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Course content

A Masters degree in English is a qualification that employers understand and respect. It is powerful testimony to your intellectual competence.

Course overview

English MA combines the study of literatures, linguistics, critical theory and creative writing. The course is incredibly flexible and you can pursue your personal goals for intellectual enquiry and literary exploration, with inspiration and encouragement from our widely-published lecturers.

There is a very clear link between teaching and research on the degree with all the modules above drawing on publications by the module leaders (all of whom were recognised as ‘Internationally Excellent’ or ‘Internationally Recognised’ in the recent REF).

You will first undertake an innovative introductory module called ‘Approaching Literature’ which allows you to study applied literary, critical and linguistic theory as a basis to your whole degree. There is then a wide choice of modules based on the research specialisms of the staff including: 'Gothic', 'Late Victorian Gothic', 'Writing the Borders', ‘Language and Ideology in Children’s Fictions’, 'Early Humans in Fiction', ‘Irish Literature 1790 to 1831’, ‘Critical Theory and Creative Writing’ and 'Language and Ideology in Children’s Fictions’.

You will negotiate the topic of your Masters dissertation to reflect your personal interests. We like to push boundaries and develop modules that combine our research expertise with an awareness of your future career prospects.

The market for places on postgraduate teaching qualifications is becoming increasingly competitive. Many of our students enrol on the MA to improve their subject specialism, thereby giving them a greater chance of success at securing a place on one of these courses. With this in mind, we are attentive to developments in the GSCE and A Level curriculums, in order that our students have relevant, research led subject knowledge to bring to bear on applications.

Through the channels of Spectral Visions Press students are invited to submit their work for publication. If selected original work will be published in one of our professionally assembled annual anthologies the last two of which are currently available on Amazon. Furthermore, many of our students have written articles, reviews and interviews for organisations such as the International Gothic Association; An International Community of Gothic Scholars; and other scholarly networks such as the Open Graves; Open Minds project, Sibeal, and Feminist Studies. These networking opportunities give our students valuable access to the wider academic community, and aid in employment and progression opportunities.

Your training in research skills, together with Masters-level critical thinking, will be transferable to many different types of employment.

We also offer a part-time English MA of this course, which may suit you if you want to combine studying for a Masters degree with other commitments. For more information, please view this web-page:

Course content

The course mixes taught elements with independent research and supportive supervision. At MA level, responsibility for learning lies as much with you as with your tutor. Modules on this course include:
Core modules
-Approaching Literature (30 Credits)

Choose three optional modules from a list that may include the following modules
-Gothic (30 Credits)
-The 1790s (30 Credits)
-Late Victorian Gothic (30 Credits)
-‘What Ish My Nation?’: Postcolonial Irish Literatures (30 Credits)
-Language and Ideology in Children’s Fictions (30 Credits)
-Reading ‘Ulysses’ (30 Credits)
-The Global City: Modern to Postmodern (30 Credits)
-Orientalism: Representations of the East in Western Travel Literature and Arab and Iranian Novels (30 Credits)
-‘Strange Country’: Irish Literature 1790 to 1831 (30 Credits)
-Critical Theory and Creative Writing (30 Credits)
-Early Humans in Fiction (30 Credits)
-Reading the Anglo-Scots Borders (30 Credits)
-Reading and Writing the Fantastic, the Marvellous and the Gothic (30 Credits)
-Irish Literature and the Supernatural (30 Credits)

Plus the compulsory dissertation
-Dissertation on a topic that you negotiate with your supervisor (60 Credits)

Teaching and assessment

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include seminars and discussion groups. We often have visiting speakers and a range of research seminars to enhance your learning opportunities. This includes our widely acclaimed Spectral Visions event, held annually at the University.

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters course requires a higher level of independent working. Assessment methods include mainly essays. Some options require oral presentations.

Facilities & location

The University of Sunderland has excellent facilities that have been boosted by multi-million pound redevelopments.

Course location
The course is based at the Priestman Building on City Campus, just a few minutes from the main Murray Library and close to Sunderland city centre. It’s a very vibrant and supportive environment with excellent resources for teaching and learning.

University Library Services
We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on topics related to English and literature, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles. Some of the most important sources for your course include:
-Early English Books Online, which provides digital images of virtually every work printed in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and British North America during 1473-1800
-Eighteenth Century Collections Online, which provides 136,000 full-text publications from 1701-1800
-Periodicals Archive Online, which provides digitised literary journals
-Project Muse, which provides over 180 full-text humanities and social sciences journals

IT provision
When it comes to IT provision you can take your pick from hundreds of PCs as well as Apple Macs in the David Goldman Informatics Centre and St Peter’s Library. There are also free WiFi zones throughout the campus. If you have any problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

Employment & careers

This course is relevant to a wide range of occupations because it sharpens your skills of analysis and persuasive communication. At the same time it advances your intellectual development. A Masters degree in English is a qualification that is well-recognised by employers across all sectors. Past graduates have gained employment in areas such as:
-Media and journalism
-Civil Service
-Freelance writing
-Arts and creative industries

A Masters degree will also enhance opportunities in academic roles or further study towards a PhD.

Visit the English Studies - MA page on the University of Sunderland website for more details!





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