Contemporary Literature MA

Our postgraduate programmes include pathways to match your interests in Contemporary Literature. You can explore responses to the literature of our time and engage with a range of current critical approaches.

York St John University
Course fees
2018 - 19 Full-time Home & EU students: £4,000, International (non EU) students: £12,500 per annum
Full-time & Part-time options available

Course overview

Our MA courses emphasise the importance of creative practitioners and are enhanced by regular visits. Visiting writers have included York-born award-winning novelist Kate Atkinson; poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan; novelist and poet Michèle Roberts; novelist Joe Dunthorne; graphic novelist and illustrator Graham Rawle; and award-winning poets Simon Armitage and Daljit Nagra. York St John University maintains links with the regional literary community through events such as York Literature Festival. Modules are supplemented by visiting industry professionals, agents and publishers.

Course structure

This programme provides you with the opportunity to gain a higher degree through a combination of taught modules, independent study, writing and research. The MA in Contemporary Literature will focus on a wide variety of recent literature and on current developments in theory and critical practice.

The degree normally consists of four taught modules and a dissertation. All modules are normally assessed by essay or presentation.

How will I study?

Study is normally part-time over two years, but there is also provision for full-time study over one year. A range of teaching methods are used including seminars, lectures and occasional day schools. You will be encouraged wherever possible to practise independent learning strategies.

Modules on the MA programme are normally taught in the evening between 6.30pm - 8.30pm on a weekly basis over a ten-week term. Full-time students take two taught classes in Term 1 and one taught class plus dissertation supervision in terms 2 and 3. Part-time students take one taught module per term (terms 1,2,3) in their first year of study; in their second year of study they take one taught module in term 4 and dissertation supervision in terms 5 and 6.

Advanced level undergraduate modules taken as part of the Graduate/Postgraduate Diploma, are normally taught during the day.

This flexible programme is designed to allow you to combine study with full or part-time employment.

The cost of the programme is phased as you will normally pay in four instalments each year (full-time students) or module by module (part-time students). You can also pay in full should you so wish. Fees are very competitively priced. Please contact us for up-to-date information on fees.

Modules include:

Critical perspectives on Contemporary Literature - A foundational module which provides opportunities for critical reflection upon recent developments in literary, and fosters research and writing skills. You will engage with a range of theoretical debates in contemporary literary study.

British Literature: The State of the Art - Investigates current trends in British fiction, poetry and drama. You will read a range of new and established writers and assess the dominant issues in contemporary British literary culture.

Contemporary American Writing - Reading American writing and culture from Vietnam to Virtual Reality. Debates the impact and importance of American writing in the late 20th century and the present day.

Post-Colonial Literatures - Considers the diversity of new writings in English and theories of the post-colonial condition. You will read recent writing in English from the Caribbean, Africa, India, Canada or Australasia and consider the historical, cultural and political issues that arise from post-colonial texts.


Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Learning support

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.

Entry requirements

UK/EU Students

Applicants should have a first degree in the subject or an equivalent area at 2:2 or above. 

International Students

International students will need to demonstrate that they have equivalent experience /qualifications as home students (ie the same entry criteria as above). If their first language is not English they must show evidence of English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

UK & EU 2016 / 17

The tuition fee for 2018 entry to this postgraduate course is £4,000 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For part-time options, see the Fees & Funding webpages for more information

Postgraduate Loan: A new Postgraduate Loan is now available to help you pay for your Master’s course for students commencing in the 2016/17 academic year. Find out more about the postgraduate loan.

Overseas 2016 / 17

The tuition fee for 2018 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,500 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, International Students on a Tier 4 visa must be studying full-time. For more information about Visa requirements and Short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration webpages.

International Fees & Funding

How to Apply

You can apply directly to the course via our Apply Now links. Please select the variant of the course that you intend to undertake (e.g. full-time or part-time) as the link will take you to a customised form for the specific course. You will need to create a login and password and complete the online form. Please contact two referees in advance of submitting your application as an automated request will go out as soon as you submit, and your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Applications for September 2018 entry must be submitted and completed by 5 October 2018.

Apply Now: Full-time

Apply Now: Part-time

Ask a question

Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876922.