Introduction

English with Music Studies at Aberdeen gives you the unique experience of exploring literature, language and creative writing inspired by internationally acclaimed authors and poets, while also learning alongside world-renowned composers and musicologists. You will grow your academic, writing and performing skills, kick start a sparkling career across the arts and creative industries, or use your sought-after transferable skills as your passport to many other options.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
Q3W3
Degree marketing image

Aberdeen is a leading centre for the study of literature, language and creative writing, rated second in the UK for its research output. You will study poetry and prose through the dynamic relationship between author, reader and literary text, covering every period from Chaucer to contemporary English, Scottish, Irish, European and American writing and the cultural and critical impact of powerful and controversial modern works.

You will be inspired by enthusiastic teachers and researchers, themselves acclaimed authors and poets and be encouraged to develop your own creative writing skills.

Aberdeen is also the perfect environment and location in which to study music, with 500 years of musical history and heritage and a vibrant cultural identity which celebrates the traditional while embracing the modern.

Music Studies at Aberdeen means studying, composing and performing with established and up-and-coming composers and musicologists, working in all genres, styles and periods with unrivalled opportunities to grow as a musician and performer. You will study performance, composition and theory, musicianship and a broad overview of music history.

This subject combination prepares you for a wide variety of careers not specifically in music but also in education, media, business, publishing and widely across arts and heritage.

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses
Academic Writing for Language & Literature (AW1008)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

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Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

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Acts of Reading (EL1009)

15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to the study of English by exploring the dynamic relationship between author, reader and text in a series of classic works of fiction and poetry. It covers a broad historical range (from Folk Tales and ballads to 21st century postmodernity) and offers a basic grounding in key elements of literary theory, literary history and the varieties of literary form.

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Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (MU1037)

15 Credit Points

In this course, basic concepts of Western tonal music such as primary triads, cadences, idiomatic chord progressions, and voice leading are taught using exercises in harmonic analysis, figured bass, and part writing. More advanced concepts such as secondary dominants and chromatically-altered chords are also introduced. In parallel to lectures and seminars, students will work with software designed to reinforce key concepts such as clefs, intervals, key signatures, and scale structures.

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Optional Courses

Controversial Classics (EL1513) AND/OR Rethinking Reading (EL1536)

Plus select at least one course from the following, subject to the necessary pre-requisites:

  • Key Moments 1 (MU1035)
  • Performance 1 (MU1051)
  • Key Moments 2 (MY1535)
  • Performance 2 (MU1551)

Plus further credit points from courses of choice to gain a total of 120 credits.

NOTE: Please note that performance courses are available only after successful audition. MA students audition at the beginning of an academic session, and should ensure that they select an audition time when registering online, or contact the Music Office (MacRobert, room 003) to arrange one.

Key Moments 1 (MU1035)

15 Credit Points

This course covers five key moments from Western music history, giving students both a clear and broad grasp of the shape of musical, cultural and intellectual history along with much more detailed studies of individual musical works.

The coverage will not be encyclopaedic and will instead seek to help students develop a sense of a musical period through more engaged explorations of a small number of key musical works.

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Performance Studies 1 (MU1051)

15 Credit Points

MU1051 is structured to develop, in tandem, students' individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills. Entrance to this course for non BMus students is by audition only. Students must be of ABRSM Grade 8 (or equivalent) standard or above before they can be considered for audition. Students must also be fully proficient in reading music and have a reasonable standard of music theory knowledge.

For non BMus students, auditions are arranged by the student contacting the Music Department during Induction Week. Prospective students will be asked to prepare one 5 minute piece for the audition which demonstrates their best abilities, and they will be asked to perform some sight reading. All students on the BMus Ed programme must undertake additional study in Piano Keyboard Skills. These additional study sessions will focus on the development of relevant vocational skills. First study pianists will also be required to take these additional study sessions.

Timetables will be arranged on an individual basis with instrumental / vocal tutors on commencement of the course.

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Key Moments 2 (MU1535)

15 Credit Points

This course covers five key moments from Western music history between 1300 and 1800, giving students both a clear and broad grasp of the shape of musical, cultural and intellectual history along with much more detailed studies of individual musical works.

The coverage will not be encyclopaedic and will instead seek to help students develop a sense of a musical period through more engaged explorations of a small number of key musical works.

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Performance 2 (MU1551)

15 Credit Points

MU1051 is structured to develop, in tandem, students' individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills. Entrance to this course for non BMus students is by audition only. Students must be of ABRSM Grade 8 (or equivalent) standard or above before they can be considered for audition. Students must also be fully proficient in reading music and have a reasonable standard of music theory knowledge.

For non BMus students, auditions are arranged by the student contacting the Music Department during Induction Week. Prospective students will be asked to prepare one 5 minute piece for the audition which demonstrates their best abilities, and they will be asked to perform some sight reading. All students on the BMus Ed programme must undertake additional study in Piano Keyboard Skills. These additional study sessions will focus on the development of relevant vocational skills. First study pianists will also be required to take these additional study sessions.

Timetables will be arranged on an individual basis with instrumental / vocal tutors on commencement of the course.

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Controversial Classics (EL1513)

15 Credit Points

Literature can provoke, offend and disturb as well as entertain. This course considers some of the most powerful and controversial works of modern literature. It examines the circumstances of publication, the nature of the controversy, and the cultural and critical impact of each work. The course shows how poems, plays and novels can raise searching questions about national, racial and personal identity, and looks at the methods used by writers to challenge their readers, as well the responses of readers to such challenges.

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Rethinking Reading (EL1536)

15 Credit Points

Rethinking Reading invites you to consider what we do when we study literature. What shapes the idea of literature as we know it? How, and why, might we want to change the ways in which we think about texts? Who gets to decide, and why does it matter? Designed as an introduction to critical theory for students of literature, Rethinking Reading introduces several key topics in critical studies: literature, authorship, genre, sexuality, and posthumanism.

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Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses
Encounters with Shakespeare (EL2011)

30 Credit Points

So you think you know Shakespeare? This course invites you to think again. Studying a range of plays we get behind the mythology of Shakespeare, and rediscover the dynamic inventiveness of the Elizabethan theatre. Shakespeare and his contemporaries were the principal players in a period of literary experimentation that reinvented the possibilities of literature. Encounters with Shakespeare is your chance to find out more.

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Optional Courses

Select ONE of the following two courses:

Plus select 30 credit points from Music courses at level 2 and 30 credit points from courses of choice.

The Tragedy of Knowledge (EL2512)

30 Credit Points

This course traces the use of key Western myths from antiquity to the present to examine the way knowledge is often presented as both dangerous and compelling. As well as introducing students to a range of historical, social, and formal variations on the theme of knowledge, the course also highlights the role of storytelling and adaptation in the formation of knowledge and understanding.

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Power, Equality and Empire (EL2517)

30 Credit Points

This optional course in literature allows students at pre-Honours to learn about the impact of global colonialism through the writings of those who experienced it and its repercussions. It includes theorists of our time and texts like Aphra Behn’s Oronoko and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. The texts on this course are necessarily concerned with enslavement and freedom, with how one encounters difference, and what it means to possess or claim territory. In examining these issues students will engage with issues of power and equality over centuries of writing about colonialism and empire.

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Year 3

Year 3

Optional Courses

Select a total of three courses from the following groups, each from a different group:

Medieval/Renaissance Literature

  • EL30EH: Classical Epic
  • EL30CP: Page and Stage: Renaissance Writings 1500-1640
  • EL35EJ: Writing Revolt: Literature and Politics in the 17th Century

Romantic/Victorian Literature

  • EL30XR: Romanticism
  • EL35SB: Britain and the 19th Century World
  • EL30QA: Sympathy for the Devil: Scottish Short Stories
  • EL35VB: From Bildungsroman to Alien Invasion: Exploring Genre

Contemporary/Modern Literature

  • EL35KN: Haunted Texts
  • EL30FF: Modernism: Make it New
  • EL30RD: American Voices: Self and Society,1850-1930
  • EL35WC: Queer Times
  • EL35UT: Art and Atrocity: Representations of Violence and Trauma

Plus ONE course from the following:

  • EL30YB: Creative Writing: Creativity and Craft
  • EL30VC: Fallen Women and Self-Made Men
  • CE351C: Celtic Encounters: The Gaelic World in Irish and Scottish Literature
  • EL35JS: Anglo-American Children's Literature
  • EL35ZF: Images Adequate to our Predicament: Art in the Anthropocene

Plus, select a further 30 credit points from level 3 courses in Music.

NOTE: You are required to gain a total of 150 credit points in English across levels 3 and 4, and a total of 90 credit points in Music across levels 3 and 4.

Page and Stage: Renaissance Writings 1500 - 1640 (EL30CP)

30 Credit Points

This course explores the poetry, drama and prose of a period often referred to as the golden age of English literature. A period which saw Shakespeare and his contemporaries produce innovative new literary works in which the language of desire took centre stage.

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Classical Epic (EL30EH)

30 Credit Points

This course is your opportunity to study four of the most influential and gripping texts of world literature. We begin in the oral culture of ancient Greece, with the Iliad's stark meditation on war and death, and the Odyssey's consolatory reflections on divine justice, poetry and love. In imperial Rome, we see the genre transformed into a monument to political power in Virgil's Aeneid, then thrown into disarray by Ovid's irreverent anti-epic, the Metamorphoses. We end by considering some of the ways these texts have been exploited and adapted across the intervening centuries, in poetry and prose, art and film.

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Writing Revolt: Literature and Politics in the Seventeenth Century (EL35EJ)

30 Credit Points

Literature has the power to reimagine society. The course will explore how poetry, drama and other literary forms across the century sought new literary approaches to meet the challenges of these times. We will examine different literary strategies adopted by authors to engage with their times, from those who drew upon classical precedent to others who brought new voices, and new publics, into the forum of literature. Texts on the course will vary each year, but will feature such authors as Ben Jonson, John Donne, Katharine Philips, John Milton, Lucy Hutchinson and Samuel Daniel.

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Romanticism (EL30XR)

30 Credit Points

The Romantic movement swept Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and produced some of the most innovative and exciting literature that has ever been seen. This rule breaking art helped shape the way that we consider art today and underpins many of our ideas about imagination, originality, creativity and self-expression. This course will explore the ways in which the Romantic movement manifested itself across Britain and Ireland and will consider writers such as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Austen and Byron.

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Sympathy for the Devil: Scottish Short Stories (EL30QA)

30 Credit Points

While the short story is often said to have developed in America, nineteenth-century Scottish writing is in fact instrumental in the emergence of the form. Often drawing on oral and folk traditions Scottish writers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries employ the supernatural, or our fear of it, to explore subjects such as guilt, fear, remorse and the extent to which we can control our own destinies. This course will explore the ways in which the short story in Scotland develops from the early nineteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth. It will include writers such as Walter Scott, James Hogg, John Galt, Margaret Oliphant, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jane Findlater and Lewis Grassic Gibbon

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Bildungsroman to Alien Invasion (EL35VB)

30 Credit Points

This module covers some of the most prominent and popular genres of the Victorian period, including realism, detective fiction, sensation fiction, the ghost story and the social problem novel. We will learn how to identify a genre’s distinctive features, but also how it may overlap with other forms of fiction. By reading authors such as George Eliot, Charlotte Brontë, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and H. G. Wells, we will think about how writers help to create and challenge generic boundaries.

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Britain and the Nineteenth - Century World (EL35SB)

30 Credit Points

The Romantic (1782-1832) and Victorian (1832-1901) periods were ones of remarkable activity for British citizens abroad. Imperial expansion, increasing international trade, major conflicts and growing mass migration all drew more British citizens than ever into contact with the wider world. This course explores the footprints left by these interactions in nineteenth-century literature: critically examining how Britain saw the world and how the English-speaking world saw Britain during a century of unprecedented international activity. This course will combine canonical writers of empire and migration with less well-known accounts of the period. Writers covered may include Mary Shelley, Henry Derozio, Fergus Hume, Cornelia Sorabji, Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle. The course will apply a range of critical lenses to this material offering students an introduction to key concepts and debates from nation theory, settler studies and postcolonial studies.

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Modernism: Make IT New (EL30FF)

30 Credit Points

The early twentieth century was a time of great literary experimentation as literary modernists rose to the challenge to make it new. We will explore modernism’s stylistic experimentation while also considering the social contexts and changes that shaped this literature. The course will examine a range of writers, genres, movements and locations which prompt us to consider what, when and where was modernism.

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American Voices: Self and Society, 1850 - 1930 (EL30RD)

30 Credit Points

This course examines an important and diverse period in the development of American literature, lasting from the mid-nineteenth century until the 1930s. During the course we will be analysing works by a variety of American writers from this period in their historical, social and political contexts as well as considering the ways in which they pioneered innovative literary forms and techniques.

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Haunted Texts (EL35KN)

30 Credit Points

This course offers an overview of a wide range of twentieth-century Scottish literature, focusing on themes of haunting, death, and place. Including novels, short stories, poetry, and drama, the course explores questions of the relationship between self and society, the legacy of the past, and the formation of gendered and regional identities. There are lots of ghosts.

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Art and Atrocity: Representations of Violence and Trauma (EL35UT)

30 Credit Points

How is the artist to respond when the virtual becomes the real and when words cannot carry the weight of trauma? How can an author avoid the accusations of voyeuristic prurience or crass opportunism when he or she attempts to re-present events of public violence? This multi-disciplinary course examines work from a wide range of modes, including fiction, poetry, film and graphic art, and looks at the difficulties of inscribing trauma and the ethics and praxis of remembrance. Key events covered include the Holocaust, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, 9-11, the Gulf War and the conflict in the Balkans.

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Queer Times (EL35WC)

30 Credit Points

This course adopts a cross-period approach, bringing contemporary and premodern texts into conversation in exploring representations of queer experiences and themes in diverse forms. Divided into three sections, queer presents, queer pasts, and queer futures, the course will introduce a selection of theoretical and critical readings in thinking about how representation is shaped by temporal and cultural context. We will consider the relationship between representation of queer experience and formal experimentation, and how queer forms impact on our sense of queer possibilities.

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Fallen Women and Self - Made Men (EL30VC)

30 Credit Points

The Victorian period is often seen as a time of sexual repression and rigid gender roles, in which men and women were expected to perform in accordance with established codes of behaviour that were based on assumptions about innate masculinity and femininity. While this perception of Victorian attitudes may be true to some extent, many Victorians were well aware of the dangers of gender stereotyping, and wrote fiction in order to interrogate and challenge these expectations. Focussing mainly on the novel, but including some poetry and drama, this module explores how Victorian writers engaged with gender stereotypes, and considers the literary tactics that authors used to re-examine, overthrow and sometimes reaffirm them. We will also consider how these stereotypes changed during the nineteenth century in response to public controversies and campaigns that kept questions of gender at the forefront of public consciousness. Figures such as the Fallen Woman, the Self-Made man and the Angel in the House will be explored in texts by authors including Emily Brontë, Christina Rossetti, Robert Louis Stevenson and Thomas Hardy.

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Creative Writing: Creativity and Craft (EL30YB)

30 Credit Points

This course offers students the opportunity, through lectures and interactive workshops, to develop their understanding of, and practical skills in, the writing of prose fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. Taught by widely published, award-winning writers, it provides a thorough, practice-based understanding of creative process and of the technical challenges involved in developing an original idea into a completed literary artefact, presented to a professional standard. It also contributes to students' future career potential, whether as ‘creative’ or other kinds of professional writers/communicators.

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Anglo - American Childrens Literature (EL35JS)

30 Credit Points

From the picture book to the fairy tale, literature for children offers a wide range of literary modes of engaging with questions of human becoming. This course explores American and British children’s literature from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century. We will look at a range of genres including poetry, the school story, the adventure story and fantasy, as well as examining the construction of children’s literature as a genre of its own. We will engage in close reading, and consider historical and social context and questions of gender, race and sexuality.

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Celtic Encounters: the Gaelic World in Irish and Scottish Literature (CE351C)

30 Credit Points

Celtic Encounters looks at the ways in which Irish and Scottish writers have reimagined texts of Celtic origin in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, from the Irish Literary Revival through the Scottish Literary Renaissance, to the present day. Writers have adapted Old Gaelic sagas and hero tales for modern consumption, reinvented themselves as latter-day bardic poets, and been inspired by the Celtic and Gaelic past to produce daringly modernist and experimental new work.

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Images Adequate to Our Predicament: Art for the Anthropocene (EL35ZF)

30 Credit Points

Through the effects of technological progress, industrialisation, deforestation, mining, our dependence on fossil fuels and plastics, and the testing of nuclear weapons, humans have become geological agents – radically transforming the Earth System in ways that will leave a trace for millions of years to come. This realisation has come to be known as the ‘Anthropocene’ – the time of humans. The implications – materially, emotionally and intellectually – are vast and complex. How do writers and artists respond to this complexity? What role can literature, film and visual art play in our understanding of it? This course addresses these and other questions. By studying select works of literature, film and visual art from the last sixty years alongside critical, theoretical and scientific writing on the Anthropocene, can we identify those images that might be thought adequate to our predicament?

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Year 4

Year 4

Optional Courses

Select one of the following dissertation options:

  • English Dissertation (EL4502)
  • Dissertation in Music (MU4049)

Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in English, plus further credit points from level 3 or 4 courses in Music to gain 60 credits in the discipline.

NOTE: You are required to gain a total of 150 credit points in English across levels 3 and 4, and a total of 90 credit points in Music across levels 3 and 4.

English Dissertation (EL4502)

30 Credit Points

Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within English literature.

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Dissertation in Music (MU4049)

30 Credit Points

This course will entail research work which will contribute to musicological understanding (at undergraduate level). Students will research a topic of their own choice (subject to approval), demonstrating knowledge and understanding of their chosen subject matter in the form of a 10,000 word dissertation.

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Controversy and Drama: Marlowe to Revenge Tragedy (EL40CT)

30 Credit Points

This course begins by considering the theatre that gave us Marlowe and Shakespeare, among other major dramatists, as an institution actively engaged in the controversies of politics and religion of the age. Part 1 of the course focuses on the plays of Christopher Marlowe, whose controversial life is unusually well documented and whose plays starkly anticipate later tensions in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama . Part 2 considers how those tensions in politics and religion developed in later drama, giving particular attention to the genre of revenge tragedy.

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Spenser (EL40ES)

30 Credit Points

The module looks at a wide range of Spenser's work in different genres, including a substantial proportion of his epic poem, and studies this in the contexts of contemporary political history, Spenser's biography, and the literary traditions stemming from Virgil and Petrarch.

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Wandering Women: Literature, Place and Environment (EL40JA)

30 Credit Points

This course explores the work of women writers with particular emphasis on the role of place (focused mostly, but not exclusively, on modernist women writers from the first half of the twentieth century). We will look at a number of different environments including urban, rural, wild, domestic, trans-national and mythic spaces. We will analyse place in relation to a number of other themes such as gender, sexuality, race, spirituality and creativity. We will read a number of canonical and lesser known women writers, working across various genres, including fiction, poetry and life-writing. Authors may include: Virginia Woolf, Kate O’Brien, H.D., Zora Neale Hurston, Una Marson, Mary Butts, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Rose Macaulay, Gwendolyn Brooks and Dorothy Richardson. Previous study of modernism is not required.

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Literature and Culture at the Fin De Siecle (EL40LA)

30 Credit Points

The last decade of the nineteenth century came to be known as the ‘fin de siècle’, its French designation underlining the extent to which French art and French exemplars were transforming the Victorian age which was, with the ageing of Victoria herself, rapidly coming to an end. It was also the period when psychology was recognised as a distinct discipline and sought to establish a science of the mind. The literature of the period both informed and drew on new understandings of how the mind worked, and of how the mind was influenced by heredity, sexuality and a social environment being reshaped by new technologies – such as electric light and the telephone – and by the rapid globalisation produced by European colonialism. The literature of the period reflected – and reflected on – these transformations and sought new forms and styles by which to give them expression. We will explore the ramifications of these issues in the literature of the period and the ways in which writers responded to an increasingly mass market for literature.

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Creative Writing: the Essential Skills (EL40PB)

30 Credit Points

This course will focus on the practical techniques of writing short stories, extended fiction and some poetry. It will encourage students to consider assembling a block of skills which they will require to repeatedly construct functioning narratives. The course will examine the practical skills of creating subtle fictional depictions – or high drama – and consider how we establish what is at stake for the readers of our fiction. By the completion of the course, students will have assembled a skill set to tackle creative work in a variety of modes, and present and structure it to a professional level.

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Horrible Histories: Violence and Trauma in the Scottish Novel (EL40QV)

30 Credit Points

Scotland's history is one of violence, bloodshed and trauma. This is reflected in its literature, above all in the fiction of the nineteenth century. Focusing on pivotal moments of upheaval in Scotland's past such as the Covenanting Wars and the Jacobite Risings this course will explore the ways in which these violent events are reflected in the works of writers such as Walter Scott, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson and those in the modern period who have inherited their legacy. Exploring key concepts such as how the novel might approach and engage with the past, the extent to which it may operate as a form of commemoration and the limits which traumatic events place upon forms of narration, the course will examine the ways in which we can comprehend and remember a nation's violent history through the form of the novel.

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Sex and Death: Exploring the Forbidden in Gothic Fiction (EL40VA)

30 Credit Points

This course looks at how eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Gothic Fiction confronts themes and concepts which are considered taboo, unpleasant or strictly. Sexuality and mortality are key themes here, as well as the crossing of class, racial and gender boundaries. We explore how the Gothic can be simultaneously deeply conservative and shockingly radical, and speaks to private fears and desires whilst bringing to public light social injustices and inequalities. This course focuses mainly on the Gothic novel, but may also include poetry and short stories.

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British Poetry of the 20th Century (EL40YN)

30 Credit Points

This course will explore the work of some of the most infuential and innovative voices in 20th century British poetry. Beginning with the Modernist revolution in technique, theory and taste, it will trace some of the main continuities and reactions that stemmed from the first decades of the century and which culminated in a richly diverse and fascinating late 20th century/early 21st century poetic landscape.

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Fictional Futures: Apocalypse & Utopia in Modern Fiction (EL45OE)

30 Credit Points

What does the future hold for modern civilization? The future has no history, but writers of modern fiction have long exercised the privilege of speculating and reflecting on what we might have to hope or fear in the coming centuries. From the Communist utopia of William Morris, through the speculations of H. G. Wells and Aldous Huxley, to the environmental catastrophes of postwar science fiction, this course explores how British writers (1870-1960) have responded to the ferment of new social, political and scientific ideas emerging from the age of empire, industry and global commerce.

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Not the Queen's English (EL45SC)

30 Credit Points

This course will focus on the ways in which non-standard English is used within anglophone literary texts from the late-eighteenth century to the present day. Classes will cover a wide range of geographical spaces and publishing contexts: different weeks will focus on ballad collecting and linguistic antiquarianism, the use of language in American abolitionist texts, working-class voices in nineteenth-century English novels, postcolonial approaches to English, Scottish post-industrial writing and contemporary African-American literature. Authors covered may include: Walter Scott, Robert Burns, Charles Dickens, Edwin Pugh, Zora Neale Hurston, Chinua Achebe, Jamaica Kincaid, Tom Leonard and Percival Everett.

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Staging the City: Renaissance Urban Drama (EL40AD)

30 Credit Points

Drama was the entertainment phenomenon of the early modern period: a popular art form that developed swiftly and attracted mass audiences. London was both the city that played host to this new cultural form, and the subject of much of its output. The course will examine the relation between life in the early modern city and the great flowering of drama by celebrated authors of the period. Using works by well-known writers such as Middleton, Jonson and Shakespeare, as well as lesser known authors, we will explore how the plays of the period engage with key concerns of urban living.

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Vulnerable Bodies, Precarious Lives (EL40KF)

30 Credit Points

What does it mean to inhabit a vulnerable body, or to embrace and celebrate ideas of vulnerability more generally? How can literature help us understand the precarity and uncertainty that seem like an inherent part of contemporary life? This course offers an overview of twenty-first-century women’s fiction from a variety of traditions, and centres on themes of embodiment, community, fragmentation, and environment. Examined together, these texts highlight the generic and thematic diversity of contemporary women’s writing, and the way the self must always be reconstructed through literature in new ways.

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Brief Encounters (EL40TL)

30 Credit Points

Writing has not always been viewed as self-expression but for long periods of history was perceived as a branch of rhetoric or ‘persuasive speech’. ‘Brief Encounters’ examines some of the implications of this, combining textual analysis from a writerly perspective with creative writing practice in a workshop format.

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Irish and Scottish Science Fiction (EL45UJ)

30 Credit Points

The course offers students the opportunity to study a genre (science fiction) in the context of modern Irish and Scottish literature, science fiction is a genre developed by major Scottish writers – such as Robert Louis Stevenson – and also popularised by Irish writers such as C.S.Lewis. It has been a key element in some of the most innovative work by modern Irish and Scottish novelists – such as Flann O’Brien, Alasdair Gray and Iain M. Banks – and has been adopted as the medium of feminist critique by writers such as Naomi Mitchison and A.L. Kennedy who have built on the early and pioneering work of Mary Shelley. Science fiction, as a genre, is closely allied with imperialism and its consequences, and the relationship of Ireland and Scotland to the British Empire has made science fiction a particularly pertinent way of addressing such issues.

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Writing in A Free State (EL45FI)

30 Credit Points

This course addresses Irish writing produced, in or out of the country, between the revolutionary period (1916-1922) and the establishment of the Irish Republic in 1949. Political ferment was matched by a remarkable surge in literary production, in drama, fiction and poetry. We will examine the ways in which writers responded to (and helped shape) political change, while also staging literary revolutions of their own in the bold experiments of Ulysses and other landmark texts.

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The Art of Screenwriting (EL45PG)

30 Credit Points

This course will focus on the theory and the practical techniques of writing screenplays for cinema and for television. It will encourage students to put together the tool kit of skills which they will require to write effective screenplays based on both adapted source material and on original material. The course will survey the established skills of creating effective narrative screenplays across genres, but with an emphasis on contemporary dramatic cinema.

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All for One: the Politics of Love and Friendship in Literature (EL45WH)

30 Credit Points

This course focuses on the emphasis on sameness in conceptions of love and friendship within medieval and early modern literature, exploring its implications for the history of sexuality, and its impact on political ideology.

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Literature and Music (EL45HC)

30 Credit Points

This course, taught jointly by staff in English and Music, explores the connections between literature and music. How have these art forms informed or overlapped with one another? What sorts of collaboration have taken place? How might literary and musical studies work across disciplinary boundaries? While the focus will be on the British nineteenth century, with case studies addressing different aspects of literary-musical interaction, there will be opportunities for students to address trans-historical theoretical issues and to research topics from other places and periods.

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Amnesty, Amnesia, Archive (EL45UU)

30 Credit Points

From 1968-1994, Northern Irish writers and visual artists found themselves addressing key questions: what is the role of the artist in a divided society, and must s/he engage with political events? This course considers how the artists framed these dilemmas and how they have been framed by them. Following the outbreak of peace in the province, the role of artists changed: their work now focused on the victims of violence and to demand justice. This course examines the different approaches taken to remembrance by writers/artists and explores the ways in which memory and trauma are framed in their work.

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Screenwriting: the Narrative Within the Frame (EL45TM)

30 Credit Points

This course will investigate different forms of scriptwriting by writers from a range of historical periods. We will be considering narrative form and content as shaped by subject selection and storytelling devices and structures. The filmic themes will be considered from aesthetic, historical and theoretical perspectives. Through a series of seminars, workshops and screenings, students will develop approaches to visualising film narratives, culminating in a scriptwriting folio of work.

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We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course; and
  • Written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study English with Music Studies?

Why English

  • 94% Overall Satisfaction for Linguistics and Creative Writing. The Complete University Guide 2021
  • Rated second in the UK for the quality of Aberdeen research in English language and literature in the 2014 REF national assessment of research quality at UK universities.
  • An international profile through major literary projects such as the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen and the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels of Sir Walter Scott.
  • The WORD Centre for Creative Writing, promoting creative projects in fiction, non-fiction and collaborative mixed-media in all the languages of northeast Scotland (from Doric to Polish).
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, home to literary treasures collected over 500 years, charting the power of the written word from ancient papyri and medieval manuscripts to contemporary e-books and other media.
  • Historic collections including rare printed books, the 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary, MacBean Stuart and Jacobite Collection, the novels of Sir Walter Scott, and an exceptional collection of Charles Dickens' first editions.
  • A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May Festival which welcomes internationally acclaimed authors to campus every spring to discuss literature, including European writers.
  • Research centres include the nationally recognised Centre for the Novel, the Centre for Modern Thought, and the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies.

Why Music

  • Our academic staff are internationally recognised experts in composition, performance, musicology, music education and music and communities, including royal composer Paul Mealor and other rising stars.
  • The University has a full Symphony Orchestra, Chamber and Chapel choirs with growing international reputations, Choral and Opera Societies, and consorts and ensembles across all instruments.
  • Specialist facilities include state-of-the-art studios for electroacoustic music, as well as a collection of historic instruments including a 1771 Kirkman harpsichord.
  • Excellent performance venues and opportunities, with our early sixteenth-century Chapel often used for services and performances of sacred and concert music, with a magnificent Aubertin organ - the first in the UK.
  • Opportunities to perform at ceremonies, graduations, recitals, and the annual May Festival for talented students in Scottish traditional and classical instruments, and vocalists.
  • The prestigious Ogston Music Prize, and a range of scholarships and special support for students with outstanding talent.
  • Three state-of-the-art Electroacoustic Composition studios as well as a number of Music Technology workstations.
  • Aberdeen city known as a lively centre for music, with links to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Aberdeen City Music School, North East of Scotland Music School, and the region's growing Sound festival.
  • Masterclasses with leading musicians and the annual May Festival which showcases Aberdeen talent welcomes internationally acclaimed choirs, orchestras and musicians to campus every spring.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2021/22
EU / International students £18,000
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Undergraduate EU Scholarship

The Aberdeen Global Undergraduate Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is an £8,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Undergraduate students who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Undergraduate EU Scholarship

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX