Comics Studies MLitt

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 1 year
  • School: School of Humanities

Our unique MLitt in Comics Studies examines comics from the point of view of critical analysis (in terms of genre, style, formal properties and history) and also provides training in the creative aspects of comics production.  The course leads to excellent employment opportunities for anyone interested in working in the field of comics - either creatively or in the production industry.

Why study Comics Studies at Dundee?

The MLitt in Comics Studies is the only programme of its kind in the UK, and Dundee is one of only a handful of institutions in the world offering the opportunity to study comics at postgraduate level.

Our programme has grown out of the expertise of the course leader, Dr Chris Murray, who researches comics, organises major comics conferences, and co-edits one of the few peer-reviewed journals in this expanding field.

Close links with industry experts

The city of Dundee is a recognised powerhouse of comics production. It is home to DC Thomson & Co Ltd, who produce iconic titles such as the Beano, Dandy, Commando, Starblazer and Bunty. Drawing on such expertise, we can offer workshops with industry professionals and even the possibility of a placement with DC Thomson.

Aims of the Programme

This course will provide you with an understanding of the comics medium and the comics industry, and their relation to different genres, national cultures, and various media. You will be encouraged to think critically about these ideas, and to appreciate the importance of relating critical close analysis of style and form to theory, context, politics and history.

These analytical skills, combined with assessment that tests presentational and communication skills and problem solving abilities, are essential in the workplace. The fact that the programme is inherently interdisciplinary in its approach (looking at literature and visual culture together) means that we foster creativity and ingenuity in developing critical approaches to the work.

Coming from overseas?

Our course will provide you with educational and cultural experiences which are unique to the UK, and will give you a familiarity with the role UK comics publishers and creators have had in influencing the global comics industry.

Who should study this course?

If you have an interest in the creative side of comics or graphic novels, either as a writer or artist, you will find the course very useful in terms of expanding your knowledge of the history of comics, and the artistic and literary potential of the medium. You will get the opportunity to enhance practical skills related to the creation of comics.

This course will also be of benefit to anyone who hopes to work in the popular media or publishing.

Postgraduate culture

The Comics Studies students are based in the Cam Kennedy Comics Studio fitted out with all the equipment required to produce traditional and digital publications.

The School of Humanities provides a lively postgraduate culture, including a regular postgraduate forum, visiting speakers and an annual postgraduate conference held in Dundee.

There are also several activities related to Comics Studies, with an annual Comics Day as part of the Literary Festival. The Comics Day has attracted world famous industry professionals, including writers such as Warren Ellis and Pat Mills, artists such as Alan Davis, Rian Hughes, Hunt Emerson, and editors like Dez Skinn.

The Dundee Comics Society holds regular talks by comics writers and artists. Dundee is also the home of D-Con, an annual Manga festival. The journal Studies in Comics is edited from within the programme, and the University library has been steadily building up a collection of original artworks by comics artists and cartoonists from the late 19th century up to today. 

This course is taught primarily by the English team, based in the School of Humanities, with creative input from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. Staff include Dr Chris Murray and Phillip Vaughan.

The course starts in September each year and lasts for 12 months on a full time basis or 24 months on a part time basis.

A variety of teaching methods are used, including: small group teaching, supervised study, seminars, presentations, invited speakers and discussion groups, lectures, workshops, practical classes and demonstrations.

There are two teaching semesters, from September to December and from January to March. You will study the core modules below, plus your choice of optional modules

From April onwards, you will write a dissertation in English Studies or Creative Writing.

All students must attempt the dissertation. Students whose dissertation fails to satisfy the examiners will be awarded the PG Diploma, provided that the taught elements of the course have been successfully completed.

Core Modules

Optional modules

Dissertation

The assessment methods used in this course include weekly journals, presentations, research essays, and dissertations. Some of the option modules include assessment of creative work accompanied by reflective essays.

Dissertations are supervised on a one-to-one basis to ensure continuity, and this will provide you with the opportunity to work on an area of comics study of your own choosing (subject to approval by the tutor).

This course offers good employment opportunities for anyone interested in working in the field of comics, either creatively or in the industry from a production point of view. You will also meet many industry professionals during the course, and have the chance to make valuable connections.

Kirsten Murray graduated in 2014, she is now working for Titan Publishing in London.

“The Comics Studies course allowed me a deeper insight into the world of comics; where they’ve come from, how they’ve developed, where they could lead to.  It opened a door to material I may never have discovered.  I went from browsing the well-known titles to appreciating everything from big press to independent publishers from around the globe.  My bookshelf now boasts an impressive collection of weird and wonderful titles.  I met new people with the same passion and respect I had for the medium; I learned new skills; honed my critical eye; learned to truly value something which had always played a prominent role in my life. 

Titan were keen to have someone on board who not only loves, respects, and believes in the medium, but also has a critical understanding of comics.  Whilst my hard work, dedication and volunteering throughout my five years of university life proved important in driving me towards an editorial position, my fuller understanding of the medium itself is something I certainly gained from exclusively studying comics at the University of Dundee.  Not only is my knowledge more specialised, but I recognise how comics work, and how they differ in various countries – a realisation which is particularly important as Titan works with American and European companies, and is looking to branch out to Japan.”

Students taking this programme may also choose to pursue academic careers, work in the media, or in the creative industries or publishing. An understanding of comics cuts across publishing, computer games, the internet, television, and film.

Additionally, the high levels of analysis, problem-solving abilities and the presentational and communication skills that you will develop on this course are highly valued by employers.

Learn more about careers related to the Humanities on our Careers Service website.

Year of Entry: 2015

Entry Requirements: Students will normally be expected to have a 2:1 honours degree in English or a related discipline. This would include areas such as History, Art, Design, Literature, Linguistics and Semiotics. If your academic background does not meet our requirements but you have extensive experience or work in this area then the Course Director would be interested to consider your application; please ensure that your Personal Statement clarifies.

EU and International students visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country.

English Language Requirement

IELTS of 7.0 (or equivalent), if your first language is not English.

Please check our English language requirements page for details of equivalent grades from other test providers, and information about the University of Dundee English language courses.

 

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes throughout the year and Foundation Programme(s) for both undergraduate and postgraduate students which start at the beginning of the academic year.  These programmes are all designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.  Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer.

The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

The 24 week Pre-Sessional programme (March – August) provides additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and the 10 week Pre-Sessional programme  (June – August) (October – December) provides specialist English Language tuition for students who are 0.5 IELTS below the requirement for their degree programme.

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application. Find out more about fee status.

Fee categoryFees for students starting September 2015 or January 2016
Scottish students £4,500 per year of study
Rest of UK students £4,500 per year of study
EU students £4,500 per year of study
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants

Please read the Postgraduate "How to Apply" section for information on how to upload relevant documents to UKPASS before proceeding with your application.

Apply online via UKPASS


Course Contact

Dr Christopher Murray
School of Humanities
c.murray@dundee.ac.uk
+44 (0)1382 384907