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MA Popular Culture

Combine the study of popular culture, literature, film and history on a course with a distinct and interdisciplinary curriculum that enables you to work across subject boundaries.

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    Course Length: 1 Year Full-Time, 2 Years Part-Time
    Start Dates: September 2020
    Subjects: English
    Location: Edge Hill University

    Please note, this programme is closed to further applications for part-time study for September 2020 entry. The course remains open to applications for full-time study.

    The MA in Popular Culture is a distinct, interdisciplinary MA programme that covers film, literature and cultural history. It will appeal if you are interested in popular culture in its critical and historical contexts and provides excellent preparation should you wish to pursue a research-based higher degree, such as a PhD, in the future.

    Delivered by an enthusiastic team of cross-disciplinary specialists in popular culture research, the programme will provide you with the opportunity to undertake a comparative study of literature, history and film, working across subject boundaries. You will also develop the practical skills necessary to undertake work across subject boundaries and receive training in transferable research skills and methodologies.

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    In Depth

    What will I study?

    The programme consists of two compulsory modules (20 credits each), four optional modules (20 credits each) and a compulsory dissertation (60 credits).

    If you are interested in literature, the available options cover contemporary texts, including the genre fiction, journalism and print culture, and gender studies. Film-related modules focus on genre, identity and representation.

    How will I study?

    You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and guided independent learning. Taught sessions take place between 6pm-9pm on weekday evenings. If you are studying full-time you will attend two evenings per week and if you are studying part-time you will attend one evening per week.

    How will I be assessed?

    You will be assessed through a combination of assignments which, depending on the modules you choose, may include essays, critical reviews, critical diaries, presentations, online discussions and research-based projects, as well as a 15,000-word dissertation.

    Who will be teaching me?

    You will be taught by a team of specialist tutors who are active researchers and committed teachers with interests in popular culture, literature, film, genre studies, modern history, gender studies, and history.

    A Great Study Environment

    A student reads a book while sat at a table in the Hub.The Department of English, History and Creative Writing is based in the Main Building at the centre of the campus, near the £26m Catalyst building which includes the University library.

    A prime example of 1930s architecture, the Main Building has undergone extensive refurbishment to combine a traditional setting with modern facilities, including the £15m Student Hub.

    The building includes lecture theatres, seminar and tutorial rooms, which are ideal for group discussions and one-to-one tuition, as well as IT resources and social learning spaces.


    Expand All

    HUM4000Critical Approaches to Postgraduate Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (20 credits)

    Critical Approaches to Postgraduate Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences introduces you to shared concepts and themes in studying language, literature, history, film and culture. The module will place these themes and concepts in a historical context, introduce you to relevant issues concerning them, and enable you to understand the variety of approaches and perspectives which could be employed. You will be encouraged to recognise and explore the social relevance of these approaches and perspectives. The module will also introduce you to the wider significance of taught postgraduate study in the humanities and social sciences through personal development planning.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4002Research Philosophies and Methodologies (20 credits)

    Research Philosophies and Methodologies introduces you to the importance of research for advanced study. The module examines the different ways in which the concept of research can be understood in relation to the humanities and social sciences; the key concepts, themes and terms employed in literary, language, historical and cultural research; and what is meant by, and involved in, undertaking interdisciplinary research. You will be directed to key resources such as libraries, archives and online databases. The module is underpinned by the aim of providing guidance in organising, structuring and managing research as well as carefully honing analytical skills which enable assessment of the relevance and value of primary materials.

    Assessment: Coursework: 70%, Practical(s): 30%.

    HUM4300Dissertation (60 credits)

    Dissertation provides you with the opportunity to undertake in-depth and extended study within a chosen specific area of Popular Culture. Through consultation with an appropriate supervisor (or team of supervisors), the module will enable you to develop a detailed and sustained line of analysis that is personal to your research interests. Developing both oral and written skills, the module will foster guided independent inquiry that will culminate in a dissertation project.

    Assessment: Coursework: 85%, Practical(s): 15%.

    You will select four of the following modules. Please note, approximately half of the pool of elective modules is likely to be available for selection in a typical academic year.

    The modules provisionally being offered for the following academic year are typically determined in the Spring prior to a September intake. If you wish to enquire whether particular modules will be available in a specific academic year, please contact the programme leader.

    HUM4019Re-making the Nation: Propaganda, Culture and Identity in the Second World War (20 credits)

    Re-making the Nation: Propaganda, Culture and Identity in the Second World War explores the idea that British identity was re-modelled as a consequence of the Second World War. The module will examine the idea that the need to mobilise the entire population for the war effort, and the incorporation of a wide range of forms of cultural production into the propaganda effort, had the effect of drastically altering notions of Britishness. In this respect, the war might be seen as a transition between the more visibly hierarchical and economically laissez-faire 1930s, and the Welfare State of the post-war world.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4030Fictions of Class 1910-1965 (20 credits)

    Fictions of Class 1910-1965 studies British prose fiction written and/or published between the pre-first world war Edwardian age and the ‘swinging sixties’. The major focus of the module is upon the construction of class identities in these fictions, with particular attention to working-class identities and their relationship to middle and upper-class identities. You will also study the profound transformations in the representations of working-class cultures and identities in print/literary culture between the start and end of the period in history being studied.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4032Writing Contemporary Women (20 credits)

    Writing Contemporary Women focuses predominantly on female-authored literary texts drawn from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The module explores a variety of genres including poetry, drama and fictional and non-fictional prose. It also theorises contemporary British women’s writing in terms of the work of feminist critical and cultural theorists, in particular those working from 1960 onwards.  Contemporary women’s writing is thereby sited in the context of current critical and cultural feminist debate.

    Assessment: Coursework: 40%, Practical(s): 60%.

    HUM4033Rhythm and Colour: Literature, Jazz and Art (20 credits)

    Rhythm and Colour: Literature, Jazz and Art studies a range of American poetry and prose from the post-World War II period as informed by their relationship to jazz music and emerging art forms. The module will study influences of jazz music on the work of poets such as the Beats, of art practice upon writers such as Frank O’Hara, and will feature artists such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. No prior knowledge of music or art is required. The module will focus upon the turn in American culture to abstraction, expression and freer literary forms.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4034Love Actually? Love, Literature and Popular Culture (20 credits)

    Love Actually? Love, Literature and Popular Culture explores representations of romantic and/ or sexual love in texts written, or set, in Anglo-American culture from 1800 to now. The module synthesises high and low-brow primary sources, reading them in the context of key critical and cultural theorisations of love, bringing together narratives of desire in three key contexts: falling in love, staying in love, and love after love.

    Assessment: Coursework: 40%, Practical(s): 60%.

    HUM4036The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle in Literature and Art (20 credits)

    The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle in Literature and Art centres on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Formed in the mid-nineteenth century, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were arguably the most controversial group of painters to emerge in Victorian Britain. They worked within an influential social and cultural network that included Ruskin, Tennyson and Swinburne. This module examines the relationship between the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, their work and its reception. You will consider the literary circles that both influenced and were influenced by them. You will also explore a range of approaches to visual and literary production in the nineteenth century as well as its legacy today.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4038Text Analysis in the Digital Humanities (20 credits)

    Text Analysis in the Digital Humanities draws on recent developments in the digital humanities to provide you with tools to analyse text and discourse in linguistic, literary, historical and political contexts. The module discusses the theoretical principles, concepts and constructs informing corpus approaches, critically examining the practical issues of constructing and using language corpora in the analysis of text and discourse, You will receive training in using corpus tools, metrics and techniques.

    Assessment: Coursework: 70%, Practical(s): 30%.

    HUM4039Colonial to Global: Narratives of Imperialism (20 credits)

    Colonial to Global: Narratives of Imperialism examines the notion of old and new imperialisms by exploring fictional narratives from the colonial era, the postcolonial period and the contemporary period of globalisation. While such narratives are widely produced and disseminated imaginatively through literature and film, they also interact with and, indeed, are often reinforced by, archival material and the theoretical framings of imperial gestures. The module assesses a range of canonical and contemporary literary texts, supported by appropriate film screenings, in terms of both aesthetic value and of cultural and political dialogue.

    Assessment: Coursework: 70%, Practical(s): 30%.

    HUM4040Real Men, New Men and Lover Men: Masculinities in Twentieth-Century Narratives (20 credits)

    Real Men, New Men and Lover Men: Masculinities in Twentieth-Century Narratives examines a range of twentieth-century texts (literature, film, TV and theatre) that explore representations of masculinity and male identity in relationship to current gender theory. In order to provide you with an understanding of contemporary male subjectivity, the module will focus on a variety of manifestations of masculinity, such as working-class masculinities, queer masculinities, the new man or the new lad. The module will trace these variable and diverse forms of masculinity within their historical and cultural contexts.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4041Transgressive Women (20 credits)

    Transgressive Women explores mediated representations of transgressive women, figures both historical and fictional who have flouted gender conventions, broken patriarchal rules and been subject to both vitriol and fear. It is a predominantly cultural study, drawing upon established concepts and contemporary research across the Humanities. Images, narratives and myths of dangerous and transgressive women are analysed and interrogated for their functions in patriarchy and in feminism, both as spectacular objects and active subjects.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4042Revenge in Theory and Practice (20 credits)

    Revenge in Theory and Practice reflects on how our culture is saturated by stories of revenge, acts of violent retaliation, and those who commit them. This module gives you an opportunity to study major revenge texts in their historical contexts and to develop theoretical and ideological perspectives for their interpretation. Our critical discussions will trace a line of uneven development from ancient, through modern, to postmodern literature and culture, via key moments of disruption in the Renaissance and Romantic periods. We will include contemporary popular genres as well as canonical literature. The assessment strategy allows you to specialise in any relevant text(s), themes, or sub-genres of your choice.

    Assessment: Coursework: 70%, Practical(s): 30%.

    HUM4043Neo-Victorian Fiction (20 credits)

    Neo-Victorian Fiction focuses on new Victorian, or neo-Victorian, fiction. A term coined by Dana Shiller in 1997, neo-Victorianism re-visions and re-imagines the Victorian past (1837-1901) through the matrix of contemporary British culture. The module uncovers the ways in which neo-Victorian writing, in the hands of celebrated and comparatively unknown British exponents alike, employs the strategies of intertextuality, past/present fusion and ‘writing back’ to offer concurrent cultural comment on the past and the present.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4045Existentialism and French Literature, 1930-1960 (20 credits)

    Existentialism and French Literature, 1930-1960 offers you an opportunity to study a range of literary texts which exemplify and define the debates of the high watermark of French Existentialism from circa 1930-1960. The module will concentrate in particular on the study of the creative works – both fiction and drama – of the three most well-known and widely studied of the French existentialists, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus. You will examine how and with what degree of success they fictionalise/dramatise key existentialist concepts, themes and questions.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4046Literature and Laughter (20 credits)

    Literature and Laughter charts the development of comic literature in the long nineteenth century. Not often associated with laughter or humour, the period was in fact rich in examples of comic poetry, drama, prose and print culture. The module explores a range of comic literature and periodical material in the context of critical considerations related to humour, laughter and comic theory. It will therefore provide you with opportunities to study humour in its cultural, historical and social contexts and to theorise its literary manifestations.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4047Cultures of Memory (20 credits)

    Cultures of Memory explores the differing constructions of first-hand memory, second-generation postmemory, and cultural or collective memory in twentieth- and twenty-first-century narratives dealing with personal and/or collective trauma. The module reads memoirs, second-generation accounts, literary and artistic representations and historical interpretations within a theoretical framework informed by recent developments in memory theory. The module explores how traumatic experiences of loss, grief, atrocity and destruction are conveyed through different types and genres of representation, and how the act of remembering impacts on the identities of individuals, families and societies.

    Assessment: Coursework: 50%, Practical(s): 50%.

    HUM4048Print and the People, 1850-1900 (20 credits)

    Print and the People, 1850-1900 examines the explosion of popular periodicals aimed at an increasingly fragmented mass reading public in the second half of the nineteenth century. The module enables you to study periodicals and print culture in depth, making full use of digital resources. You will be equipped with skills and methodologies required in researching print culture through digital archives.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    HUM4049Gothic Spaces (20 credits)

    Gothic Spaces examines how some of the most significant recent developments in literary studies have been stimulated by considerations of space, place, geography and landscape. Drawing upon this ‘spatial turn’, this module explores the construction of different kinds of textual ‘worlds’ in gothic fiction. The module is designed to enable you to gain an advanced understanding of spatial theory and apply it to the study of literary texts. You will also gain a critical understanding of genre studies.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    MDM4006Transnational Media (20 credits)

    Transnational Media examines some of the implications of the production and consumption of media and investigate how media are used by, and reflect, the increasing transnational experiences of audiences. It approaches the topic of globalisation from two distinct but complementary perspectives: one focused on the workings and assimilation processes of the cultural industries and one interested in issues of identities and influenced by cultural studies.

    Assessment: Coursework: 70%, Practical(s): 30%.

    MDM4007European Cinema (20 credits)

    European Cinema examines the history of European cinema, including British cinema, and its role within World cinema as a whole, especially its relationship to American commercial cinema. The module will focus on the significant movements and new waves that have contributed to the evolution of European cinema from the early twentieth century, as well as the discourses and debates that have continued to shape it. Additionally, you will explore the contemporary film production landscape and the contemporary and future health and vitality of cinema on the continent.

    Assessment: Coursework: 75%, Practical(s): 25%.

    MDM4019Film and Media Theory and Analysis (20 credits)

    Film and Media Theory and Analysis critically examines key film and media theories and debates and modes of analysis that have informed the fields. Your contextual awareness will be deepened as you develop a critical repertoire of specialised theory and advanced analytical skills required at Master’s level. The module will allow you to further develop a range of research approaches and tools for conducting research activity at this level. Importantly, the inherent interconnection between theory, approaches and methodologies will also be highlighted.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    MDM4020Media and Creative Industries (20 credits)

    Media and Creative Industries will describe and analyse the changing economic forces which direct and constrain the choices of managers in various sub sectors of the media and creative industries. The module will develop your knowledge and understanding of economic and policy concepts and issues in the context of the media and creative industries. You will gain an understanding of contemporary media contexts – industrial, political, scholarly and practical – and develop the related autonomous research skills and professional practices. The module will examine television, film, music, print and online digital industries.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    MDM4023Reading New Asian Cinemas (20 credits)

    Reading New Asian Cinemas examines and interrogates the plethora of successive new wave cinemas in Asian countries throughout the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and beyond. It will explore the myriad ways that new cinemas in Japan, India, Mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and others have variously engaged with, elucidated or challenged the national and cinematic context in which they were produced. The module will also examine how these cinemas have entered into a discursive dialogue with other cinemas and have represented and/or problematised the perceived discrepancy between popular and art cinema.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    MDM4024Screen Genres (20 credits)

    Screen Genres critically interrogates the history, context and conventions of a specific genre on film and/or television. The genre will be studied in relation to appropriate socio-historical, ideological, national and industrial contexts. In addition, the module will employ appropriate genre theory alongside a range of theoretical and historical perspectives to establish an understanding of the evolution of a particular genre and how it can be approached critically.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    MDM4025Cinema, History and National Identity (20 credits)

    Cinema, History and National Identity explores the construction and affirmation of national identity as found in filmic representations of a nation’s history. A case study of a specific historical period or crisis, such as a time of war, will draw upon a genre-based methodology to discover the tension that exists between cinema conventions and the requirements of a national mythology. Thus, the module aims to investigate and evaluate cinema’s myths of ancestry and the mediation of history through film. It will also introduce you to the practical skills of concentrated research in the location and interrogation of research sources.

    Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

    MDM4026Media, Culture and Identities (20 credits)

    Media, Culture and Identities examines the representation of sexuality on screen, including film and television. The focus of the module includes issues of gender (masculinity and femininity), heterosexual romance, gay and lesbian identity, sexuality and desire. Discussion of these subjects will be situated within the wider social, cultural and historical contexts. The module engages with contemporary discourse and debates concerning ideology, the performativity of sexuality and identity, and the social implications of representation.

    Assessment: Coursework: 70%, Practical(s): 30%.

    HUM4051Everything is Awesome! Enlightenment to Post-Romantic Children's Cultures (20 credits)

    Everything is Awesome! Enlightenment to Post-Romantic Children’s Cultures finds it context in how children’s literature criticism, histories of childhood and sociological work on constructions of childhood have all boomed in recent years. This has turned neglected areas of study – children, childhood, and literary and historical representations of the child – into foundational foci of research, impacting on socioeconomic, cultural and pedagogical understandings of children and childhood. This module will investigate ways of representing children and childhood from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day, exploring developments in the conceptualisation of childhood and asking whether children can be said to have a culture.

    Assessment: Coursework: 70%, Practical(s): 30%.

    Optional modules provide an element of choice within the programme curriculum. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by timetabling requirements.


    You can expect to receive your timetable at enrolment. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day or evening of the week.


    Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

    Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of accrediting bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.

    Entry Criteria

    Entry Requirements

    You should have a degree equivalent to UK first-class or second-class honours (2:2 or above) in a relevant subject.

    An interview forms part of the selection process.

    English Language Requirements

    International students require IELTS 6.5, with a score no lower than 6.0 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification.

    If your current level of English is half a band lower, either overall or in one or two elements, you may want to consider our Pre-Sessional English course.

    Recognition of Prior Learning

    Edge Hill University recognises learning gained elsewhere, whether through academic credit and qualifications acquired from other relevant courses of study or through recognition of an individual’s professional and employment experience (also referred to as ‘experiential learning’). This may include credit or learning undertaken at another university.

    Previous learning that is recognised in this way may be used towards meeting the entry requirements for a programme and/or for exemption from part of a programme. It is your responsibility to make a claim for recognition of prior learning. For guidance, please consult the University’s academic regulations (sections C7 and F3.1) or contact the faculty in which you are interested in studying.

    Career Prospects

    What are my career prospects?

    Graduates in the humanities with a higher degree find employment in a wide variety of careers such as teaching, arts organisation and management, the heritage industry, publishing, advertising, journalism, libraries and learning centres or management/administration.

    Alternatively, upon successful completion of the programme, you may wish to apply to progress onto a research degree such as an MPhil or PhD.


    Tuition Fees

    Tuition fees for full-time study on this MA are £5,400 for UK and EU students and £13,250 for international students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2020/21.

    Tuition fees for part-time study on this MA are £30 per credit for UK and EU students enrolling on the programme in academic year 2020/21, i.e. £600 per 20 credit module.

    180 credits are required to complete a Masters degree.

    The University may administer a small inflationary rise in part-time postgraduate tuition fees in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

    Financial Support

    For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK and EU students joining postgraduate courses at Edge Hill University in academic year 2020/21, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2020/21 guide at www.edgehill.ac.uk/postgradfinance2020.

    Financial support information for international students can be found at www.edgehill.ac.uk/international/fees.


    How to Apply

    There is an online application process for this programme.

    Please choose the application form for your preferred intake date and mode of study.

    Visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/applydirect for more information about the application process.

    Visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/applydirect to access the relevant online application form and to find out more about the application process.

    Further information for international students about how to apply is available at www.edgehill.ac.uk/applyinternational.

    Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at www.edgehill.ac.uk/studentterms.

    Visit Us

    If you are considering applying to study at Edge Hill University, the best way to gain an insight into student life is to discover our stunning campus for yourself by attending an open day. You can view dates and book your place at www.edgehill.ac.uk/opendays.

    Alternatively, if you are unable to attend an open day, you can find out more about our full range of events for prospective students, including campus tours and virtual activities, at www.edgehill.ac.uk/visitus.

    Request a Prospectus

    If you would like to explore our full range of taught Masters degrees, MBA awards and our Masters by Research (MRes) degree before you apply, you can order a postgraduate prospectus at www.edgehill.ac.uk/postgradprospectus.

    Get in Touch

    If you have any questions about this programme or what it’s like to study at Edge Hill University, please contact:

    If you would like to talk to the programme leader about the course in more detail, please contact:

    International students should visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/international or email international@edgehill.ac.uk with any queries about overseas study.

    Course Changes

    Expand All This page outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years.

    Covid-19 - Popular Culture Essential Information

    Teaching and Learning at Edge Hill University in 2020

    In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, answers your questions and explains how teaching will work when you join us at Edge Hill University in September.

    Campus Facilities at Edge Hill University in 2020

    In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, explains how we’re preparing the campus for your arrival in September and the facilities that will be available.