University of Malta

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COURSE TITLE Master of Arts in Literary Tradition and Popular Culture








Second Cycle

Level 7

6 Semesters

Part-time Day


This programme of study is also offered on a full-time basis. Please consult the Registrar’s website for more information pertaining to courses offered by the University.

The MA in "Literary Tradition and Popular Culture" aims to question and rethink the apparently obvious cultural division between canonical texts and popular ones from diverse theoretical prisms and perspectives. While bearing in mind the distinctive connotations that the terms “literary tradition” and “popular culture” each bring into play, the programme will seek to explore the complex engagement of these two conceptual categories with one another and the spaces of theory and critique that they share. In the process, a series of pressing questions regarding literary studies, cultural theory, canonicity and popular culture will be addressed. How does a literary text acquire the prestige and aura of canonicity? Once canonicity is achieved, does it endure in time, or is it subject to changing cultural values? If the canon is considered to be a hierarchical construct, does it follow that popular texts are invariably aesthetically inferior to canonical texts? Does the opening up of the canon to include anti-conventional texts signal a decline in aesthetic judgment? Or should boundaries be challenged and recast so as to include literary texts that have previously been excluded from literary history? With these and other related questions in mind, the afterlives of a vast array of canonical works will be studied as they are recast, remediated, reauthorized, and rewritten from several angles of interpretation, including non-traditional ones. The programme will trace their trajectory as they transcend the boundaries of time and space and cross the confines which presumably separate literary tradition and popular culture. Rather than trying to reconcile approaches which are often irreconcilable, conflicting voices, interpretations and methodological procedures will be accommodated and students will be urged to embark on their own explorations of the terrain charted in the programme.
LEARNING OUTCOMES A crucial role of the individual Language and Literature Departments of the Faculty of Arts has been to create interpretative discourses on the literary and cultural texts of various historical periods. The Interdepartmental taught Master of Arts intends to build on and enhance such a long-standing tradition by staking new territory in the teaching of these texts and by broadening the research terrain offered to prospective students. It aims at promoting innovative theoretical approaches which have ignited in several major universities a scholarly interest towards the comparative study of texts that reflect affinities and differences across a wide range of literary traditions and popular cultures. Seven different departments of the Faculty of Arts will offer lectures and seminars on the following key areas, among others: comparative literature, cultural theory, theory of literature, film and the literary canon, Biblical literature, modernist literature, postmodernist literature, the literature of the avant-garde, the aesthetics of decline, representations of the Mediterranean, the translation of canonical and popular texts. Students will be trained to read texts within a precise historical context and as part of a complex web of intertextual literary and cultural relationships. In the process, they will acquire skills in the analysis of literary and cultural texts via an understanding of the key concepts and the terminology of literary theory, comparative literature and popular culture. The interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and transhistorical approach promoted by the programme will enable students to develop the necessary skills which will allow them to integrate non-literary material into their research on literary texts.
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AND ACCESS TO FURTHER STUDY The taught Master of Arts in ‘Literary Tradition and Popular Culture’ is flexible enough to enable its students to take up employment opportunities both locally and abroad in a wide spectrum of areas which may include among others teaching, broadcasting, journalism, publishing, consultancy, the Foreign Office, Public Relations, Personnel Management, Advertising, Ministerial Secretarial Careers, Political careers, script writers and proof readers. Students will also be able to go on to doctoral study after having obtained their Master of Arts.
COURSE INTENDED FOR The course is not restricted to graduates of language and literature but welcomes Honours graduates (Second Class or better) as well as all those holding an Ordinary degree at Category II or better. Indeed the programme which will be taught in its entirety in English is designed to address the interests of students from different academic backgrounds. The intent of this cutting-edge programme is to provide students with a unique opportunity to engage in a dialogical exchange on a vast array of comparative issues and to build a dynamic postgraduate community.

Requirements for Overseas Students

Overseas students should click here for the English Language Proficiency Requirements.
The Course shall be open to applicants in possession of one of the following qualifications:

(a) the degree of Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in the same or in a closely related area of study as the area of study applied for provided that applicants in possession of a Third Class Honours qualification shall satisfy the Board that they are in possession of other qualifications, including relevant experience, obtained following the first cycle degree or

(b) the degree of Bachelor of Arts in the same or in a closely related area of study as that applied for, with an average mark of not less than 65% in that area or

(c) a degree from this or from another university which the Board considers as comparable to any of the degrees indicated in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) above.

In the case of a mainly taught course and depending on the nature of the programme, the Board may allow applicants possessing a degree other than those specified in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) to join the Course subject to an interview to establish whether they have sufficient proficiency and background to be able to profit from the Course. In certain such instances the Course Co-ordinator may recommend that applicants follow part or all of the relevant preparatory programme.

Preparatory Programme

Applicants not in possession of an Honours degree admitted under paragraphs (b) and (c) shall be required to complete a preparatory programme, comprising not less than 30 and not more than 60 credits as directed by the Board, depending on the number of credits already obtained in that area of study, with an overall average mark of 55% or better, prior to their registration as regular students on the Course.

Preparatory programmes shall also be governed by the Principal Regulations.

The admission requirements are applicable for courses commencing in October 2012.

For more detailed information pertaining to admission and progression requirements please refer to the bye-laws for the course available here.



Last Updated: 18 March 2017
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
Unless for exceptional approved reasons, no changes to the programme of study for a particular academic year will be made once the students' registration period for that academic year begins.

For applicable fees please check the link on the Finance Office webpage.
Semester 1 Examination Timetable
Undergraduate and Postgraduate students can download the Semester 1 Examination Timetable for Academic Year 2017/8 from this page. 

Dean's List Application Forms

The Dean’s list will be published as a recognition for academic excellence achieved during the first 2 years of the B.A./B.(Hons)/B.(Hums) full-time Degree Courses.

Please click here for more information.

Please click here for the Application Form.

Student Representatives on Board of Studies

Student Representatives on the Board of Studies

Undergraduate Semester Timetables 2017/18
Undergraduate students may download the Semester Timetables from this page.

Postgraduate Semester Timetables 2017/18
Postgraduate students may download the Semester Timetables from this page.


Certificate in Language Proficiency
Information regarding the Certificate in Language Proficiency, including Semester 1 and Semester 2 timetables.

Approved Combinations of Areas of Study
Approved Combinations Of Areas Of Study for October 2017

Diploma fil-Letteratura Maltija
Students may download the Semester Timetables from this page.

Students' Requests Committee Meeting: Undergraduates only
Please click here to download Student's Request Form

Long Essay/Dissertation/Thesis Authenticity Form
Authenticity Form for Long Essay/Dissertation/Thesis

Submission of Dissertation/Thesis for Examination
Submission of Dissertation/Thesis for Examination


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