Postgraduate study

English Literature: Literature and Modernity: 1900 to the Present MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

This programme examines a range of literary and theoretical contexts, introducing ways that writing and imagination shape and share in cultural and political processes.

You will explore the ways literature since 1900 has sought to change and modernise itself, in the context of wider developments of modernity characterising the age.

Your studies will take you through a broad and fascinating field, from the originators of literary ‘modernity’ – including TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf – to the present day and the continuing impact of their innovations.

Studying in the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, you will analyse the most challenging and exciting literature written in English since 1900, and explore the range of historical, intellectual, cultural, political and philosophical factors informing the period’s writing – particularly in its highly innovative modernist and postmodernist phases.

The programme will be taught through a combination of seminars and tutorials.

You will take one compulsory and one option course in each of two semesters, along with a course in research methods. You will then complete an independently researched dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

  • Literature and Modernity I: Modernist Aesthetics
  • Literature and Modernity II: Late Modernism and Beyond

Option courses

Option courses may include:

  • Critical Theory: Issues and Debates
  • Green Thoughts: Landscape, Environment and Literature
  • Tragedy and Modernity
  • Modernism and Empire
  • Black Atlantic
  • Contemporary Post-Colonial Writing
  • Theatre, Performance, Performativity
  • Queering Fictions in the Twentieth Century
  • Cities of Words: 20th Century Urban America
  • Medical Ethics in Literature
  • Modern and Contemporary Life-Writing

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

On successful completion of this programme, you will have gained

  • practical knowledge of the range of theoretical and philosophical ideas informing modern and postmodern literary criticism
  • enhanced knowledge and understanding of the role of literary writing in the formation of contemporary culture
  • an advanced grounding in the research methods of literary studies

Graduates of this programme will acquire a thorough knowledge and understanding of literary history and culture post-1900, and a range of transferable skills in research and enquiry, critical thinking and evaluation, and varieties of written and oral communication. This programme will also provide you with research and analytical skills that can be extended into future advanced study in the subject area.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 31 July 2022

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines.

We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2022/23:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 08 November 2021 16 December 2021
2 14 January 2022 15 March 2022
3 08 March 2022 28 April 2022
4 23 May 2022 26 July 2022
5 30 June 2022 10 August 2022

You must submit one reference with your application.

The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH