English: Science Fiction Studies MA

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months   Part-time: 24 months
  • Programme start: September 2020
  • Entry requirements: You will need a good 2:1 class Bachelors degree in English studies or a similar subject.
english-sci-fi

Module details

Students are required to register for three core research modules; Research Skills (ENGL601) in Semester 1, Dissertation Project (ENGL603) in Semester 2, and Dissertation (ENGL602) in Semester 3/over the summer.  

To graduate with a named pathway award of Science Fiction Studies students are expected to take 30 credits of required modules and at least 30 credits of optional modules from their chosen pathway - see below.

Compulsory modules

Research Skills (literature) (ENGL601)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To equip the department's postgraduate students with the necessary research skills to make effective, critical interventions in the world of the professional study of English Literature. To equip students with the necessary presentational skills for advanced study in English Literature, including bibliographic and referencing conventions.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of this module, students will be able to:Demonstrate imaginative,discriminating and systematic use of the wide range of traditional and electronic resources available for producing bibliographies.

(LO2) Demonstrate effective presentational skills for advanced literary study

(LO3) Critically evaluate secondary literature and demonstrate advanced skills in reviewing current scholarship

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills)

(S4) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S5) Information skills - Critical reading

(S6) Information skills - Information accessing:[Locating relevant information] [Identifying and evaluating information sources]

(S7) Research skills - All Information skills

(S8) Research skills - Awareness of /commitment to academic integrity

(S9) Skills in using technology - Using common applications (work processing, databases, spreadsheets etc.)

(S10) Skills in using technology - Information accessing

Dissertation Project (ENGL603)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The aim of this module is for students to: Set out the main lines of a research enquiry, its divisions and possible resources.  Undertake independent research to identify and evaluate key reading and critical contexts for the proposed topic. The object at this stage is not to try to 'solve' or 'conclude' or 'cover' the proposed topic: a much more through going examination of the topic will be proper to the dissertation itself.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of this module, students will be able to: Demonstrate critical thinking and research skills in formulating an appropriate research question.

(LO2) Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of their subject area through critical evaluation of current scholarship.

(LO3) Develop strategies to explain and defend their proposed project through oral presentation.

(LO4) Demonstrate the ability to communicate in written form the feasibility of their proposed project for Dissertation.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills

(S4) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice

(S5) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Communicating for audience

(S6) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S7) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Influencing skills – argumentation

(S8) Information skills - Critical reading

(S9) Information skills - Evaluation

(S10) Skills in using technology - Using common applications (work processing, databases, spreadsheets etc.)

Dissertation (literature) (ENGL602)
LevelM
Credit level60
SemesterSummer (June-September)
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The aim of the dissertation will be to produce a coherent argument on an appropriate topic, supported by appropriate evidence and presented with proper documentation, including a bibliography.

The dissertation will be the result of systematic study and should show some awareness of the existing state of scholarly/critical knowledge and opinion in the field.

The student will build on skills developed in the Research Skills module and on the lessons of the preliminary research or feasibility study undertaken for the Dissertation Project module (ENGL603).

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of the module students should be able to apply appropriate writing and presentation skills over a sustained piece of work.

(LO2) Over the course of the module students should acquire knowledge of current state of research appropriate to their chosen project and the ability to work independently at a level appropriate to postgraduate study.

(LO3) By the end of the module students should have demonstrated an ability to investigate their chosen topic in some depth, drawing as appropriate on relevant published research and criticism, and constructing an original argument to arrive at explicitly justified interpretations and conclusions.

(S1) Personal attributes and qualities - Initiative

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

(S4) Research skills - All Information skills

(S5) Improving own learning/performance - Personal action planning

Genre Definitions (ENGL739)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the critical debates within and about the field of Science Fiction. Over the module, Science Fiction texts and cinematic adaptations will be compared to analyse the potentialities and limitations of each medium, alongside an exploration of a broad gamut of its sub-genres, side-genres, and modes, from scientific romance to the New Weird. The module compares “mainstream” Science Fiction texts (including short stories) with selected texts which might be said to explore comparable imaginative territory, or to be conducting similar experiments with language, narrative, and the mythologies of scientific progress and decline. In so doing, this module attempts to address a most basic question as directly as possible: what does Science Fiction do that other kinds of fiction doesn’t, or can’t?

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate a systematic understanding of the ways in which science fiction has been defined, historically and conceptually.

(LO2) Analyse and evaluate the ways in which texts can connect with each other to comprise a body of knowledge and field of study.

(LO3) Demonstrate advanced skills in textual analysis of a range of science fiction works with detailed attention to questions of genre, form, content, and narrative structure.

(LO4) Critically engage with academic research and/or theoretical discourses, and relate these to specific science fiction texts.

(LO5) Present their knowledge in a format appropriate to advanced academic study, and suitable for different audiences.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual)

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual)

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual)

(S5) Information skills - Critical reading

(S6) Research skills

(S7) Skills in using technology

(S8) Research skills

Fictions of Technology (ENGL744)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module examines the role that technology has played in literature, and how literature engages with discourses of technology. Reading texts from the long-eighteenth century through to the present day—and considering Victorian representations of technology, mechanisation and industrialisation, the optimism of Golden Age SF, cyberpunk and internet culture, and techno-thrillers—we will explore: the social hopes and fears that representations of new technologies encode; what literature reveals about the relationship between humanity and technology (as tool, opportunity, threat, and so on); the extent to which technology is conceived of as a solution, as a problem, or as both simultaneously, in relation to particular cultural concerns; the ways in which technologies and representations of technologies can be understood in relation to issues such as race, gender, disability, sexuality, nationality, wealth, and power; the “fictions” that we tell ourselves about technology, and about its impact on society .

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the ways in which a given technology has been situated in relation to social conventions and expectations.

(LO2) Demonstrate advanced skills in textual analysis of a range of texts with detailed attention to the ways in which technology is represented.

(LO3) Analyse, evaluate, and contextualise the ways in which technologies and representations of technology reflect—and may reinforce—established social hierarchies.

(LO4) Critically engage with academic research and/or theoretical discourses about technology, and relate these to specific texts.

(LO5) Present their knowledge in a format appropriate to advanced academic study, and suitable for different audiences.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc referencing skills).

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis.

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral.

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills.

(S5) Information skills - Critical reading.

(S6) Research skills - All Information skills.

(S7) Skills in using technology - Using common applications (word processing, databases, spreadsheets etc.).

(S8) Research skills - Awareness of /commitment to academic integrity.

Optional modules

Using the Science Fiction Archive (ENGL730)
LevelM
Credit level5
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The module will introduce students to the concept of a literary archive and the importance of context and evidence in presenting an argument about a literary text. It will enable students to develop an understanding of science fiction as a literature which develops and changes over time. It will offer practical experience of research methods and strategies.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will have been introduced to a major research collection and will have developed a sense of its contents and value to its field.

(LO2) Students will have a critical understanding of science fiction as a mode that enables readers and writers to reflect upon their contemporary aspirations and anxieties.

(LO3) Students will have had practical experience inreflecting upon and discussing the value of archival materials such as manuscripts, letters, and ephemeral material.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - written

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills - visual

(S4) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S5) Working in groups and teams - Listening skills

(S6) Research skills - All Information skills

Science Fiction and the Contemporary (ENGL731)
LevelM
Credit level10
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module aims to introduce students to the field of science fiction writing, and some of its dominant themes and tropes. Enable students to consider how imaginative and speculative writing responds to its time and place of production. Demonstrate the ways in which science fiction texts articulate issues of “the contemporary”.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of this module, students will be able to demonstrate advanced skills in textual analysis of a range of science fiction works with detailed attention to questions of genre, form and narrative structure

(LO2) Analyse with a sophisticated conceptual grasp how science fiction texts engage with and articulate ideas of time, and in particular, “the contemporary”

(LO3) Demonstrate a systematic understanding of ways in which science fiction texts are historically and culturally situated, reflecting their time and/or place of production

(LO4) Critically engage with academic research and/or theoretical discourses, and relate these to specific science fiction texts

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills)

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills

(S5) Information skills - Critical reading

(S6) Research skills - All Information skills

(S7) Skills in using technology - Using common applications (work processing, databases, spreadsheets etc.)

(S8) Research skills - Awareness of /commitment to academic integrity

Bodies in Space (ENGL742)
Level1
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module enables students to re-conceptualise a number of established tropes of SF writing within a broader contextual and theoretical framework. Using theories and theorists of the body, of environments, and of systems, the sf texts under consideration will be interrogated for the politics they adopt, reject, or appropriate, as well as the ways in which they position the body historically, socially, and culturally.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of the module, students will be able to analyse the ways in which science fiction, and its associated tropes, can be situated within relevant historical, theoretical, and cultural contexts.

(LO1) By the end of the module, students will be able to analyse the ways in which science fiction, and its associated tropes, can be situated within relevant historical, theoretical, and cultural contexts.

(LO2) Reflect critically on the ways in which science fiction utilises notions such as ‘the body’ and ‘space’ to reflect social concerns and positions.

(LO2) Reflect critically on the ways in which science fiction utilises notions such as ‘the body’ and ‘space’ to reflect social concerns and positions.

(LO3) Demonstrate a nuanced understanding in which texts can be oriented in relation to their conceptions of ‘the body’ and the frameworks in which it is placed.

(LO3) Demonstrate a nuanced understanding in which texts can be oriented in relation to their conceptions of ‘the body’ and the frameworks in which it is placed.

(LO4) Engage rigorously with relevant critical debates.

(LO4) Engage rigorously with relevant critical debates.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual).

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual).

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving.

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving.

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual).

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual).

(S4) Information skills.

(S4) Information skills.

(S5) Research skills.

(S5) Research skills.

(S6) Skills in using technology.

(S6) Skills in using technology.

(S7) Research skills.

(S7) Research skills.

Literature and Science II: Science and Imagination (ENGL710)
LevelM
Credit level10
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The module aims to: Enhance  students' understanding of the relationship between literature and science in the Renaissance and Eighteenth Century, through the works of authors such as Spenser, Bacon, Milton, Boyle, Cavendish, Newton, Swift, Thomson and Barbauld. It will pay particular attention to how emerging ways of knowing and seeing influenced accounts of cosmology and creation, discovery and imagination, politics and poetics. Enhance students' understanding of literary history, and also of some related aspects of cultural and social history, over the course of both the Renaissance and eighteenth-century periods. Advance   students'  critical awareness of the problems and insights raised by an interdisciplinary approach to the study of literature in the contexts both of the Renaissance and of the eighteenth century.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) On completion of the module, students will have:The ability to demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of Renaissance and eighteenth-century literary works concerned with science and the examination of 'Nature', by key authors from both periods.

(LO2) The ability to assess and discuss the various ways in which literary texts of the period engaged with ideas prevalent in ‘scientific’ discourses, and how writers were inspired by and/or critiqued different accounts of nature.

(LO3) The ability to demonstrate an informed critical engagement with some of the relevant literary, cultural and historical contexts of the works examined.

(LO4) The ability to put into practice advanced skills in textual analysis, critical reading, and writing.

(LO5) The ability to research, read, and think both independently and sensitively about the works studied at a more specialised level.

(LO6) The ability to evaluate and communicate effectively both their own and others’ ideas.

(LO7) The ability to read and engage critically with literary and, where relevant, historical and cultural sources for both the Renaissance and eighteenth-century periods.

(LO8) An enhanced understanding of literary history and of some related aspects of cultural and social history over the course of the Renaissance and eighteenth-century periods.

(LO9) The ability to evaluate critically advanced scholarship and research of the Renaissance and eighteenth-century periods.

(S1) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis.

(S2) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral.

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills.

(S4) Information skills - Critical reading.

(S5) Research skills - All Information skills.

(S6) Skills in using technology - Using common applications (work processing, databases, spreadsheets etc.).

(S7) Research skills - Awareness of /commitment to academic integrity.

Literature and Science I: Science On Stage (ENGL720)
LevelM
Credit level5
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The module aims to: Enhance students' understanding of the relationship between science and the stage in the Renaissance and Eighteenth Century, through the works of authors such as Ben Jonson, Thomas Shadwell, and John Gay. Advance students' critical understanding of literary history, and also of some related aspects of cultural and social history, over the course of both the Renaissance and eighteenth-century periods. Develop students' critical awareness of the problems and insights raised by an interdisciplinary approach to the study of literature in the contexts both of the Renaissance and of the Eighteenth century.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) On completion of the module, students will have:The ability to demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of Renaissance and Eighteenth-century dramatic works concerned with science, by key authors from both periods.

(LO2) The ability to assess and discuss the various ways in which dramatic texts of the period engaged with ideas prevalent in ‘scientific’ discourses, and how writers were inspired by and/or critiqued different accounts of nature.

(LO3) The ability to demonstrate an informed critical engagement with some of the relevant literary, cultural and historical contexts of the works examined.

(LO4) The ability to put into practice advanced skills in textual analysis, critical reading, and writing .

(LO5) The ability to research, read, and think both independently and sensitively about the works studied at a more specialised level.

(LO6) The ability to evaluate and communicate effectively both their own and others’ ideas .

(LO7) An enhanced ability to read and engage critically with literary and, where relevant, historical and cultural sources for both the Renaissance and Eighteenth-century periods.

(LO8) An enhanced understanding of literary history and of some related aspects of cultural and social history over the course of the Renaissance and Eighteenth-century periods.

(LO9) An ability to evaluate critically advanced scholarship and research of the Renaissance and Eighteenth-century periods.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc. referencing skills).

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis.

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral.

(S4) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills.

(S5) Information skills - Critical reading.

(S6) Research skills - All information skills.

(S7) Skills in using technology - Using common applications (work processing, databases, spreadsheets etc.).

(S8) Research skills - Awareness of /commitment to academic integrity.

Romantic VIsions, Science Fictions (ENGL740)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

Th e aims of this module are several: to encourage students to consider the science fiction tradition through a wider-than-usual literary-historical lens; to encourage students to compare the ideas, forms and contexts of Romantic writing and more recent fiction; to explore issues relating to intertextuality in speculative writing; to interrogate the value as well as the limitations of ‘Romantic’ and ‘science fiction’ as distinct categories.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Analyse and compare texts belonging to different periods in a contextually-informed manner.

(LO2) Reflect critically on the value of period distinctions and generic categories.

(LO3) Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the legacy of Romantic writing and the literary inheritance of science fiction.

(LO4) Engage rigorously with relevant critical debates.

(S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Academic writing (inc referencing skills)

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Listening skills

(S4) Information skills - Critical reading

(S5) Research skills - All Information skills

(S6) Skills in using technology - Using common applications (word processing, databases, spreadsheets etc.)

(S7) Research skills - Awareness of /commitment to academic integrity