Modern and Contemporary Literary Studies (M.Phil. / P.Grad.Dip.)

NFQ Level 9
1 year full-time / 2 years part-time
20 Places


Course Overview

The study of literature is never just one thing. Modern literary culture is diverse, exciting, complex and rich. The M.Phil. in Modern and Contemporary Literary Studies grows out of and embraces this multiplicity. Here at Trinity, our School of English has internationally recognised strengths in national and international Anglophone literature, in canonical and popular literary forms, and in material literary culture and book history.

The course offers graduates in English and related disciplines (such as History, Art History, and Modern Languages) the opportunity to explore more than two centuries of Anglophone writing and literary history. You will be introduced to key texts, authors and ideas from the nineteenth century through to the contemporary moment.

At Trinity, you will join a supportive and dynamic community of students, scholars, and writers in a world-leading English department right at the heart of one of the world’s great literary cities. You will also have access to the outstanding library and archival collections of our world-famous copyright library, which could form the basis for your own fundamental research.

Is This Course For Me?

This course is aimed at students interested in exploring the unique and diverse literary culture of the modern and contemporary world. It can help you gain invaluable insights into the changing dynamics of literature, culture, and society, as well as the impact of literature on our lives. You will gain a greater understanding of the various literary movements, genres, and authors of this period, and develop analytical skills to interpret and evaluate texts. This knowledge can be applied to other areas of study, such as Film Studies/Screen Studies, Media, and Popular Culture, as well as to develop your own creative writing and research projects.

Career Opportunities

This M.Phil. programme enables students to develop their creativity and intellectual confidence, as well as offer valuable transferable skills, such as being able to present ideas clearly and persuasively, and to find, absorb and analyse complex information and concepts. Our postgraduates have gone into careers in education, the arts and culture sector, librarianship, publishing, journalism, broadcasting, public relations, social work, the civil service and management consultancy. Many alumni have also gone on to become successful writers. This M.Phil. provides an excellent platform for moving on to doctoral research.

Course Structure

Teaching for the course is primarily delivered through small-group seminar teaching. Students taking the course part-time complete the three core modules in their first year of study. In their second year, they complete two option modules and their dissertation.

Course Content

The course offers three core modules. Across two semesters, Perspectives in Modern and Contemporary Literature covers a wide range of texts and genres from 1800 to the present, from poetry and fictional prose to life-writing and the graphic novel. The one-semester Mapping the Literary Field module examines how the production, mediation and reception of texts has constituted the literary field. Further foundational grounding in issues of importance to studying and researching English literature at postgraduate level is provided through the Research Skills for Postgraduate English module.

Students also take two specialist option modules, reflecting our commitment to cutting-edge research-led teaching. Options may include: Modern and Contemporary American Novels; Shedunnit: Women’s Crime Writing; Opening the Book – Writing and Visual Art in a Postcolonial Context; Contemporary Literary Non-Fiction. A range of options from other M.Phil. programmes, including in Children’s Literature, Irish Writing, Screen Studies, and Gender Studies, will also be available.

In the final phase of the course, students will complete a dissertation of 15,000-16,000 words, allowing them to pursue in-depth research on a subject of their choice under the supervision of an appropriate member of the faculty.

Click here for further information on modules/subjects.

Study Modern and Contemporary Literary Studies (M.Phil.) at Trinity

Learn more about Trinity College's School of English and the Master's programme in Modern and Contemporary Literary Studies from the course director, Professor Darryl Jones.

Course Details


NFQ Level 9

Number of Places

20 Places

Next Intake

September 2024

Course Director

Dr Clare Clarke / Professor Darryl Jones

Closing Date

31st March 2024

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Admission Requirements

Applicants should have an Honours Bachelor degree (at least of upper-second class standard or GPA of 3.3) or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject (such as English, History, Art History, Irish Studies, or Modern Languages).

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of postgraduate fees

Get in Touch

Telephone Number

+353 (0)1 896 1111

Professor Darryl Jones (course director):

Dr. Clare Clarke (Course Director):


Register Your Interest

Register your interest in studying at Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

Register Your Interest

What is particularly advantageous about this M.Phil. is the way in which I was both exposed to a wide variety of relevant literature and given the guidance to do specific research within my own academic niche. I feel like I have a much more thorough understanding of both my own scholarship and the larger context within which my research lies.

Sarah Michelson