Programme Description & Aims

Our Masters programme in English Literature is designed to serve both as an autonomous degree and as a solid foundation for those who wish to pursue more advanced research in literature. What makes studying English Literature at Shahid Beheshti University unique is that it provides opportunities for students to pursue topics across period boundaries as well as continents if you so wish.
Coursework is offered in historical periods, individual authors, important literary movements, literary theory and the history of criticism, and nation-specific literatures such as American, Irish, British and Canadian. Students develop a broad competence in all literary periods before moving to a more specialized knowledge of a single area or topic.

Programme length

2 years full time.

Programme Content

Understanding Literature (2 credits)
Also known as Philosophy of Literature, the course offers an in-depth introduction to what lies the foundation of literature, both prose and poetry, and then traces their varied manifestations across a wide range of canonical and non-canonical literatures. Young researchers will be introduced to notable scholars in the field of critical appreciation and read accordingly from their oeuvre.
Essay Writing  (2 credits)
The course enables the students to not only produce an academic and potentially publishable essays but understand their short-comings and polish their intellectual projects. The course introduces students to a wide spectrum of techniques that would help them think and eventually compose meticulously refined academic essays.
Research Methods (2 credits)
This course has been designed to meet the needs of the graduate students who are expected to carry out empirical research. It provides them with a critical awareness of the basic issues, problems, and solutions involved in the field of English literature. The course, moreover, supervises students in their production of a tentative research proposal.
Computer: Basic Skills
This is a prerequisite course which focuses on basic computer skills. The goal is to give students increase students' computer literacy and build a solid foundation upon they can improve their future knowledge of and skill with computers. More advanced topics in computer technology, research and teamwork will also be explored in this course.
Literary Theory and Criticism I and II (2 credits each)
Courses in literary theory and criticism introduces students to a wide and varied spectrum of theories with philosophical, psychological, social and cultural underpinnings. Students will become familiar with the “main theoretical frameworks” of modern literary criticism;
Moreover, they will practice reading literary texts based upon the “methods of reading” drawn from these theoretical frameworks.
Persian Literature: A Critical Approach (2 credits)
The course highlights the significance of Persian literature for graduate students reading for an MA in English literature by providing them with a comparative context. Students will be introduced to global concepts that have been introduced by Persian literary scholars and yet are being used globally.
The Modern Novel (2 credits)
The course should be considered as a unique opportunity to discuss the novel not just as a form but an anecdotal insight into a collective consciousness that remembers formations and deformations of societies, communities and nations. Structurally, the course includes lecturers on the foundation of the modern novel and the concomitant themes, and at once allows for a colloquium-based examination of a select number of novels dating from the 1910s to the 1990s. Students shall approach a variety of not only novels but criticisms.
The Modern Short Fiction (2 credits)
This course offers a chance to investigate the modern short story, a form with a unique power to illuminate contemporary existence. Our investigations will focus on the subtle, essential elements that breathe life into the short story form. We’ll collaborate to discover the thematic foundations of the work we read, and to articulate how that work reaches out to touch our lives.
Literature of Renaissance (2 credits: Optional)
In this course, students will study a wide variety of literature from the 16th century, the period that gave birth to Shakespeare. It provides an introduction to the literature of the English Renaissance, studied in a variety of historical contexts—poetic, intellectual, religious, and political.
Literature in the Romantic Period (2 credits)
Following the lead of Schlegel and Hazlitt, literary historians have seen the French Revolution as a major cause of Romanticism. Given the momentous impact of this political event on European life and culture, this course examines the impact of revolutionary ideas and the French Revolution itself on British writing during the revolutionary and Napoleonic years. Whilst priority is given to poetry, prose is also studied.
Metaphysical Poetry and Milton (2 credits)
The objective of this course is to study samples of the so called metaphysical poets as well as John Milton in the light of current literary theories with particular attention to post-structuralism. As such highly selected articles are provided to update us with such readings. To fill the gap on the historical/social context of these poems, certain topics are given for discussion/presentation.
American Literature (2 credits: Optional)
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the most important figures, concepts, and ideas in American literature, reading from and on as early as Thomas Jefferson Thomas Paine, Emerson to John Updike and Toni Morrison.
Modern Poetry (2 credits)
It is a well-known fact that the word ‘modern’ has a wide application, in the sense that any literary period may be considered modern due to certain reasons and traits. However, in our time, this word has strong associations with the twentieth century and its cataclysmic social, political, cultural, economic, and, obviously, literary events and changes. The word now refers to a specific literary movement that emerged in the early decades of the twentieth century, besides referring to a whole conceptual and formal package recognised as modern. The course “Modern Poetry”, in addition to other considerations, should address the above two modes to measure up to its goals, explicit and implicit. The poets and the poems suggested for the course are certainly not comprehensive and final, but they do seek to approximate an acceptable degree of correct representation and justice. The reading of the following poems, it is hoped, will give a taste of what twentieth century means.
The Greatest Works: Drama (2 credits: Optional)
The course is structured around some of the greatest dramatic works in English literature. Students shall read and contemplate on the fundamental concepts shared among these works.
Thesis/Dissertation (4 credits)
The program ends with students writing up a dissertation to obtain the M.A. degree. Students are encouraged to explore a topic in the field of English literature which is personally relevant, and academically unique and original. Students typically have five months to complete the dissertation and have an individual supervisory committee, comprised of a supervisor and a co-supervisor, to offer academic advice and support.
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