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MA English Literature by Research

Course Description

Course Outline

The MA in English Literature by research is taught through seminars, group sessions, and personalised one-to-one teaching with a first and second supervisor. A postgraduate reading group, and seminars led by staff and guest speakers, gradually develop the insights needed to complete your research project.

There are four parts to the qualification:

a research proposal
a bibliography
a short essay
a longer Dissertation

There are no exams. For more detail, click on the image on the right to download the brochure (PDF file, 7 MB).

This is an opportunity to work closely on a writer or topic that fascinates you, within a supportive environment. You can undertake research in most literary topics within the period 1550 to the present day. You start by developing the Project Preliminaries with your supervisors: the research proposal, bibliography, and essay. Then you progress to the full Dissertation (25,000-30,000 words), written under the guidance of your supervisors.

The MA commences in September or January each year, on a full- or part-time basis. The MA takes one year full-time, two years part-time.

For the MA, full-time attendance on campus is not required, but overseas students in particular, or home students wishing to use libraries intensively, may apply for a room in University accommodation. Alternately, you can travel in for the teaching days, usually Wednesdays during term. The one-to-one sessions with your supervisors can be arranged for any day of the week.

Find out more about our Department of English on http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/english.

Teaching Method

At the heart of the MA is the close working relationship between candidate and supervisor. While the final thesis must be the candidate’s independent work, it is the supervisor who offers advice on refining the topic (if necessary), on primary sources, on secondary reading, on research techniques and on writing the final thesis. Supervisors and candidates meet frequently throughout the year, and not less than twice a term; and the supervisor is always the candidate’s primary contact for academic advice and support.

Those with limited time may prefer to spread the writing of their dissertation over two years, in which case an individual timetable of lectures and supervisions will be arranged.

Apply here http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/humanities/ma/englishliterature.

Visit the MA English Literature by Research page on the University of Buckingham website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Sarah Waters

"I was lucky enough to study at Buckingham for three years, undertaking both my undergraduate degree in English Literature with French and my masters in English Literature by research. The English department is fantastic and without the staff and their support both academic and pastoral I think my university experience would have been very different. The opportunity to discuss ideas with leading experts in their field both at undergraduate and postgraduate level is invaluable; as well as fuelling your enthusiasm for texts, authors, and a whole range of subject areas, it gives you greater confidence to find your own voice within what can sometimes seem an insurmountable mountain of criticism. Furthermore, the English department and the University of Buckingham as a whole, thanks to its small size, is very much like a family with staff and fellow students from across the departments always there if you need support or a friendly smiling face. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Buckingham and cannot imagine a better place to study."

(Student Profile)

Victoria Gilchrist

"When I started at The University of Buckingham in January 2013, I was immediately surprised by the amount of support that I felt from the English Department from the very beginning. They made sure I knew all the important information, and that I was happy and prepared for my first lecture the following week. The support from the staff did not stop there though. They continuously strived to ensure that I was not only succeeding at my degree, but also enjoying it at the same time. The lecture groups were nicely sized - enough for you to be able to have a good interaction with the students and the lecturer, and the tutorial groups were even smaller so you would have time to properly discuss your opinions, and have the chance to ask important questions. Throughout my time at Buckingham I can certainly say that I have found some friends for life, broadened my horizons and made some incredible memories, as well as gaining a degree in English Literature."


The Paul E H Davis Awards - 4 Awards

The Paul E H Davis Awards are in support of postgraduate studies and scholarship in English Literature by Research and in research in History or Biography as follows:- The Davis Research Scholarship – to the value of half fees for the MA in English Literature by Research (£2,000)
- Three Davis Research Exhibitions – to the value of £1,000 each; two exhibitions will be for the study of English Literature, and one for postgraduate History or Biography by Research.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Preference for the scholarship awards in postgraduate study in Literature by Research will be given to home students; candidates achieving their MA at Buckingham and pursuing an MPhil or DPhil in English Literature will also be eligible.Preference for the exhibition for History or Biography by Research, normally tenable for one year, is given to home students. In the case of part-time students, the award may be spread over two years.

Application Procedure

All candidates must complete an application for the exhibition or scholarship awards; the awards selection committees will consider the academic and other relevant qualifications of each candidate. Any award may be withdrawn if the recipient fails to maintain satisfactory progress with his or her research.The applications for awards for MA in Literature by Research are accepted throughout the year. Applications for the exhibition in History or Biography by Research are due by 31 October. Requests for applications should be forwarded to Claire Prendergast, University of Buckingham, Hunter Street, Buckingham MK18 1EG or emailed to [email protected]

Further Information



Postgraduate first class scholarship - No. of awards TBC

A first class scholarship is available to both home and international students following a taught postgraduate degree at the University. The scholarship will reduce tuition fees by 33%.

Value of Scholarship(s)

% discount


The scholarship will be automatically awarded to applicants who already have a first class honours degree that is recognised to UK standard.

Application Procedure

The scholarship will be automatically awarded to applicants who meet the criteria.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

The minimum entry level required for this course is a first or second-class honours degree from a recognised university or a recognised professional qualification with relevant work experience.

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