. You will be studying with other students who are enthusiastic about the field and who want to develop their analytical and conceptual thinking skills.

Fees 2019-20

Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Full-time International£13,860

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships and Bursaries

For more information please see our funding section


Teaching for most modules takes place in weekly, two-hour seminars. Personal supervision is provided throughout the course and in support of the writing of the dissertation.  The module Literary Research Practice is taught in three longer block sessions, with additional one-to-one supervisory sessions with a member of staff.


You will be assessed through:

  • Written/Text-based assignments: 85%
  • Presentation: 15%


Many graduates of this course have used it as part of their career development in areas as diverse as teaching, librarianship, media, publishing and the arts. Others use it as a means of access to PhD study or further research. You will develop a wide range of skills on this course (writing, communication, presentation and analytical skills) that are transferable to a variety of careers.

Career Prospects

This course will suit you if you want to either progress in a career you already have experience in, re-skill for a different career path or continue the studies you took as an undergraduate.

Graduates from this course have progressed onto a number of careers within the arts, museums, libraries, education and others have progressed to PhD study. Graduates have gone on to work for companies including Hello Magazine, the University of Salford, local museums, secondary schools and further education, and to obtain competitive scholarships for PhD study.

Alumni Profile

Dr Joe Darlington (Programme Leader BA (Hons) Digital Animation with Illustration, Futureworks Media School).

I attended the MA course in academic year 2009/2010. I found it very intellectually stimulating and it introduced me to areas which I remain passionate about to this day. After the MA I continued studying at Salford, completing a PhD in 2014 as well as gaining publications, teaching experience and a research fellowship along the way. I lectured in English literature and film studies for a number of years which allowed me to pass on some of that knowledge that I first encountered on the Salford MA programme. I also indulged in some scriptwriting in my spare time which eventually led to paid work writing for animation. In 2015 I took up my current position as head of the animation degree at Futureworks. Among other responsibilities I now lecture in the history of art, illustration and animation, teach writing and preproduction, as well as guiding my students through their honours projects. I even fit in some screenwriting work on occasion. I can safely say that if it wasn’t for the decision to pursue postgraduate study I would not be where I am today.

Links with Industry

The English Subject Directorate has links with the BBC at MediaCityUK. We also have links with local publishers and cultural organisations, including:

  • Working Class Movement Library
  • International Anthony Burgess Foundation
  • The Portico
  • Working Class Movement Museum
  • The Central Library, Arts Council

Further Study

Research in the English Subject Directorate is coordinated by Dr Scott Thurston, Director of the Research Centre for English Literature and Language. There are over 15 research-active academic staff in English and a number of early career researchers engaged in a range of research projects. We welcome PhD applications from MA students. You can find more information and contact details here:

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