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Course overview

  • Broaden and deepen your critical engagement with English and American literature and its contexts.
  • Access the exclusive Special Collections of The John Rylands Library, which holds one of the world's largest William Caxton collections, Shakespeare's First Folio and the original archives of Elizabeth Gaskell and Ted Hughes.
  • Explore a wide range of cultural assets in Manchester, a UNESCO City of Literature.
  • Attend literary events throughout the year thanks to our Literature Live reading series - which attracts speakers such as Martin Amis, Seamus Heaney, Hilary Mantel and Audrey Niffenegger - and Manchester Literature Festival.

Open days

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our taught master's open days .


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2019, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
  • UK/EU students (per annum): £9,500 
  • International students (per annum): £18,500
  • MA (part-time)
  • UK/EU students (per annum): £4,750


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of  School awards  and  Subject-specific bursaries  (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the  School's funding page  where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also  the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

Entry requirements

English language

An overall grade of 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS is required or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 25.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our  English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries that equate to a UK 2.1. For these and general requirements including English language see  entry requirements from your country  .

If English is not your first language, please provide us with evidence of: 

  • an overall grade 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS; or
  • 100+ in the IBT Internet-based TOEFL).

The other language tests we accept can be found here:

Other entry requirements

For those applicants whose academic background is not directly related to studies in English and American literature, and/or for whom English is not their mother tongue, we require an academic-standard essay (in English) relevant to the subject no more than  4,000 words long.

Application and selection

How to apply

Please refer to the following School page regarding subject-specific requirements. These are in addition to the basic prerequisites as shown under entry requirements:

For references, please email the following link to your referees:

References for master's applications

They will submit your references directly to us and we will add them to your application.

Please use the Online Application Form to apply. Once you register, you can search for the course to which you wish to apply and upload the required supporting documents towards the end of this process.

Teaching and learning

Depending on the units you take, you will learn through a variety of teaching methods, including seminars, film screenings, research workshops and e-learning.

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

Coursework and assessment

Depending on the units you take, you will be assessed through methods such as written assignments and presentations, as well as the dissertation.

Course unit details

Students undertake units totalling 180 credits. Core and optional units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to the dissertation.

Semester 1

You will choose two of three core units (30 credits each), which will lay the groundwork for your coursework, as well as preparing you to think about your dissertation:

  • Space, Place and Text
  • The Times of Literature
  • American Studies: Theory, Methods, Practice

These units address questions that are at the heart of literary and cultural studies, and will give you conceptual tools relevant to all of the units offered in the second semester.

Note that if you are doing the American Studies concentration, you take American Studies: Theory, Methods, Practice AND one of the other core units above, OR 30 credits in a relevant unit from outside the course, with the approval of the programme director.  

Semester 2

You will choose up to four out of seven units, each of which is weighted at 15 credits, allowing you to choose from a greater number of units:

  • Wondrous Transformations: Translating the Medieval Past
  • Shakespeare: Theory and the Archive
  • Before Sexuality: Bodies, Desires and Discourses, 1660-1900
  • Revolutionary Poetics, 1789-1850
  • Radical Subcultures
  • The American Body
  • Film and Politics in America

You will diversify your engagement with the field with these units, each of which tackles a range of periods and literary/cultural productions. Some offer 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.

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

Career opportunities

Upon successful completion of their course, many English postgraduates go on or return to jobs as teachers or librarians, continue their research, or go on to academic jobs.

Career paths are extremely varied, and other English postgraduates go on or return to careers in law, publishing and retailing, as well as into many other fields.

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




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