Structure and content
The MRes in Humanities offers two tracks: a bespoke research track, in which students develop, in conjunction with their supervisor(s), their own research agenda from beginning to end; and a specified pathway with a taught element in Semester 1 (in either Hermeneutics, Religion and Politics, or Cultural Representation of Spain and Latin America), which then leads to personalising the respective areas of interest in the remainder of the course.
The programme follows two semesters, which run from mid-September to late December, and from mid-February to the end of May, and a summer period for dissertation writing.
The first track of personalised research is composed of the following elements:
- Research Preparation: A tailor-made programme of study in Semester 1, taught by at least five individual supervisions, on a subject of your choice agreed with the subject areas concerned. This may involve interdisciplinary supervision across subject areas where appropriate. The module allows students to begin work on a topic of particular significance to them personally, one that is cognate to but not identical with their subsequent dissertation. It is assessed by a written assignment of 5,000-6,000 words.
- Dissertation Preparation: Taken in Semester 2, this module consists in developing the theme and outline for the dissertation itself, which may include a detailed outline of the proposed argument, a literature review or an extended relevant book review, a description or proposal for the application of a methodological framework, or some combination thereof, depending upon the exact nature or the research in question. It will be supervised by the same member of staff whose expertise correlates with the research interest in Module 3. The module will feature a structure of five supervisions and one written assessment. The written assessment will be tailored to the student’s proposed dissertation focus in consultation with the supervisor(s).
- Research Skills: Our innovative Arts Graduate Training for graduates, which stretches over both semesters, enables students to build up a portfolio of skills that prepare them for academic and professional life. The portfolio is adaptable to individual experience and requirements, and as such covers basic skills (e.g. presentation, bibliography, specific research methods, library research), employability skills (e.g. teaching experience, marking student work, career development event, broaden language knowledge), breadth of knowledge (e.g. conference attention, reading participation group, prepare essay of presentation on a topic beyond own research). You will work with your supervisor(s) to select tasks from a menu of activities relevant to your future ambitions and their necessary qualifications.
- Dissertation: Subject to successful completion of all elements of the assessment in both Semesters 1 and 2, you will embark on an in-depth dissertation exploring the research topic of your choice, as agreed by and with your supervisor(s), thus building upon the tailor-made tuition or specified pathway from Modules 3 and 4. You will present your theme at the School's postgraduate day in May, and complete your writing over the summer.
The second track of a specified pathway is the same as the first track above, except that it replaces the Semester 1 Research Preparation module with the following:
- Specified Pathway: A subject-specific module of study in Semester 1, in a weekly two-hour seminar format, on one of three possible areas: Hermeneutics, Religion and Politics, or Cultural Representation of Spain and Latin America. The module allows students to begin work on a topic with particular focus that can then be personalised in the subsequent semester’s module and in the dissertation. It is assessed by two written essays at 2,500-3,000 each.
The content and concerns for each of the pathways are as follows:
- Hermeneutics: This pathway deals with key primary texts in the hermeneutical tradition, beginning with the ancient Greeks, and ending with contemporary theory and a play directly to do with questions of interpretation. Principal emphasis, however, will be on modern and late modern theorists. The seminars will cover texts related to history, philosophy, theology and religion, literary criticism, feminism, postcolonialism and theatre. It will be interdisciplinary in scope, therefore, but will be grounded in matters that pertain directly to interpretation and how it is to be understood and theorised. All texts are primary sources, so as to encourage students to interpret and analyse directly from original material, and to address the challenges that reading such demanding texts requires. This is a unique set of seminars covering a vital area rarely taught, if at all, anywhere else.
- Religion and Politics: This pathway is formulated on the critical assumption that discourses on religion and politics are not timeless, neutral or disinterested, but have emerged in a specific, colonial-oriented context and are therefore intimately related to the power formations of capitalism, becoming integral to contemporary understandings of modernity. By engaging with particular aspects of colonial and postcolonial history and theory in different regions of the world, the seminars seek to enable a critique of these discourses, which will in turn enable a better understanding of the global dynamics of conflict in the contemporary world, including manifestations of neo-colonial power. Engaging in this pathway will allow students to explore in a concentrated form newer approaches to questions of both religion and politics than encountered in the past.
- Cultural Representations of Spain and Latin America: This pathway offers you the opportunity to study in a comparative and methodologically interdisciplinary framework how Spanish and Latin American cultures are represented through different periods, expressive forms and media. It comprises selected aspects of Spanish and Latin American Studies as embedded in the theoretical debate of cultural representation. The seminars will deepen your understanding of methodological approaches to the fields by focussing upon history, language, literature and visual cultural practices. A long shared past, converging traditions and a common language connect Spain and Spanish-speaking America, but through the broad spectrum of these manifestations it also becomes apparent that there are considerable, perceived differences and cultural diversities between Spanish and Latin American cultures. In this pathway you will study these complex interrelations as they characterise and combine different forms of cultural representation.
Delivery and assessment
You will attend individual supervisory sessions and/or weekly seminars (specified pathway). The research skills training will provide opportunities for various different learning environments, including Divisional and School seminars, Graduate School workshops, off-campus visits, etc. In addition, students are entitled to take existing advanced level (level 10 or 11) tuition in the subject areas concerned and/or to undertake language tuition at all levels in French and Spanish, or in earlier varieties of English (Old and Middle English), if appropriate. Assessment will include essays, reports (which may take the form of written documents, websites or PowerPoint presentations, depending in your particular research interest), and a research skills portfolio that includes personal reflection. At the end of the second semester, you will also give a twenty minute presentation of your intended dissertation to other postgraduates and staff at the PG Day event.
A set reading list is applicable only in the Specified Pathway module, and will vary according to each pathway.
The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.
Because of the highly personalised nature of the MRes programme, semester timetables will vary considerably from student to student. But in an average month, you can expect to undertake much self-directed research, meet with your supervisor(s) several times, attend a couple seminars and a workshop or two, engage with other postgraduates formally and informally, and perhaps, depending on the activities you undertake as part of our Graduate Training Skills modules, attend audited lectures or seminars. In the summer months, you will have regular meetings with your dissertation supervisor.
- Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities (ARTP01)
- Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities (ARTP02)
- Research Preparation (HUMP12)
- Dissertation Preparation (HUMP14)
- Hermeneutics (HUMP15)
- Religion and Politics (HUMP16)
- Cultural Representation of Spain and Latin America (HUMP17)
- Dissertation (HUMP13)