M. Phil. in Popular Literature
Course Director: Dr Bernice M. Murphy
Applications for the 2013/14 academic year are now open. Initial Closing Date: March 31st 2013. Late Applications will be considered up until June 1st 2013.
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.
Go to http://www.tcd.ie/courses for general details on how to apply for this course at Trinity College.
This course runs on a full-time basis only.
Contemporary literary culture is built on a paradox: that which most people read is that which critics value least. The novels of Dan Brown, Stephen King, and Agatha Christie, for instance – to say nothing of J.K Rowling's Harry Potter books – have long attracted many more readers than the winners of prestigious prizes such as the IMPAC or Man Booker. When readers were asked to name their favorite books in a 2003 BBC poll, they placed Tolkien's Lord of the Rings at number 1. And yet, such popular literature receives little critical attention, and wins few major prizes. How did this curious separation of popularity and value come about?
This course offers an opportunity for the advanced study of popular literature and its strange place within modern culture. It traces the history of popular genres such as horror, science fiction, romance, pornography, fantasy and detective fiction, and offer 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, and study research methods. This M.Phil. will provide an invaluable base for those who wish to do further graduate study, but will also appeal to those who wish 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 the major international centre for the academic study of Popular Literature, and the M.Phil attracts students from all over the world. Members of staff teaching on the course have expertise in areas as caried as Victorian Children's literature, the Irish Gothic, detective fiction, fantasy and 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. In addition, students on the course will also take part in seminars with School of English Adjunct Professor Sir Terry Pratchett, one of the most popular authors in the world, and a regular visitor to Trinity.
The School of English has a large and active cohort of research students (some 50 in the current session), and three other taught Master's courses. Participants in the M.Phil., the first of its kind, will be part of a long-established 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.
Entry to this course is very competitive (and becoming more so every year) and prospective applicants are normally expected to have at least a high 2:1 (or equaivalent) in order to be seriously considered for entry. Students wishing to find out more about the application process should go to http://www.tcd.ie/courses for general details on how to apply for this course at Trinity College. Please consult this page and the Graduate Studies link provided above (in particular those pages pertaining to applicants for Taught Masters) before emailing the course director as many of the most commonly asked queries regarding fees, deadline and applications procedures are answered there. Students should note that we do not require a statement of interest or writing sample.
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 2012/13 include:*
- Victorian Children's Literature (with Dr Jarlath Killeen)
- The American Nightmare: Horror in Film and Fiction (Dr Bernice Murphy)
- Teenage Kicks: Youth Culture and Rebellion in the 1950s and 1960s (Dr Elizabeth McCarthy)
- Cyberculture/Popular Culture(with Professor Brenda Silver)
- Crossing Boundaries in Young Adult Fiction (Dr Padric Whyte)
- "Where No Man Has Gone Before..." Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror by North American Women Writers
- J.R.R. Tolkein: The Making and Meaning of A Secondary World (with Dr Helen Conrad O'Briain)
*Prospective students should note that both the option and core course seminars offered will change from one academic year to the next.
- For details of our core course syllabus during for the 2012/13 academic year, please click here
- For further information, please email the Course Director at: firstname.lastname@example.org
M.Phil in Popular Literature
School of English