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Contemporary Literature, Culture & Theory MA

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Our MA in Contemporary Literature, Culture & Theory lets you explore a range of texts and concepts from 1945 to the present, with an emphasis on the late 20th and early 21st centuries. 

The course offers you the opportunity to study cutting-edge topics such as literary production after 1999; imperialism and sexuality; contemporary experimental poetry; new directions in gender and race theory; realism and its others; emerging concepts of the human; the intersection of aesthetics and politics in relation to transparency and secrecy; urban culture; performance studies; and the cultures of conflict and dissent from Africa to the Middle East.

Key benefits

  • Our flexible course offers you a range of approaches to contemporary literature, culture and theory.

  • Taught by five full-time staff members who specialise in the contemporary period, be part of a dynamic, research-led department with an international reputation for excellence.
  • With our unrivalled location in the centre of London, enjoy easy access to the British Library and the major libraries and archives of the capital.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake Approximately 16-20

Course leaders

Dr Jane Elliott, Department of English, Programme Convenor jane.k.elliott@kcl.ac.uk


Further details

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of English



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Course detail


Our course in Contemporary Literature, Culture & Theory gives you the opportunity to explore a range of topics and texts from 1945 to the present, with a particular focus on the intersection of literature, culture and theory. You will access postgraduate-level teaching and research training in a wide range of aspects of English literature, language and culture, in a research-led environment that encourages scholarly inquiry and independent thought. We will train you in research and writing skills(including manuscript work, bibliographies and internet resources) in preparation for a large-scale research project. This course is also an excellent foundation for and an introduction to what will be required for a doctorate.

Further literature

Course format and assessment

If you are a full-time student, we will provide four to six hours of teaching through lectures and seminars each week, and we will expect you to undertake 26 hours of independent study.

If you are a part-time student, we will provide two to four hours of teaching through lectures and seminars each week, and we will expect you to undertake 13 hours of independent study.

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work

We assess our modules entirely through coursework.

Regulating body
King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students.


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 180 credits.
Required Modules
You are required to take:

• Post-1945: Literature, Culture, Theory (30 credits)
• Dissertation (90 credits)
• Advanced research skills workshops

If you are a part-time student, you will take your dissertation and advanced research skills workshops in your second year. You will also take one module from the optional modules listed below in your first year, and two in your second.
Optional Modules

In addition, you are required to take three modules (totalling 60 credits) from a range of optional modules that may typically include:

  • Thinking the Contemporary (20 credits)
  • Genres of the Human (20 credits)
  • Imperialism and Sexuality (20 credits)
  • Aesthetic Forms and the Value Form (20 credits)
  • Queer American Poetry (20 credits)
  • Realism and its Others in the Long 20th Century (20 credits)
  • The Transatlantic in Literature: From Caliban to Cosmopolitanism (20 credits)
  • The Contemporary Medieval (20 credits)
  • Contemporary South Asian Women Writing (20 credits)
  • Writing Global Cities (20 credits)
  • Cultures of Secrecy (20 credits)

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Comp Lit, Culture and Theory Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements 2:1

Bachelor’s degree with 2:1 honours in English, or a related discipline.

In order to meet the academic entry requirements for this programme you should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree with a final mark of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. If you are still studying you should be achieving an average of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £60 applies.


Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Personal Statement  Yes A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required. Please state modules you wish to take, if known, as part of your personal statement.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Writing Sample Yes Applicants are required to submit an essay of not more than 4,000 words, preferably on a topic related to their chosen course. Applicants who completed their BA more than 10 years ago will normally be asked to submit a new piece of work. Please contact the MA Convenor if you wish to discuss your situation.
 Other Optional Applicants may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application


Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.  Our first application deadline is the 29 March 2019.  Applications will remain open if places are available and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full. 

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home/EU fees: £9,990 per year (2019/20)
  • Full time overseas fees: £21,300 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time Home/EU fees: £4,995 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time overseas fees: £10,650 per year (2019/20)

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March 2019, payment is due by 27th April 2019.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April 2019 and 30th June 2019, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July 2019 and 31st July 2019, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2019, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.


Additional costs/expenses

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions 
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Graduation costs
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

We expect some students will go on to pursue research. Others may transfer the skills they develop to careers in teaching, journalism, cultural arts and management, or the legal and financial sectors.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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