Reading Post-Graduates: Pursuing an MA in Modern Languages

In the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies at the University of Reading, we offer a range of postgraduate masters courses taught by internationally renowned academics, enabling you to benefit from access to our cutting-edge research. Masters Degrees in Modern Languages offer a uniquely flexible opportunity for studying at postgraduate level. With core taught modules in research methods and critical theory the course then allows students to choose their own specialised areas in a range of areas directly linked to the research interests in a friendly and supportive environment for research students.

On Wednesday 18 February, we’re hosting an informational session for those interested in learning more about the MA and PhD programmes in Modern Languages at the University of Reading. Join Dr Daniela La Penna, Director of Post-Graduate Study in the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies, in Palmer 102 at 10am to learn more about the possibilities available and for tips about the application process.

We’ve also asked two of our recent MA recipients, Sophie Payne and Gill Hood, to share their reflections on the experience of pursuing a post-graduate degree in Modern Languages at Reading.

For Sophie Payne, the MRes in German Studies was a very natural step:

Sophie Payne with Dr Melani Schroeter on graduation day.

Sophie Payne with Dr Melani Schroeter on graduation day.

The most enjoyable parts of my BA were when I could create a research project of my own, so the MRes was a perfect match. Having spent time at Reading, I knew that the department is a very welcoming and supportive environment for young researchers, so it was an easy decision to stay on. I worked with my supervisor, Dr Melani Schroeter, to put together a programme that revolved around linguistics, a shared interest for both of us. I was able to take some modules in Reading’s Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics, which was indispensable for learning about the roots of research traditions and good project design.

The relationship with my supervisor, Melani, was a highlight for me, because she was enthusiastic and supportive throughout, guiding me where necessary but allowing me space to voice my opinion and develop my ideas.

I would not hesitate to recommend the postgraduate programmes offered by the Department of Modern Languages, because doing the MRes last year was one of the most challenging, rewarding and inspiring experiences of my life.

Gill Hood with Dr Daniela La Penna, Associate Professor of Italian Studies

Gill Hood with Dr Daniela La Penna on graduation day

For Gill Hood, a retired teacher of English as a Second Language and French, an MRes in Italian Studies came after numerous experiences with distance learning through the Open University (Humanities), the Institute of Linguistics (French) and the London International Programme, where she completed an Italian BA. Still, post-graduate study brought new challenges:

Initially I found the regular face to face contact stressful, or maybe that was Chris Wagstaff’s interrogation techniques!  I certainly appreciated Chris’s encyclopaedic knowledge of Neorealist and European cinema and thoroughly enjoyed the units. My second year with Daniela La Penna was much calmer. We examined the adaptation of books to films, mostly those of Luchino Visconti. I found the unit fascinating and was able to indulge myself by writing an essay on ‘La Terra Trema’, into which I poured my soul. My dissertation was also on adaptation – the Risorgimento films of Visconti.

I was very happy with the MA with Merit that I was awarded. I owe an enormous gratitude to Daniela for accepting me in the first place and for guiding me in the second year; to Chris for his attention to detail and determination that I should not get away with any sloppy sentiments – and to Charles Leavitt, from whom I learnt a great deal about how to write an MA essay. Thank you all. I shall miss you.

Old Whiteknights House, home of the Graduate School at the University of Reading

Old Whiteknights House, home of the Graduate School at the University of Reading

To learn more about pursuing a Masters Degree or a PhD in Modern Languages at the University of Reading, visit the Graduate School website as well as the Homepage of the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies. We offer both Post-Graduate Taught and Post-Graduate Research degree courses. To keep up with all of the Department’s research, as well as to receive updates from our students, staff, and alumni, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Twitter feed.

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Reading Researchers: Celebrating Success with REF 2014

4th place for research impact, 5th place in UK rankings for research intensity in Modern Languages

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was conducted jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL). The primary purpose of REF 2014 was to assess the quality of research and produce outcomes for each submission made by institutions.

Celebrating successful research with REF 2014

Cheers! Celebrating successful research with REF 2014.

Now that the results are in, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating! We’ve asked Dr Lisa Sampson, Director of Research, to fill us in on the tremendous research achievements of the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies at the University of Reading.

Reading’s thriving research culture in Modern Languages and Linguistics has earned it 4th place in the latest UK rankings for research impact in Modern Languages, and 5th place for research intensity in the same subject area, with the institution overall being ranked 19th in the UK by the same measure (where the quality of published research (Grade Point Average [GPA]) is scaled in line with the proportion of researchers submitted).

In terms of the ranking by GPA, Modern Languages research at Reading was ranked 23rd nationally, which places it above Oxford and several Russell Group universities, including Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol and Exeter.

Reading submitted work into the Modern Languages and Linguistics panel (UoA 28) from all eligible staff within the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies (MLES) and from selected staff in English Language and Applied Linguistics (DELAL). 100% of eligible staff in the Department and Modern Languages and European Studies were submitted, as well as staff from DELAL. Our submission therefore reflects our dynamic work in French, German, and Italian literary and cultural studies, as well as history and linguistics.

Dr Federico Faloppa with students from the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies at the University of Reading

Dr Federico Faloppa (Italian Studies) with students from the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies.

Research in the ‘Research Excellence Framework’ exercise is graded from 4* to 1*. 64% of our work was ranked ‘internationally excellent’ (3*) or above, with 15% of our research graded (world-leading) 4*. In terms of research Impact, the assessment placed MLES at Reading in 4th position in the sector, with 80% graded 4* and 20% 3*. This reflects the significance of ongoing research in areas of modern language policy and in European history, including Andrew Knapp’s work on Allied Bombing in France. Other current research projects attracting media and public attention are Federico Faloppa’s work on linguistic racism, which has led to his participation in a number of media appearances in Italy (You can hear one of his interviews on Italian public radio (Rai 3)), and Lisa Sampson’s project with the British Library on early modern Italian Academies (recently showcased by the AHRC).

Modern Languages’ exceptional performance builds on our strong record in grant capture, with funded projects by the Leverhulme Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the British Academy. In the coming years we plan to build on our research and impact strengths, especially thanks to Reading’s recent introduction of Spanish studies (one post is currently advertised).

Professor Françoise Le Saux  (French Studies) and Dr Parvathi Kumaraswami (Spanish Studies).

Professor Françoise Le Saux (French Studies) and Dr Parvathi Kumaraswami (Spanish Studies) with students of the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies.

To learn more about the innovative work being done at Reading, visit the homepage of the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies. There you’ll find information about our research, as well as helpful updates for prospective students. If you’re interested in pursuing a Masters Degree or a PhD in Modern Languages at the University of Reading, we offer both Post-Graduate Taught and Post-Graduate Research degree courses.

To keep up with all of the Department’s research, as well as to receive updates from our students, staff, and alumni, follow this blog, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Twitter feed.

If you would like to receive regular updates from our blog, with the latest news about languages at Reading, please enter your email address below: