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The Master of Research is a flexible programme that allows in-depth study under the supervision of experts in the field and provides excellent preparation for a student wishing to continue to doctoral study. The dissertation gives the student scope to explore an area of interest in depth and to develop advanced critical and analytical research skills. Students receive face-to-face supervision and specialist research training in small groups within a well-established research training programme. 

The degree is offered to students who would like specific training for postgraduate research in modern languages aiming ultimately at a PhD, or who wish to take a challenging end-stopped Master’s. The core course offers a distinctive element of translation theory in addition to research skills and training.

Contact the institute

If you have specific questions about the MRes degree, please contact the admissions office.

Degree Overview

The course is underpinned by exceptional resources in the Senate House Library, a diverse range of seminars and conferences, and networks associated with the specialist centres within the Institute: the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing, the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory, the Ingeborg Bachmann Centre for Austrian Literature and Culture, the Centre for Quebec and French-Canadian Studies, and the Ernst Bloch Centre.

The MRes is further supported by the digital resources of the PORT (postgraduate online research training) website, port.sas.ac.uk, part of which is tailored specifically to the needs of students and researchers in modern languages. It includes a variety of resources, ranging from introductory training manuals on conducting research in modern languages via language-specific materials to video clips advising on the preparation for the viva or for job interviews.

Upon graduating, students will receive a degree awarded by the University of London.

The research component of the programme is a dissertation written on a research topic agreed and supported by fortnightly meetings between student and supervisor. The dissertation may be written in English or in the language of study: French, German, Italian or Spanish. Topics include: literature, film, cultural memory, women’s writing, postcolonial studies, exile studies, migrant studies, cultural history, history of ideas, and translation studies. Areas of study include: Europe, the Americas, Caribbean, and North Africa.

Modules and structure

The course comprises two modules and a 25,000-word dissertation. Teaching will be provided by IMLR, SAS, and SOAS staff.

The research component of the programme is a dissertation written on a research topic agreed and supported by fortnightly meetings between student and supervisor. The dissertation may be written in English or in the language of study: French, German, Italian or Spanish. Topics include: literature, film, cultural memory, women’s writing, postcolonial studies, exile studies, migrant studies, cultural history, history of ideas, and translation studies. Areas of study include: Europe, the Americas, Caribbean, and North Africa.

IMLR supervisors: Professor Catherine Davies, Dr Dominic Glynn, Professor Andrew Hussey, Dr Katia Pizzi, and Dr Godela Weiss-Sussex.

Modules

Full-time students take the taught modules in terms 1 and 2 and meet their supervisor in preparation for the dissertation throughout the year. By the beginning of term 2, a proposal for the dissertation project (including a title) must be submitted to the supervisor. Most of the supervision for the preparation of the dissertation will take place in term 2. The students write up their dissertation in the summer.
Part-time students take the taught modules in terms 1 and 2 of the first year, and prepare and write up their dissertation in year 2.

 

Core modules

Research Skills and Methodologies

Students will be provided with specialised training in: research projects in modern languages; archive skills training with the Wiener library; modern languages archives and libraries training (in collaboration with specialist librarians in Senate House library and the British Library); digital resources and use of social media; critical theories and approaches; visual languages; history and history methods; and professional skills and career management.

Dissertation

The dissertation will be on a research topic agreed between student and supervisor and will be supervised with (on average) fortnightly meetings entirely within IMLR or, where appropriate, with co-supervisors in other institutes in SAS or elsewhere. The dissertation is the research component of the Master of Research. It consists of a significant research project in which the student is expected to undertake an in-depth investigative study in the modern languages disciplinary field, which may include aspects of translation, translation theory, or digital humanities. The dissertation will be assessed by an internal and external examiner. The assessors will consider: overall structure, organisation, and presentation of the contents; the relevance and understanding of the theory and methodologies used; the ability to develop an argument and to integrate theory with close critical reading; and the ability to provide a critical evaluation of secondary sources and to give evidence of original ideas or approaches. The dissertation may be written in the language of study – French, German, Spanish or Italian (subject to the availability of staff). 
 

Optional modules

Translation Theory

This module, taught at SOAS, provides students with key concepts, issues and theories of translation; effective application of translation principles and methods; and knowledge of the translation profession.

Digital Humanities Textual Analysis

This mini-module forms part of the module Introducing Digital Humanities and will focus on three areas of textual analysis: metadata, encoding, and analysis.
 

Introducing Digital Humanities

This module allows students to approach their subject area from the perspective of digital humanities and other collaborative, multidisciplinary, and quantitative methods in data acquisition, analysis, dissemination, and teaching. Topics in this module will focus on the application of multiple interdisciplinary approaches to the traditional research areas of literature, history, art history, material culture, and the humanities more broadly. Such approaches include the application and extraction of semantic information in text and structured data, geographic and spatial analysis, 3-D imaging and modelling, and visualisation and sonification. 

Assessment

The student will be expected to have successfully completed two/three essays, a 25,000-word dissertation and an assessed presentation at an IMLR research seminar.

 

How you study

This degree can be taken full-time over one year or part-time over 24 months.

 

Find out more about the modules and structure of the course in the course handbook.

 

About the institute

The Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) was established in 2004 by the merger of the Institutes of Germanic Studies and Romance Studies, founded in 1950 and 1989 respectively. It is committed to promoting dialogue and research in modern languages for the academic and wider community across a range of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields in the humanities. IMLR publishes the much-respected Journal of Romance Studies and ‘imlr books’ series as well as other important publications.

Entry requirements

The normal minimum entrance requirement would be a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree from a recognised university in the UK, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard (for example a grade-point-average of 3.0 or higher).

Applications from candidates who do not meet the formal academic requirements but who offer alternative qualifications and/or relevant experience, could be considered.

You must also have native or near-native competence in English and the language of study.

How to apply

You can apply online via our online applications system.

Apply 

For more information on how to apply, click here.

Fees, funding and scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees here.

The School of Advanced Study has a range of funding opportunities for home, EU and international applicants. Find out more about funding opportunities here. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

MRes Bursaries

The Friends of Germanic Studies have made available a scholarship designed to support a student on the Institute's MRes in Modern Languages course, who intends to write their dissertation on a German-related topic. The scholarship provides a fee waiver of up to 100% of the full-time or part-time Home/EU tuition fee, and is tenable for one year (full-time) or two years (part-time).

The MRes Bursary, made available by the Bithell Bequest Fund scholarship is designed to support a student wishing to pursue the Institute's MRes in Modern Languages course who intends to write their dissertation on a German-related topic. The scholarship provides the successful applicant with a fee waiver of up to 100% of the full-time or part-time Home/EU tuition fee, and is tenable for one year (full-time) or two years (part-time).

More information on both IMLR scholarships.

Why the IMLR?

  • Established expertise in the fields of Spanish/Latin American, French/Francophone, Italian and German literary and cultural research, and PhD supervision. 
  • Opportunity for cross- and trans-cultural research.
  • A vibrant academic community. The Institute hosts a large range of events every week, including guest lectures, seminars and international conferences in the field of modern languages research.
  • One-to-one tuition and small group teaching. 
  • Collaboration with other institutes in the School of Advanced Study and high-profile neighbouring institutions including SOAS, the British Library, and the Wiener Library.
  • Access to a highly respected research training programme.
  • Access to Senate House Library, with its millions of books and journals, digital resources, special collections, beautiful study spaces, and laptop loans. Senate House Library houses the specialised Germanic Studies Library, a treasure trove of books and archival material.
  • Location in central London, at the heart of Bloomsbury.

 

From the director 

The Institute is home to a diverse, international, and vibrant community of scholars researching our major language areas, and is host to a lively programme of events, conferences, and seminars throughout the academic year. The IMLR provides first-class supervision and guidance from our experienced team of scholars.

Apply online 

Apply online 

Apply to study the MRes in Modern Languages using our online application portal

 

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