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Critical Theory MA

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Our Critical Theory MA is a unique interdisciplinary course focused on the history, study and applications of critical methodologies across the humanities.

Students will explore some of the major modern schools of thought and contemporary theories and practices of critique and interpretation as they have developed from a basis in Marxist thought and Contintental Philosophy through to applications in relation to biopolitics, race, technology and sexuality.

The course gives students the opportunity to follow their own interests from a wide range of optional modules across the humanities and social sciences, all of which draw on the varied and lively research culture of King’s in these fields.

Leads to careers in universities, the media, arts, teaching and journalism.

Key benefits


  • Unique interdisciplinary course focused on the study and applications of critical theory.
  • Wide range of optional modules across humanities and social science disciplines.
  • Located in the heart of London.


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 8.

Course leaders

Professor Nicholas Harrison

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 French



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Critical Theory MA

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Course detail


Our interdisciplinary course in Critical Methodology is built around a required module in critical theory. This will introduce you to the main debates in current critical theory through the exploration of a series of key texts. It explores theories and practices of reading, from Formalism and Structuralism through Barthes and textuality to queer theory, psychoanalysis, materialist and postcolonial theories. In addition to this required module, you will be able to choose from a list of modules linked to critical theory in a range of subjects. You will investigate and write a dissertation on a topic that links the required module to the material of one or more of your optional modules. This course is ideally suited to you if you have a humanities degree and are looking to prepare for PhD study, or if you want to pursue a career in teaching, journalism, the media and the arts.

Further literature

Course format and assessment


If you are a full-time student, we will provide six hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 34 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 between 16 and 18 hours of independent study.

For your dissertation we will organise a workshop and provide you with an additional four hours of supervision.

We will use a delivery method that will ensure students have a rich, exciting experience from the start. Face to face teaching will be complemented and supported with innovative technology so that students also experience elements of digital learning and assessment.

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.


Your performance will be assessed through a combination of coursework and a dissertation. Forms of assessment may typically include essays, class presentations and a research methodology exercise. Coursework contributes approximately 67% and the dissertation approximately 33% to your final mark.

This course is primarily taught at the King’s College London Strand Campus. We are located right in the heart of London, offering you easy access to the wealth of cultural opportunities available in one of the world’s most vibrant cities, as well as its multiple world-class libraries. You will also have access to our own extensive collections and resources.

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:

• Main Currents in Critical Theory (20 credits)

• Dissertation (60 credits)

Optional Modules

In addition, you are required to take 100 credits from a range of optional modules, which may typically include:

• Cinema & the City (20 credits)

• Text, Image, Object & Gesture in Twentieth- Century French Writing (20 credits)

• The Moving Image in Art (20 credits)

• Reconfiguring Film Theories & Philosophies: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (20 credits)

• Biopower: The Fate of an Idea (20 credits)

• Theorizing Literature across Cultures: Contemporary Debates (20 credits)

• Culture, Dissent & the Arab Spring (20 credits)

• Perversion: Theory, Literature, Film (20 credits)

• Modernity & the City (20 credits)

• Thinking Cinema: Theory, Philosophy, Ethics (20 credits)

• On Speed: Accelerating Culture Since the 19th Century (20 credits)

• Surrealism & Visuality (20 credits)

• Illness Narrative as Life Writing (20 credits)

• Experimental Film & Philosophy (20 credits)

• Thinking the Contemporary: Fiction & Theory after 1999 (20 credits)

• A language module from King’s Modern Language Centre (20 credits) subject to approval

If you are a part-time student, you will take Main Currents in Critical Theory (20 credits), along with 60 credits of optional modules from the list above in your first year. In your second year you will take your dissertation module and a further 40 credits of optional modules.

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

Critical Methodologies Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements  2:1

Bachelor’s degree with 2:1 honours in a humanities discipline. We may consider other qualifications if you can demonstrate relevant experience.

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.


NOTE: The programme is run by the Department of French, but does not require any knowledge of French.


Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £70 applies.

Your application will be assessed by one academic or more and you will need to specify which optional modules you wish to take. You will also need to submit a sample of written work. For full module descriptions please see the website or contact the Admissions Tutor. We interview many applicants, either in person or by phone if overseas, and all are welcome to call the department to arrange a visit. We aim to process all applications within four to six weeks although this may take longer in February and March, and over holiday periods.

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 is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages). As part of your personal statement, please give an indication of the options you wish to take, if known.

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 One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago. In some cases, we may request an additional reference from you.
Writing Sample Yes You will also need to submit a sample of your written work in the form of an academic essay (or a section of a dissertation), consisting of 2000-4000 words.
 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 26th March 2021. After this date, the programme will remain open only if places are still available and will be closed as soon as it is full.

For programmes that remain open beyond this date, the final application deadlines for the following fee statuses are listed below:

  • EU or overseas (international) fee status: 30th July 2021
  • Home fee status: 27th August 2021

Please note, you will not be eligible for an application fee refund if you apply after the first application deadline in March, and we are unable to process more offers as places are filled before the final application deadlines above.

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 fees: £10,500 per year (2021/22)
  • Full time overseas fees: £23,460 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time Home fees: £5,250 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time overseas fees: £11,730 per year (2021/22)

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 deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March, payment is due by 30th April 2021.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April and 30th June, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July and 31st July, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer from late August onwards, payment is due within 2 days 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 your tuition fees, 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

• travel costs for travel around London and between campuses

• graduation costs

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

Many of our graduates go on to pursue further research in humanities subjects. Others transfer the skills and knowledge they develop with us to go on to careers in teaching, journalism, the media, arts, and other related bodies.


Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

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