MRes Modern Languages

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The MRes in Modern Languages provides graduates with an outstanding opportunity to further both research and foreign language skills through a tailored programme which is unique in the UK. Graduates will carry out a research project of their choice, under the supervision of an expert, and follow 3 taught modules: (1) research skills; (2) graduate-level language skills (either specialist academic skills in their main foreign language or advanced reading skills in a new language); (3) a module exploring key moments in modern European culture through concepts of ‘radicalism’ and counter-culture.

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

Details

The MRes programme focuses on research and, as such, is broken down into three modules, which focus on research skills, language acquisition, and key moments in the history of modern European culture.

  • Graduate School Research Methodology (20 Credits)
  • Intellectual Subversives: Culture, Counter-Culture and Radical Change, from the Late 18th Century to the Digital Age (20 Credits)

And either:

  • Reading a Language (French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish) for Researchers (20 Credits)

Or: 

  • Academic Writing in Another Language (French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish) (20 Credits)

This is followed by a dissertation, which is the result of a supervised independent research project undertaken in any area of research which falls within the very wide range of expertise of staff across all of the languages. The University of Birmingham’s Modern Languages department has detailed knowledge across the full range of modern European culture, but particular strengths lie in:

  • Memory and Exile
  • Translation and Language Studies
  • Sexuality and Gender Studies
  • Film and Media Studies
  • Modernity and Modernism
  • Post-Colonial Studies
  • Social and Political Quantitative Studies
  • Text Production: Past and Present

The overall aim of the MRes is to ensure that, at the end of the programme, you have:

  • Improved your research skills
  • Extended your language skills either through the acquisition of an advanced reading level in a new foreign language, or through advanced training in academic writing in a foreign language
  • Gained advanced knowledge and understanding of key critical concepts and debates in critical theory of relevance to the study of modern cultures
  • Pursued an individual line of research in your dissertation

Why study this course

The MRes in Modern Languages provides an excellent preparation both for further study at doctoral level and for graduates seeking to enhance their employment prospects through the acquisition of an advanced reading knowledge of a new language and the enhancement of transferable skills including: advanced theoretically informed analysis of a broad range of cultural production, graduate-level language acquisition, research skills using traditional and on-line sources, communication at a very high level both orally and in writing, time-management, organisation.

Modules

The MRes programme focuses on research and, as such, is broken down into three modules, which focus on research skills, language acquisition, and key moments in the history of modern European culture. This is followed by a dissertation, which is the result of a supervised independent research project undertaken in any area of research which falls within the very wide range of expertise of staff across all of the languages.

Graduate School Research Methodology (20 Credits)

This module develops the key skills needed to plan, execute and report research. After reviewing approaches to researching the literature and discussing the nature of a current area of research, the key elements of a research protocol are introduced, covering issues such as the nature and role of a hypothesis, experimental design, importance of clear deliverables and the use of project planning charts. In this context the planning of research projects and trials is treated separately and the consequences of poor planning are discussed. Statistical approaches for the analysis of data are introduced, with emphasis on identifying the levels of significance of differences in data. This material is then used as a basis for introducing the critical elements of reporting the results of results. The structure and role of journal papers and research theses are discussed and student’s skills in producing and delivering research focused presentations developed.

Intellectual Subversives: Culture, Counter-Culture and Radical Change, from the Late 18th Century to the Digital Age (20 Credits)

This module will present a broad intellectual framework within which you will be able to locate and better understand your particular area of study, and deepen your understanding of intellectual traditions in Europe while encouraging you to reflect on the impact these continue to have today. The core module draws on the research strengths of the department across all of the languages, and is designed to build on the range of experiences and knowledge base that you will bring to the programme from your previous studies.Your study will progress in chronological order and focus on the emergence of ideas which have shaped the modern world from the 19th century to the 21st: the emergence and acceptance of grand narratives in the Enlightenment and Romanticism; cultural and philosophical assaults on God, science and logocentrism; war and conflict; the politics and aesthetics of the European avant-garde; Postmodern cultural production and ‘cognitive mapping’ in a global age; the neo-avant-garde and the return of ‘the real’; hermeneutics and communication in a digital age, cyberpolitics and surveillance technologies.

And either:

Reading a Language (French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish) for Researchers (20 Credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to acquire a good reading knowledge of your chosen language, in order help you pursue your research, with a view towards continuing to PhD level. The aim is to provide you with the ability to read academic texts, representative of the research literature in your area of specialism, with the aid of a dictionary. You will be taught by a mixture of tutor-led and workshop sessions, typically alternating between the two. Tutor-led sessions give instruction on the grammatical and lexical features of the language, based on a progressive reading of the prescribed coursebook. In the workshop sessions, you will do exercises, including translation of texts into English, under the guidance of the tutor. You will be able to work on samples of your own material. There are assessments at the end of each semester.

Or:

Academic Writing in Another Language (French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish) (20 Credits)

This module will provide you with specific subject and discipline-focussed training in academic writing in their main language of study. You will be assigned a tutor who will give advice and supervise your work as you carry out your independent research with the aim of writing an academic article in your chosen language. You will be expected to:

  • Conduct a literature review of key journals in your chosen language
  • Write a proposal for an academic paper on a subject of your choice
  • Research and write a 5,000-word article following the publication conventions appropriate to a specific journal

Your individual supervisions, to be conducted in the foreign language, will provide support in:

  • Identifying key journals
  • Choosing a subject for your article
  • Working with a style sheet
  • Developing an academic writing style

Dissertation (120 Credits)

Building on the skills and understanding built in the taught modules, this module is deigned to deepen your understanding of intellectual traditions in Europe, and to reflect on the impact these continue to have in their own field today.

The module will progress in chronological order and focus on the emergence of ideas which have shaped the modern world from the 19th century to the 21st: the emergence and acceptance of grand narratives in the Enlightenment and Romanticism; cultural and philosophical assaults on God, science and logocentrism; war and conflict; the politics and aesthetics of the European avant-garde; Postmodern cultural production and ‘cognitive mapping’ in a global age; the neo-avant-garde and the return of ‘the real’; hermeneutics and communication in a digital age, cyberpolitics and surveillance technologies.

This will result in the completion of a 20,000 word thesis.

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.

University of Birmingham graduates may be entitled to a fee reduction through the College of Arts and Law Alumni Bursary scheme.

Entry requirements

The Modern Languages MRes programme welcomes applicants from a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, but a good Honours degree in a Modern Language or other Humanities subject area with, where appropriate, competence in the relevant foreign language equivalent to degree level standard is required.

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

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Learning and teaching

The MRes is homed within the University's lively, progressive and broad-based Department of Modern Languages, which has over 30 research active staff working in numerous world and regional languages, across periods from the Middle Ages to the present day. Students on the MRes can take advantage of the extensive range of research seminars and events run annually with leading visiting speakers, and have opportunities to gain experience delivering and organising Postgraduate research presentations through various groups including the School Postgraduate Forum, the Sexuality and Gender Studies Forum (ROLES), and connections with the University's Graduate Centre for Europe.

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.

Employability

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 Modern Languages postgraduates develop excellent communication skills, whilst cultural awareness and foreign language skills are highly sought after by employers. Postgraduates in Modern Languages also have a range of transferable skills including the ability to gather and interpret information, organisational skills and the ability to work well with others. Such skills can be used in a variety of occupations.

Over the past five years, over 94% of Modern Languages postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Some of our language graduates train to become professional linguists such as translators and interpreters. Others graduates enter employment where their language skills may be advantageous but not central to their role ? for example, within international organisations, the Civil Service and in the travel and hospitality industry. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Arts and Humanities Research Council; Deloitte; Tate Britain Gallery; University of Manchester; and Zamyn (a communications agency).