Birkbeck, University of London

Birkbeck, University of London

Victorian Studies

This programme offers you the chance to take a genuinely interdisciplinary approach to studying the literature, culture and history of Victorian Britain. You will encounter a compelling range of Victorian texts, contexts, themes and ideas on a degree course that does justice to the energy and variety of the Victorian period. Two core modules, Progress and Anxiety, 1789-1859 and Modernising Victorians, introduce some of the most significant debates, ideas and events of the long nineteenth century, and offer you the chance to develop new critical approaches to Victorian studies. Weekly seminars take you from the French Revolution to the Boer War and investigate topics such as the discovery of geological time, movements for social and political reform, the aims and limits of realist fiction, the Great Exhibition, Darwinism, aestheticism, the religious imagination and the Gothic revival. These compulsory courses are supplemented by a wide range of option modules, which allow you to pursue your own interests in the field of Victorian Studies and beyond. Recently offered option modules are listed below. Students in their final year of study have the chance to take an internship module. Successful interns spend a term working with one of London's Victorian cultural institutions, gaining first-hand experience of working in the cultural sector and using their host institution's archives to develop a unique research project. Previous interns have worked with the Dickens House Museum, the Salvation Army Heritage Centre and Archive, and the Guildhall Art Gallery, and have developed their projects into funded doctoral research topics. A schedule of visiting speakers and other events, organised by Birkbeck's Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, ensures that you have the opportunity to engage with leading Victorian studies specialists from around the world, and are welcomed into one of the country's liveliest research communities.

Course modules

You take 2 core modules, which will introduce you to different types of primary material and different approaches, and you choose 2 option modules from a range of topics. In the final phase of your studies you research and write a 15,000-word dissertation. To find out more, read our programme handbook. Core modules: Modernising Victorians; Progress and Anxiety, 1789-1859. Indicative option modules: Colonialism and Modernity; Crime and Society in Victorian England; Cultures of Death and Bereavement in the Long Nineteenth Century; Death in Victorian Culture; Dickens; Issues and Institutions: Victorian Art c1840-1870; Men and Women: Victorians and Gender; Race and the Victorians; The Book Unbound; The Victorian Fin De Siecle; The Victorian Supernatural; Victorian Emotions; Victorian Literature and Disability; Victorian London: Literature, Culture and the Urban Experience; Victorian Pasts, Presents, Futures; Victorian Poetry; Victorians and Romantics. Option modules change from year to year - the list here is indicative.

Assessment methods

Assessment is by coursework essays and a dissertation: 1 piece of work for each of the 2 core modules; a 5000-word essay for each of the 2 option modules; and a dissertation of up to 15,000 words.

Sponsorship information

The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses - and you don't have to start repaying until 2019. The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students. Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2018 GBP 14,450 per Year 1 (International) 1 Years
MA Full-time October 2018 GBP 7,950 per Year 1 (Home/EU) 1 Years
MA Part-time evening October 2018 GBP 3,975 per Year 1 (Home/EU) 2 Years
MA Part-time evening October 2018 GBP 7,225 per Year 1 (International) 2 Years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Bloomsbury Campus WC1E 7HX London

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Key information

Department of English and Humanities
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