MRes Literature, Culture and Modernity: Victorian and Modernist

This programme offers you the opportunity to pursue higher level study of literary texts and aesthetic debates from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with a particular focus on the concepts of Aestheticism, Decadence and Modernism. It provides a solid grounding in key critical scholarship on Victorian Modernity and Modernism, and introduces, and encourages you to participate within, the current vibrant field of late 19th century and modernist studies.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Combined research and taught

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date: September 2014


Combining the characteristics of the taught MA and the Masters by Research, this programme offers both a foundation for doctoral study through practical experience (researching and writing a 20,000-word research dissertation), and a free-standing qualification in advanced study and research relevant to a wide range of employment.

It requires you to take three taught modules: a Research Skills module that will provide an introduction to resources, methods and conceptual frameworks applicable to research in the field (examined by a 4,000-word bibliographical essay), and two period modules that aim to enhance your knowledge and understanding of late 19th and early 20th century literary texts and cultures.

These are:

  • Victorian Modernity
  • Modernism

Both modules are examined by a 4,000-word essay.


Research skills and methods

This module is designed to offer postgraduate students individually tailored training support appropriate to the MRes programme. Its aim is to enable students to pursue effective independent scholarly research and to develop the skills essential to the preparation and writing of their thesis, as well as to develop key transferable skills in areas of personal and professional development appropriate to either further study or a chosen career path.

Students pursue an individual critical bibliographical project on a topic relevant to their field of study and agreed in conjunction with their course convenor/supervisor, for which they write a 4,000 word essay.

Victorian Modernity

This module explores the diversity of literary impulses in a turn-of-the-century period characterised by literary non-conformity. Major topics to be covered include: the late nineteenth-century city, science and empire, Decadence & Aestheticism, and early modernism. These will be studied across a variety of genres and authors, with reference to formative theorists/philosophers of the period.  In spite of its interest in diversity the module will be unified by two themes that are characteristic of the period: an intense interest in the past as well as fascination with the future.


This module aims to enhance your knowledge of a range of key issues within the study of literature in the 1910s, 20s and 30s, introducing some of the more challenging texts written during these years, as well as recent scholarly thinking on the literature of the period more generally. You will be encouraged to rethink mainstream definitions of the literary history of the early twentieth-century, and examine the complexity of the literary and cultural moment of modernism. Major topics to be covered include: literary nostalgia and innovation, narrative and traumatic-memory, the concept of Modernism, High Modernism and its aftermath, and the social and aesthetic politics of the 1930s. These will be studied across a variety of genres and authors, with reference to formative theorists/philosophers of the period.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are currently as follows:

  • Home / EU £4,090 full-time; £2,045 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,195 full-time; £6,597.50 part-time

For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Learn more about postgraduate tuituion fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Learning and teaching

The Literature, Culture and Modernity MRes forms part of the Centre for Cultural Modernity, meaning that as well as the support you’ll get from the English Department, you’ll be able to gain insight from a whole host of academics from across the university and have the opportunity to discuss research into questions of literature and modernity in the Centre’s ‘Making of Modernity’ research seminar series.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Related research


The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Birmingham?s English Literature postgraduates develop a range of skills including presentation, communication and analytical skills, as well as the ability to work independently, think critically and develop opinions.

Over the past five years, over 90% of English Literature postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many of our graduates go on to further study or academia, while others use their transferable skills in a wide variety of occupations including accounting, the charity sector, teaching, local government, law, publishing and media. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Birmingham Museums Trust; Bloomsbury Publishing; Civil Service; Coventry Arts and Heritage Trust; House of Commons; and University of Kent.