This MA explores not just 19th-century Gothic cultures but, more generally, the fears, wonders, and dark imagination of the Victorian era. Through a rich and fascinating range of historical, literary and folkloric texts, themes and approaches, you'll probe the darker side of the Victorian age.
The course gives you access to a wealth of online resources and digitised archival material relating to Victorian culture and draws on local literary and cultural resources, such as the Conan Doyle Collection (Lancelyn Green Bequest) in Portsmouth’s Central Library. You'll have the freedom and scope to pursue your own areas of interest and research via an individual research project and 15,000-word dissertation.
What you’ll experience
- Be taught by experts from both the history and English departments at the University of Portsmouth
- Develop your research skills, critical thinking and literary analysis
- Work through 2 core content modules, focussed on the cultural tensions between Victorian anxieties (crime, poverty, slums, and degeneration) and Victorian enchantment (stage magic, spiritualism and the occult, the development of Victorian celebrity culture, the struggle of intellect to break from folkloric magic and supernatural superstition in a ‘modern’ age)
- Use our Library’s wealth of online archival material including London Low Life, Victorian Popular Culture, The Old Bailey Online, The Charles Booth Archive, and the British Library Newspaper Archive
- Have opportunities to undertake research in the Charles Dickens Collection and Arthur Conan Doyle Collection (Lancelyn Green Bequest), both housed in the Portsmouth Central Library, Portsmouth
- Get to study any topic of interest within the broad scope of the Victorian Gothic and the history of Victorian culture
- Be able to base your studies around more recent Neo-Victorian re-imaginings of the nineteenth century in their research projects, exploring areas such as crime or supernatural fictions, or steampunk culture
- Get to take optional field trips
Work experience and career planning
As well as giving you greater expertise in the field of Victorian Gothic literature, this course also enhances your knowledge and skill in other areas. During this course, you'll:
- develop the skillset required to work in the heritage industry, the arts and media
- develop a strong grounding for pursuing more advanced levels of academic study, including PhDs and careers in academia
- have the opportunity to gain experience in event organisation, voluntary work, management and promotion, such as for local cultural events, for example, Portsmouth DarkFest
- improve your broader academic skills, such as the ability to analyse, assess, synthesise and evaluate
- develop your archival and research skills, as well as data analysis and interpretation abilities
- improve your oral and written communication, time and workload management, and other transferable skills
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.
We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your CV.
We'll also be available to help, advise and support you for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.
Teaching and programme assessment
Teaching on this course is delivered entirely through distance learning, and includes:
- interactive online resources
- digitised primary sources
- links to reading lists and ebooks
- online training seminars
- video clips from renowned experts
We'll repeat some online seminars so you can choose the best time to attend.
You'll also receive high-quality course materials via Moodle, our online learning environment. The content modules involve a 3-week rotation exploring key thematic questions:
- week 1 – context
- week 2 – historical sources and interpretations
- week 3 – literary sources and analysis
You'll get to chat with fellow students, discuss and present your work and keep in touch with tutors. You'll get plenty of support throughout your studies, including help on writing and structuring essays, and how to undertake research.
You'll need access to a computer and a Web connection. You may be able to access some of the resources through a tablet or smartphone, with limited functionality. You don't need to be especially computer literate, although typing skills are useful.
You'll be assessed through:
- Historiographical and documentary essays. A reflective response to a question, drawing upon different sources to analyse and evaluate a specific question, with the aim of presenting a clear and well-argued viewpoint.
- Source review/documentary commentary. A detailed analysis and assessment of a particular piece of historical evidence or a literary source.
- Presentation or vlog. A chance to demonstrate and enhance your presentation skills, and the ability to convey ideas, reflections and arguments through oral and visual form, rather than written form.
- Extended individual research project and dissertation. A sustained piece of individual research into a Victorian topic of your own choosing. Working under the guidance of a supervisor, and combining analysis of both primary source evidence and secondary literature, the emphasis is on producing an original piece of research that attempts to advance a fresh interpretation or perspective. This also includes a project plan or proposal, submitted early in the modules to enable you to gain formative feedback on your proposed projects.
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
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- Victorian Anxieties
- Theory, Skills and Approaches (critical skills and archives module)
- Victorian Enchantments
- Independent Project
Check out the full curriculumVisit official programme website
- 12 months
- 24 months
Start dates & application deadlines
- StartingApplication deadline not specified.
- StartingApplication deadline not specified.
DisciplinesHistory Art History Literature View 18 other Masters in Art History in United Kingdom
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We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.
We are not aware of any English requirements for this programme.
A minimum of a second-class honours degree or equivalent, in History, English, or a relevant subject, or a master's degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered.English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
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Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.
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Apply and win up to €10000 to cover your tuition fees.