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Course content

If you want to undertake further English literature study with an MA, but don't want to specialise in any one area, MA English Literature may be the perfect course for you. With such a wide range of expertise in the department, you have the option to choose units from the MAs in Medieval Studies, Shakespeare, Victorian Literature, Art and Culture and specialist options in Modernism and Contemporary Literature. The course is ideal if you are interested in more than one period of English literature, or if you want to combine or juxtapose the literatures and genres of different periods.

You'll choose the equivalent of two whole courses from across the four MA literature programmes and research a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation as well as the unifying course of the MA, 'Methods and Materials of Research'.

Join a department that's joint 2nd in the UK for outstanding and world-leading research environments (REF 2014). You'll benefit from our incredible research: over two thirds of our research was judged ‘world leading and internationally excellent’ in REF 2014. All staff in the department are highly regarded scholars, writers and critics who are engaged in research, writing ground-breaking books, talking to or writing in the national media, and providing expert advice to organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Department for Education and other national and international bodies.

Students are able to study this course full-time for one year or part-time for two years.

Teaching & assessment

Students on the MA in English Literature choose the equivalent of two whole courses from across the four MA programmes and write a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation, submitted early in the September of the year following their enrolment on the MA.

The courses chosen may be made up of combination of full and half-units (one 'course' equals one full-unit, or two half-units). Some of the available MA programmes are comprised entirely of full-units, as is the case with the MA in Shakespeare, and some of half -units, as is the case with the MA in Victorian Literature, Art and Culture. In addition, all students are registered for the compulsory unassessed course 'Methods and Materials of Research'. 

The MA may be taken on a full-time, as a one year basis, or part-time, over two years; in the latter case, the dissertation would be written in the second year of study.

For a more in depth look at the MA courses offered in conjunction with MA English Literature, please click the relevant link below:

Your future career

The Department has an impressive record for placing graduates in academic jobs and in prominent position outside academia. In the field of Shakespeare and Renaissance studies alone, our postgraduates have recently secured positions at the Universities of Edinburgh, Sussex and Leeds, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National University of Ireland. Recent postgraduates in America literature, modern and contemporary literature and theory have secured prestigious appointments in London.

The English Department also prepares postgraduates for successful careers in a variety of the other areas, such as:

  • teaching
  • writing and journalism
  • administration
  • marketing

Visit the English Literature - MA page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!

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