English Literature

MSc Critical Theory

This MScR degree programme enables students to develop more intensively their interests in critical theory and its intersection with the study of English literature.

The skull of George Buchanan

Critical Theory is an exciting and dynamic field encompassing diverse intellectual approaches to literature, culture, society, and politics. It entails reflection on the premises, concepts and categories used in different disciplines. Edinburgh’s programme provides expert-led teaching on the wide range of theoretical approaches that constitute the contemporary critical vocabulary within the humanities.

Seminar-based teaching allows students to critically engage with theoretical approaches as diverse as poststructuralism, postcolonialism, and the Frankfurt School, and with the work of thinkers such as Heidegger, Derrida and Deleuze.

Option courses

Please note that your choice of options depends on availability and will be decided in consultation with your supervisor.

Learning outcomes

Students should:

  • develop a knowledge and understanding of contemporary approaches to critical theory, taken to include both theoretical and methodological reflection on the object, nature and forms of literary study, and broader questions about the relationship between aesthetic and social enquiry
  • deepen their knowledge and understanding of selected themes and topics in a way that enables them to select and execute an independent piece of research
  • develop a familiarity with a range of approaches to the theory of criticism, along with an informed understanding of some of the ways in which such approaches have been conceptualised and practiced by scholars, past and present
  • gain a grasp of the methodological issues and problems of literary and cultural research and analysis, equipping them with experience of creating original academic work to underpin (where appropriate) further interdisciplinary research at PhD level


To discuss possible topics and areas for the MSc by Research in Critical Theory please contact Dr Alex Thomson:

Dr Alex Thomson

Senior Lecturer

  • English Literature
  • School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

Contact details



Room 2.43
50 George Square

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