• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Humanities
  • Study Mode: Full Time

A one-year masters course, offering modules in science fiction literature, film, and comics, with scope to incorporate creative practice into your studies.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

Our Science Fiction masters is designed to provide you with an understanding of the genre of science fiction and its relationship to different genres, national cultures, and media, covering:

  • the history of Science Fiction in literature, film and comics
  • the study of different sub-genres of Science Fiction
  • the issues of representation and ideology in Science Fiction
  • a dissertation on a Science Fiction related topic of your choice

The course is inherently interdisciplinary in its approach, and will foster creativity and ingenuity in developing critical approaches to the work.

You'll also benefit from the close relationship between the University of Dundee and Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre (DCA), which includes a cinema and runs a programme of screenings, talks and events related to our masters courses. There are also a range of annual activities and events at the University of Dundee which will be of great interest to students enrolled on the course, such as seminars and workshops by professional writers and artists, and visiting scholars.

We offer a regular postgraduate forum, visiting speakers and an annual postgraduate conference. Students benefit from a range of Generic Skills classes throughout the year.

Study an individual module

If you wish to study just one module from this programme, rather than a whole degree, you can choose to apply for an individual module. Visit the Individual Humanities Module webpage for more information.

Language Learning

If you need to acquire or improve your foreign language skills to enhance your postgraduate studies, (e.g. to read texts in a native language), you can enrol on a Languages for All course free of charge.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework
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How you will be taught

A variety of teaching methods are used, including:

  • small group teaching
  • supervised study
  • seminars
  • presentations
  • talks by invited speakers
  • discussion groups
  • lectures
  • workshops
  • practical classes
  • demonstrations.

You will also find a range of activities - including screenings at the DCA, seminars and workshops by professionals (writers and actors) and scholars, and a series of talks, conferences and relevant activities - to complement the Science Fiction MLitt degree.

How you will be assessed

The assessment methods used in this course include

  • weekly journals
  • presentations
  • research essays
  • 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 science-fiction study of your own choosing (subject to approval by the tutor).

What you will study

There are two teaching semesters, from September to December and from January to March. During each of these semesters, you will study these core modules plus an option module.

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

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

Credit rating: 40

The aim of the module is to introduce you to works of science fiction literature from 1818 to the early 1960s.

You will develop an understanding of the concerns and themes of science fiction, including issues of power, technology, and alienation, super/posthumanism.

We will also examine the way in which these texts speculate about the future, or raise ethical questions relevant to the time of their creation.

Indicative topics:

  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)
  • Jules Verne, Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864)
  • H.G. Wells, The Time Machine (1895) and War of the Worlds (1898)
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland (1915)
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin, We (1921)
  • Olaf Stapledon, First and Last Men (1930)
  • Katharine Burdekin, Swastika Night (1937)
  • George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four (1949)
  • Asimov, I, Robot (1950)
  • Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles (1950)
  • John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids (1951)
  • Richard Matheson, I am Legend (1954)
  • Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination (1956)
  • Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers (1959) and Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

Credit rating: 40

The aim of this module is to introduce you to works of science fiction literature from the early 1960s to the present. It is a companion module to Science Fiction - Issues and Approaches.

You will develop an understanding of the concerns of themes of science fiction during this period, including issues of power, technology, and alienation.

We will also examine the way in which these texts speculate about the future, or raise ethical questions relevant to the post-war period, the Cold War and the contemporary era.

Indicative weekly topics:

Science fiction and ecology, post-colonialism, satire, and alienation.

  • Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (1962)
  • J.G. Ballard, The Drowned World (1962)
  • Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
  • Michael Moorcock, Behold the Man (1969)
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5 (1969)
  • Arthur C. Clarke, Rendezvous with Rama (1972) 
  • Brian W. Aldiss, Frankenstein Unbound (1973)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven (1971) 
  • Gregory Benford, Timescape (1980)
  • William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
  • Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars (1993)
  • Iain M. Banks, The Algebraist (2004)

Optional modules

Credit rating: 20

The aim of this module is to introduce you to a wide variety of science fiction comics, and to the treatment of various themes, such as the atomic age, apocalypse, time travel, robots, cyberpunk, and steampunk, in these comics.

We will look at the relationship between the science fiction genre in comics and in other mediums (such as literature and film).

We will also consider the use of satire and allegory in science fiction comics.

Indicative Weekly Topics:

  • Introduction - Flash Gordon (Alex Raymond)
  • The Atomic Age: EC Comics - Weird Science and Weird Fantasy; Fantastic Four (Lee and Kirby); Dan Dare (Frank Hampton)
  • International Science Fiction: The Incal (Jodorowsky and Moebius); Akira and Memories (Katsuhiro Otomo); El Eternauta (Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano López)
  • British Science Fiction: 2000AD; Dare (Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes)
  • Post-Apocalypse: The Last American (John Wagner, Alan Grant and Mike McMahon); Freakangels (Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield)
  • Steampunk: The Adventures of Luther Arkwright (Bryan Talbot); Aetheric Mechanics (Warren Ellis and Gianluca Pagliarani)
  • Satire and Allegory: Give Me Liberty (Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons);We3 (Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely)
  • Presentations

Credit rating: 20

The aim of the module is to introduce you to a wide variety of science fiction films, considering the development of the cinema alongside the science fiction genre.

We will also examine the treatment of various themes in these films, such as technology, invasion, alienation, existential questions, and science fiction as satire.

Indicative weekly topics:

  • Early SF film - “Trip to the Moon” (Méliès, 1902) and Metropolis (Lang,1927)
  • Invasion and Paranoia - The Thing from Another World (Nyby-Hawkes, 1951) and The Thing (Carpenter, 1982)
  • Space/Head Trip - 2001 (Kubrick, 1968) and Solaris (Tarkovsky, 1972)
  • Western and Horror SF - Star Wars (Lucas, 1977) and Alien (Scott, 1979)
  • Existential SF - Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) and Avalon (Oshii, 2001)
  • SF as Satire - They Live (Carpenter, 1988) and Starship Troopers (Verhoeven, 1997)

Credit rating: 20

The aim of this module is to introduce you to early works of science fiction, known at the time as ‘scientific romance’.  These include works by Verne, Wells and Conan Doyle.

We will also examine the treatment of various themes in these scientific romances, such as imperialism, Darwinism, war, race and technology.

Indicative weekly topics:

  • Voyages extraordinaires: Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870)
  • Evolutionary perspectives: Verne, Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864) and Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The Coming Race (1871)
  • Colonial Encounters: Kurd Lasswitz, Two Planets (1897), and H.G. Wells, The First Men in the Moon (1901)
  • Seeing the Future: W. Graham Moffat, What’s the World Coming to? (1893)andWells, When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)
  • Pre- and Post-humanism? H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau  (1896) and Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World (1912)
  • ‘Sources of Steampunk?’ A spectrum of short magazine stories

Credit rating: 20

The aim of this module is to introduce you to works of science fiction which explore the ‘real world’ concern with difference.

Science fiction allows for speculation about the future but it usually also about the time in which it is written, examining social and cultural problems such as sexism, racism, cultural and ideological conflict, and the threat to the environment. 

Examples of texts and topics to be covered:

  • Human, Not Human:Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)
  • The Future of Gender: Joanna Russ, The Female Man (1975)
  • Language and Sexuality: Samuel R. Delany, Babel-17 (1966) or Dhalgren (1975)
  • Ideology: Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed (1974)
  • Difference and Repulsion: Octavia Butler, Dawn (1987)
  • Apocalypse and the Environment: John Christopher, The Death of Grass (1956)
  • Dystopias and Difference: Lauren Beukes, Moxyland (2008)

Dundee Contemporary Arts

You will also find a range of activities - including screenings at DCA, seminars and workshops by professionals (writers and actors) and scholars, and a series of talks, conferences and relevant activities - to complement the Science Fiction MLitt degree.

Graduates will gain a high degree of knowledge and expertise about an important area of literature, art, media, and popular culture, and will explore the relationship between these fields in a highly critical and interdisciplinary way.

Students taking this programme may pursue academic careers, work in the media, or in the creative industries or publishing. An understanding of science fiction extends across publishing, computer games, the internet, television, and film. Students will meet with industry professionals in this course.

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

Students should normally have a good (2.1) degree in English or a relevant subject area.

 EU and International qualifications


English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 6.0
Reading 6.0
Writing 6.5
Speaking 6.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers

 

English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are 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.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

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 statusFees for students starting 2018-19
Scottish and EU students £6,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Rest of UK students £6,950 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Overseas students (non-EU) £16,450 per year of study
See our scholarships for international applicants

You apply for this course via the UCAS Postgraduate (UKPASS) website which is free of charge. You can check the progress of your application online and you can also make multiple applications.

You'll need to upload relevant documents as part of your application. Please read the How to Apply page before you apply to find out about what you'll need.

  Degree Course Code
Apply NowScience Fiction MLittP052143

Course Contact

Dr Nicole Devarenne
Humanities
n.devarenne@dundee.ac.uk
+44 (0)1382 384414

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