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Discover the incredible diversity of English literature throughout history and around the globe with this broad and varied Masters course. This course allows you to explore the enormous breadth of English literature across different genres, time periods, and cultures.

By choosing from a wide range of modules, you’ll be able to specialise in a particular field or draw unexpected connections between disparate areas such as Arthurian legend or the Victorian media revolution, Black British writing or the Brontës, psychoanalysis or postcolonialism.

You’ll have further freedom to pursue your personal interests through an independent research project on a topic of your choice. Throughout the course, you’ll be encouraged to consider overarching issues relating to the study of English literature in all its forms.

Leeds University Library is one of the UK's major academic research libraries. It has extensive holdings to support your studies, including English Literature Collections that have been designated of national and international importance.

The Special Collections offer a huge range of rare books, manuscripts and art, covering topics as varied as poetry, feminism, vernacular culture, and the history of science.


Compulsory modules

  • Studying English: Research Methods
  • Research Project

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

  • Romantic Identities: Literary Constructions of the Self, 1789-1821
  • Arthurian Legend: Medieval to Modern
  • Africas of the Mind
  • Reading (with) Psychoanalysis
  • So Where do you come from? Selves, Families, Stories
  • Writing about Death in Nineteenth-Century America
  • Post-colonialism, Animals and the Environment
  • Postcolonial Cultures of Encounter and Settlement
  • The Enigmatic Body of Modernism
  • Shakespeare's Tyrants
  • Apprentices to Life: The Nineteenth-Century Bildungsroman
  • Feeling Time
  • The Literature of Crisis: Politics and Gender in 1790s Britain
  • Turks, Moors, and Jews: Staging the Exotic in the Renaissance
  • Victorian New Media
  • Imperial Masculinities: Late-Victorian Romance Fiction
  • Writing Identities: Criticism, Creativity, Practice
  • Literature and the Politics of Language
  • War, Mourning, Memory: 1914-1939
  • Culture and Anarchy: 1945-1968

Learning and teaching

You’ll generally have two-hour weekly seminars in each module where you discuss the themes and issues arising from your reading, and you’ll be able to enhance your learning by attending the wide range of research seminars and talks by visiting speakers that we arrange throughout the year. You’ll also benefit from supervisions throughout semester 2 with your dissertation supervisor.


Most of our MA modules are assessed with a single essay of around 4,000 words, which you’ll submit at the end of the semester. You’ll usually also be required to submit unassessed essays to gain feedback on your work and give presentations on your reading in seminars. The research project/dissertation is 12,000-15,000 words in length.

Applying, fees and funding

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

How to apply


We don’t have a final deadline for MA Applications, and we’ll consider your application right up until the start date of the programme. However, we encourage you to apply before the end of July if possible, to make arrangements such as securing funding, accommodation or visas. Modules will be allocated to offer holders in early August, so if you apply after that point you may have a more limited choice of modules.

You’ll also need to apply for a place before applying for any scholarships, so check the deadlines for available scholarships on the postgraduate scholarships database.APPLY (FULL TIME) 


Documents and information you need

You’ll need to upload the following documents when completing the online application form:

  • A transcript of your completed BA degree or grades to date
  • A personal statement of around 500 words in response to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application form
  • If English is not your first language, you’ll need to submit proof of your English language results (eg IELTS).

We do not generally request references, unless further information is required to support the assessment of your application.

  • Where further information to support the assessment of your application is needed, we may ask for a recent sample of written work.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.


For fees information for taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more at Masters funding overview.

The School of English also offers a range of scholarships for taught postgraduate study. Find out more on our Scholarships page.

Career opportunities

You’ll be a confident researcher who works well independently, but you’ll also be an excellent communicator and comfortable in a team. You’ll have good analytical and critical skills, as well as having the ability to use different approaches to think about a situation from several different viewpoints.

You’ll be well equipped to pursue a career in a wide range of fields depending on your interests. These could include teaching, journalism, publishing, advertising, broadcasting and law. Many of our graduates also progress to PhD-level study and you’ll be in a good position to develop a career in academia.

Visit the English Literature MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!




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