University of Portsmouth

Degree level: Postgraduate

Victorian Gothic: History, Literature and Culture (Distance Learning) (Taught)

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

Overview Victorian society and culture was a contradiction – an era of bold vision and technological wonders entwined with deep social fears and cultural anxieties. Why do we associate the Victorians with darkness, sin, hypocrisy and monstrosity? Why does the Gothic seem to best encapsulate how we think about and remember the Victorians? These are some of the questions you'll explore on this course. 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 On this course you'll:

  • 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
Careers and opportunities 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
After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

Course details

Modules

If you study this course over 1 year, you'll study the following units:

  • Victorian Anxieties (content module 1)
  • Theory, Skills and Approaches (critical skills and archives module)
  • Victorian Enchantments (content module 2)
  • Independent Project
  • Dissertation
If you study this course part-time over 2 years, you'll study the following units: Year 1
  • Victorian Anxieties
  • Theory, Skills and Approaches
  • Independent Project
Year 2
  • Victorian Enchantments
  • Dissertation
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies. Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry.

Assessment method

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.


Entry requirements

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 requirements

TestGradeAdditional details
IELTS (Academic)6.5English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
PTE Academic61An overall score of 61 with a minimum of 54 in each skill.
TOEFL (iBT)9191 with a minimum of 20 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 20 in Writing
Cambridge English AdvancedCambridge English: Advanced (CAE) taken after January 2015. An overall score of 176 with no component score less than 169.
Cambridge English ProficiencyCambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) taken after January 2015. An overall score of 176 with no component score less than 169.
Trinity ISETrinity College Integrated Skills in English (ISE) Level III with a Pass in all 4 components

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

EU £8500 Year 1
International £8500 Year 1
England £8500 Year 1
Northern Ireland £8500 Year 1
Scotland £8500 Year 1
Wales £8500 Year 1
Channel Islands £8500 Year 1
Republic of Ireland £8500 Year 1

Additional fee information

Students who are resident in EU countries: please note that the net fee is inclusive of the Transition Scholarship. Fees are accurate at the time of publishing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Fees may also go up in later years, in line with inflation. For more information about fees, go to port.ac.uk/ug-tuition-fees
Victorian Gothic: History, Literature and Culture (Distance Learning) at University of Portsmouth - UCAS