English Literature: Victorian Literature

MA ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


The Victorian Literature pathway is an opportunity to explore a wide range of literature written in Britain between 1832 and 1900.

Register your interest

The pathway’s compulsory module, ‘Victorian Voices’, introduces you to a range of Victorian literary representations of identity. The module challenges the popular notion that there is a monolithic Victorian view of things by presenting a wealth of different perceptions and perspectives.

Drawing on canonical and non-canonical poetry and prose by male and female Victorian authors, the module explores ways of expressing core aspects of self while also considering the implications of audience and contexts. In addition, you choose from a range of option modules specialising in aspects of the period’s fiction, poetry, drama, and journalism.

You’ll have the opportunity to develop your own individual interests and to conduct independent research through the writing of a dissertation supervised by a specialist in the field of Victorian Studies. QMUL’s Victorian scholars are particularly strong on the historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts for 19th-century writing.

You’ll be taught in small seminar groups and be introduced to key resources for the study of Victorian literature through a module in research methods. You will further benefit from our location in London’s historic East End.

You may also opt to take a cognate elective module offered by the Schools in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and by other Colleges of the University of London. 

Academics delivering the MA Victorian Pathway have diverse interests such as the sublime and the visionary, London and the coast, and print media, but we are all committed to shedding new light on the relationship between aspects of material culture and the Victorian literary imagination. We all approach cultural history from fresh angles, such as the senses, the media, or geography. We have core strengths in both poetry and fiction, and have published on many of the era’s most famous authors such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, and W. M. Thackeray, but we also advocate for less familiar voices like Edward Bulwer-Lytton, John Addington Symonds, E. W. Hornung, and Vernon Lee.

We have all recently published new books. Matthew Rubery’s The Untold Story of the Talking Book (Harvard University Press, 2016) traces the evolution of sound recordings of literary texts back to the nineteenth century, Catherine Maxwell’s Scents & Sensibility: Perfume in Victorian Literary Culture (OUP, 2017) addresses perfume and the olfactory imagination in Victorian literary culture, while Matthew Ingleby’s Bloomsbury: Beyond the Establishment (British Library, 2017) explores the role one metropolitan neighbourhood has historically played in the production of new ideas, values, and lifestyles. We are all actively engaged in London’s vibrant Victorian studies research culture, convening and otherwise contributing to long-standing forums at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House, such as Media History Seminar and Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar.

For more information please register your interest.


The MA in Victorian Literature is currently available for one year full-time study, or two years part-time study.

You will study four assessed modules, and one non-assessed research training module, before proceeding to the 15,000-word dissertation.

Assessed modules are taught in weekly two-hour seminars. The research-training module will involve visits to archives and galleries which may each take up an afternoon. The dissertation is supervised through sessions with a specially designated supervisor. In addition to the timetabled sessions, you will be asked to attend meetings with your adviser and course tutor. You will also need to undertake many hours of independent learning and research in order to progress at the required level. When coursework deadlines are approaching independent learning hours may need to increase significantly.


You will take four assessed modules (two in each semester) and one non-assessed research training module (in Semester One) before proceeding to the 15,000-word dissertation.


We understand the need for flexibility for part-time students. In your first year, you take the compulsory core module, an unassessed skills module, and one optional module. In your second year you take two optional modules and the dissertation. The dissertation is taught through a combination of workshops, supervisions, and offers an opportunity for you to present your ideas at the MA Conference which is held in June. Teaching takes place during the day.

Compulsory modules

  • Victorian Voices
  • Resources for Research (unassessed)
  • Dissertation

Option modules

You choose three modules from a list of options that changes from year to year (one can be from the range of modules offered across the MA English Studies curriculum). 

In 2019-20 we hope to offer the followingmodules. If members of our specialist research staff win research funding it will mean that their module won’t run, so for that reason this list is indicative only.  

  • Aestheticism and Fin de Siecle Literature
  • Victorian Print Culture

You may, subject to availability and the approval of the School, take one of your option modules from across a range offered by other Schools in the Humanities and Social Science Faculty, or from other Colleges of the University of London.

In addition to taught modules, we run a range of research seminars to which all MA students are invited. Some of these are linked to our interdisciplinary Research Centres, such as the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, the Centre for Religion and Literature in English and the Centre for the History of the Emotions. Others are collaborations with other institutions, such as the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar. With visiting speakers from across the world, these seminars are an opportunity to meet other postgraduate students and members of staff and to learn about the latest developments in research.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Most applicants will have an undergraduate degree with a first or good upper second class honours (or the equivalent) in English or such related fields as history, cultural studies and media studies. Where a North American marking scheme is used, applicants should have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5.

Promising applicants who do not meet the formal academic criteria but who possess relevant credentials and who can demonstrate their ability to produce written work at masters level will also be considered. Applicants may be invited to interview or asked to submit examples of written and/or creative work. We welcome applications from mature and non-traditional students.

International applicants: Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. You can find details on our English language entry requirements here: www.qmul.ac.uk/international/languagerequirements

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

Learning and teaching


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £9,150
Part time £4,575

Tuition fees for International students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £16,350
Part time £8,175

Part time fees are charged per annum over two years for a two year programme and per annum over three years for a three year programme. A percentage increase may be applied to the fees in years two and three.

This increase is defined each year and published on the intranet and in the Tuition Fee Regulations. A 3% increase was applied to the unregulated university fees in 2019/20. Further information can be viewed on our University Fees webpage, including details about annual increases.


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079
email bursaries@qmul.ac.uk

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717



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