From Genesis to JM Coetzee, our MA in English offers you a rich and exciting experience of higher level literary study. You will broaden your knowledge and appreciation of different genres, periods, techniques and writers, and of the ways in which they have been transmitted and read. You will develop your independent skills in literary research that will culminate in a dissertation on a topic and texts of your own choosing.
This course can help you pursue or develop a career in the media, culture and knowledge industries, and other professions that require an understanding of literature and culture, and skills in the creative use of textual analysis.
Key features of the course
- Explores a wide range of literary texts from ancient times to the present
- Equips you with key research methods in literary study
- Provides ideal preparation for doctoral level research and a wide range of careers.
To undertake this postgraduate study successfully, you will need to have an undergraduate honours degree, ideally in English or a closely related subject. Although your degree need not be in English, you must show some knowledge of the subject, together with the study skills expected of a graduate in this field. You should be aware that a degree of at least 2.1 or equivalent will greatly increase your chances of successfully completing the MA.
It is expected that your spoken and written English will also be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 7 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
The MA English assumes that a candidate for a master’s degree already has the knowledge and skills usually acquired by pursuing the subject at undergraduate level. The qualification will not offer remedial undergraduate training for those who have an inappropriate undergraduate degree or inadequate experience.
Any student beginning the qualification without an undergraduate degree or equivalent experience in English should do so at their own risk. If you would like further advice regarding this, please speak to an adviser.
Before you enter the degree you must be able to:
- write clear, concise, accurate prose
- read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
- classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
- argue logically, consistently and sceptically
- marshal various sorts of evidence to support a logical argument.
To get an idea of whether the level of work involved and the approach is taken on this MA is appropriate for you, you are advised to read some sections of material from the set books list for MA English part 1 (A815).
In particular, we would suggest that you read the introduction to The Handbook to Literary Research. Chapter 2 of The Handbook also provides you with an indication of the skills you will need to be ready to develop in order to complete the MA. Other chapters of The Handbook give you an idea of some of the approaches to literary research with which you will have opportunities to engage on the MA.
How long it takes
Modules on this MA are studied during a fixed period each year. The minimum overall time in which it is possible to complete the qualification is two years, studying the modules consecutively.
If you do not study the modules consecutively, you must have completed them by a maximum of 10 years to qualify for the degree.
This degree is relevant to careers that directly call on knowledge of English literature and culture. It may also be relevant for careers that demand skills in the creative use and analysis of texts of various sorts, critical thinking and organisation, and understanding of culture in a broad sense. It is also useful (particularly alongside relevant skills and experience) if you aim to work in the media, culture or knowledge industries – or are employed already in these areas and need further qualifications to progress.
A masters degree can be useful for professional development in teaching, and if you want to pursue an academic career it provides good preparation for the higher level research that is prerequisite (such as a PhD).
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Last updated September 20, 2018