MA in Victorian Literature and Culture

Convenor: James Williams 



This course explores the engagement of nineteenth-century literature with a wide range of political, social and aesthetic issues, its variety of styles and genres, and both contemporary and modern critical perspectives.

It has been a real privilege to work with academics renowned in their field

MA in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

You will develop an understanding of:

  • the engagement of Victorian literature with a range of political, social and aesthetic issues in the period
  • the cultural meanings and associations of the variety of styles and genres in which Victorian literature was produced
  • a range of different critical perspectives about Victorian literature


  • Four assessed essays of approximately 4,500 words each
  • A 14,000-16,000 word dissertation, written in consultation with a supervisor on an agreed topic

Introductory reading

You can get a flavour of the criticism, anthologies, and core texts featured on this course by downloading a reading list compiled by members of staff:



The programme is fully modularised and divided into 4 taught modules (one compulsory, three option), a research skills training programme, and a research dissertation.

Click here for all 2017/18 modules


The core course surveys the major literary and cultural developments in the period and the central preoccupations of Victorian writing, as formulated by contemporaries and by recent critics and theorists. It introduces key thematic areas and problems in the interpretation of nineteenth-century literature across a broad range of genres.


The option modules allow for more specialised study of particular issues relevant to the study of nineteenth-century literature and its historical, social and political contexts. A distinctive feature of this MA is the flexibility it provides for a student to specialize within the Victorian period or to explore a range of research interests across the nineteenth century, including interdisciplinary options from departments including History and History of Art.

Available option modules may include:

Option modules will vary from year to year according to staff availability, and will run subject to minimum numbers. Option modules may also be taken in other arts and humanities departments.

Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway (detail), by J.M.W. Turner (1844)

Who to contact

For more information on this MA, please contact:

John Bowen (Spring term 2016/17)

James Williams (Summer term onwards)

How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application system. If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.