Creative Writing

Creative Writing - MA

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Overview

Designed with serious, ambitious writers in mind, this innovative and interdisciplinary Creative Writing MA combines taught modules and a dissertation. Your studies take place at Kent's Paris School of Arts and Culture.

Through seminars, tutorials, workshops, and precise editing, you will learn to take control of your own work and write exciting, contemporary material.

Alongside your creative writing modules, you are encouraged to consider choosing modules from the broad range of options offered at our Paris School of Arts and Culture. This programme offers students a unique opportunity to find inspiration both in and out of the classroom and to develop a creative voice in the stimulating surroundings of Montparnasse.

You can choose to begin your studies in September or January and can take a standard (90 ECTS) or an extended (120 ECTS) version of the programme. Part-time study is only available for EU/EEA passport holders, and for those who have the right to remain in France for the duration of their degree. 

Studying at the Paris School of Arts and Culture

You spend the entire year at Kent’s Paris School of Arts and Culture where you study at the Columbia Global Center (known as Reid Hall), which is located in a historic corner of Montparnasse in the heart of Paris. At this specialist, postgraduate centre, we offer interdisciplinary, flexible programmes, taught in English, which take full advantage of all the cultural resources Paris offers. Study trips to the city’s museums, art exhibitions, archives, cinemas and architectural riches are an integral part of your studies.

The interdisciplinary nature of the School means you can choose modules from outside your subject area, broadening your view of your subject. As part of our international community of students and staff, you can take part in regular seminars and talks, write for the student-run literary magazine or help to organise our annual student conference.

The Creative Writing MA is also available at our Canterbury campus or split between Canterbury and Paris.

About the School of English

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.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has produced very strong results for the School of English at Kent. With 74% of our work graded as world-leading or internationally excellent, the School is ranked 10th out of 89 English Departments in terms of Research Intensity (Times Higher Educational Supplement, 1.1.2015). The School also received an outstanding assessment of the quality of its research environment and public impact work.

Entry requirements

A first or upper-second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent), or substantial creative writing experience. You are required to submit a sample of your creative writing, and this will be the most significant factor in admissions decisions.

Writing Sample

A piece or portfolio of creative work should be uploaded on the ‘Declaration’ page of the online application form. If fiction, this should be around 1,500–2,000 words; if poetry, approximately 4 pages.

On the ‘Course Details’ page, you should submit a description of around 300 words of your creative writing plans. Please tell us whether you intend to work in fiction, poetry, or narrative non-fiction and what experience you have working in this form. Please also give some indication of the concerns, style, ideas and/or themes that you are interested in exploring in your work.

Request for consideration on the grounds of equivalent professional status

Candidates who hold no first degree, or a first degree in a non-literary/creative subject area should include in their applications a summary of any information that might allow us to support the application on the grounds of ‘equivalent professional status’.  This could include previous writing publication credits or other successes and/or relevant professional achievements.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

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.

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Course structure

Duration: 1 to 3 years depending on options taken

You take two modules in each of the first two terms and a Creative Writing Dissertation in the third.

You are required to take either Poetry 1 or Fiction 1 in the first term and Poetry 2 or Fiction 2 and Paris: The Residency in the second. In the first term you then choose from the range of modules on offer in Paris. While in Paris, you are encouraged to attend readings and talks, and to organise your own writing workshops.

For further information about these modules, and the University of Kent, Paris, please see www.kent.ac.uk/paris/

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

Compulsory modules currently include

‘Paris: The Residency’ contributes to the poetry and prose strands of the MA in Creative Writing and the Literature strand of the Paris Programmes. The objective of ‘Paris: The Residency’ is to give students as close an experience as possible of what it might be like to be a writer in residence or retreat, and to produce work inspired by a specific location for a specific period of time. The emphasis will be on producing a body of creative work for the main assessment. This module aims to enable students to develop their practice of writing through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and practices, and constructive feedback on their own work. Throughout their stay, students will be exposed to a wide range of instances of exemplary, contemporary work relating to Paris, or which was written by writers whilst staying, or living in Paris (as suggested by the indicative reading list). They will be encouraged to read as independent writers, to apply appropriate writing techniques to their own practice and to experiment with voice, form and content. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical as well as historical. At every point in the module, priority will be given to students’ own development as writers. It is an assumption of the module that students will already have a basic competence in the writing of poetry or prose, including a grasp of essential craft and techniques. The purpose of this module will be to stimulate students towards further development of, and to hone their already emerging voices and styles through engaging with various literary texts, raising an awareness of place as the starting point for new writing, and how their work can develop with large chunks of time for independent study, reflection and exploration of a city like Paris.

Find out more about EN899

Optional modules may include

On this module students will develop their skills as an independent writer, critic and thinker, understanding and building their own unique writing practice through readings of exemplary texts, open seminar discussion, writing exercises and creative workshops. Students will learn to identify and apply central concepts like plot, narrative, form and structure, theme, voice and character, in both reading and writing practice, Experimentation, ingenuity, ambition and originality in the student's approach to her/his own writing will be encouraged. Workshops will develop close reading and editorial skills and invite students to offer and receive constructive criticism of their peers’ work.

Find out more about EN891

In this module you will learn further techniques of writing fiction, including how to plot a full-length novel, work on deep characterisation and the construction of an intellectual framework within your fiction. You may be continuing to work on a project begun in Fiction 1, or starting something new. Rather than expecting you to try new techniques, voices and styles, your tutor will work with you to identify your strongest mode of writing and will encourage you to develop this.

Find out more about EN893

The main focus of Poetry 2 is to further develop and refine your writing with the eventual aim of producing a successful dissertation portfolio of fully realised, finished poems. Poetry 2 differs from Poetry 1 in that you are encouraged to develop a sequence or series of wholly new poems.

In this module you will develop your practice of writing poetry through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and constructive feedback on your own work. Each week, you will be exposed to a wide range of exemplary, contemporary sequences. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical rather than historical; at every point priority is given to your own particular development as poets.

The reading list does not represent a curriculum as such, but indicates the range of works and traditions we will draw upon to stimulate new thought about your own work. Decisions about reading will be taken in response to individual interests. Likewise, you will be directed toward work which will be of particular benefit to you.

Find out more about EN894

The main focus of Poetry 2 is to further develop and refine your writing with the eventual aim of producing a successful dissertation portfolio of fully realised, finished poems. Poetry 2 differs from Poetry 1 in that you are encouraged to develop a sequence or series of wholly new poems.

In this module you will develop your practice of writing poetry through both the study of a range of contemporary examples and constructive feedback on your own work. Each week, you will be exposed to a wide range of exemplary, contemporary sequences. The approach to the exemplary texts will be technical rather than historical; at every point priority is given to your own particular development as poets.

The reading list does not represent a curriculum as such, but indicates the range of works and traditions we will draw upon to stimulate new thought about your own work. Decisions about reading will be taken in response to individual interests. Likewise, you will be directed toward work which will be of particular benefit to you.

Find out more about EN894

In this module you will learn further techniques of writing fiction, including how to plot a full-length novel, work on deep characterisation and the construction of an intellectual framework within your fiction. You may be continuing to work on a project begun in Fiction 1, or starting something new. Rather than expecting you to try new techniques, voices and styles, your tutor will work with you to identify your strongest mode of writing and will encourage you to develop this.

Find out more about EN893

On this module students will develop their skills as an independent writer, critic and thinker, understanding and building their own unique writing practice through readings of exemplary texts, open seminar discussion, writing exercises and creative workshops. Students will learn to identify and apply central concepts like plot, narrative, form and structure, theme, voice and character, in both reading and writing practice, Experimentation, ingenuity, ambition and originality in the student's approach to her/his own writing will be encouraged. Workshops will develop close reading and editorial skills and invite students to offer and receive constructive criticism of their peers’ work.

Find out more about EN891

This module builds on the previous term's design exercise by focussing on a city-centre urban design problem project, exploring larger-scale issues of site and context, planning and place making. Students become familiar with relevant urban design theories and concepts, and learn to work as part of a team in developing design strategies and making detailed planning proposals. Precedent studies play an important role in shaping strategic and tactical development. Communication skills are enhanced by a range of drawing and modelling exercises, and by project presentations. The urban thinking moves from the local (where a strategic project is based in an urban ensemble, perhaps in Kent) to the global, where a dense slice of for example London or Paris is identified as the locus of design thinking and activity.

Find out more about AR847

This module explores the idea of the city, and the major concepts related to urban life. It analyses and determines the conditions of their emergence within a broader cultural context. It traces how these concepts have changed through time, with the aim of enhancing our present understanding of cities and their regeneration. It follows the development of city planning and the establishment of planned, ideal cities as a political goal up to the foundation of new towns. In its dealing with historically modern cities, the module centres on case studies of cities representative of urbanism from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, drawing lessons from the methods and types of documentation used in its development. The course also introduces the manner in which architecture has generated a number of spontaneous and critical responses to the demands of the city in the past four decades. The arguments are drawn from sources in architectural and urban theory, philosophy, art history, anthropology, literary sources and social sciences.

Find out more about AR848

This module explores the range of interrelations and negotiations that take place between verbal and visual culture, in literature, art, film, philosophy and, psychogeography. It will cover a diverse range of thinkers and approaches such as; Foucault, Merleau-Ponty, Bersani, Derrida, Debord, and Marx. The module is intended to be interdisciplinary and it will include some Paris-based visits, activities and screenings as a necessary means of working across themes, theories and ideas. It will consider some or all of the following themes, such as: the politics of space, ekphrasis and the other, phenomenological wonder, the legacy of Marx, and Marxist and formalist perspectives on modernism and the visual arts.

Find out more about EN867

'Modernism and Paris' provides students with an opportunity to study a selection of texts from the UK, USA and mainland Europe, all readily available in English and specifically relevant to both Paris and modernism. The texts are all either inspired by, set in, or refer significantly to Paris and most were written in the city. They seek new and experimental literary expressions for the experience of modern city life and demonstrate a range of literary forms, including the novel, poetry, manifestos, essays and biography. In exploring the cultural contexts as well as avant-garde politics and aesthetics of modernism, the module presents texts by major authors of different nationalities, chronologically ordered, allowing students to appreciate the beginnings and development of modernism from the late 19th century to the first decades of the 20th century. It recognises the importance of modernist cross-fertilisation between literature and the visual arts and encourages students to explore links between modernist literature and the development of, for example, cubism and surrealism. The primary materials are Paris-focused but are chosen to open an international perspective on literary culture and history.

Find out more about EN904

The module is conceived as open to all Humanities MA students in Paris. It examines the medium of film, considering its specific qualities as an art and industrial form and the particular ways in which it is influenced by and influences other artistic and cultural forms in turn of the 20th century Paris. The emphasis of the course varies from year to year, responding to current research and scholarship, but it maintains as its focus the aesthetic strategies of film in contrast with other arts, technological developments, and historical change, particularly as they are developed in the growth of Paris as a city. The course also addresses the strategies used by the cinema to communicate with its historical audience. The course explores both the historical place of the cinema within the development of twentieth-century urban culture in Paris as well as how this historical definition informs the development of the cinema.

Find out more about FI821

This module examines film history and historiography through case studies. In carrying out this investigation students will be encouraged to work with archive and primary sources held in libraries, museums and archives. This will include, for example, the Cinémathèque Française, the Bibliothèque Nationale, Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Forum des Images, and Paris Diderot library. Students will evaluate and contest received histories, which may be based on an aesthetic, technological, economic, and/or social formations. Through this investigation students will be better able to understand the role and value of the contextual study of film, while giving them the opportunity to research and write on an aspect of film history. The choice of case studies will depend upon the expertise of the module convenor

Find out more about FI824

This module will introduce you to key concepts that are central to understand fundamental debates in history and philosophy of art as well as art criticism. Some examples of key concepts are the notion of originality, influence, race, the aesthetic, fiction, beauty, gender and taste. The key concepts discussed in the seminars are subject to change.

Find out more about HA838

The module will focus on Paris as a centre of artistic experimentation. The city served as the launch pad for key artistic movements from the mid-19th century through to the period after the Second World War (Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, etc.), and as a magnet for budding and established artists from all around the world. The module will take advantage of the great museum collections that encapsulate such developments (Musées d'Arte Moderne and d’Orsay, Rodin and Picasso Museums, Beaubourg, Quai Branly, etc.) and also of the major exhibitions on show in Paris in any given year.

Find out more about HA841

Compulsory modules currently include

Since the module allows each student to pursue his or her own creative writing interests under guidance, the curriculum will vary according to students' interests and be flexible enough to accommodate their development.

Find out more about EN997

Teaching and assessment

You take a total of four modules, for which you will produce approximately 7,000 words each (or an equivalent number of poems or translations). In addition, you write a creative dissertation of about 12,000 words (or an equivalent number of poems or translations).

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide you with the opportunity to obtain a postgraduate qualification (MA) in one year, and to allow you, if required, a smooth transition to doctoral studies
  • give you the breadth of experience of studying creative writing modules in Paris to include an ‘in residence’ module
  • extend and deepen your understanding of your own writing practice through coursework and research
  • enable you to develop an historical awareness of literary and creative writing traditions, particularly those that have been located in, or in some other way focussed on, Paris
  • develop your independent critical thinking and judgement
  • develop your independent creative thinking and practice
  • develop your knowledge and understanding of relevant aspects of contemporary Paris and the literary history of the city with a view to you incorporating some of these aspects into your own creative and critical writing
  • develop your understanding and critical appreciation of the expressive resources of language
  • enable you to make connections across your various modules and transfer knowledge between modules
  • provide you with teaching, workshops and other learning opportunities that are informed by current research and practice and that require you to engage with aspects of work and practice at the frontiers of knowledge.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • key texts from contemporary British, American, postcolonial and world literatures
  • the main aspects of literary techniques and theory in either fiction or poetry, including point of view, form, style, voice, characterisation, structure and theme
  • key literary traditions and movements, both contemporary and historical
  • the cultural history of modern Paris, as reflected in art and literature
  • terminology used in literary criticism
  • terminology used in creative practice
  • the cultural and historical contexts in which literature is written, published and read
  • critical theory and its applications to both reading and writing
  • the study and creation of the ‘text’ and how this is influenced by cultural factors
  • inter- and multidisciplinary approaches to the advanced practice of creative and critical writing
  • research methods.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the application of the skills needed for advanced academic study and enquiry
  • the evaluation of your research findings
  • the ability to synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of theory and/or practice
  • the ability to make discriminations and selections of relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge
  • exercise of problem-solving skills
  • communication of complex ideas in prose, poetry or both
  • adaptation skills: learn to work in different environments by adapting to the educational, cultural and professional environments of England and France, while adopting an interdisciplinary approach to literary and creative studies.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • advanced creative writing skills in prose, poetry or both.
  • the ability to produce work with ambition, depth, intellectual structure, sophistication, scope, independence and importance
  • the ability to sustain a piece of creative work and make choices about form, content and style
  • an understanding of a ‘whole’ in creative practice (whether this is a novel, a collection of poems or short stories or some other advanced project)
  • the ability to present creative writing professionally, both orally and in writing, demonstrating an awareness and understanding of current practice
  • advanced understanding of literary themes
  • enhanced skills in the close critical analysis of literary and other texts
  • informed critical understanding of the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of texts and source materials
  • an ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to advanced English or cultural studies
  • well-developed linguistic skills, including a grasp of standard critical terminology
  • appropriate scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work
  • an understanding of how cultural norms and assumptions influence questions of judgement
  • knowledge of French and European culture and literature
  • knowledge of the cultural development of modern Paris, as expressed in literature, art and creative writing practice.

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • advanced skills in communication, in speech and writing
  • the ability to offer and receive constructive criticism
  • the capacity to argue a point of view, orally and in written form, with clarity, organisation and cogency
  • enhanced confidence in the efficient presentation of ideas
  • the ability to assimilate, organise and work with substantial quantities of complex information
  • competence in the planning and execution of coursework
  • the capacity for independent thought, reasoned judgement, and self-criticism
  • enhanced skills in collaborative intellectual and creative work
  • the ability to understand, interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical and/or creative positions and weigh the importance of alternative approaches
  • research skills, including scholarly information retrieval skills
  • IT: word-processing, the ability to access electronic data and the ability to work efficiently and effectively in an online learning environment
  • living and working in diverse cultural environments: You will participate and work in academic communities in Paris. You will thus develop cultural knowledge and understanding, flexibility, imagination, resourcefulness and tolerance.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Creative Writing (90 ECTS) - MA at Paris

  • Home full-time €11150
  • International full-time €18750
  • Home part-time €5575
  • International part-time €9375

Creative Writing (120 ECTS) - MA at Paris

  • Home full-time €14700
  • International full-time €27100
  • Home part-time €7350
  • International part-time €13550

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.

Independent rankings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of English was ranked 10th for research intensity and 15th for research power in the UK.

An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 95% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Research areas

Research in the School of English comes roughly under the following areas. However, there is often a degree of overlap between groups, and individual staff have interests that range more widely.

Creative Writing

The Centre for Creative Writing is the focus for most practice-based research in the School. Staff organise a thriving series of events and run a research seminar for postgraduate students and staff to share ideas about fiction-writing. Established writers regularly come to read and discuss their work.

Eighteenth Century

The particular interests of the Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century converge around gender, class, nation, travel and empire, and the relationship between print and material culture. Staff in the Centre pursue cutting-edge approaches to the field and share a commitment to interdisciplinary methodologies.
The Centre regularly hosts visiting speakers as part of the School of English research seminar programme, and hosts day symposia, workshops and international conferences.

Nineteenth Century

The recently established Centre for Victorian Literature and Culture provides a stimulating and distinctive research environment for staff and students through seminars, conferences and collaborative research projects. The MA in Dickens and Victorian Culture is the only MA of its kind in the UK, and both the MA and the Centre places a particular emphasis on Victorian literature and culture associated with Kent and the south-east.

American Literature

Research in north American literature is conducted partly through the Faculty-based Centre for American Studies, which also facilitates co-operation with modern US historians. Staff research interests include 20th-century American literature, especially poetry, Native American writing, modernism, and cultural history.

Medieval and Early Modern

The Faculty-based Canterbury Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies has a distinctive brand of interdisciplinarity, strong links with local archives and archaeological trusts, and provides a vibrant forum for investigating the relationships between literary and non-literary modes of writing in its weekly research seminar.

Modern Poetry

The Centre for Modern Poetry is a leading centre for research and publication in its field, and participates in both critical and creative research. Staff regularly host visiting speakers and writers, participate in national and international research networks, and organise graduate research seminars and public poetry readings.

Postcolonial

Established in 1994, the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Research has acquired an international reputation for excellence in research. It has an outstanding track record in publication, organises frequent international conferences, and regularly hosts leading postcolonial writers and critics. It also hosts a visiting writer from India every year in association with the Charles Wallace Trust.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

David Flusfeder : Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

Twentieth-century American and British fiction (also Borges, Cortázar and Büchner); modernism; and the literature and cinema of the 1960s and early 1970s.

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Dr Nancy Gaffield : Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

The border between language and literary studies: stylistics approaches to creative writing; contemporary poetry as practice, including the text both written and performed; the role of the reader as co-producer of meaning; the use of poetic forms. 

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Amy Sackville : Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

An interest in the novel as a form and its development since the early 20th century from modern to postmodern, and in the interrelation of language and the world; creative writing; modernism.

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Dr Simon Smith : Reader in Creative Writing

Creative writing; poetry in translation, Latin and French; poetry reviewing; experimental fiction; critical theory; theory of creative writing. 

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Professor Scarlett Thomas : Professor of Creative Writing and Contemporary Fiction

Creative writing; writing and science; mathematics and fiction; the contemporary novel. 

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Dragan Todorovic : Lecturer in Creative Writing

Creative non-fiction; liminal areas of fiction; writing in/for visual, aural and multimedia arts; faction writing.

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Dorothy Lehane : Lecturer in Creative Writing

Dorothy Lehane is a poet and a Lecturer in Creative Writing. Her PhD research examines questions concerning cultural encounters and embodied phenomenological responses in the practice of disability poetry.

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Careers

Many career paths can benefit from the writing and analytical skills that you develop as a postgraduate student in the School of English. Our students have gone on to work in academia, journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; as well as more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

In Paris, you are encouraged to make full use of the city's cultural resources and to integrate that experience into your studies. The Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Orsay, Musée d’Arte Moderne, Grand Palais and other world-class museums and exhibition spaces are on your doorstep.

In addition, you benefit from borrowing rights at the libraries of the University of Paris VII, which have viewing facilities and holdings of films, books and periodicals in English. Other Paris libraries with extensive relevant holdings include the French National Library, the Centre Georges Pompidou Public Library and the American Library in Paris, to which you are given access and a guided visit.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. They also edit several periodicals including: Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities; The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature: 600-1500; The Dickensian; Literature Compass; Oxford Literary Review; Theatre Notebook and Wasafiri.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Apply now

Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

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