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M. Phil. in Popular Literature

Course Director: Dr Bernice M. Murphy


Applying for the M.Phil: Online applications for the 2015/16 academic year will open on Monday, November 2nd, 2014. Applications will remain open until the Extended Closing Date: August 15th 2015.

Application requirement: To have a realistic chance of entry, students should have a high 2:1 at least. This translates as roughly a 3:3 GPA.
Students can only be formally offered a place when all of their outstanding documentation has been submitted – i.e. references, final transcripts, scans of degree certificates, etc.
Please note this course runs on a full-time basis only.

Go to  for general details on how to apply for postgraduate study at TCD or click on the link below for information on how to apply for this course in particular:

The M.Phil in Popular Literature offers students a unique opportunity for the advanced study of popular literature and its immensely important place within modern culture. It traces the history of popular genres such as horror, science fiction, romance, fantasy and detective fiction, and offers a comprehensive introduction to contemporary theories of the popular. Participants will also choose from a range of specialist options on particular aspects of the popular.
The course lasts one year (beginning in September) and is available on a full-time basis only. It comprises two main elements: a core course class meeting twice a week for two hours and, secondly, an option course class once a week for two hours - participants will take one per term. Assessment is comprised of course work completed at the end of each term, and the dissertation undertaken by each student during the summer.
The M.Phil. provides an invaluable starting point for those who wish to do further graduate study, but will also appeal to those wanting to develop their critical skills and knowledge in relation to an important aspect of contemporary culture.
The School of English at Trinity College Dublin has established itself over the past decade as a major international centre for the academic study of Popular Literature, and the M.Phil attracts applicants from all over the world. Members of staff teaching on the course have expertise in areas such as Victorian Children’s literature, the Irish Gothic, Detective fiction, Science Fiction, British and American horror, Victorian Popular Literature, Cyberculture, the dime novel, popular poetry and song, comic books and graphic novels, and Chick Lit. Staff members contributing to the course are also active researchers in the field, and have recently published books on topics such as the Irish Gothic, popular culture during the 1950s, The Suburban and the Rural Gothic in American popular culture, and the work of M.R. James, as well as many journal articles and book chapters in edited collections.

The School of English has a large and active cohort of research students, and five other taught Master’s courses. Participants in the M.Phil will therefore find themselves part of a long-established, welcoming, and vigorous academic community. A weekly staff-graduate research seminar offers a lively forum for debate and the exchange of ideas. Postgraduates of the School of English routinely go on to further research and successful careers, in the academy and other fields. Some of our graduates choose to continue their research into Popular Literature by advancing onto the PhD programme in TCD or elsewhere, while others have gone on to successful careers in teaching, publishing, librarianship, marketing and creative writing, as well as a wide range of other endeavours.
Entry to this course is competitive and prospective applicants are expected to have at least a high 2:1 (or equivalent) in order to be seriously considered for entry. Students wishing to find out more about the application process should go to

Students should note that we do not require a writing sample.

Course Structure:
The course lasts for one academic year (September-September) and requires full-time study. It comprises two elements: (1) a core course meeting twice a week for two hours over two terms; and (2) option courses meeting once a week for two hours - participants will take one per term.

Assessment is by a combination of coursework and dissertation. These are broken down as follows:

  • Dissertation (40%): 15,000 words, to be supervised by an appropriate member of staff
  • Core Course (30%): 2 essays of 5,000 words
  • Options (30%): 2 essays of 5,000 words

Students must pass the dissertation component of the degree in order to be awarded an M.Phil.

Option courses offered during 2014/15 include:*

  • Victorian Children's Literature (with Dr Jarlath Killeen)
  • The American Nightmare: Horror in Film and Fiction (Dr Bernice Murphy)
  • Losers and Psychopaths: American Noir From the 1920s to the 1950s and Beyond  (Dr Elizabeth McCarthy)
  • Cyberculture/Popular Culture(Professor Brenda Silver)
  • Victorian Detective Fiction: From the ‘Rue Morgue’ to the Rise of the Rogue (Dr Clare Clarke)

*Prospective students should note that both the option and core course seminars offered will change from one academic year to the next.

Course Administrator:
Diane Sadler
Senior Executive Officer
M.Phil in Popular Literature
School of English
Room 4026
Trinity College
Dublin 2

Last updated 28 October 2015 School of English (Email).