Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study English Literature at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
The MA in English Literature offers an exciting array of modules from the traditional core of English studies in the context of contemporary approaches to the subject.
The MA in English Literature allows you to range widely across English studies rather than confine yourself to a narrow field and draws on the individual research expertise of members of staff.
From the student’s point of view the MA in English Literature is openly structured. As a student enrolled in the English Literature programme, you define your own pathway through the Department’s MA provision. This means that as well as choosing modules from the MA in English, you can select modules in any combination from the other specialist MAs offered by the Department, such as the MA in Welsh Writing in English and the MA in Gender and Culture.
As a MA in English Literature student, you develop your dissertation project on a topic of your own choosing in consultation with a supervisor.
The full-time English Literature course comprises three modules taken in each academic semester (a total of six modules) and then a dissertation over the summer. The dissertation component draws on issues and themes developed throughout the year, or emerges from a topic of the student's proposing in English Literature. Part-time study is available for the MA in English Literature.
Students of the MA in English Literature will benefit from the College of Arts and Humanities' Graduate Centre. The Graduate Centre fosters and supports individual and collaborative research activity of international excellence and offers a vibrant and supportive environment for students pursuing postgraduate research and taught masters study. The Centre provides postgraduate training to enhance academic and professional development and facilitates participation in seminar programmes, workshops and international conferences.
Modules on the MA in English Literature typically include:
• Practising Ideas: Advnaced Research Skills
• ‘The Unsex’d Females’: Women Writers and the French Revolution
• Women Writing India
• The Romantic Sublime
• Gender and Culture: An Introduction
• The Modernist Novel: James Joyce
• Angela Carter
• Dylan Thomas and the Idea of Welsh Writing in English
• Locating Wales: Comparative Perspectives
• ‘American Wales’: Writing the Transatlantic
• Welsh Identities: Literature and Nationhood
• Saints and Sinners in Christian Late Antiquity
• Fin’Amor and Marriage in the Medieval English Secular Lyric
• Gender and Humour in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
• Lost in Europe: History, Biography, Ideology through the Short twentieth Century (1914-89)
• Neo-Victorian Mutinies: Gender & Racial Trauma in Neo-Victorian Fiction (& Film)
• Writing Poetry
• Writing the Self
Career expectations are excellent for English Literature graduates. Our Graduates enter careers in education, professional and creative writing, publishing, global marketing and advertising, media, international and national recruitment, heritage and tourism, and relief/humanitarian organisations. Some Graduates go on to pursue further postgraduate study leading to a PhD and a career in Academia.
The Department of English Language and Literature is home to three research centres and groupings:
• the Centre for the Research in the English Literature and Language of Wales (CREW)
• the Centre for the Research into Gender in Culture and Society (GENCAS)
• the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Research (MEMO)
All staff in the Department are research active and publish books and articles in their areas of expertise. Books published by staff in recent years include studies of medieval women’s writing, William Blake, Dylan Thomas, American fiction, Walt Whitman, narratives of the European border, Angela Carter, contemporary English language studies and many other areas. Regular research seminars
and lectures are run through these groups and also through the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) which students are encouraged to attend.
"The MA in English Literature at Swansea offers students a unique opportunity to expand their intellectual horizons in an environment that brings people together from across the globe. I've had the chance to study with people from Ireland, England, America, and Germany and the differing views and experiences that each of us bring to our classroom discussions have been an invaluable part of my education here. One of the other enormous benefits of studying in Swansea is its location. In few other places can a student read a poem by Dylan Thomas or William Wordsworth and then walk through the same streets and countryside that inspired that poet. At Swansea University a student can find a learning experience that breaks free of the confines of the classroom and that may lead them out into all the beauty and history of the city and its surrounding areas. To top it off the small class sizes create an intimate and informal atmosphere where passionate professors challenge you to make the most of your love of literature. In all I'd describe my time here at Swansea as an experience that has both deepened my love of literature while allowing me to come to view it from a more global perspective."
Robert Tretin, English Literature, MA
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study English Literature at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
The Department of English Language and Literature can offer supervision in most areas of literature from the middle ages to the present. We have particular strengths in gender, Welsh writing in English, American Literature, medieval, Renaissance, eighteenth and nineteenth-century writing and culture, modernism and postmodernism, Irish poetry, contemporary literature and critical and cultural theory.
An MA by Research in English Literature gives you the chance to pursue a project inspired entirely by your own particular enthusiasms in English language and literature. The qualification would be a good preparation for proceeding to doctoral work. Alternatively, the proven ability to conduct independent research in English Literature will boost employment prospects outside academia (for example, in the media, publishing, the Civil Service, or education).
As a student of the MA by Research in English Literature programme, you will be supervised closely by two experienced academics in your field. Typically, you will meet them fortnightly in the first term and at regular intervals thereafter. Meetings are logged and goals agreed each time.
All research students in English Literature are required to attend skills and training courses at College and Institutional level. English Literature students give presentations to other research students and staff at departmental seminars and the annual departmental postgraduate symposium in June and the College of Arts and Humanities conference in October. MA by Research in English Literature degree typically lasts from one year (full-time study) to two years (part-time study).
The MA by Research in English Literature would suit those wanting the freedom to explore a topic of their choosing in English language and literature under the close supervision of two experienced academics but without attending regular classes as required in taught programmes; an MA qualification in niche areas where taught programmes are not offered; the experience of a research degree without committing to a PhD at the outset. Research proposals are invited on any topic in English Literature for which staff can provide supervision.
About 70 of the postgraduates currently studying at Swansea University’s Department of English Language and Literature [ELL] are researchers working on an MA, MPhil or PhD thesis. Each is supervised by two members of staff, 60% of whose own research publications were rated ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’ in the 2008 REF exercise. We supervise interdisciplinary projects as well as traditional areas of the discipline - in language studies, creative writing, literature (from medieval to the present) and critical and cultural theory. If you have an idea for a research project in English Literature, do get in touch and discuss it with us informally before applying.
Postgraduate students including those of MA by Research in English Literature, often join a research centre, e.g. the Centre for Research into Gender and Culture (GENCAS) or the Centre for Research into Welsh Writing in English (CREW) where they work alongside other students and staff in dedicated research rooms. Students present their work in the friendly environment of our Research Institute’s annual postgraduate conference, Swansea University’s Department of English Language and Literature (ELL)’s fortnightly research seminars, and the monthly workshop of the Creative Writing Programme. Our research environment was judged 100% ‘internationally excellent’ by the 2008 REF, and research students help staff organize a lively programme of conferences, readings and performances on campus and in the city’s arts centres. As well as being inducted into academic research and dissemination, doctoral students have the opportunity to undertake undergraduate teaching to prepare them for an academic career. We provide study stations with computers and postgraduate common-rooms, research training and the services of a research officer and subject librarian.
What the Research Excellence Framework 2014 had to say about Postgraduate research in the Swansea Department of English Language and Literature …
The environment in the Department of English Language and Literature is ‘conducive to producing research of mostly at least internationally excellent and at its best world-leading quality’
‘Arrangements for postgraduates were deemed of world-leading quality’
‘There is clear evidence of the development of a research culture into which research students are fully integrated’
‘Recruitment is strong’
‘There are excellent arrangements for support, training and employability’.
Summing up: ‘The unit makes an outstanding contribution to the health of the discipline’.
This programme gives you the chance to pursue your own interests in English Literature at postgraduate level across a rich variety of courses led by internationally renowned experts. A core research training course will introduce you to key skills in postgraduate study, while a flexible degree structure allows you to select from the full range of optional courses on offer from the School of Critical Studies. You can also choose courses from elsewhere in the College of Arts or from other Schools and Colleges across the University. The programme ends with an opportunity to write a dissertation on an English Literature-related topic of your choice.
The programme is mostly comprised of optional courses, enabling you to tailor your own Masters programme to your area of interest. All students will study our 20-credit core English Literature Research Training Course. You then take five more 20 credit courses and one 60 credit dissertation. The structure for full-time students is as follows:
The two semesters of coursework are followed by one term of supervised work towards a dissertation of up to 15,000 words which you will submit at the beginning of September. The topic normally arises out of the work of the previous two semesters, but the choice is very much open to the student’s own initiative. Your supervisor helps you to develop the proposal and plan the most appropriate reading and methodology.
It is also possible to write a dissertation made up of creative writing with a critical component. Normally this possibility is only available to students who have taken the Creative Writing Fiction Workshop (cross-discipline) as one of their options.
Part-time students take the English Literature Research Training Course and three 20 credit courses in their first year of study, and two 20 credit courses and the dissertation in their second year.
If you have already identified your area of interest, there are five different pathways through the MLitt in English Literature at Glasgow:
Each pathway will give you a different mix of core and optional courses.
Find out more about core and optional courses.
Our MLitt programmes provide excellent preparation for PhD studies and an academic career. They also develop key skills sought by many employers, including: the ability to find, select and manage large quantities of information; confident and persuasive oral and written communication; and problem solving through creative and critical thinking.
Past Glasgow MLitt graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers in writing, editing, publishing, teaching, the media, heritage and creative industries, and numerous other related professions.
It’s not every graduate who can claim to have earned a degree at the oldest department of English Literature in the world. We first offered courses on ‘rhetoric and belles lettres’ 250 years ago, and have been renowned as a vigorous centre of scholarship, teaching and learning ever since.
At the last Research Assessment Exercise, we were awarded the highest research rating possible, 5*A, making us one of the top three departments of English Literature in the UK.
We have one of the largest graduate offerings in English Literature in the country, with an expansive range of research possibilities. These include each of the main periods of English and Scottish Literature – Medieval, Renaissance/Early Modern, Enlightenment, Romantic, and the 19th and 20th centuries – along with all genres of literary analysis: literary and critical theory, literary history, the history of the book, cultural studies, gender studies, post-colonial literature and American studies. Scottish literature is particularly favoured: we are home to the Centre for Scottish Writing in the 19th Century.
English Literature houses the Centre for the History of the Book and is one of the UK's leading forces in this area. It works closely with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and with the National Library of Scotland. The latter's recently acquired Murray Archive is crucial for studies in Romanticism, Book History, Bibliography and Archive Studies.
Our interdisciplinary approach also encourages the development of research projects that span various subject areas across our School, the wider University and the cultural life of the city itself.
The MSc by Research English Literature I programme is a highly flexible programme allowing you to undertake a research degree by writing two substantial essays of 6,000 words on related topics of your own choice, as well as Research Skills and Methods assignments, before building on this with a dissertation of 15,000 words.
The MSc by Research English Literature II programme allows you to undertake a research project of your own devising, leading to a 30,000 word dissertation.
The academic staff you will be working with are all active researchers or authors, many of them prize winners and leading scholars in their fields. As well as benefiting from their expert supervision, you will undertake a seminar-based programme of training in core research skills and subject-specific methodologies. You will also have the opportunity to develop other transferable skills through the University’s Institute for Academic Development
We encourage you to share your research and learn from the work of others through a vibrant programme of Work-in-Progress seminars, reading groups, visiting speakers and conferences.
Our postgraduate journal, Forum, is a valuable conduit for research findings, and provides an opportunity for editorial experience.
You can also apply your analytical and critical skills to the UK’s oldest and most distinguished literary awards: PhD students form part of the judging panel for the prestigious James Tait Black Prizes.
Our location in the first UNESCO City of Literature places you at the heart of a major cultural centre, enriching your experience with opportunities for literary engagement through world-class facilities and events.
On hand are all the amenities you would expect, such as computing facilities, study areas and a common room and kitchen. Our location gives you easy access to the University’s general facilities, such as the Main Library and our collections, as well as to the National Museum, National Library and National Galleries of Scotland at the heart of the city.
In addition to the impressive range of resources available at the University’s Main Library (more than two million printed volumes and generous online resources) and the nearby National Library of Scotland, we host a number of collections of rare and valuable archival materials, all of which will be readily available to you as a postgraduate student.
Among the literary treasures are the libraries of William Drummond, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Hugh MacDiarmid, Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart and Norman MacCaig, plus the WH Auden collection, the Corson Collection of works by and about Sir Walter Scott and the Ramage collection of poetry pamphlets.
Our cultural collections are highly regarded and include a truly exceptional collection of early Shakespeare quartos and other early modern printed plays, and world-class manuscript and archival collections.
This programme encourages you to consider the relationship between literature from a variety of historical periods, regions, contexts and theoretical paradigms.
You will benefit from the expertise of a vibrant, multidisciplinary group of published authors and academics and will have access to a full calendar of thought provoking literary events.
The MA in English Literature will equip you with a critical understanding of English literary studies, and the ability to reflect on significant questions: How have ideas about literature and literary value changed over time? What effects do innovations in printing and publishing have on writing? How much do political and social factors condition and define authorial identities and practices?
It is ideal for students wishing to pursue doctoral research, those who seek a broad overview of Anglophone literary culture, and those looking to develop expertise in specific literary areas.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time over two academic years. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.
On successful completion of the programme, students may go on to do the PhD in English literature.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
As a student on this Masters, you will benefit from the expertise of a vibrant, multidisciplinary group of published academics and authors.
You will also have access to a number of conferences, seminars and workshops hosted throughout the year. These events cover a range of topics to broaden your thinking in the fields of literature, language and linguistics, cultural studies and creative writing.
Academics to have recently spoken at the University of Surrey include:
They have been joined by novelists Iain Sinclair, Monica Ali, Jaspreet Singh and Nikita Lalwani, to name a few.
Each year’s cultural activities begin with the Morag Morris Poetry Lecture on campus by a visiting speaker and feature readings by students at the Guildford School of Acting.
The English Literature MA programme will prepare graduates to undertake a PhD programme in the relevant field.
It will also provide students with the transferable skills of critical thinking, analysis, communication, and textuality that are attractive to a wide range of employers, from the cultural industries to marketing and advertising to tourism and leisure to the civil service and public/private partnerships.
Devoted to the requirements and complexities of textual analysis and critical reading, the programme also provides advanced understanding of the contexts, theoretical paradigms, methodologies and modes of interpretation that are vital in contemporary literary studies.
The main aims are to:
The programme will help students to apply scholarly approaches to critically evaluate the major schools of literary criticism and literary theory in light of current and the possibilities of future development.
As a Master’s level programme, it also aims to instil in students the capacity for carrying out independent research in an area of literary studies.
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
Our MA English Literature is an open and flexible programme designed to give you the possibility of exploring the full diversity of English literature.
We want you to join in the debates over the nature of literature, the future of English literature, and the past and new cultural experiences of writing and communication which are shaping our lives, with our team of active researchers and committed teachers.
We see research as a public activity, and the course offers ways in which to explore the research process as engagement in the cultural conversation.
Our modules offer the opportunity to research a diverse range of literary periods and forms – from the Early Modern to Contemporary fiction, engaging with genres including historical fiction, fantasy literature, modernism, e-writing, and film.
The MA also explores a wide range of critical and theoretical approaches, including historical and textual analysis, ethical reading, cognitive poetics, and critical theory.
The Department of English and Creative Writing is a thriving and successful Department, with a staff of active researchers and committed teachers.
The Department hosts the Centre for Research in Folklore, Fairytales and Fantasy, the South Coast Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Research Group, which hold regular research events, alongside a full Departmental programme, including film showings, visiting speakers, and theatre talks.
Recent visiting speakers include Dame Gillian Beer, Professor Jacqueline Simpson, Dr Frances White, and Professor Jacqueline Labbe.
In collaboration with our colleagues in Creative Writing, we also have regular events with writers and poets Simon Brett, Matthew Sweeney, Mavis Cheek, Helen Dunmore, Michele Roberts, and Jo Shapcott.
The Department has close contact with local cultural institutions: the Chichester Festival Theatre, Pallant House Gallery, the Chichester Public Records Office, and other local institutions.
These offer you further research opportunities. Chichester and the local area has a strong literary history, attracting writers from the eighteenth-century radicals William Blake and Charlotte Smith, to H. G. Wells and Mervyn Peake.
Learning Resource Centre
The Learning Resource is the hub of the learning environment. It has two upper floors of library resources, one for silent study and one for quiet study, both of which have recently been refurbished.
On the ground floor, you’ll find the Support and Information Zone, Media Centre, Otter Gallery, Costa Coffee and a variety of IT resources.
The Bishop Otter LRC also offers:
Our MA is designed to transform you into an active and confident researcher in the broad field of English Literature.
The course is a gateway to PhD research, providing an opportunity to focus your research, develop your independence in a supportive environment, and refine your research skills.
The MA is also for anyone who wants to develop their skills, subject knowledge, and confidence in research and the presentation of research.
It is particularly relevant for careers in research-related fields, from librarianship to arts management, for teachers in English Literature and related subjects, and for careers requiring high-level abilities in writing, presentation, and critical analysis.
Literature in the Present Moment
What is literature and how do we think literature today? The concept of ‘literature’ is crucial and elusive, expanding under the impact of digitalisation and new forms of creative and critical writing. In this course students will explore new techniques in archival research, issues in intellectual history, theoretical developments, and the transformations of the very concept of ‘literature’, past and present.
Theatres of Pain and Pleasure, 1400-1700
Focusing on the Renaissance stage this course explores the theatre as a site of bodies engaged with forms of pain and pleasure: crime, sexuality, war and religion. Ranging across Shakespeare, Jacobean Tragedy, and Restoration Comedy, you will explore the space of the city and a rich diversity of sites, local and national, of theatrical representation.
Visions of the Real: Literature, Myth, and Science, 1800-Present
Fiction has always has a tense relationship with reality. Is fiction more real than reality, as literary characters come to ‘life’, or is fiction a betrayal of reality? In this course you will engage with the blurred lines between literature, science and myth. From the moment of the Enlightenment and Romanticism, in tension between the ‘clear’ vision of reality and the power of myth, the course traces out the crisis of realism, from fantasy literature to modernism to the avant-garde.
How do you become a researcher? Exploring the research process as one that involves integrating a range of ‘voices’, from primary texts, archives, peers, critical and theoretical work, and audience, this course gives you the capacity to engage with this diversity. While research is often presented as an intensely private and personal activity, this course will help you develop your research project as a public process, giving you the tools to find your own critical voice and the confidence to engage with peers, the academic community, and the public.
You will be assessed over four modules, three with an assessment of an essay of 5,000 words.
The module on ‘activating research’ will be assessed by a presentation (25%) and a written submission (3000 words).
The Dissertation will be a 15,000 assessment.