A postgraduate degree from Humanities at Southampton offers you the wide and varied learning experience you should expect from a leading research university. We are committed to providing a relevant, modern and above all enjoyable experience which will ensure you graduate with the additional skills and understanding you need to start a career in any number of areas or to go on to further research.
How will you learn?
On a postgraduate taught programme teaching is led by academic staff, allowing you to engage with, and contribute to, the world-leading research carried out in Humanities at Southampton. You will complete a core programme of research skills development in tandem with a series of modules which you select according to your personal aims and objectives. Each programme offers a wide and fascinating range of modules related to our specialisms led by academics who are experts in their chosen fields of research and who wish to engage you with their experience.
You will develop knowledge and understanding through tutor-led and student-led seminars and tutorials, reaction papers, collaborative projects, oral presentations and independent research. Film, photography and the fine arts will be integrated into teaching and learning activities where applicable. Staff and students will organise and participate in workshops and conferences.
A large part of postgraduate study is independent learning. Programmes will develop your critical awareness, encouraging you to reflect on the methodologies employed in further study and to apply these to the reading and research you undertake as part of your degree.
You will be assessed by traditional means, such as Research Papers and shorter pieces of assessed work, individual and group presentations, workshops and the dissertation. The 20,000 word dissertation is a core element in establishing the acquisition of appropriate skills and the application of research techniques. Your masters tutor will be available to provide regular and supportive advice, guidance and feedback on your progress.
A masters degree will enable you to further develop the key skills employers seek such as: time management; problem solving; team work; deadline and project management; cultural awareness; working independently; using your initiative; relationship-building; critical thinking and research analysis. Above all, you will learn to communicate your ideas and enthusiasm to a wide range of audiences.
Writing an effective personal statement for a Master’s or PhD application for a university abroad is probably one of the most important steps of your application process abroad. It represents both a chance for you to introduce yourself to the admission committee of the institution, but also to present your thesis or research goals you plan to achieve during your studies. Read key tips for understanding what a personal statement is and how to write one for your Master's or Ph.D.
What better way to get the creative juices flowing than an example of a successful personal statement, written by a student applying for a PhD in Literature at a university in the United States? Read carefully and think what you would include in your personal statement to convince the university you’ve got what it takes to successfully complete your degree and
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Personal Statement for a Ph.D. in Literature
In August 2015, I completed my graduate degree and thesis for the Research Master's in Comparative Literary Studies at [university name2]. As a student in the Research Master's (RMA) program, my scholarly concerns were mostly focused on critical theory, cultural studies, and social discourse, built into the wide-ranging, cross-cultural framework of Comparative Literature. In addition, the rigorous graduate curriculum in the RMA program placed a strong emphasis on individual research and intensive academic writing to prepare me for Ph.D-level studies. As a student, I find myself consistently engaged with the intersection of politics, literature, and critical theory.
I have always had an interest in projects that are interdisciplinary and which also foster a broad, social-political dialogue; I have published in Marxist theory, but I have also presented at conferences on neuroscience and on post-colonialism. While my interests are vast, I have always found literary studies to satisfy my intellectual curiosity and provide a meaningful methodological foundation. Therefore, it is from this theoretical perspective and challenging background as a scholar that I wish to pursue a Ph.D. in Literature at [university name], as it would be a privilege to participate in this critical discourse alongside the immensely distinguished Literature faculty.
Before beginning my graduate studies, I finished a Bachelor's degree in English from the [university name3]. I was fortunate enough as an undergraduate to have found exhilarating joy in academic research. Setting a goal to pursue a lifelong career as an academic allowed me to overcome weaknesses that were initially felt to be insurmountable, including low grades and test scores. Learning the strategies necessary for university study, though, while following a compelling curriculum enabled me to complete my degree, participate in interdisciplinary thesis research, and eventually continue on to graduate school. Relocating to the Netherlands for graduate school proved to be a worthwhile choice, as living abroad for the past few years has been a formative and enriching experience. Thinking globally about academic study and education more generally, while being amid a tumultuous political climate and refugee crisis has developed the way I continue to speak (and write) about cultural experience.
In 2015, I had my first refereed article, "Utopian Registers of the New Italian Epic," published in the peer-reviewed journal Incontri: Rivista Europa di Studi Italiani. After submitting it to this journal, the article underwent a strict external review process where I was able to refine my argument carefully before it was published in the 30th volume of Incontri.
The final six months of my degree were devoted to completing my RMA thesis, entitled "An Ethics of Belonging". For this project, I chose to continue my interest in examining ethics and literature, using several sources of migrant literature as my literary corpus. I framed my discussion within the context of 'belonging,' and considered the ethical complications with that concept. One of the interesting aspects of writing this thesis was the ability to place these ideas in the background of current events and political issues such as racism, police violence, and migrant experience. Adding an urgency to my thesis, I was able to further emphasize the stakes of literature, otherness, and belonging, while illustrating the efficacy of imagination, empathy, and representation in re-calibrating the ethical horizon.
It is with gratitude that I have always looked toward the esteemed Literature department at [university name] as a source of inspiration throughout my undergraduate and graduate education; and, the faculty at [university name] has always held my attention as giving invaluable contributions to literary and social discourse. It would, therefore, be an honor to pursue my Ph.D. in Literature at [university name]. And, given my own scholarly background and academic achievements, I believe I am an ideal candidate for this program.