The study programme extends over a period of 4 semesters (two years) including the M.A. thesis. The curriculum reflects the research-oriented nature of the study programme, providing ample opportunity to acquire the needed research skills and knowledge and to work on honing those skills for concrete research tasks within areas of specialisation.
The first semester comprises the orientation phase, recognising the fact that enrolled students may come from several disciplinary backgrounds. An orientation module offers a series of lectures illustrating the scope, aims, and current research projects undertaken in each of the three specialisation areas. This is combined with overview seminars in each of the three specialisation areas; students must select two of these overview seminars. The semester also includes the first part of an obligatory module for advanced communication skills. Finally, a further supplementary-studies module must be taken; students choosing three courses (over two semesters) from a pool comprising a selection of language courses (e.g. German for non-German speakers), courses from relevant neighbouring disciplines, and/or courses on soft skills.
The second semester builds on the first with two extension modules, comprising two courses each. The first extension module sets out theories, concepts, current research trends and methods in each of the specialisation areas; the second extension module focuses on specific topics and themes from the current research landscape in each of the specialisation areas. Practical skills are also developed further in the second part of the module extending advanced communication skills, as well as in a module focussing on practical academic work experience in which students gain experience from a wide range of activities, such as conference or workshop organisation, work-experience in relevant institutions or companies, active participation in conferences, workshops, or tutorials.
In the third semester, the modules of the programme provide the opportunity for a strong specialisation in the focus areas on offer, constituting concrete preparation for the work to be undertaken for the M.A. thesis. A specialisation module offers two advanced courses in each of the programme’s three focus areas. A research module provides the scope within which a single research project, including theories, methods, corpora, literature research, and so on, is undertaken. The research project is a major element of the programme, conducted primarily in individual or group work, closely guided by a supervisor selected by the student. In this way, students gain in-depth experience in the planning, design, analysis and written description of a research project in preparation for the M.A. thesis. Finally, a second module for academic work experience refines and develops students’ skills through further practical activities, students being required to select activities that they did not cover in the first academic work experience module.
In the final, fourth semester the students' focus is solely on the M.A. thesis, including a research colloquium for thesis preparation and writing the thesis itself. Ideally, the M.A. thesis should build directly on the research project begun in the third semester, drawing on the additional extension modules taken.
It is possible for students to construct their own specialisations with considerable flexibility: the selection of courses within the extension modules can either focus more narrowly on single specialisation areas, or maintain greater breadth with courses from one or two of these areas. However, it is strongly recommended that the final M.A. project be undertaken in a primary specialisation area that each student builds for herself or himself.
The successful completion of each module earns students a certain number of credit points reflecting the average workload for the module in question. 1 CP corresponds to 30 hours of work including the in-course sessions at university, preparation, reading and other homework, etc. A module is a coherent teaching unit concerning a specific topic. The extension modules and specialisation module consist of two courses, which need to be selected from a pool of courses on offer; the orientation module consists of a lecture series and two courses; the research module consists of one course, while the final master thesis module consist of an accompanying research colloquium and the master thesis; the supplementary studies module consist of three courses; the academic work experience module requires the collection of certificates from a number of activities, depending on the workload. It is necessary to gain the requisite CP in each of the modules set out in the curriculum in order to successfully complete the programme. In each semester an average of 30 CP should be accomplished. Over the course of the 4 semesters (2 years) 120 CP in total must be acquired.
Three profile areas:
(1) British, North American and Postcolonial Literatures
(2) Linguistics : Varieties, Medialities and Applications (including language variation and innovation,
contact linguistics, multimodal linguistics, trans-, multi- and intermediality studies,
as well as language teaching and assessment)
(3) British, North American and Postcolonial Cultural History (including the analysis of cultural
artifacts and materials).