English Literature: 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 and Practice (ENGL700)
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 study of English Literature.

To equip students with the necessary presentational skills for advanced study in English Literature, including bibliographic and referencing conventions.

To equip students with para-academic professional skills relating to the development of materials for a public audience.

To equip students with the knowledge and confidence to reflect critically and creatively on the practices, contexts and real-world applications of literary study.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will have a comprehensive and practical understanding of techniques for accessing electronic and bibliographic sources.

(LO2) Students will have the ability to use scholarly referencing and bibliographic conventions appropriate for advanced literary scholarship.

(LO3) Students will acquire new skills fostering continued independent learning and a critical appreciation of complex issues within the broader context of the Arts and Humanities.

(S1) Students will gain a systematic knowledge and critical awareness of current debates and new insights within the field of literature and its contexts.

(S2) Students will gain an advanced critical and analytical skills in relation to diverse forms of discourse.

(S3) Students will gain advanced literacy, interpersonal and communications skills, and the ability to present sustained and persuasive written and oral arguments to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

(S4) Students will gain a systematic knowledge and critical awareness of current debates and new insights within the field of literature and its contexts.

(S5) Students will gain the ability to comprehensively understand and apply a variety of theoretical approaches to literature.

(S6) Students will have the ability to handle complex information and argument in a critical, creative and self-reflective manner.

(S7) Student will gain practical research skills to retrieve information, assemble bibliographic data, and critically evaluate, sift and organize material independently.

(S8) Students will gain the ability to use IT and other relevant tools and resources to present written and oral work to a professional, scholarly standard.

(S9) Student will have advanced skills and experience in selecting and using electronic and/or archival resources for planning and undertaking research and writing.

Dissertation Preparation Project (ENGL701)
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, and to 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 thorough-going examination of the topic will be proper to the dissertation itself. The module also aims to help students develop public speaking skills and digital skills through the creation of an audio-visual recording. In order to qualify for a degree in a named pathway (Renaissance and Eighteenth-Century, Victorian, Modern and Contemporary or Science Fiction), the subject of their assignment for this module must be on a relevant author(s).

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain the ability to read, analyse, interpret and compare with competence and independence a wide variety of literary texts

(LO2) Students will gain a comprehensive and practical understanding of techniques for accessing electronic and bibliographic sources

(LO3) Students will gain the ability to use scholarly referencing and bibliographic conventions appropriate for advanced literary scholarship

(LO4) Students will gain new skills fostering continued independent learning and a critical appreciation of complex issues within the broader context of the Arts and Humanities

(LO5) Students will gain research skills enabling critical evaluation of different research methodologies and selection of appropriate methodologies

(LO6) research skills to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively in order to generate new and independent research

(S1) Students will gain a systematic knowledge and critical awareness of current debates and new insights within the field of literature and its contexts

(S2) Students will gain an advanced critical and analytical skills in relation to diverse forms of discourse

(S3) Students will gain advanced literacy, interpersonal and communications skills, and the ability to present sustained and persuasive written and oral arguments to specialist and non-specialist audiences

(S4) Students will gain the ability to autonomously design and self-direct an extended research project

(S5) Students will gain the ability to comprehensively understand and apply a variety of theoretical approaches to literature

(S6) Students will gain the ability to handle complex information and argument in a critical, creative and self-reflective manner

(S7) Students will gain the ability to use IT and other relevant tools and resources to present written and oral work to a professional, scholarly standard

(S8) Students will gain advanced skills and experience in selecting and using electronic and/or archival resources for planning and undertaking research and writing

(S9) Students will gain organisational skills in managing time and workloads, and in meeting deadlines

Dissertation (ENGL702)
LevelM
Credit level60
SemesterWhole Session
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

Students must develop and deliver an original capstone research project: more specifically, a 14,000-15,000-word dissertation, incorporating extensive secondary research, textual analysis, use of appropriate evidence and referencing and engagement with the contexts of literature. Students work with a supervisor who is an expert in their field. As the module requires students to plan a large project months ahead, to find and select relevant material, to maintain a coherent and complex argument and to analyse large amounts of information and text, it provides an excellent grounding in many key professional skills.

Students will build on skills developed in the Research Skills and Practice module (ENGL700) and on the lessons of the preliminary research for the Dissertation Preparation Project module (ENGL701).

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain the ability to read, analyse, interpret and compare with competence and independence a wide variety of literary texts

(LO2) Students will gain a comprehensive and practical understanding of techniques for accessing electronic and bibliographic sources

(LO3) Students will gain the ability to use scholarly referencing and bibliographic conventions appropriate for advanced literary scholarship

(LO4) Students will gain new skills fostering continued independent learning and a critical appreciation of complex issues within the broader context of the Arts and Humanities

(LO5) Students will gain research skills enabling critical evaluation of different research methodologies and selection of appropriate methodologies

(LO6) Students will gain research skills to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively in order to generate new and independent research

(LO7) Students will gain the ability to work with a supervisor to identify as well as autonomously plan and implement an independent, dissertation-length research project

(S1) Students will gain a systematic knowledge and critical awareness of current debates and new insights within the field of literature and its contexts

(S2) Students will gain advanced critical and analytical skills in relation to diverse forms of discourse

(S3) Students will gain advanced literacy, interpersonal and communications skills, and the ability to present sustained and persuasive written and oral arguments to specialist and non-specialist audiences

(S4) Students will gain the ability to autonomously design and self-direct an extended research project

(S5) Students will gain the ability to comprehensively understand and apply a variety of theoretical approaches to literature

(S6) Students will gain the ability to handle complex information and argument in a critical, creative and self-reflective manner

(S7) Students will gain practical research skills to retrieve information, assemble bibliographic data, and critically evaluate, sift and organize material independently

(S8) Students will gain the ability to use IT and other relevant tools and resources to present written and oral work to a professional, scholarly standard

(S9) Students will gain advanced skills and experience in selecting and using electronic and/or archival resources for planning and undertaking research and writing

(S10) Students will gain organisational skills in managing time and workloads, and in meeting deadlines

Genre Definitions (ENGL780)
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) Students will be able to demonstrate a systematic understanding of the ways in which science fiction has been defined, historically and conceptually.

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

(LO3) 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, content, and narrative structure.

(LO4) Students will be able to critically engage with academic research and/or theoretical discourses, and relate these to specific science fiction texts.

(LO5) Students will be able to 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 (ENGL782)
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 across history—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) Students will be able to demonstrate a systematic understanding of the ways in which a given technology has been situated in relation to social conventions and expectations.

(LO2) Students will be able to demonstrate advanced skills in textual analysis of a range of texts with detailed attention to the ways in which technology is represented.

(LO3) Students will be able to analyse, evaluate, and contextualise the ways in which technologies and representations of technology reflect—and may reinforce—established social hierarchies.

(LO4) Students will be able to critically engage with academic research and/or theoretical discourses about technology, and relate these to specific texts.

(LO5) Students will be able to 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

Science Fiction And/as the Archive (ENGL781)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module provides students with key skills of archival research, using the University’s excellent resources in the area, as well as encouraging them to consider how “the archive” can manifest more conceptually through sf writing. Its assessments encourage the acquisition of skills in presenting information suitable for different audiences.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) 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/or narrative structure

(LO2) Students will be able to analyse with a sophisticated conceptual grasp how science fiction texts engage with and inflect concepts such as archive, time, and their “contemporary” moment

(LO3) Students will be able to 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) Students will be able to critically engage with academic research and/or theoretical discourses, and relate these to specific science fiction texts

(LO5) Students will be able to demonstrate practical working knowledge of a specific aspect of a major archival collection, and its relevance to the field

(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 (ENGL783)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond 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) 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) Students will be able to reflect critically on the ways in which science fiction utilises notions such as ‘the body’ and ‘space’ to reflect social concerns and positions.

(LO3) Students will be able to 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) Students will be able to engage rigorously with relevant critical debates.

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

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving.

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

(S4) Information skills.

(S5) Research skills.

(S6) Skills in using technology.

(S7) Research skills.

Literature and Science (ENGL754)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The module aims to enhance understanding of and stimulate interest in the relationship between literature and science in the Renaissance and long eighteenth century. Science is considered in its broadest definition, including medicine, technology, and pseudo-sciences such as alchemy. Students will read a wide range of texts (in dramatic, poetic, and prose forms, and including scientific or medical writings) from the early modern period, and will consider how they pay attention to emerging ways of knowing, the scientific principles of observation and experiment, and rival narratives of nature. Students will also gain a critical awareness of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of literature and the history of science.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will gain the ability to read, analyse, interpret and compare with competence and independence a wide variety of literary and historical texts related to science.

(LO2) Students will gain an advanced knowledge and systematic understanding of the scientific and ideological aspects of literary texts and how they can be situated within appropriate cultural and social contexts.

(LO3) Students will gain a critical appreciation of the ways in which texts can be situated within literary and scientific history, including issues of genre, influence, and creation and reception.

(LO4) Students will gain an advanced knowledge and critical awareness of current and new literary, critical and theoretical debates.

(LO5) Students will gain a comprehensive and practical understanding of techniques for accessing electronic and bibliographic sources.

(LO6) Students will gain the ability to use scholarly referencing and bibliographic conventions appropriate for advanced literary scholarship.

(LO7) Students will gain research skills enabling critical evaluation of different research methodologies and selection of appropriate methodologies.

(LO8) Students will gain research skills to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively in order to generate new and independent research.

(S1) Students will gain a systematic knowledge and critical awareness of current debates and new insights within the field of literature and science.

(S2) Students will gain advanced critical and analytical skills in relation to diverse forms of discourse.

(S3) Students will gain advanced literacy, interpersonal and communications skills, and the ability to present sustained and persuasive written and oral arguments.

(S4) Students will gain the ability to autonomously design and self-direct a research project that brings together historical and literary approaches.

(S5) Students will gain the ability to comprehensively understand and apply a variety of theoretical approaches to literature.

(S6) Students will gain the ability to handle complex information and argument in a critical, creative and self-reflective manner.

(S7) Students will gain practical research skills to retrieve information, assemble bibliographic data, and critically evaluate, sift and organize material independently.

(S8) Students will gain the ability to use IT and other relevant tools and resources to present written and oral work to a professional, scholarly standard.

(S9) Students will gain advanced skills and experience in selecting and using electronic and/or archival resources for planning and undertaking research and writing.

(S10) Students will gain organisational skills in managing time and workloads, and in meeting deadlines.