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Masters Degrees in United States Literature, United Kingdom

We have 17 Masters Degrees in United States Literature, United Kingdom

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Gain a rich understanding of the variety and interconnections of American writing, exploring major poetic, fictional, non-fictional and dramatic works. Read more
Gain a rich understanding of the variety and interconnections of American writing, exploring major poetic, fictional, non-fictional and dramatic works. American literature is topical and contemporary; Author Junot Díaz’s book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was declared the best novel of the 21st century (so far!). This is just one of the novels that you will have the opportunity to study on this course.

At Essex, we challenge the study of the United States as a territorially bound space by embracing an expanded conception of ‘America’, which explores the richness of U.S. and Caribbean literatures in dialogue. This allows you to formulate sophisticated analyses of the role of space and place in the production of American writing and identities.

You explore how cultural geography may be integrated into literary history, concentrating on American literatures topics including:
-How violence and conflict have shaped writing across the American tropics
-The difference between reality and the “American Dream”
-Caribbean modernities and post-colonialism
-US nationalism and regionalism in literature
-African American literature

Our department is ranked Top 20 in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2015) and in the Top 200 worldwide (QS World University Rankings), and three-quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Our expert staff

At Essex, we have an impressive literary legacy. Our history comprises staff (and students) who have shaped writing as we know it and has included Nobel Prize winners, Booker Prize winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners.

This course reflects our longstanding strengths in the literatures and cultures of the Americas, particularly the US South and Caribbean regions. You are taught by leading area specialists who have researched and published extensively on Caribbean and US literatures:
-Professor Maria Cristina Fumagalli has published widely on Caribbean literature and culture, including her recent book On the Edge: Writing the Border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic
-Dr Owen Robinson is a US literature specialist with particular interests in William Faulkner and the US South; forthcoming publications include Myriad City: Towards a Literary Geography of New Orleans
-Dr Jak Peake has broad interests across Caribbean and US writing, with particular expertise in Trinidadian literature; forthcoming publications include Between the Bocas: A Literary Geography of Western Trinidad

We are an interdisciplinary department and our academic staff have expertise in literature, film theory and practice, drama, creative writing and journalism.

Specialist facilities

-Meet fellow readers at the student-run Literature Society or at our department’s Myth Reading Group
-Write for our student magazine Albert or host a Red Radio show
-View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
-Learn from leading writers and literature specialists at weekly research seminars
-Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
-Improve your playwriting and performance skills at our Lakeside Theatre Workshops
-Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested

Your future

A good literature degree opens many doors.

We offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.

Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities. A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as writers, and others are now established as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers’ editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

MA American Literartures
-Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis
-War, Violence & Conflict in the American Tropics
-US Nationalism and Regionalism
-"There is a Continent Outside My Window" : United States and Caribbean Literatures in Dialogue
-The New Nature Writing (optional)
-Writing the Novel (optional)
-Memory Maps: Practices in Psychogeography (optional)
-Dramatic Structure (optional)
-Literature and Performance in the Modern City
-Early Modern to Eighteenth Century Literature
-Georgian and Romantic Literature and Drama
-Documentary and the Avant-garde: Film, Video, Digital
-Film and Video Production Workshop
-Advanced Film and Industry: Production and Industry
-African American Literature (optional)
-Sea of Lentils: Modernity, Literature, and Film in the Caribbean
-Writing Magic (optional)
-Literature and the Environmental Imagination: 19th to 21st Century Poetry and Prose (optional)

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The United States remains the most powerful nation in the world, in terms of its economic, military and cultural influence. A glance around us will reveal the enduring appeal and enormous popularity of things American. Read more
The United States remains the most powerful nation in the world, in terms of its economic, military and cultural influence. A glance around us will reveal the enduring appeal and enormous popularity of things American.

This degree will offer you an exciting as well as sophisticated programme which will encourage you to reflect critically upon the predominance of the United States over the last century or so in political, cultural, historical and literary terms and contexts. As a result, you will reflect on the unique status of American Studies as a truly inter-disciplinary subject area.

Course detail

This degree offers a tightly integrated programme with a selection of modules that will enrich your research methods and approaches in the American Studies subject-area. Whilst concentrating on the core aspects of American Studies you will be encouraged to pursue your research through avenues of related subjects (History, Literature and Film) forming a holistic, yet inter-disciplinary, approach. The modules offered emphasise a cross-fertilisation of subject areas, promoting an international perspective towards America, such as global concerns and transnational considerations, thus shifting from the original constructs of America, ‘American uniqueness’ and ‘exceptionalism’ (Brian Edwards, Globalising American Studies, 2010).

This programme is, therefore, well-suited to those students who prefer diversity to the narrower focus of a single-subject Master’s degree.

The suite of taught modules have been carefully constructed to take you on a series of journeys - from a discussion of American Studies itself as an approach, and then from the immediate localities, regions and borders of the United States, to the wider national and international settings. This will offer multi-perspective interpretations of the United States, internally, with its neighbours and with the rest of the world.

You will engage in an inter-connected sequence of debates which will lead you to a greater understanding of the complexity of the United States as a cultural construct as well as a geographical and political entity.


American Studies has a historical, literary, cultural and evidence-based approach which requires wide, critical reading and intelligent synthesis of ideas and information. It requires you to construct arguments in writing. You will receive critical and constructive comments on your progress as an integral part of teaching and learning, through individual meetings with tutors, feedback on written work or specific coursework tutorials.

We place importance on presentations so, as a transferable skill, you will present seminar papers extensively throughout the course of your modules. These will be used as a basis for feedback and will then feed into your written work. These exercises will develop your critical abilities as well as widen your familiarity with, and confidence in handling, a range of sources, preparing you for the modules’ summative assessment stage, and the final dissertation.

This programme places a strong emphasis on the development of independent research and writing. The programme’s assessment strategies are designed to develop independent research skills; the ability to structure and write a sophisticated critical essay and longer academic monographs, and the opportunity to pursue your own intellectual interests within each module’s thematic scope.

How to apply

For information on how to apply, please see the following link:

Other sources of funding

Information on alternative sources of funding can be found here:

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The MA by Research in American Studies gives you an opportunity to develop your research interests in the history, politics, literature and/or culture of the United States in a supportive environment, with the guidance of a supervisor who is an expert in their field. Read more
The MA by Research in American Studies gives you an opportunity to develop your research interests in the history, politics, literature and/or culture of the United States in a supportive environment, with the guidance of a supervisor who is an expert in their field. At CCCU, we have a small team of experienced American Studies MA by Research supervisors who are committed to supporting research students to reach their potential.

Visit the website: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/courses/postgraduate/american-studies-by-research.aspx

Course detail

You will study your own research area under the guidance of an experienced supervisor in your field. We recommend that you contact potential supervisors when you are developing your research proposal so that we can advise you on the feasibility of your project and provide support and guidance through the application process.


The programme is aimed at both recent graduates and returners to education who are passionate about a research area related to the United States. If you enjoyed researching and writing your undergraduate dissertation, have a desire to expand your knowledge of a US topic that has sparked your interest, or you want to pursue an established interest through a formal degree, then an MA by Research in American Studies may be for you.

Students who complete an MA by Research often go on to MPhil or PhD study in American Studies or a related discipline, such as History, Political Science, or English Literature.


The emphasis of this programme is on independent research. That said, you will have regular meetings with your supervisor, and you will have the opportunity to attend sessions with the Graduate School’s Researcher Development Programme.

All supervisory teams will include access to an experienced supervisor. For information on our supervisors’ fields of interest, please see our staff profiles: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/school-of-humanities/american-studies/our-team.aspx

You will also be invited to attend the regular American Studies Research Seminar—a guest speaker programme—which will allow you to network with academics in the field, and hear about some of the cutting edge research taking place in American Studies both in the UK and Internationally.


The MA by Research is awarded by dissertation.

Supervised by a panel of experienced researchers, you'll meet regularly with your first supervisor and present your work in progress to the full panel halfway through your registration period. Following advice from this Review meeting you'll complete the writing up of your 25-30,000 word dissertation.

What can I do next?

On this programme you will gain research, written communication, time-management, and independent study skills that are invaluable to a range of careers.

You could also continue to further study, such as an MPhil or PhD.

How to apply

For information on how to apply, please follow this link: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/how-to-apply/how-to-apply.aspx


-Masters Loans-

From 2016/17 government loans of up to £10,000 are available for postgraduate Masters study. The loans will be paid directly to students by the Student Loans Company and will be subject to both personal and course eligibility criteria.

For more information available here: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/funding-your-degree/funding-your-postgraduate-degree.aspx

-2017/18 Entry Financial Support-

Information on alternative funding sources is available here: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/funding-your-degree/2017-18-entry-financial-support.aspx

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The MRes in Humanities offers students the opportunity to produce a substantial piece of independent research and writing, and to undertake wide-ranging, systematic training in research skills and project management. Read more


The MRes in Humanities offers students the opportunity to produce a substantial piece of independent research and writing, and to undertake wide-ranging, systematic training in research skills and project management. Students will write a dissertation in a specific field or prepare a portfolio of compositions, recital or a media project with a named supervisor.

Supervision is available in all disciplines where the School has expertise:
- American Studies
- English
- History
- Media, Communications and Culture
- Music and Music Technology
- Philosophy
- Russian

You will be able to develop your research topic within the context of current debates and methodologies in relevant disciplines and within the humanities generally. The course will develop practical, critical and analytical research skills that can be deployed in a variety of professional and intellectual contexts. The programme is tailored to your research and career plans, and we recommend that you contact us before making a formal application.

The MRes degree is intended for applicants who already have a clear dissertation project (or equivalent, e.g. composition portfolio, performance or software development plan). In liaison with the supervisor and discipline lead, a plan of work in semester 1 and 2 is agreed and serves as preparation for the project as well as assessed work in its own right. When you submit your online application, please use your personal statement to describe the dissertation (or equivalent) project you intend to carry out (500-700 words). Include specific research questions and aims. What does the project intend to elucidate? Is any hypothesis proposed? How will the research be carried out (i.e. methodology)?

See the website https://www.keele.ac.uk/pgtcourses/humanitiesmres/

American Studies

American Studies is a multidisciplinary department devoted to the analysis of the United States from the foundations of the republic to the present day. As a long-established centre of excellence in research and teaching, we aim to offer a supportive and lively environment for pursuing top-quality postgraduate courses.

American Studies at Keele enjoys an outstanding national and international reputation. At every level of the postgraduate programme our aim is to give both clear expectations and supportive guidance to enable you to achieve your goal.

Our tutors are all active in research, and our teaching reflects our specialist strengths. There is considerable cross-fertilization of ideas within the department, and consequently an interest in multidisciplinary work. In US History and Politics, tutors (Chris Bailey, Jon Herbert, Jon Parker, Laura Sandy and Axel Schafer) specialize in the history of the Civil War era and the American South, Cold War society, religion and politics, intellectual history, the politics of the environment, the US Congress, the American presidency, the politics of education, state and local government, and electoral politics.

In American Literature and Culture, tutors, (Ian Bell, Oliver Harris, James Peacock and Tim Lustig) have research interests in nineteenth- and twentieth-century, in contemporary fiction, relations between literature and science, African American literature, film noir, cultural theory and cultural memory, Anglo-American modernism, trauma theory, and the Beat generation.

Course Aims

To enable students to research and write an extended dissertation, whilst developing practical, critical and analytical research skills that can be deployed in a variety of professional and intellectual contexts. Students will develop an understanding of the place of a specific research topic within current debates and methodologies in relevant disciplines, and within the humanities generally. The course will promote the ‘project management skills’ of defining and planning a project, meeting deadlines, and recording and reflecting on outcomes.

Course Content

Students follow a tailor-made programme, comprising three components totalling at least 180 credits.
- A 20,000 word dissertation (or equivalent composition or artistic production) is at the heart of the programme (90 credits).

- Research Training covering research skills and reflective practice in the humanities (2 x 15 = 30 credits).

- Research methods in the field relevant to the thesis topic (30 credits)

- Individual Research Orientation: a module tailored to the needs of the student (30 credits).

Teaching & Assessment

Assessment is by coursework, culminating in the 20,000 word dissertation (or the equivalent composition or artistic production). Research Training is assessed by a portfolio consisting of an annotated bibliography, a project outline and a reflective diary. Each of the other modules will be examined through a 4,000-5,000 word essay or approved equivalent.

The pass mark is 50%. A merit will be awarded where students obtain 60% or over for the dissertation (or equivalent project or performance) and an average of 60% on their other coursework. A distinction will be awarded where students obtain 70% or over for the dissertation, (or equivalent project or performance) and an average of 70% in their other coursework.

Additional Costs

Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this post graduate programme.

Discretionary Award:
A sum of £6,250 has been made available to students enrolling on taught postgraduate course in History by a former member of Keele staff. The money will be distributed at the discretion of the relevant programme director(s) and is available to students entering the programme in 2015 and/or 2016. No application is required.

Find information on Scholarships here - http://www.keele.ac.uk/studentfunding/bursariesscholarships/

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Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study American Studies at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017). Read more

Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study American Studies at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).

The MA by Research in American Studies helps to develop an understanding of the forces that have moulded and continue to shape America, and helps us to make sense of our contemporary world. The comparative study of the history and culture of the United States addresses themes such as immigration, democracy, slavery, imperialism, multiculturalism, religion, the economy and, more recently, terrorism. These issues do not just concern the past; they are directly relevant to the world we live in.

MA by Research in American Studies

The MA by Research in American Studies is ideal for those who want:

- an MA qualification in 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 American Studies for which staff in the Department of Political and Cultural Studies can provide supervision. It is a good idea to enter into discussions about your research project in American Studies with the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research, Professor Roland Axtmann (), before drawing up an initial proposal and starting the application process.

Department of Political and Cultural Studies

The Department of Political and Cultural Studies (PCS) boasts a dynamic research environment with a committed staff all of whom are research-active. Academic members of staff have a very considerable range of research interests on which we offer supervision for research degrees in American Studies.

An MA by Research in American Studies gives you the chance to pursue a major research project based around your own passions and interests in American Studies, leading to a qualification which can open the door to an academic career or boost employment prospects outside academia. It will give you the freedom to explore a topic of your choosing and develop a methodology under the close supervision of two experienced academics but without attending regular classes as required in taught programmes.

Typically as a student of the MA by Research in American Studies programme you will work closely with your supervisors, meeting them regularly, in many instances fortnightly, in the first term and at regular intervals thereafter. Meetings are logged and goals agreed each time.

Students enrolled in the MA by Research American Studies are required to attend skills and training courses at College and University level. You may also be expected to give presentations to other research students and staff at departmental seminars and attend the postgraduate conference of the College of Arts and Humanities which is held in October.

Departmental Research Expertise

At any one time, the department has over forty research students who work together with their supervisors on their projects.

In the area of American Studies, staff have expertise in the American Civil War; US foreign policy; the US ‘War on Drugs’; US politics and government; surveillance and urban America; American conservatism; the Spanish Civil War; American military history; the American West; New South; 20th century American literature, film and popular culture.

Discover more about the Department of Political and Cultural Studies:


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The MA in English and American Studies prepares students for undertaking further research in the discipline, but it is also aimed at those who wish to broaden and deepen their critical engagement with English and American literature and culture. Read more
The MA in English and American Studies prepares students for undertaking further research in the discipline, but it is also aimed at those who wish to broaden and deepen their critical engagement with English and American literature and culture. The structure of the MA is flexible, which means that you can choose to combine your interests in English and American culture, or you can choose to focus more exclusively on one or the other . The division of English, American Studies and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester provides a thriving environment, with its vibrant research culture, its close links to the Centre of New Writing, its involvement in the Manchester Literature Festival and its access to the world-class John Rylands research library.

While this MA offers you a range of exciting modules that are chronologically or geographically specific, all modules are informed by recent theoretical and historical developments that allow you to think about categories like `literature', `culture' and `history' in nuanced and fresh ways.

You can also choose 30 credits from our MA Modern and Contemporary Literature (subject to availability) to further extend the scope of your study.

Teaching and learning

In your first semester, you will choose 2 of 3 core modules (30 credits each), which will lay the groundwork for your coursework as well as preparing you to think about your dissertation. The core modules address questions that are at the heart of literary and cultural studies, and will give you conceptual tools relevant to all of the modules offered in the second semester. The core modules are entitled:
-The Times of Literature
-Space, Place and Text
-American Studies: Theories, Methods, Practice.

In the second semester, you will choose 4 out of 6 modules, each of which is weighted at 15 credits, allowing you the choice of a greater number of courses. You diversify your engagement with the field with these courses, each of which tackles a range of periods and literary/cultural productions. Some of the courses offer you 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. The courses are:
-Treacherous Love: Translating the Medieval Past
-Shakespeare: Theory and Archive
-Before Sexuality: Bodies, Desires and Discourses, 1660-1900
-Revolutionary Poetics: 1789-1840
-Radical Subcultures
-Doing History in Public: Struggling over the American Past.

Students with an interest in American Studies take 6 modules in total, including, in semester one, the core course 'American Studies: Theories, Methods, Practice' plus the choice of one of the other core courses (as listed above).

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

Coursework and assessment

Students are required to take 180 credits of units as listed above.

The list of units on offer will be updated annually. Students may also choose up to 30 credits worth of units from another MA programme in place of one of their optional units, subject to the approval of the Programme Director.
Students will also attend seminars on such topics as how to study at MA level, how to research and write a Master's thesis, and career options.

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This Master's degree in modern and contemporary literature begins with an investigation of literary and theoretical conceptions of modernity in early twentieth-century literature, focusing on topics such as urbanisation, technology, mass culture, individualism and subjectivity. Read more
This Master's degree in modern and contemporary literature begins with an investigation of literary and theoretical conceptions of modernity in early twentieth-century literature, focusing on topics such as urbanisation, technology, mass culture, individualism and subjectivity.

You will also have the chance to analyse the historical transformations of literature and cultural thought from 1945, using the contexts of post-war reconstruction, decolonisation, the fate of avant-garde art, and theories of postmodernity and globalisation. The emergence of international literary paradigms during the twentieth century is reflected in the choice of texts from British, American and post-colonial contexts.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
Enables you to gain a thorough grounding in the key concepts of modernism, modernity and the contemporary.
You will be introduced to key texts and paradigms that shape our conception of literature from the early twentieth century to the present.
Opportunities to join a number of graduate seminars and reading groups, and occasional discussions with practising novelists and poets.
Birkbeck is at the geographical centre of London’s research library complex, a short distance from the British Library, Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research.
Senate House Library has an outstanding collection of literary periodicals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, while the nearby University College London Library also has an important James Joyce archive. The Poetry Library at London’s South Bank Centre is rich in twentieth-century poetry.
Birkbeck's School of Arts hosts the internationally acclaimed Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, which regularly features visiting poetic practitioners.

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The MA in American Studies offers you the opportunity to develop an expertise in American literature and social and cultural history. Read more
The MA in American Studies offers you the opportunity to develop an expertise in American literature and social and cultural history. Your studies will equip you with the methodological training you need to pursue your interest in America from different disciplinary perspectives.

The world-leading department has particular strengths in race, gender and identity, civil liberties, American cities, American landscape and the environment, popular culture, and comparative American Studies.

The MA in American Studies develops the critical powers you acquired as an undergraduate and provides the rigorous preparation needed for future employment or as preparation for doctoral research.

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Develop your knowledge across a range of fields including urban studies, gender studies, race studies, travel writing, postcolonial writing, autobiographical and epistolary studies. Read more

About the course

Develop your knowledge across a range of fields including urban studies, gender studies, race studies, travel writing, postcolonial writing, autobiographical and epistolary studies. You’ll cover contemporary and recent American fiction and the way ‘real history’ appears in the texts. You are also able to take modules in American history offered by the History Department. If you intend to continue to PhD study, you’ll get essential research training.

Your career

An English Literature masters from Sheffield is the mark of an independent thinker, a skilled researcher, someone who can bring complex projects to fruition. Our graduates go into teaching, management and consultancy, advertising, journalism, publishing, and all branches of the arts – especially theatre, film, and creative writing. Our courses are also excellent preparation for a PhD.

Cultural life

There is always something going on, and there are plenty of chances to get involved. We have extensive links with arts and heritage organisations including Arts Council England and Sheffield Theatres. Recent poetry readings featured Carol Ann Duffy and Ciaran Carson. Our Arts/Science Encounters events bring together musicians, writers, architects and academics to explore ideas. The English Society, run by our students, organises theatre trips, guest lectures, and seminars. Students also get the chance to take part in drama and readings.

First-rate facilities

We’re based in a brand new building at the heart of the campus. There are computer workstations especially for postgraduates and a DVD library with viewing facilities. Our theatre workshop is a fully equipped teaching/performance area with excellent film-viewing facilities and audio suites.

Specialist resources

The University Library subscribes to the major periodicals and full-text electronic archives, including Early English Books Online and Eighteenth-Century Collections Online. Special collections include an outstanding collection of Restoration drama, the Hope Collection of eighteenth-century periodicals, the Jack Rosenthal scripts collection, and papers of contemporary writers such as Anita Brookner, Marina Warner, Fay Weldon and Peter Redgrove.


There are a number of studentships and fee bursaries available, funded by the University. Deadlines for funding applications are usually in winter/early spring. For details, see our website.

Research training for PhD

If you intend to progress to a PhD, your course can be tailored to include essential research training. The same applies to students on the online course.

Part-time study

Part-time students usually take one taught module in each semester. In the second year, you’ll also take a dissertation module. For most courses, you’ll need to come in for one half-day per week. The MA Creative Writing is taught in the evening. Some modules, such as Theatre and Performance, may require greater time commitment. We try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the different needs of our students.


Memory and Narrative in Contemporary Literature; Exchanging Letters: art and Correspondence in twentieth-century American culture; Tales of the City; Analysis of Film; White Like Me; Rocket-State Cosmology.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is by seminars. You’ll be assessed on your essays, coursework and a 15,000-word dissertation.

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American culture has often been seen as distinctive and unique, producing some of the world’s greatest writers and artists. Read more

American culture has often been seen as distinctive and unique, producing some of the world’s greatest writers and artists. This exciting and varied degree will allow you to develop a deeper understanding of American literature and its cultural context by looking at specific writers, genres or periods alongside drama, film and photography.

You’ll study core modules developing your research skills and questioning what it means to study literature today, and you’ll undertake an independently researched dissertation on a topic of your choice. You’ll also pursue some of the topics that suit your interests when you choose from a range of optional modules exploring different aspects of American literature and culture, from the 19th century to contemporary writing.

In addition, you’ll be able to broaden your understanding by choosing to take one of your options from the wide range of non-American modules in English Literature that we offer.

Leeds was the first university in Britain to establish a Chair in the field of American Literature. It’s an interest that we continue to uphold with staff researching topics such as American literary culture, masculinity and gender, American film, globalization, postcolonial literature, Jewish narratives and African-American writing. You’ll benefit from all of their expertise and develop your knowledge in our excellent research libraries – a stimulating environment in which to prepare for further study or gain valuable transferable skills.

This degree is also available as a part-time option.

Course content

In Semester 1 you’ll study a core module which will develop your understanding of research methods in literary study, as well as what it means to study literature and culture in the 21st century. You’ll also choose the first of your optional modules to explore topics that suit your interests in more depth.

You’ll then continue to pursue your interests in Semester 2, with two further optional modules. One of your optional modules can be from outside the programme, allowing you to explore topics from Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature to modernist or postcolonial writing.

Throughout the year, you’ll be working on your research project/dissertation, which allows you to research in depth a topic in American literature and culture of your choice. You’ll be able to submit this up to the deadline at the end of the course in September.

If you study this degree on a part-time basis, you’ll take the same number of modules over a longer period, meaning you take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Studying English: Research Methods 30 credits
  • Research Project 60 credits

Optional modules

  • Fictions of Citizenship in Contemporary American Literature 30 credits
  • Feeling Time 30 credits
  • The African American Tradition: Eight Major Works 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read American Literature and Culture MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read American Literature and Culture MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Most of your modules will be taught in small-group seminars, where you will discuss particular topics in each module with your tutor and the class. Independent study is also an important element of this course, allowing you to develop and then demonstrate valuable skills in independent research and analysis.


Most option modules are assessed by one 4,000 word essay. The research project/dissertation is 12,000-15,000 words in length.

Career opportunities

This degree will allow you build on your knowledge and acquire transferable skills that are very attractive to employers.

You’ll have sophisticated research and analytical skills that allow you to consider complex information from different sources, and you’ll also be able to communicate and defend your views clearly either verbally or in writing. You’ll also be comfortable working independently or in a team and have good cultural awareness.

If you’re interested in pursuing further postgraduate study, this degree offers excellent preparation for PhD-level research through the dissertation and research methods modules. However, you’ll also have the skills to succeed in careers in publishing, advertising, broadcasting, journalism, law and teaching.

Careers support

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

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Research profile. This programme offers students the opportunity to develop their interests in aspects of American literature, from first colonisation to the present, post-9/11 moment. Read more

Research profile

This programme offers students the opportunity to develop their interests in aspects of American literature, from first colonisation to the present, post-9/11 moment.

We are the oldest department of English Literature in the world, and at the last Research Assessment Exercise were awarded the highest research rating possible, of 5*A. We have one of the largest graduate programmes in this area in the country and a rich research culture covering all aspects of literatures in English.

We offer supervision in all areas of American literature, in topics as diverse as the Black Atlantic, postmodernist fiction, and the poetics of republicanism.

The research of staff has made valuable contributions to the areas of literature and philosophy, modernism/postmodernism, medieval and early modern literature, history of the book, romanticism, transatlantic studies and performance studies.

English Literature houses the Centre for the History of the Book and is one of the UK's leading forces in this area. It works closely with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and with the National Library of Scotland. The latter's recently acquired Murray Archive is crucial for studies in Romanticism, Book History, Bibliography and Archive Studies.

Training and support

The academic staff you will be working with are all active researchers or authors, many of them prize winners and leading scholars in their fields. As well as benefiting from their expert supervision, you will undertake a seminar-based programme of training in core research skills and subject-specific methodologies. You will also have the opportunity to develop other transferable skills through the University’s Institute for Academic Development

We encourage you to share your research and learn from the work of others through a vibrant programme of Work-in-Progress seminars, reading groups, visiting speakers and conferences.

Our postgraduate journal, Forum, is a valuable conduit for research findings, and provides an opportunity for editorial experience.


On hand are all the amenities you would expect, such as computing facilities, study areas and a common room and kitchen. Our location gives you easy access to the University’s general facilities, such as the Main Library and our collections, as well as to the National Museum, National Library and National Galleries of Scotland at the heart of the city.

In addition to the impressive range of resources available at the University’s Main Library (more than two million printed volumes and generous online resources) and the nearby National Library of Scotland, we host a number of collections of rare and valuable archival materials, all of which will be readily available to you as a postgraduate student.

Among the literary treasures are the libraries of William Drummond, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Hugh MacDiarmid, Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart and Norman MacCaig, plus the WH Auden collection, the Corson Collection of works by and about Sir Walter Scott and the Ramage collection of poetry pamphlets.

Our cultural collections are highly regarded and include a truly exceptional collection of early Shakespeare quartos and other early modern printed plays, and world-class manuscript and archival collections.

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The English and American Literature MA allows you to choose from the full range of our MA literature modules. Read more
The English and American Literature MA allows you to choose from the full range of our MA literature modules.

The list of what’s on offer is regularly added to by academics keen to explore new areas of thinking with students and to draw you in to our established areas of research strength, such as postcolonial studies; 18th-century studies; modern poetry and fiction; or Victorian studies. The modules draw on many different critical approaches and focus on a wide range of historical periods, ideas and places from modern India to post-war New York to literary London in the 18th century.

Within this programme you may also choose to take pathways, so as to concentrate on studies in certain specific areas (especially if you intend to continue to a research degree in a particular field).

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/222/english-and-american-literature

About the School of English

The School of English has a strong international reputation and global perspective, apparent both in the background of its staff and in the diversity of our teaching and research interests.

Our expertise ranges from the medieval to the postmodern, including British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history. The international standing of the School ensures that we have a lively, confident research culture, sustained by a vibrant, ambitious intellectual community. We also count a number of distinguished creative writers among our staff, and we actively explore crossovers between critical and creative writing in all our areas of teaching and research.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has produced very strong results for the School of English at Kent. With 74% of our work graded as world-leading or internationally excellent, the School is ranked 10th out of 89 English departments in terms of Research Intensity (Times Higher Education). The School also received an outstanding assessment of the quality of its research environment and public impact work.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

MT864 - Reading the Medieval Town: Canterbury, an International City (30 credits)
MT865 - Encountering the Holy: Devotion and the Medieval Church (30 credits)
EN803 - Critical Race Theory (30 credits)
EN818 - American Modernism 1900-1930 (Teaching Period I) (30 credits)
EN832 - Hacks, Dunces and Scribblers: Authorship and the Marketplace in the Eig (30 credits)
EN834 - Imagining India (30 credits)
EN835 - Dickens, The Victorians and the Body (30 credits)
EN836 - Dickens and the Material Culture of the Victorian Novel (30 credits)
EN842 - Reading the Contemporary (30 credits)
EN850 - Centres and Edges: Modernist and PostcolonialQuest Literature (30 credits)
EN852 - Colonial and Postcolonial Discourses (30 credits)
EN857 - Body and Place in the Postcolonial Text (30 credits)
EN862 - Contemporary Arab Novel (30 credits)
EN865 - Post-45: American Literature and Culture in the Cold War Era (30 credits)
EN866 - The Awkward Age: Transatlantic Culture and Literature in Transition, 18 (30 credits)
EN872 - Provocations and Invitations (30 credits)
EN876 - Dickens and the Condition of England (30 credits)
EN888 - Extremes of Feeling: Literature and Empire in the Eighteenth Century (30 credits)
EN889 - Literary Theory (30 credits)
EN897 - Advanced Critical Reading (30 credits)


Assessment is by a 5-6,000-word essay for each module and a 12,000 word dissertation.

This programme is also available at Paris only or split site between Canterbury and Paris

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Programme description. The programme examines a range of US literary and historical contexts, introducing ways in which the production of an idea of 'America' is variously achieved and contested between 1776 and the present. Read more

Programme description

The programme examines a range of US literary and historical contexts, introducing ways in which the production of an idea of 'America' is variously achieved and contested between 1776 and the present.

You will explore the way literary, cultural, political and philosophical texts have contributed to the development, interrogation and revision of American identity and culture between 1776 and the present day.

You will be introduced to the rich diversity of American writing over the past 250 years by academic staff who can offer outstanding research and teaching expertise in this fascinating field. The compulsory courses, specifically developed for this masters programme, offer you the opportunity to think critically about some of the most pressing concerns in literary and cultural studies.

You will find a wealth of resources on hand at the University’s many libraries and the National Library of Scotland, which holds both the Hugh Sharp Collection (more than 300 volumes) of first editions of English and North American authors, and the Henderson Memorial Library of Books on America (more than 700 volumes), containing 19th and early 20th century works mainly on cultural history, description and travel, sociology and biography, and relating mostly to the Civil War.

Programme structure

You will take two courses per semester, one compulsory and one chosen from a range of options, each consisting of a weekly two-hour seminar. You will also take courses in research skills and methods. After your two semesters of taught courses you will work towards your dissertation, with supervisor support.

Compulsory courses:

  • Enlightenment to Entropy: Writing the American Republic from Thomas Jefferson to Henry Adams
  • New Beginnings to the End of Days: Writing the American Republic from Reconstruction to 9/11
  • Research Skills and Methods.

Option courses may include:

  • Poet-Critics: the Style of Modern Poetry
  • Modernism and Empire
  • Cities of Literature: Metropolitan Modernities
  • Global Modernisms: Inter/National Responses to Modernity
  • Victorian Transatlanticism
  • Contemporary American Fiction
  • Green Thoughts: Landscape, Environment and Literature
  • Critical Theory: Issues and Debates

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this programme will gain:

  • a detailed knowledge of a range of literary writing that responds to and informs concepts of American identity
  • an understanding of the role of political and ideological structures in the production of national historiographies
  • a grounding in the research methods of literary studies

Career opportunities

You will develop research and analytical skills that can be extended into future advanced study in English literature. You will also be equipped with skills that could be beneficial for a teaching career or a role within a cultural institution. The array of transferable skills you will acquire, such as communication and project management, will prove highly valuable to potential employers in whatever field you choose to enter.

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Students have the opportunity to explore the key developments in modern and contemporary literary studies in dialogue with leading scholars in the fields… Read more

MLitt in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture

Students have the opportunity to explore the key developments in modern and contemporary literary studies in dialogue with leading scholars in the fields of Modernism, including T S Eliot and Virginia Woolf; women’s writing and gender studies; crime fiction; contemporary critical theory; modern and contemporary poetry; postcolonialism; Scottish literature; war writing; literature of the 1940s; British cinema and music.
• Detailed exploration of a range of topics and texts from the period.
• Enhance textual knowledge.
• Promote thinking about the interconnections between modern and contemporary literature and its historical, cultural and theoretical context.

Teaching methods: Seminar (and some didactic classes and hands-on practical sessions).
Assessment: Coursework essays, assessed exercises, Dissertation.
Contact hours: Variable from module to module: see individual module descriptions for details.

See the website http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/english/postgraduate/


* The School admits around 30 new taught postgraduate students each year.

* Research excellence in all periods of English literature from Old English to the present day.

* Members of the School include winners of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, Whitbread Prize, T S Eliot Prize for Poetry, the Forward Poetry Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Canongate Prize, the Petrarca Preis, the Prix Zepter Prize and a Commonwealth Writers Prize for fiction.

* The University has one of the highest concentrations of mediaevalists in the UK, united by the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies (SAIMS).

* The School is home to the Cambridge University Press edition of Virginia Woolf edited by Susan Sellers and Jane Goldman (University of Glasgow), making St Andrews a prestigious international centre for Woolf studies.

* Members of the School sit on the editorial board of Forum for Modern Language Studies, a humanities journal published by Oxford University Press.

Postgraduate community

The School has a vibrant postgraduate community of around 80 students (full and part time) with a dedicated administrator who manages and advises on all postgraduate matters from admissions queries to PhD vivas, ensuring continuity for both postgraduates and staff.

Postgraduates meet regularly at the School’s Postgraduate Forum and at various voluntary seminar series organised by English or other Schools within the Faculty of Arts. The crossfertilisation of ideas between traditional literary / theoretical research and creative writing provides a uniquely stimulating environment supporting the usual individual meetings between postgraduate students and their supervisors. All taught postgraduates have access to research funds to help offset the costs of attending conferences or other research libraries.

Students are part of a welcoming and lively academic community. There is an active student-run Literary Society and the Postgraduate Forum, where postgraduates meet to present and discuss their ongoing work. Each semester, the School invites distinguished visiting academics and creative writers to lead seminars, lectures and workshops as part of our regular research events.


The teaching rooms and staff offices of the School of English are housed in two nineteenth-century stone buildings, Castle House
and Kennedy Hall, opposite St Andrews Castle and overlooking the sea. 66 North Street, the School’s dedicated Centre for research students, is only a few minutes’ walk away. It offers bench rooms with PC workstations for all postgraduates, both taught and research. This lovely nineteenth-century building also has a well-used kitchen, common room and sunny garden. The encouragement of postgraduate study is a special concern of ours, and the number of postgraduate students has grown markedly in recent years.

The University Library has outstanding resources for research in English. The Copyright Deposit Collection contains approximately 40,000 volumes, covering the whole subject area from 1709 to 1837, and approximately 5,000 volumes of periodicals which ceased publication before 1841. Some of this material is not held in the National Library of Scotland. The print collection therefore offers an impressive range of opportunities for research in eighteenth-century literature, the Scottish Enlightenment and Romanticism.

The University Library also subscribes to a wide variety of online databases, including JISC Historic Books for access to almost all printed books to 1800, and Defining Gender 1450- 1910 for material supporting the School’s work in gender and sexuality studies. Manuscript collections extend from mediaeval archives through some of the world’s most detailed records of eighteenth and nineteenth-century reading to the papers of the contemporary poet Douglas Dunn. Postgraduates have the opportunity to work with expert Library staff in areas ranging from palaeography to digital humanities.

Additional application information

All MLitt applicants should submit a sample of written work of around 2,000 words. This must be a critical academic essay (or extract) related to the proposed field of study. Applicants for the MLitt programme in Creative Writing should also include a typed portfolio of original verse, prose or play/ screenwriting (around 10 poems or 10-15 pages of prose or play/screenwriting). In addition, all applicants should submit a Supplementary Application Form in place of a personal statement. The form may be downloaded from the website at: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/english/postgraduate/applying/documents/

Funding: investing in your future

The School of English normally offers a small number of its own awards for suitably qualified applicants who have been accepted for an MLitt. These are open to both home/EU and overseas students. Up-to-date information can be found at: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/english/postgraduate/funding/

Recent School of English taught postgraduate students have also succeeded in obtaining funding from a variety of external sources in order to study here, including the Marshall Scholarship, the Ransome Trust and Scotland’s Saltire Scholarship fund.

Details of these and other scholarship opportunities and initiatives can be found on the University’s scholarships webpages: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/pg/fees-and-funding/scholarships/taught/


Following a taught postgraduate course in English at the University, students go on to pursue careers in a range of sectors including journalism, marketing, publishing and teaching. Others continue in academia, moving on to a PhD. The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

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We offer MPhil research programmes in English (including American Studies), Comparative Literature or Linguistics for full or part-time study- http://www.gold.ac.uk/pg/mphil-phd-english-comparative-literature/. Read more
We offer MPhil research programmes in English (including American Studies), Comparative Literature or Linguistics for full or part-time study- http://www.gold.ac.uk/pg/mphil-phd-english-comparative-literature/

Find out more about our staff and their specialisms and expertise, and the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature consists of some 40 scholars and creative writers whose work is acknowledged and cited internationally.

We offer a stimulating environment for undertaking postgraduate research in English Literature (including American Literature and literary theory), World Literature, Comparative Literature, Linguistics, and Creative Writing.

We particularly encourage cross- and interdisciplinary research in emerging fields of study and creative practice.

As well as working with scholars and writers of international standing, you will have the opportunity to play an active role in a vibrant research environment which includes the Richard Hoggart Lectures in Literature and Culture, the annual Goldsmiths Prize for bold and innovative fiction, and specialist seminars and colloqia offered by the Goldsmiths Writers' Centre, the Goldsmiths Literature Seminars (GLITS), the Goldsmiths Linguistics Seminars (GoldLingS), and the e-journal, GLITS-e.

The MPhil programme offers the opportunity for the student to continue their research to a PhD.

Assessment is by thesis and viva voce.

North American applicants especially should note that the British system does not include preparatory taught classes or examinations as part of the MPhil/PhD programme, except for an initial course in research methods.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Maria Macdonald.


English at Goldsmiths is ranked:
18th in the UK for the quality of our research**
In the world’s top 150 universities for English language and literature***

Cervantes. Bukowski. Dostoevsky. Self. From classical literature and linguistics, to creative writing and contemporary fiction, we take a critical and creative approach to the discipline.

As a department we’re interested in a field of enquiry that extends from Old English to 21st-century literatures in English, French, Spanish and Italian. So you can study texts and films across a variety of periods and genres.

We’re engaged

We have a dedicated Writers’ Centre that encourages new writing and stimulates debate about all forms of literature. And we award the annual Goldsmiths Prize (for “fiction at its most novel”), which brings critically acclaimed writers like Ali Smith and Eimear McBride to campus.

We’re nurturing

We may be one of the largest departments at Goldsmiths but that doesn’t mean you won’t get personal support. Learn from our approachable team of academic staff and become part of the student-run English Society.

We’re vibrant

As one of the first departments in the UK to offer creative writing, you’ll be part of a hub of literary excellence – our graduates have gone on to win prestigious awards from the Orange Prize for Fiction to the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.

Find out more about the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
***QS World University Rankings by subject 2015


Carrying out a research degree will help you develop:

transferable skills, including enhanced communication and discussion skills in written and oral contexts
the ability to analyse and evaluate different textual materials
the ability to organise information, and to assimilate and evaluate competing arguments


Our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in:

public relations
the civil service
the media

Research training programme

Training in research methods and skills is provided both by the department and Goldsmiths' Graduate School. This begins with an intensive week-long induction in the first week of enrolment and continues later in the first term with a series of seminars focussing on the specific challenges of literary and linguistic research projects. The department will also inform you about any research training seminars or study-days offered elsewhere in the University of London (for example, by the Institute of English Studies or the Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study) or beyond, such as at the British Library. The specific training requirements of your project will be assessed, and guidance provided on specialist seminars and conferences to attend, which can be supported where possible by assistance from departmental funds.

How to apply

Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.

Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body.

If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.

Research proposals

Along with your application and academic reference, you should also upload a research proposal at the point of application.

This should be in the form of a statement of the proposed area of research and should include:

delineation of the research topic
why it has been chosen
an initial hypothesis (if applicable)
a brief list of major secondary sources


Please visit http://www.gold.ac.uk/pg/fees-funding/ for details.

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