English contemporary literature/ critical theory MA without an English BA degree? Watch

bobbydoppy21
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Hi,

I really want to apply for the following postgraduate degrees -

MA English, Issues in Modern Culture - UCL
MA Critical Methodologies - Kings College London
MA Contemporary Literature, Theory and Culture - Kings College London

But I haven't/ am not studying and English Literature BA... I'm currently finishing a BA in History of Art. Although I did do English literature for A-level

Do you think I am at a big disadvantage? Is anyone else in a similar position? And what do people think is the better course? Any views on anything somewhat relevant whatsoever?
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beautifulbigmacs
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It's not unusual (as Tom Jones wisely said) to use masters level study to facilitate getting a subject under your belt that is different to your undergraduate subject.

I know this because I've been there and with a good personal statement detailing why you want to do the course and the attributes and skills you can bring to it, there's a fair chance of being accepted onto a wide choice of masters courses that are different to your undergraduate subject.

Definitely get applying to everywhere that is of interest to you.
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madamemerle
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(Original post by bobbydoppy21)
Hi,

I really want to apply for the following postgraduate degrees -

MA English, Issues in Modern Culture - UCL
MA Critical Methodologies - Kings College London
MA Contemporary Literature, Theory and Culture - Kings College London

But I haven't/ am not studying and English Literature BA... I'm currently finishing a BA in History of Art. Although I did do English literature for A-level

Do you think I am at a big disadvantage? Is anyone else in a similar position? And what do people think is the better course? Any views on anything somewhat relevant whatsoever?
A good friend of mine did the Issues in Modern Culture MA coming from a Fine Art degree, so they are definitely open to people from other disciplines on that UCL course.

All three are good options, but it depends what your specific interests are. Issues in Modern Culture tends to be very focused on industrial modernity and Modernism, but is still fairly literature focused. My sense of the Critical Methodologies degree is that it will not focus on literary texts so much as it will on methods for interpreting culture, i.e. it's a sort of meta-critical degree. The question there is: do you want to study literary works, or do you want to study how we study literary (and other) works?

It also might help to distinguish the terms modern and contemporary from each other, and a clear division has emerged fairly recently in English as we've moved out of the C20th century and truly left the modern period behind: if you see modern in a course title, it will likely have a focus on late C19th to late C20th lit; whereas contemporary used to mean post 1945, but now generally means from the 80's or 90's to the present. So, that might help to narrow down your options for you.

Have you looked at Birkbeck? They also have some good modern, contemporary, and theoretical/methodological options at English MA level.
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bobbydoppy21
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(Original post by madamemerle)
A good friend of mine did the Issues in Modern Culture MA coming from a Fine Art degree, so they are definitely open to people from other disciplines on that UCL course.

All three are good options, but it depends what your specific interests are. Issues in Modern Culture tends to be very focused on industrial modernity and Modernism, but is still fairly literature focused. My sense of the Critical Methodologies degree is that it will not focus on literary texts so much as it will on methods for interpreting culture, i.e. it's a sort of meta-critical degree. The question there is: do you want to study literary works, or do you want to study how we study literary (and other) works?

It also might help to distinguish the terms modern and contemporary from each other, and a clear division has emerged fairly recently in English as we've moved out of the C20th century and truly left the modern period behind: if you see modern in a course title, it will likely have a focus on late C19th to late C20th lit; whereas contemporary used to mean post 1945, but now generally means from the 80's or 90's to the present. So, that might help to narrow down your options for you.

Have you looked at Birkbeck? They also have some good modern, contemporary, and theoretical/methodological options at English MA level.
Thanks so much for this!! Do you know if your friend is enjoying it? What is it like?

I think at Kings the contemporary literature course contains a compulsory core module titled Post 1945 literature. The other good thing is that at Kings you can mix modules between both the MA courses. My only concern with Kings is that UCL is generally considered a better university and the class size would probably be smaller. I also have a feeling UCL would be more vigorous and the course has more of a grounding as it is very literature based.
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madamemerle
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(Original post by bobbydoppy21)
Thanks so much for this!! Do you know if your friend is enjoying it? What is it like?

I think at Kings the contemporary literature course contains a compulsory core module titled Post 1945 literature. The other good thing is that at Kings you can mix modules between both the MA courses. My only concern with Kings is that UCL is generally considered a better university and the class size would probably be smaller. I also have a feeling UCL would be more vigorous and the course has more of a grounding as it is very literature based.
My friend finished a while ago, and while they liked it, they were a little frustrated with the bulk of the degree being focused on high Modernism and early C20th.

As far as Kings v. UCl: as post-45 specialist, I would personally consider King's strongest in that area, as well as in critical theory (though, again, Birkbeck is stronger than both in that sub field). However, there is little in it: both are very strong English departments. Also, if you are interested in critical theory, Sussex is the place, but maybe you are tied to London? In any case, out of the two unis you have mentioned, I wouldn't choose based on reputation; they are so close as to make a differentiation meaningless. Focus on what your experience would be like at either: module choice, location, size etc. You sound like you have a good idea of what to think about (module offerings, lecturers, libraries etc) so I think you are on the right track!
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bobbydoppy21
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(Original post by madamemerle)
My friend finished a while ago, and while they liked it, they were a little frustrated with the bulk of the degree being focused on high Modernism and early C20th.

As far as Kings v. UCl: as post-45 specialist, I would personally would consider King's strongest in that area, as well as in critical theory (though, again, Birkbeck is stronger than both in that sub field). However, there is little in it: both are very strong English departments. Also, if you are interested in critical theory, Sussex is the place, but maybe you are tied to London? In any case, out of the two unis you have mentioned, I wouldn't choose based on reputation; they are so close as to make a differentiation meaningless. Focus on what your experience would be like at either: module choice, location, size etc.
Again thanks for your help. I think I am most drawn to one of the Kings courses, what makes you say Sussex? I currently study in London (next door to Kings actually) and have always lived here. I have been disatisifed with the lack of critical theory on my course
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madamemerle
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(Original post by bobbydoppy21)
Again thanks for your help. I think I am most drawn to one of the Kings courses, what makes you say Sussex? I currently study in London (next door to Kings actually) and have always lived here. I have been disatisifed with the lack of critical theory on my course
Sussex is well known as being a bastion for critical theory and for contemporary poetry too, and so has a lot of good faculty etc. in that area. If it's critical theory you are interested in most of all then you should definitely give it a look; as well as Warwick and Nottingham (two others with strong reputations in that area).
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beautifulbigmacs
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If someone gave me the money to study an English MA that placed a good amount of emphasis on modern literature at any university in the country I would choose Liverpool Hope. Looked into their English courses a couple of years ago and was very impressed.
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carmelsky
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Hi, hope you don't mind my butting in
I have a BA in Communications and am looking to apply to King's MA in Contemporary Literature, Theory and Culture.
While I am fluent in English, I am not from the UK and have a few questions re the application essay - 4,000 words related to the field of study.
Can you advise whether this essay is meant to be classically academic in form, meaning - thesis-type research question, reference to academic sources, bibliography etc.? Or is it more "free form", as in - mainly meant to display my English writing skills?

ANY information, advice and/or examples would be so incredibly helpful!
Many thanks in advance!
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bobbydoppy21
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Hey, I believe it's an academic essay from your BA degree, unless the degree was taken over 10 years ago. In which case you may need to submit a new one? What else were you thinking of applying with?
Also just out of interest, are you applying to any other courses?
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carmelsky
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(Original post by bobbydoppy21)
Hey, I believe it's an academic essay from your BA degree, unless the degree was taken over 10 years ago. In which case you may need to submit a new one? What else were you thinking of applying with?
Also just out of interest, are you applying to any other courses?
Hi, thanks for getting back to me so quickly! Much appreciated.
The thing is, what with my BA being in Communications (AKA nothing to do with literature), I'm afraid that any existing essay I could hand in wouldn't necessarily have to do with my desired field of study. Could this harm my chances of getting into the program?

I am looking into some courses at UCL as well.
Totally open to suggestions
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bobbydoppy21
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No worries! I'm in a similar position, I guess if you've used certain theories or media theorists, of spoken about the urban environment it can link?
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carmelsky
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(Original post by bobbydoppy21)
No worries! I'm in a similar position, I guess if you've used certain theories or media theorists, of spoken about the urban environment it can link?
I hope you're right! Just out of curiosity - are you writing something new for your application essay, or handing in an essay from your BA studies?

Thanks!
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