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English MA by Research


Course Description

Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study English 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.

Key Features of MA by Research in English

An MA by Research in English 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 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 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 are required to attend skills and training courses at College and Institutional level. English 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 degree typically lasts from one year (full-time study) to two years (part-time study).

The MA by Research in English 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 for which staff can provide supervision.

Postgraduate Research in the Department of English Language and Literature

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, do get in touch and discuss it with us informally before applying.

Postgraduate students including those of MA by Research in English, 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.

REF 2014

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’.


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

Entry Requirements

Applicants for MA by Research in English should hold or expect to achieve a minimum of an upper second class honours degree (2:1), or equivalent, in a related subject or hold relevant work experience. English language requirement IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 5.5 in each component) or Swansea University recognised equivalent English language test.

Last Updated

31 July 2017

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