Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Menu Search

M. Phil. in Popular Literature

Course Director: Dr Bernice M. Murphy

Applying for this M.Phil: Online applications for the 2016/17 academic year are now closed. Applications for 2017/18 will open in October.

Please click here to apply.

For further information please click on our more detailed course website:

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

Application Requirements

To have a realistic chance of entry, students should have a high 2:1 at least. This translates as roughly a 3:3 GPA. We do not require a writing sample. Students can only be formally offered a place when all of their outstanding documentation has been submitted – i.e. two academic references, copies of final transcripts, scans of degree certificates, documentation related to language requirements, etc.

What We Do on the M.Phil in Popular Literature

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. Students are therefore expected to engage with texts from the eighteenth-century onwards (the period when the idea of a truly 'mass' audience first emerged). While we will also be studying some more recent (twenty-first century) texts, these will constitute a relatively small percentage of the course material, which also incorporates texts from the Victorian, Edwardian, and early-mid Twentieth century periods.

What We Don't Do

Applicants should note that this is not a course in Popular Culture, or Cultural Studies. Whilst there is inevitably some ocassional overlap with these subject areas, we specialise in Popular Literature.

Further Course Information

Please click here for more details on the course remit, and the core course/option schedules for this year.

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

Course Structure

The course lasts one year (beginning in mid-September and ending on August 30th) 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.

Why should I consider applying for this M.Phil?

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.  The members of the core teaching team on the M.Phil have all published extensively on specific popular genres, such as detective fiction, Noir, horror and the gothic, romance fiction, Victorian popular fiction and pulp fiction. They are all extremely experienced lecturers in this subject area (and several others), and between them, have supervised hundereds of M.Phil and undergraduate dissertations on topics related to popular fiction.

The School of English

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 PhD programmes 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.

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

For further information, please read this page carefully in order to see if your query has been answered already. If it has not, please email the course director:

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