Postgraduate MA

Literature and Culture

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology





One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2023


In a nutshell

If you live for literature and culture and want to deepen your understanding of the complex and often disturbing forces that shape our world, then our MA will be ideal for you. Study on our MA will lead you to new levels of emotional and intellectual engagement and will lay the foundations for you to produce exciting written work that deserves to be published and read; you will be inspired to think in new, innovative, and challenging ways.  

Our teaching team engages intensely with the real-world issues that shape and govern our world in the 2020s – the debates and conflicts about gender, sexuality, race, class, justice, technology and the environment – and they ground their knowledge and learning in rigorous readings of literary and cultural texts. Join us on this MA to develop your own ideas, readings and ways of seeing the world from leading academics and writers.  

Designed to explore a wide range of literary and cultural texts, this programme will equip you with the critical and research skills you’ll need to develop innovative approaches to your writing. Studying a literature and culture master’s degree at Salford allows you to experience all the creativity the north-west has to offer – whether that’s visiting unique local archives, getting involved with cultural organisations, or immersing yourself in the world of libraries. 

As part of this course, you’ll share and present ideas with your peers, and become part of a lively learning environment. As your course progresses, you’ll also be able to showcase everything you’ve learnt as part of an in-depth research-led dissertation project that allows you to follow your own interests. 

Read more about how Katie Barnes developed her ideas on the course into a funded PhD place.

Want to find out more about our MA Literature and Culture? Why not sign up to an upcoming Open Day?  

You can also follow our #EnglishatSalford InstagramTwitter and Facebook accounts, which are led by our English teaching staff so you can find out how we tell our story through English, Creative Writing and Drama.

You will:

  • Deepen your understanding of how writers, theorists, film-makers and photographers tell stories about the world we live in today
  • Learn from published professionals and world-leading academic researchers in a vibrant, creative and interdisciplinary environment
  • Have access to local archives, libraries and museums that you can use for research and development
  • Develop a portfolio of work that can be used to evidence your skills for employment or further study

This is for you if...


You have a keen interest in literature and cultural texts, including film and photography


You want to study with and take inspiration from other students who are enthusiastic about the field


You want to develop the analytical and conceptual thinking skills needed to take advanced or research-based study

Course details

All about the course

Our research-led MA Literature and Culture course designed to help you develop your skills in critical analysis, alongside your ability to think in an interdisciplinary way about cultural and literary theory. With the option to study full-time or part-time across one year or two, you’ll have the opportunity to align your programme with the areas of literature and culture that interest you most. 

We offer a wide variety of modules to choose from – so whether you’re interests lie in political and social issues, the graphic novel or literature from across the globe, you’ll enjoy a diverse range of subjects and lively debate with your peers. 

You’ll study two core taught modules designed to equip you with the fundamental skills you need to read and apply theory to your work. You’ll also study four research-led modules that offer the opportunity to study a range of open-ended questions. As part of completing your course assignments, you’ll be encouraged to use archival and library resources available to you. 

The final year of our master’s in literature programmes end with a dissertation or archive-based project that will give you the change to explore a topic of your choosing in depth, and to showcase the skills you’ve acquired throughout your course. 

Interested in finding out more? You’ll find a full breakdown of the MA Literature and Culture programme below. 

Trimester one

Theory, Text, Writing

This module engages with the way that we understand our literary and social world, allowing you to engage with critical, creative and hybrid work to improve your analytic and writing skills.  Some of the questions we will debate include: 

  • How do literary texts engage with the politics of class, race, gender and sexuality?  

  • Can writing imagine alternatives to political, social and environmental crisis? 

  • How can one write politically?  

  • How does one’s awareness of gender affect writing? We will be reading the work of Freud, Berlant, Ahmed, Derrida and others, examining how a wide variety of contemporary writers have explored these questions in creative practice.  

You will be taught by critical and creative writers who will showcase their cutting-edge theoretical and literary practices to enable you to have the confidence to work on exciting, innovative topics. 

Trimester two

Professional Practice

This module allows students to develop the skills they need for their future careers, whether you aspire to work in the creative industries, academia, publishing or any other role where creativity and innovation are valued. This is a practical skills-based module to help work on professional portfolios with expert guidance. It mixes placements in professional news rooms with in-house news days, where professional standards are worked towards, while postgraduate students gain responsibility under the tutelage of professionals with decades of experience and individual specialisms. All of this allows for the gathering of contacts, the telling of stories and the creation of a body of work to be shown to potential employers.
Other topics covered may include: 

  • The public value of the arts  
  • Marketing, publishing and networking  
  • Writing research proposals
  • Pitching research-based articles
  • PhD funding
  • Effective digital presentations
Trimester three

Final Project

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. 

Specialist Modules

Adaptation, Translation and Retelling

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. You will have the opportunity to produce interdisciplinary outputs, and to work with the University’s Arthur Hopcraft archive. 

Anthony Burgess and the Archive

In collaboration with the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, this module will offer you an opportunity to explore the literary, journalistic and critical work of a key Manchester-born and educated post-war writer. You will study canonical work by Burgess such as A Clockwork Orange, alongside lesser known writing, including autobiography and criticism. You will have access to the unique archive at the Foundation, which includes film scripts, correspondence and journalism, and this will inform the assessment.

Satire, Slapstick and Spoof: Varieties of Comedy

This module will identify the differences between satire, slapstick and spoof as modes of comedy, developing an understanding of the function of laughter and humour across a range of film texts, exploring questions of taste, as well as gender, class and race. You 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 cultural means for negotiating areas of social and political tension. 

Visual Novels

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. You will have an opportunity to submit a photo-essay or a visually experimental text in your assessment. 

Creating Shakespeares

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. You 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 18th century, at how Shakespeare was produced and received in Manchester in the 19th century, at film, television, and social media adaptations of his works in the 20th and 21st century, and at innovative approaches to Shakespeare criticism.

Representing Violence and Trauma

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. You will have the opportunity to write a critical essay or offer a creative response

Writing Sex and Gender

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 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Specific topics may include race, pleasure, intimacy, sensation, disability and utopia. 

Regional and World Literatures

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.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


Written/Text-based assignments




Based at our Peel Park campus, you’ll be surrounded by a wealth of inspiring students studying across a range of disciplines.

Teaching for most modules on the MA Literature and Culture course takes place in weekly seminars, and personal supervision is provided throughout the course. You’ll choose a member of academic staff to support you with your final research project and written dissertation.

As part of a number of modules, you’ll be invited to go off campus to visit archives, libraries and local organisations, where you’ll be able to learn more about this type of work.


This course will be assessed through ongoing research-led written assignments, along with the in-depth critical project to be completed at the end of the programme.


All our English courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.

Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it.

Teacher Profile

'Caroline Magennis is a writer and academic, originally from Belfast,who is currently Reader in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature. Her academic research has been featured on Radio 3, The Independent, The Irish Times and Prospect Magazine.

A specialist in contemporary fiction and popular culture, her book Northern Irish Writing After the Troubles was published by Bloomsbury in 2021 and described as 'genuinely innovative' and 'refreshingly provocative'. She also has recent chapters in academic books published by Routledge, Palgrave, Oxford and Cambridge.

She is Chair of the British Association for Irish Studies and has worked on several large scale public engagement projects, including digital conferences and events to mark the twentieth anniversaries of the Manchester Bomb and the Good Friday Agreement.

On the MA in Literature and Culture, she runs the two core modules Theory, Text, Writing and Professional Practice. She is always keen to hear from students who want to work on projects on contemporary literature, class, the body, gender and popular culture.'

Learn more or Explore the English faculty at the University of Salford.


Fancy learning your craft using the same type of equipment you’ll use when you’re working? Study with us, and you’ll become confident and comfortable with industry-standard kits and facilities. You won’t just be left to work it out on your own – our experienced tutors and technicians will show you how to master everything we have on offer.

Explore our English facilities at the University of Salford.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


While many graduates of this course choose to pursue further research-based study, this isn’t the only option. The diverse range of transferable skills you’ll develop throughout this course lend themselves to a whole host of professional roles in related areas such as the arts, libraries, education, publishing and media.

If the idea of further research does interest you, our master’s in literature programmes are the perfect way to develop the skills you’ll need. We have over 15 research-active academic staff working within our English faculty, with many early career researchers engaged in a variety of research projects. If you think this might be the best option for you, there will be plenty of people on hand to discuss your ideas with.


Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further academic research path through our doctoral (PhD) programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.

Career Links

Our English subject directorate has links with the BBC at MediaCityUK. We also have links with local publishers and cultural organisations, including:

  • International Anthony Burgess Foundatio

  • The Portico

  • Working Class Movement Museum

  • The Central Library, Arts Council


What you need to know


To gain a place on this MA Literature and Culture course, you’ll have to submit a personal statement and meet our entry requirements when you apply.

Within your personal statement (up to 4000 characters), we’ll want to understand:

• what motivates you and what current experiences do you have in literature and culture?

• how have you been involved and what did you do?

• do you have any knowledge of the literature or cultural sector; are there any projects that inspire you?

• what are your future goals?

• and why the University of Salford and this course is the right choice for your future goals.

Once you’ve made your application to study with us, we’ll contact you and let you know the next steps - we will either make you an offer based on your qualifications and application statement or ask for more information or writing samples for those returning to education after a break.


Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

To join this MA you should have a second class honours degree in English or an arts degree, 2:2 or above.


International students

If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.5 with no element below 5.5. We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.

Alternative entry requirements

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).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2023/24 £8,550per year
Full-time international 2023/24 £15,750per year
Part-time 2023/24 Part time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis

Additional costs

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

Scholarships for International Students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2023

September 2024