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American Literature Pathway (within MA English Literature)

Course Description

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.

Visit the American Literature Pathway (within MA English Literature) page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!

Entry Requirements

At least a 2:1 or the international equivalent in English, or a combined degree including a substantial element of English Literature. English language requirements: overall IELTS grade of 7.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

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Recipient: University of Sheffield
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