Module and Programme Search
Programme Specification DOC Document click here for the Word version of this specification
1. Awarding Institution / Body Leeds Metropolitan University
2. Teaching Institution Leeds Metropolitan University
3. Programme Accredited By Leeds Metropolitan University
4. Final Award Master of Arts (MA) Full-time - 1 year; Part-time - 2 years 2.
5. Programme Title MA English Contemporary Literatures 3.
6. UCAS Code N/A
7. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group English 4.
8. Aims of the Programme
From September 2009, the MA English: Contemporary Literatures replaces the MA English: Twentieth Century Literature that has been running successfully since 1998. One of three postgraduate courses in the School of Cultural Studies, this new course provides students with a stimulating intellectual environment in which to engage in debate and undertake study at advanced levels. The lecturers on the course are actively engaged in research of international standing and their teaching is informed by their engagement with current developments in the field of English Studies. Opportunities for continuing study beyond masters- level is well provided for in the School: a number of past graduates have gone on to develop their research interests at M.Phil. and Ph.D. levels, both at Leeds Met and beyond.
The course provides an opportunity for students to explore a range of challenging literary texts and to interrogate a number of influential theoretical models and conceptual categories that have provided ways of making sense of the diversity of contemporary literary works. For the purposes of this course, we define contemporary not only as a period of literary history (normally taken to designate post-World War Two writing) but also as a set of concerns, dispositions, and traits shared by writers and critics in relation to the circumstances of the present moment. What is exciting about `contemporary literatures- is that opinions on it have not yet settled into critical orthodoxies. The challenge of coming to terms with contemporary writing has less to do, therefore, with accepting received critical opinion, but is rather about charting one-s own path, about creating one-s own understanding of the constellation of writing, criticism and theory produced in, and addressed towards, the complexities of the present.
The modules we offer encourage a rigorous, in-depth engagement with texts and issues reflecting current debate and scholarship in the field of contemporary English Studies, while the dissertation allows students to pursue their own interests in the field (by negotiation with tutors) in a supervised research project.
The educational aims of the programme are designed to enable the students to:
? derive stimulus and new insights from the critical examination of literary and critical texts, both in their uniqueness and as part of broader frameworks of interpretation;
? develop expertise in the ability to interrogate and self-reflexively deploy a range of theoretical approaches to texts and textuality;
? acquire a well-informed critical understanding of current developments, questions and issues in the field of contemporary literatures in English and their associated criticism;
? be capable of effectively utilising, both creatively and critically, the expressive resources of language;
? acquire an understanding of and practice in the skills needed to undertake independent research into contemporary literatures and associated criticism and theory, both at Master-s level and as a foundation for further study and research;
? develop, to an advanced level, a range of transferable skills, including skills of planning, analysis, interpretation, argumentation and research, oral communication, independent thought, collaborative working and effective writing.
9. Intended Learning Outcomes
A) Knowledge and Understanding
On successful completion of the course students will have acquired:
A. knowledge and understanding of the distinctive character of a range of key contemporary texts;
B. a critical appreciation of some of the key forms, themes and issues associated with modernist and postmodernist writing;
C. an informed understanding of the intersection between postcolonial and gender theory;
D. an informed critical awareness of the interface between contemporary poetry and theories of poetry;
E. an understanding of the importance of the work of influential theorists (including Bakhtin, Bourdieu, Butler, Derrida, Foucault, Irigaray, Kristeva, Said, and Bhabha) for current debates in literary and cultural theory;
F. an understanding of key aspects of psychoanalytic theory and its connection with poetic processes and subjectivity;
G. an appreciation of the cultural significance of gender and authorship at particular historical moments;
H. knowledge and understanding of the use of key critical terms (such as `postmodernist-, `gothic-, `postcolonial-, etc.) as aesthetic and generic categories in literary criticism;
I. expertise in the use of both the traditional and `new technology- resources available for literary research and scholarly debate and investigation.
Table 1 - Mapping of knowledge and understanding by modules, keyed to (A) above:
Modules A B C D E F G H I
MAE201: Scholarly Practice x x
MAE204: Poetry and Poetics X x x x X x x
MAE205: Post-Structuralist Theory x x x x
MAE208: Contemporary Gothic X x X x x x
MAE209: Writing after Conrad X x x x X x x
MAE210: Doris Lessing: Narrating Nation X x x x x x x
MAE211: Appropriating Shakespeare X x x x x x
MAE214: Amitav Ghosh X x x x x x x
MAE213: Dissertation X x x x x X x x x
MAE216: British Muslim Fictions X x x X x x x
MAE217: Tales of the American Empire X x x x x
MAE220: Researching Culture X x x x x x
B) Subject-specific (s), Generic (g) and Transferable (t) Skills:
On successful completion of the course students will have acquired:
A. advanced competence in the close reading and critical analysis of literary and other texts [s and t];
B. expertise in the application of theoretical concepts and models to the analysis and explication of texts (s and t];
C. the ability to identify, justify and creatively employ appropriate research strategies for particular research projects [s, g and t];
D. appropriate bibliographic skills, including the scholarly use of citation and reference in the presentation of written work [s, g and t];
E. effective skills in oral presentation [g and t];
F. effective ability to construct coherent and persuasive arguments, both orally and in writing [g and t];
G. an informed and self-confident use of appropriate critical terms and concepts in analysis and argument [s and t];
H. advanced skills in information retrieval and in critical evaluation of a range of textual and digital information [s, g and t];
I. significant competence in the creative and expressive use of the resources of language [s and t];
J. effective skills in the planning, research, management of time and composition of a substantial research project [s, g and t].
Table 2 - Mapping of skills by modules, keyed to (B) above:
Modules A B C D E F G H I J
MAE201: Scholarly Practice and Research x x x x x X x
MAE204: Poetry and Poetics x x x x x X x x x
MAE205: Post-Structuralist Theory x x x x x X x x x
MAE208: Contemporary Gothic x x x x x X x x x
MAE209: Writing after Conrad x x x x x X x x x
MAE210: Doris Lessing: Narrating Nation x x x x x X x x x
MAE211: Appropriating Shakespeare x x x x x X x x x
MAE214: Amitav Ghosh x x x x x X x x x
MAE213: Dissertation x x x x x X x x x x
MAE216: British Muslim Fictions x x x x x X x x x
MAE217: Tales of th
10. Programme Structure and Requirements, Levels, Modules, Credits and Awards
(a) Level, modules and credit points:
All modules on the programme are of Master-s (M) level, as specified in the descriptor for a qualification at master-s level in the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (Annex 1, January 2001). For the Masters award students are required to successfully complete MAE201: Scholarly Practice and Research Methods (20 credit points), MAE220: Researching Cultures (20 credit points), MAE213: Dissertation (40 credit points) and five other taught modules (20 credit points each), amounting to a total of 180 credit points. The Postgraduate Diploma (PG.Dip.) is a fall-back award for students who do not take MAE213: Dissertation, requiring the successful completion of six modules (120 credit points). The Postgraduate Certificate (PG.Cert.) is a fall-back award for students who successfully complete three modules at M (Masters) level (60 credit points).
Full-time students will normally complete the Master-s programme in one year. Part-time students will normally take two years of study to complete the Master-s programme.
Students will normally be expected to take the modules designed for the course, but students will be admitted onto the course with credit for modules of equivalent (M) level attained elsewhere (up to a maximum of 90 credit points). Students are also permitted to take modules outside the course up to a maximum of 40 credit points. This does not include the dissertation, which cannot be substituted by another module or modules. The decision to allow a student to take an outside module is at the discretion of the Course Leaders concerned, based on an academic rationale presented by the student.
(b) Awards:
The award of Post-Graduate Diploma with Distinction may be awarded to a student who gains marks of 70% and over in at least four out of the six modules required for this award.
The award of MA with Distinction may be awarded to a student who gains marks of 70% and over in at least six out of the eight modules including the Dissertation.
The award of MA with Merit may be awarded to a student who gains marks of between 60% and 69% overall (aggregate mark).
(c) Modules:
The following modules have been specifically designed for the programme. MAE201, MAE220, MAE213 and five other modules will be available in any academic year.
MAE201: Scholarly Practice and Research Methods (20 credit points)
MAE204: Poetry and Poetics (20 credit points)
MAE205: Post-Structuralist Theory: Foucault and Derrida (20 credit points)
MAE208: Contemporary Gothic (20 credit points)
MAE209: Writing after Conrad (20 credit points)
MAE210: Doris Lessing: Narrating Nation and Identity (20 credit points)
MAE211: Appropriating Shakespeare (20 credit points)
MAE214: Amitav Ghosh (20 credit points)
MAE216: British Muslim Fictions (20 credit points)
MAE217: Tales of the American Empire (20 credit points)
MAE220: Researching Culture (20 credit points)
MAE213: Dissertation (40 credit points)
11. Support for Students and Their Learning
(a) Induction:
Prior to the commencement of the course, students receive information about the School and the Course, and are given suggestions for preparatory reading. A welcome session during the induction week introduces students to the tutors on the course, to their peers and to the university procedures (the Student Handbook is distributed). The session also introduces the aims of the course and provides an overview of individual modules, the learning outcomes, methods of assessment, etc.
Students are also introduced to the University Library-s facilities. This introductory session is followed up by a more intensive session on learning resources available in and via the Library, given by the Librarian / Learning Adviser linked with the programme.
(b) Teaching arrangements:
The course is taught on two evenings per week, in sessions lasting 3 hours. Part-time students normally attend only one session per week, over two years. Each single module lasts for 7 weeks, allowing for a one-week break within and between 15-week semesters. In the second semester students may take advantage of individual tutorials as a way of preparing a dissertation proposal. Students are then allocated supervisors whose role is to provide guidance and support as they work on their dissertations, which are submitted on the nearest working day to 1st September of any year.
(c) Personal tutorial system:
The Course Leader acts as personal tutor to all students enrolled on the course and is available to offer academic and pastoral guidance and support when appropriate. The other members of the English Course Team are also available for consultation on academic and personal matters.
(d) Module tutors:
Module tutors offer support with issues related to and arising from specific modules. Students are also able to request and receive detailed feedback on their work from module tutors, supplementary to the written feedback provided as annotations to scripts and on the Assignment Assessment forms that accompany the return of all assessed work. The Student and Module Handbooks specify the times when tutors can be consulted during office hours and how they can be contacted at other times (e.g. e-mail addresses and work telephone numbers).
(e) Course written materials:
A range of written materials are provided for the students to support their learning. These are available in hard-copy versions as well as on-line through the University-s intranet service. They include the following:
Student Handbook: All students are given, at the beginning of each academic year, a copy of the MA English Student Handbook, containing general information about the course, the academic and administrative staff, the `house style- rules for citation and referencing, and module descriptors for each of the modules on offer during the year.
The Dissertation Handbook is distributed at the beginning of the students- studies as it contains the rules pertaining to citation, reference and the compilation of bibliographies, as well as much detailed information about expression, style and the presentation of written materials.
Module Handbook: At the beginning of each module, students are given a Module Handbook for that module, prepared by the tutor/s concerned, containing a breakdown of the weekly programme of classes, required/recommended reading for each class, a full bibliography, the intended learning outcomes and details of the assessment for the module, and any other information germane to the module.
Module Readers (collections of texts assembled by tutors) may be provided for particular modules to facilitate class and group work on a selection of texts not easily available in anthology form elsewhere. These will be available for sale in Blackwell-s University Bookshop.
(f) Administrative
12. Criteria for Admission
The School of Cultural Studies seeks to recruit students who are capable of benefiting from, contributing to, and successfully completing their chosen course. The following criteria and procedures will be employed to assess that capability in relation to the MA English:
(a) Admission requirements:
The following will normally be regarded as appropriate admission requirements for the course:
a) Successful completion of a certificated programme of study; normally an undergraduate degree or its equivalent. A good Second Class, First Division (2: i) honours degree in English or a cognate subject is the normally required standard for admission to the Course.
b) Relevant non-certificated learning.
c) An appropriate combination of certificated and non-certificated learning.
All certificated and non-certificated learning will require verification. In the case of certificated learning, this will require either the presentation of relevant certificates or confirmation by the award-giving body. In the case of non-certificated learning, verification will be established in the course of a formal interview and, when necessary, through the submission of supporting documentation and evidence. In coming to a judgement on the relevance of non-certificated learning, decisions will be informed by the University guidelines on the assessment of non-certificated learning. In circumstances where the relevance of non-certificated learning is inconclusive, applicants will be asked to complete a short diagnostic exercise.
(c) Admission procedures:
All applications will be made direct to the School and applicants who satisfy the admission requirements will normally be interviewed by the Course Leader and/or a member of the Course Team. The Course Team will formally be notified of all decisions pertaining to admissions, and the Course Team will be required to ratify all decisions of admission with advanced standing. The Course Leader receives administrative support from the Course Administrator.
(d) Admission requirements and procedures for students whose first language is not English
Applications from overseas and European Union students (and from UK-based students whose first language is not English) are very welcome. Interviews with overseas students can be conducted by telephone or video conferencing. Applicants whose first language is not English must have achieved an overall score of 6.5 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with a 7.0 in the written component of the test, and with no skills below 5.0. Applicants may be asked to (i) to supply evidence of written work of a standard sufficient for successful postgraduate study, and/or (ii) to complete a diagnostic written exercise devised by the Course Leader. As with UK-based students, overseas and European Union students must demonstrate an ability to benefit from, contribute to, and successfully complete the course. A good honours degree (equivalent to a UK second class, first division (2: i) honours degree) or other equivalent (e.g. professional) qualification as well as relevant prior experience are taken as indicators of this. Eligibility for students without a degree-equivalent qualification will be assessed on the basis of a) an interview with a member of the course team, b) the submission of a short essay and c) a written statement. In coming to a decision on an application of this nature, the Course Leader will take into account any evidence/accreditation of prior learning. The aim of these procedures is to assess whether applicants have the aptitude, time and commitment to engage fully with the course in a particular mode study and achieve the standards of work required for the award.
13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving the Quality and Standards of Teaching and Learning
The quality of the programme is indicated by the external examiner-s reports, the University-s annual student evaluation survey, the research activities of the staff, and the academic achievements of graduates.
(a) External Examiner-s reports:
Prof. Julian Wolfreys, of the Department of English and Drama, Loughborough University, was appointed as external examiner for the period 2007 - 2011. In his first report he commented very favourably indeed on the management of the course, on the teaching and assessment, and on the standards attained by the students. He said,
The strengths of the MA are many and varied, and appear from materials I have been able to assess with innovation, rigour, enthusiasm and consistency of the highest order. The balancing of core modules with a changing rota of specialist modules is an excellent practice and cannot be praised highly enough. It serves a double purpose at least: on the one hand, it allows students to engage with the diverse nature of literary studies, and to explore often hitherto unconsidered tangents and correlations between differing literary and cultural practices, leading to original work in the MA dissertation, through enterprising combinations of text, of theory and practice, and so forth; on the other hand, it highlights researchers- strengths and expertise, in an economical and effective showcasing, whilst additionally, giving space to academics to hone research ideas in an interactive manner. The variation in teaching and assessment methods appears to take full advantage again of the faculty-s many recognisable strengths and interests, whilst additionally, testing the knowledge and professionalization of MA students to the fullest.
On the overall performance of students (and taking into account comparisons with Masters students in other universities, Prof Wolfreys commented:
The `strengths and weaknesses of the students- are wholly typical of those manifested in other universities; there is little to say beyond this, because, as one can see in looking at work produced on the same module, or with dissertation students supervised and double marked by the same member of faculty, it is the student who, for various reasons, either achieves beyond or within an expected range of outcomes, or otherwise does poorly or fails. In every example of student work I have examined however, commentary and marking is superlative in practice. Commentary in particular is always detailed, apposite, attentive and rigorous. [I]t is clear that the students perform, at the least, in a manner comparable with students in other institutions, and often at a higher level, of engagement, if not always execution. This willingness and enthusiasm to push themselves, I would attribute to the concomitant energies on the part of the faculty.
On the forms of assessment deployed on the Course, Prof Wolfreys felt that
Standards are, again, as high as many other institutions with larger faculty cohorts and more resources, and often higher than some, whether one is speaking of institutions in the post-1992 university sector or in more traditional, older institutions. Marking, as I have already commented, is diligent, fair, objective and rigorous, forms of assessment are appropriate and designed to engage the student-s interest in the most positive manner, and the overall standard is exemplary.
On the curriculum and the methods of teaching, Prof Wolfreys noted that
[C]urriculum and teaching are innovative, original, inventive, rigorous, enthusiastically executed, and produce a coherent, interactive and organic programme of study have already touched on some of these points, but curriculum and teaching are innovative, original, inventive, rigorous, enthusiastically executed, and produce a coherent, interactive and organic p
14. Regulations of Assessment
A Summary of assessment requirements
Semester 1
Module Code Module Assignment
Weeks 1 - 12
(alternate weeks)
MAE220 Researching Culture
1. 1,500 word critical bibliography
2. 2,000-word reflective report/review of conference
Weeks 1 - 12
(alternate weeks)
MAE201 Research Methods and Scholarly Practice
1a. Annotated analysis (equivalent to 2,000 words
1b. Edited and annotated collection of critical essays (equivalent to 2,000 words, exclusive of the selected essays).
2. Seminar presentation, using PowerPoint, on the processes of preparing assignment 1a or 1b above (equivalent to 1,000 words).
Weeks 1 - 7
Contemporary Gothic
5. 1,000 word review
6. 2,000 word essay
Weeks 8 - 15

British Muslim Fictions
1. 1,000 word creative piece which will ask students to write an imagined conversation between two characters from one of the set texts, debating a key issue that the module has highlighted
2. 2,000 word essay requiring students to analyze at least two of the set texts, using theoretical and historical methods.
Semester 2
Module Code Module Assignment
Week 1 - 7
MAE205 Post-Structuralist Theory 3,500 word essay
Weeks 1 - 7
Poetry and Poetics
3,500 essay
Weeks 8 - 15
MAE210 Doris Lessing 1. 1 seminar presentation
2. 2,000-word accompanying report and bibliography
MAE213 Dissertation 15,000 word dissertation
The assessment regulations which apply to Leeds Met awards are accessible in full via section C of the Academic Regulations:
B External Examiners
Professor Julian Wolfreys
Department of English and Drama
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU
The assessment regulations which apply to Leeds Met awards are accessible in full via section C of the Academic Regulations:
15. Indicators of Quality and Standards
See Section 13 above.
Health Warning: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the course and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. Additional information on the specific learning outcomes, indicative content, and the module teaching learning and assessment methods of each study unit or module can be found at,
1. _weblink.htm
2. module handbook
3. course handbook

The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed by the University and may be checked within the independent review processes undertaken by the Quality Assurance Agency.