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Modern and Contemporary Writing


Hone your skills

Become a critic, a creative writer or both

A strong focus

European, American and world literature from the late 19th to the early 21st century

Distance learning

Study to fit around work or other commitments

Stoke-on-Trent campus
Study option:
Part-time, distance learning
3 Years
Start date:
9 September 2019
Come to an Open Event Enquire about this course Apply now

Be introduced to the key writers, styles, literary movements and critical perspectives of the 20th and 21st centuries. This course combines both critical and creative approaches.

Do you want to study and write about some of the greatest works of recent literature? In the Modern and Contemporary Writing MA, you’ll develop a wide-ranging and critical understanding of the development of literary styles and movements over the last 150 years or so.

You’ll be taught by novelists, screenwriters, published poets and critics who can share their experience and expertise. 

For your assignments, you can explore either critical or creative approaches to the literatures of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. As a result, the MA will help you to develop as a critic, as a creative writer, or both.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: MA Modern and Contemporary Writing

Part-time study

This course is run as part-time distance learning over three years.

Distance learning

This course is distance learning only.

The expected study pattern is to complete modules totalling 60 credits in each year of study. 

Course content

You’ll take three modules that explore the key aspects of the literature of the period.   

‘Stream of Consciousness’ examines key narrative developments. ‘Literature and the Contemporary World’ considers issues of gender, postcolonial identities and ecology in recent literature. ‘Creativity and Crisis in American Literature’ contemplates three distinct moments of American social and aesthetic crisis which gave rise to great bursts of creativity.   

You’ll complete a dissertation or a creative project module. Choosing the ‘Contemporary Approaches to Literature’ dissertation module will introduce you to the major critical approaches to the literature of the period and help you to define your own interests. Choosing the ‘Writers’ Workshop’ module will help you to begin writing your major creative project.


The tables provide an indicative list of the modules that make up the course for the current academic year. Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Our teaching is informed by research, and modules change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline. We aim to ensure that all modules run as scheduled. If for any reason a module cannot be run we will advise you as soon as possible and will provide guidance on selecting an appropriate alternative module.

Standard route

Year 1 compulsory modules
Creativity And Crisis In American Writing 30 credits
Stream Of Consciousness - Modernism Into Myth And Beyond 30 credits
Year 2 compulsory modules
Creative Dissertation 60 credits
English Dissertation 60 credits
Literature And The Contemporary World 30 credits
Show 2 optional modules

The entry requirements for the award are normally:

A good honours degree in English, creative writing, or a humanities subject.

An alternative entry route by portfolio exists for students focusing primarily on creative practice.

IELTS 7, or equivalent TOEFL scores, for students whom English is a foreign language.



After completing the Modern and Contemporary Writing MA, you’ll be equipped to work in the following roles: 

  • Teaching
  • The arts
  • Professional writing
  • Publishing

Eager for more knowledge? Upon completion, you’ll be ideally placed for further academic study at PhD level.  

Teaching and assessment


We know that everyone learns differently. So not only do we use traditional ways of teaching like lectures, we also use problem-based learning to help you apply your skills.   

For this course, you'll:

  • Be expected to study independently
  • Have one-to-one tutorials by Skype, telephone and email
  • Narrated lectures by PowerPoint or video · Reading tasks
  • Group forum to share ideas
  • Have the opportunity to practise both critical and creative writing 

Our teaching is supported through our Virtual Learning Environment called Blackboard. This means you can access a range of materials to support your lectures wherever you are.  

We’ll also assign you a supervisor to support you throughout your dissertation or creative project.


There are two types of assessments: practice (also called formative) or formal (also called summative).   

Practice assessments do not count towards your final mark. These are your chance to test your understanding – and learn how to improve for the real thing.  

You have the option of providing either a critical or a creative response (e.g. story, poem or script) to the material studied. Each module will comprise of three assessments: a contribution to the group forums, a short assignment, and an essay or creative assignment.  

The modules associated with the dissertation – the Literature Review, the Writers’ Workshop and the dissertation/creative project are primarily assessed on the final, substantial piece of work.

Learning support

Your course tutors will provide lots of support. But you can also take advantage of our Academic Skills team, who can help you with:

  • Study skills (including reading, note-taking, presentation skills)
  • Written English (including punctuation, grammar)
  • Academic writing (including how to reference)
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Revision, assessment and exam skills (including time management)

Additional support

If you have additional needs like dyslexia or a sensory impairment, then our AccessAbility Services are here to help make sure nothing stands in your way.


We know that it’s important for you to be able to gauge your progress. So, your tutor will give you feedback on any practice assessments you do.   

We usually give you feedback on formal assessments within 20 working days, but the format will vary for each module. 

For the course starting on 9 September 2019 the tuition fees are:

Study option
Part time
UK / EU / Channel Islands
£2,535 per year of study
International (Non-EU)
£2,535 per year of study

The expected study pattern on this programme enables you to complete modules totaling 60 credits in your first year of study and the other 120 credits, split equally over your second and third year of study. If you follow this pattern of study you will pay the same fee for each year of study. You will be invoiced for the modules that you register for each year, so if your study pattern is different from the expected pattern, you will pay more or less each year accordingly.

If you would like to know more about the fees listed and what this means to you then please get in touch with our Enquiries Team.

Alumni discount

If you have previously completed an undergraduate degree with us, you may be entitled to a discount off your course fee for any subsequent postgraduate taught course. For further information please contact Graduate Relations.


Stoke-on-Trent campus
Part-time, distance learning
9 September 2019

Rules and regulations

If you are offered a place at Staffordshire University, your offer will be subject to our rules, regulations and enrolment conditions, which may vary from time to time.

Students of Staffordshire University enter into a contract with us and are bound by these rules and regulations, which are subject to change. For more information, please see: University Policies and Regulations.

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24/08/2019 18:04:42 / Modern and Contemporary Writing / Part-time, distance learning / 12.0 / 25.0 / SSTK-11619 / Direct link