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Course content

The MA in English and American Studies prepares students for undertaking further research in the discipline, but it is also aimed at those who wish to broaden and deepen their critical engagement with English and American literature and culture. The structure of the MA is flexible, which means that you can choose to combine your interests in English and American culture, or you can choose to focus more exclusively on one or the other . The division of English, American Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester provides a thriving environment, with its vibrant research culture, its close links to the Centre of New Writing, its involvement in the Manchester Literature Festival and its access to the world-class John Rylands research library.

While this MA offers you a range of exciting modules that are chronologically or geographically specific, all modules are informed by recent theoretical and historical developments that allow you to think about categories like `literature', `culture' and `history' in nuanced and fresh ways.

You can also choose 30 credits from our  MA Modern and Contemporary Literature (subject to availability) to further extend the scope of your study.

Teaching and learning

In your first semester, you will choose 2 of 3 core modules (30 credits each), which will lay the groundwork for your coursework as well as preparing you to think about your dissertation. The core modules address questions that are at the heart of literary and cultural studies, and will give you conceptual tools relevant to all of the modules offered in the second semester.

In the second semester, you will choose 4 out of 6 modules, each of which is weighted at 15 credits, allowing you the choice of a greater number of courses. You diversify your engagement with the field with these courses, each of which tackles a range of periods and literary/cultural productions. Some of the courses offer you the chance to engage with the holdings of the John Rylands Library. Each focuses on a body of work, or on a topic or critical question, situated in a particular context. Students with an interest in American Studies take 6 modules in total, including, in semester one, the core course 'American Studies: Theories, Methods, Practice' plus the choice of one of the other core courses (as listed above).

Finally, students will write a 15,000-word dissertation, worth 60 credits, supervised by an academic member of staff.

Coursework and assessment

Students are required to take 180 credits of units as listed above.

The list of units on offer will be updated annually. Students may also choose up to 30 credits worth of units from another MA programme in place of one of their optional units, subject to the approval of the Programme Director.

Students will also attend seminars on such topics as how to study at MA level, how to research and write a Master's thesis, and career options.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: 


Visit the English Literature and American Studies (MA) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!

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