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Course Content

Course content

This is a student-driven course for those who would like to take a master’s degree either as preparation to studying at PhD level or to gain research skills and knowledge of a specific area of English studies for professional development.

This course enables you to research an aspect of English literature (Renaissance to the present), language, critical theory or a combination of these, as well as develop skills as a researcher and specialist in your area. You work towards the submission of a 30,000 word dissertation, on a topic agreed between you and your supervisors. It is also ideal for those who want to pursue a specific topic or research area in detail.

Current staff research interests can be seen in our staff pages and includes work on • digital humanities • science and literature • law and literature • children’s literature • sentimental literature • the short story • multiculturalism in literature and language • politeness, gender and sexuality • social interaction • literary linguistics • dialectology • pragmatics and stylistics.

The English department has expertise in the following areas

  • Renaissance period
  • Eighteenth-century literature
  • Nineteenth-century literature
  • Twentieth-century literature
  • contemporary literature
  • critical and literary theory
  • linguistics, language and literature
  • women’s writing – across these periods

You are supported by an experienced supervisory team with expertise in your chosen area of study who will work with you on a one-to-one basis. They guide you through the course, including providing the necessary research tools and skills. Initial discussion between you and your supervisor establishes the focus and scope of the topic, and confirms the research questions to be addressed.

The supervisor helps you to conduct a literature survey, and engage with theoretical, methodological and critical issues relating to the topic. You are also be encouraged to attend workshops on research methods and approaches relevant to your project.

The course is designed as a flexible degree for those who need to combine work and professional development. Supervision sessions are arranged individually with your supervisory team ensuring that content is tailored to your individual needs.

Course structure

You complete

  • research skills training
  • 30,000 word dissertation


  • 30,000 word dissertation and viva          


This research degree can offer you continuing professional development, particularly in related areas such as teaching, media and journalism, marketing, or editing and publishing but also more general employability skills. It also provides an established route into taking on a PhD and an academic career.


Visit the English by Research MA page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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