Explore our Critical and Cultural Theory taught Master's degree.
On the Critical and Cultural Theory MA, you will grapple with the ideas and perspectives of great critical thinkers. Warwick's English and Comparative Literary Studies Department, ranked in the top 10 for research environment in the 2021 REF, will give you the analytical tools to understand, theorise and critique the literary and cultural artefacts of the modern world.
The MA in Critical and Cultural Theory will equip you with the analytical tools and concepts to respond to, understand, theorise, and critique the literary and cultural artefacts of the modern world. In the dedicated core module, you will immerse yourself in fundamental theoretical questions through individual reading and collective discussion.
You can also choose from a wide range of modules that span a variety of critical perspectives and approaches to literary studies, and grapple with the ideas of some of the great critical thinkers. You will also write a dissertation on an (approved) topic of your choice with a specialised supervisor.
General entry requirements
65% in an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related subject.
Applicants may be required to provide a writing sample to demonstrate suitability for the course.
English language requirements
You can find out more about our English language requirementsLink opens in a new window. This course requires the following:
- Band C
- IELTS overall score of 7.5, minimum component scores of two at 6.5/7.0 and the rest at 7.5 or above.
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
For more information, please visit the international entry requirements pageLink opens in a new window.
There are no additional entry requirements for this course.
Critical and Cultural Theory Today
Critical and Cultural Theory has never been more vibrant, nor more urgently needed, than today. Work in all areas of the Humanities has long been inextricably intertwined with critical reflection, often drawing from a multiplicity of disciplines, from philosophy and sociology to literary and visual studies.
This module, typically taught by several members of staff with diverse and complementary expertise, explores key stages in the development of critical and cultural theories, charting recent cultural and literary theory in historically and philosophically located ways. Figures explored in recent years include Byung-Chul Han, Andreas Malm, Jean Baudrillard, Mark Fisher, Theodor Adorno, Gargi Bhattacharya, Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy, Jasbir Puar, and Gayatri Gopinath.
We explore different, often clashing, critical perspectives on culture, from textual, material, philosophical, and other perspectives. These situated, and often transnational, critical platforms, allow us to both map historical developments in the study of the Humanities. The interaction between aesthetics, culture, and societal issues remains a permanent concern throughout the module.
The Dissertation offers you the opportunity to pursue your own distinct research interests. You can develop any idea you’ve discovered in your modules or write on a completely new topic that has always fascinated you. Our students choose an array of topics within the broadly-conceived boundaries of ‘literary studies’, although we’ll discuss your plans with you to make sure an available member of our teaching staff can support your topic.
Students often use their MA dissertations as springboards to PhD projects and have sometimes gone on to publish parts of their work in scholarly journals.
Optional modules can vary from year to year. Example optional modules may include:
- Feminist Literary Theory
- Theory from the Margins: Postcolonialism and the Radical Tradition
- Fundamentals of World Literature
- Modernism and Psychoanalysis
- Petrofiction: Studies in World Literature
- Queer Theory and Praxis
The MA in Critical and Cultural Theory comprises a Research Methods module, the core module, Critical Theory Today, three further optional modules, and a Dissertation of 16,000 words. You can take one of your three optional modules from outside of the department, including from the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.
Seminars consist of 5 to 12 students.
Typical contact hours
Contact hours comprise 4 hours of seminars a week, 2 office hours per member of staff, weekly reading groups and research seminars, and one-to-one Dissertation supervision in terms 2 and 3.
All essays are marked by two members of staff. The standard length for essays for modules on this course is 6,000 words; the Dissertation is 16,000 words. Marks are given out of 100.
Your personalised timetable will be complete when you are registered for all modules, compulsory and optional, and you have been allocated to your lectures, seminars and other small group classes. Your compulsory modules will be registered for you and you will be able to choose your optional modules when you join us.
Graduates from these courses have gone on to work for a range of employers, including: Deloitte; International Institute for Environment and Development; TeachFirst; The Times; V&A Museum; Yale University Press. They have pursued roles such as: arts officers, producers and directors; higher education teaching professionals; journalists, newspaper and periodical editors; management consultants and business analysts and marketing associate professionals.
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant offering impartial advice and guidance together with workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Understanding Assessment Centres
- Careers following your English and Comparative Literary Studies Degree
- Discovering Careers in the Creative Industries
- Careers in Publishing and Journalism
- Careers in the Public Sector
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick
Founded in 1965, English and Comparative Literary Studies is one of the few comparative departments in the UK. We are in the top 5 English departments in the UK (Guardian University Guide, 2023); and one of the top 30 English departments in the world (QS World Subject Rankings, 2022). We are also ranked in the top 10 UK universities for research environment (2021 Research Excellence Framework); and 91% of our research is rated 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' (Times Higher Education).
Our research is interdisciplinary, comparative, and dynamic; we also ensure that all our students study literature as a historical, global, aesthetic, and theoretical subject. Our strengths as a department include American studies, eighteenth and nineteenth-century studies, environmentalism and ecocriticism, theatre and performance, gender studies, the literary and cultural history of the medieval and early modern period, poetry and poetics, theology and literature, and World Literature. Our major research centres include Poetry at Warwick, and the Warwick Research Collective (WReC). We were also involved in establishing the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance in 1993, which brings together staff from five departments engaged in the study of Renaissance Europe, and which enjoys formal academic links with several institutions including the Warburg Institute, the Sorbonne, and with the University of Venice. We have close links with the Centre for Research into Philosophy, Literature, and the Arts, the Early Modern and Eighteenth-Century Centre, and the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies. We are actively involved in the EUTOPIA consortium and the Monash Warwick Alliance.
Our Postgraduate courses
Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. Academic fees cover the cost of tuition, examinations and registration and some student amenities.
Fee Status Guidance
The University carries out an initial fee status assessment based on information provided in the application and according to the guidance published by UKCISA. Students are classified as either Home or Overseas Fee status and this can determine the tuition fee and eligibility of certain scholarships and financial support.
If you receive an offer, your fee status will be stated with the tuition fee information. If you believe your fee status has been incorrectly classified you can complete a fee status assessment questionnaire (follow the instructions in your offer) and provide the required documentation for this to be reassessed.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides guidance to UK universities on fees status criteria, you can find the latest guidance on the impact of Brexit on fees and student support on the UKCISA website.
Additional course costs
Please contact your academic department for information about department specific costs, which should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:
- Core text books
- Printer credits
- Dissertation binding
- Robe hire for your degree ceremony
Scholarships and bursaries
Find out how to apply to us, ask your questions, and find out more.
How to apply
The application process for courses that start in September and October 2024 will open on 2 October 2023.
Applications will close on 2 August 2024 for students who require a visa to study in the UK, to allow time to receive a CAS and complete the visa application process.