MA Pathway Special Subject

This module is designed to give students both the freedom and the responsibility of negotiating, with an assigned tutor, their own area of study and/or writing within the perimeters of the particular MA pathway they have chosen. This study can be pursued either alone or with other students and takes the form of a structured series of tutorials with a member of the MA team. The students will share, with the tutor, the responsibility for designing the course of study and/or writing. The study and/or writing proposal will be formulated by the student, using a form that can be obtained from the Department’s postgraduate office. This form needs to be submitted along with your option form. It must then be approved by both the tutor and the MA convenor (Dr Liz Oakley-Brown).

The topic for study and/or writing is entirely open. If creative, it could take the form of a sequence of poems, short story, or the opening of a novel, along with a piece of reflective writing. If critical, it could, for example, take the form of a study of a single author (e.g. Emily Dickinson); a particular period, movement or moment (e.g. Decadence); the literature of a particular nation or region (e.g. North Africa); or a specific literary theme (e.g. revolutions). Alternatively, it could be linked to a Research Centre and/or special library collection and/or department reading group and/or conference hosted at Lancaster, and/or series of guest seminars given by a visiting scholar or writer. Obvious examples include: the seminars given here by Terry Eagleton and the Ruskin Seminars. The curator of the Ruskin Library, Professor Stephen Wildman, is available to supervise a special subject topic.

The student and the tutor will meet for a series of tutorials and plan the work on a mutually agreed time-scale. Since this module is assessed in the same way as other MA modules the module will occupy one term.


One essay or equivalent, normally of 5000 words, is the method of assessment (for creative writing projects, this word count includes a 1,000-word reflective piece).