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MPhil in English

Submitted by demo-user on Mon, 03/19/2018 - 17:05

The MPhil in English programme has Language and Literature options. Candidates can choose between the two strands based on their interests and expertise. 

The MPhil in English (Language or Literature) is designed to be a two-year full time programme; thus, One (1) year coursework and One (1) year thesis work. 

Some of the course contents are presented below.


This seminar focuses on some of the main theoretical areas and debates relevant to literary studies today. Beginning with the definitions of literature and literary theory, the studies will also focus on language and narrative, society and the individual, the textual relations, and will also look at post-structuralism, New Historicism, postcolonial theory, and theories of sexual identity. The theories discussed will be related to a range of literary texts, so that the theoretical arguments can be applied to readings.

ENG. 653 ORAL LITERATURES                                 

The focus here will be on the principal genres – poetry, prose, and drama to be backed by the theory of oral literature. Students will be encouraged to research into relevant aspects of the oral literature of their own cultures and present seminar papers on them for class discussion. Each of them will be required to present a term paper on a major area of the course at the semester.


This is a one-semester course that should use the seminar format of presentations by students, and discussions. The lecturer-in-charge selects an African author of his choice, or in consultation with students. The works of this author will be explored in the light of the social, political and cultural life of his time. Students should be encouraged to study how the works of the selected author use literary forms to conduct a variety of arguments about human nature and its relation to society and social institutions – including of course, the institution of literature itself. There should be written assignments and a thirty-page paper to be submitted at the end of the semester in lieu of a written examination.

ENGL. 657:   A STUDY OF COMEDY                

This course aims at looking at the principal trends in the development of the comic genre since Aristotle’s comments in The Poetics were published. Selections from the following areas will be studied: Greek comedy; Shakespearean; 18th Century Comedy, with special reference to the works of Sheridan; 20th Century comedy and African comedy with special reference to the satirical comedies of Soyinka.


This is a full year or two-semester course whose content should be agreed upon by the student and a supervisor. It may be taken once all required courses have been successfully completed. Any student who selects this course must submit a topic in his or her area of interest by the second week of the first semester. The area of interest selected and agreed upon must have considerable relevance for the student’s final dissertation. In other words, this study should play an important role in the student’s preparation for his or her dissertation. Meeting with the supervisor may be planned weekly or fortnightly at which meetings the student’s work and progress should be discussed. The student is required to submit six five-page papers or three ten-page papers as assignments, and a thirty-page paper at the end of the semester in lieu of a written examination for both the first and the second semester.

 ENGL. 661:   STRUCTURALISM                        

Aspects of Structuralism. Topics to include formalism, Reader-Response Criticism, Deconstruction, Post-structuralism, etc.


This study focuses on African literary theory and criticism, providing in one aspect a systematic explication, analysis and interpretation of literary works, and in another aspect, a reflection on literature and literary criticism. It is designed to complement the ever-increasing interest in African literature, and to show that the two should not be discrete entities but exist in a relationship that is both supportive and critical. This study should:

  • Provide an intellectual context for understanding African literature;
  • Expose  students to a wide range of statements on African literary theory and criticism;
  • Focus on pre-occupations in African literary discourse;
  • Raise debates on what African literature is;
  • Explore African orality;
  • Study the African artist as the critic and guide of his society, and his relationship to the dictates of culture (negritude, traditionalism etc.)
  • Theories on genre;
  • The nature and the character of the critical traditions that have been applied to the study of African literature;
  • How African writers/critics view new modes of reading (structuralism, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, post-modernism).


This is a required course for all MPhil/PhD, to be taken during the first semester of the first year. Its purpose is to make students more discerning readers and better writers as they prepare themselves for higher level scholarly research and writing. The main topics to be discussed include the following:

  • The educational and intellectual purposes of research and the first steps towards a scholarly project, such as choosing a topic, using a library, evaluating print and electronic sources, producing a working bibliography, notes, outlines and drafts;
  • Practical advice on such matters as spelling, punctuation and the presentation of names, numbers, titles of works and quotations;
  • A discussion of the MLA system, or style of documenting print and electronic sources in the Humanities, particularly in the fields of language and literature.

At the end of this course, students should have acquired training in planning and writing up research; bibliographic work; use of manuscripts and archive materials; and computer applications in the field of the Humanities.



The terms Literature and Culture will be defined. Terry Eagleton’s discussion of literature in his Literary Theory and Raymond William’s definition of the word culture in his Keywords will be studied closely to come to an understanding of the two terms. Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy will also be studied. This will be followed by a look at Literature and folklore as aspects of a people’ culture. The differences between oral and written Literature will be highlighted to be followed by a study of selected texts. Selections will be made from African Oral and Written Literatures, European Literature and World Literature.


This full-year course will allow students to explore post-colonial writing and theory through a focus on what is, perhaps, the subject’s most central and exciting category: diaspora. This course has an international focus, concentrating on narratives to have emerged within and between Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia, the Pacific, and the United Kingdom. Students will have the opportunity to consider diaspora culture within both colonial and post-colonial contexts from the middle passages of the slave trade to modern times. The work of key writers and theorists will be explored. 


The ongoing global debate about the nature and importance of the reading material provided for children in their formative years has found a place in the study of literature. This full-year course is designed to enable Ghanaian scholars, particularly those professionally involved with children and children’s books, not only to join this debate, but also to rekindle the spirit of writing for children in this country which suffers from a dearth of good books for children. The course shall offer studies spanning traditional stories (folktales), different types of fiction, children’s classics, and poetry and drama for children, with texts from the western world as well as from Africa. Discussions should enable students the opportunity to develop an advanced understanding of some of the major determinants of what children’s literature is; and this understanding will be enhanced by the consideration of theoretical perspectives derived from recent critical theory which has focused on the reading process and the way in which the reader gains meaning from a text.


The course looks at the various definitions and theories of myth the structuralist theory of Claude Levi Strauss, the psychoanalytic theories of Freud and Jung, the archetypal theory of Frye. Soyinka’s Fourth Dimension and others. We also take a look at mythmaking that is the appropriation of an old myth in great literary works to create a new myth which appeals to the contemporary generation. 


The ultimate goal of the linguistic study of morphology is to understand the general principles of wood building. However, before that could be done linguists must develop techniques for analyzing and describing word structure in a consistent manner. This course will endeavour to concentrate on the techniques for analyzing and describing word structure. But it will also attempt to provide some insights into the principles of word building.

Indeed, there are necessary because one of the major problems we face when learning any language is how to create correct forms of words for doing everything from distinguishing past tense from present tense to differentiate nouns that refer to males from those referring to females. Learning how to do these things is learning the morphology of the language, that is, learning about word structure. As with other complex subsystems of languages, such as sound systems and grammatical systems, linguists assume that speakers of languages must be (subconsciously) applying some general principles as they produce and parse multi-part words of their languages, and because humans are not born predestined to speak some particular language, there must be principles that all humans have access to that they can apply in acquiring and learning whatever language they are exposed to.

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