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MA English Literature

Course Description

Ideal for students wishing to pursue doctoral research and for those who wish to achieve a broad overview of Anglophone literary culture.


This programme combines the internationally recognised research and teaching strengths of the School of English and Languages with provisions across the range of literary periods, from the medieval to the contemporary.

Visit the website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/english-literature


The programme is designed to equip you with a critical understanding of English literary studies and respond to significant questions: How have ideas about literature and literary value changed over time? What effects do innovations in printing and publishing have on writing? To what extent do political and social factors condition and define authorial identities and practices?

The MA in English Literature invites students to reflect on such questions and to consider the relationship between literatures from a variety of historical periods, regions, contexts and theoretical paradigms. The programme will be ideal for both those who intend to pursue doctoral research and those who wish to achieve a broad overview of anglophone literary culture.

As a student on this Masters, you will benefit from the expertise of a vibrant, multidisciplinary group of published academics and authors.

You will also have access to a number of conferences, seminars and workshops hosted throughout the year. These events cover a range of topics to broaden your thinking in the fields of literature, language and linguistics, cultural studies and creative writing. Academics to have recently spoken the University of Surrey Surrey include critics Rod Mengham, Bernard O’Donoghue, Edward Larrisy, Robert Hampson, Adam Roberts, Helen Hester and John Wrighton as well as poets and academics J.H. Prynne, Robert Fitterman, Allen Fisher, Barbara Hardy and Gilbert Adair. They have been joined by novelists Iain Sinclair, Monica Ali, Jaspreet Singh and Nikita Lalwani, to name a few.

Each year’s cultural activities begin with the Morag Morris Poetry Lecture on campus by a visiting speaker and feature readings by students at the Guildford School of Acting.

Module Overview

Compulsory Modules:
- Research Skills
- Literary Scholarship and Creativity
- English Literature Dissertation (15,000 words)

Optional Modules:
Students have an opportunity to choose from a range of optional modules offered by English and other programmes in the School of English and Languages.

Particular strengths in Surrey’s English programme include:

- Contemporary Literature and Culture
- 19th-Century Literature and Culture
- Innovative Poetry
- Transnational and World Literatures in English
- Postcolonial Studies
- Travel Writing
- Creative Writing
- Gender and Sexuality

Options this year include Theorizing Gender and Sexuality, Beat Writing, Realism and its Critics, Narrative and the Body, Found Materials, Identity: Marketing and Communication in Practice, Organisations and Written Communications, and Issues in Literary Translation.

In addition, there are options for individual student-led research as part of the English Literature MA in our ‘Open Essay’ and ‘Special Author’ modules each semester, in which a student chooses a specific topic and is guided by an expert in the field. These modules are suited to students who like to work independently or to test their ability to research independently, those who wish to study a specific author or topic in depth with expert supervision, and those students who might wish take a first stab at something relevant for further study or to gain specific knowledge useful for a particular future career.

Where appropriate, students will also have the option of choosing modules offered by the MA in Creative Writing and other MA programmes in the School.


The MA in English Literature provides both structure and flexibility, combining specially designed core modules with the opportunity to select further related options from across our graduate programs.

The core modules – Research Skills, and Literary Scholarship and Creativity – both consider how texts have been produced, disseminated and received throughout history, and examine how this kind of historical enquiry might influence our own textual interpretations.

Students will then have an opportunity to choose from a range of optional modules that focus on specific periods, theoretical paradigms or individual authors.

Provision is in small group seminars and/or one-on-one tutorials and supervisions.


With the exception of the dissertation proposal and the dissertation itself, the 15-credit modules will normally be assessed by a 3,000 word essay.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the MA English Literature page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

Student Profiles

TECHNE (AHRC) Studentships - No. of awards TBC

As a member of the TECHNE Doctoral Training Partnership, University of Surrey students are eligible to apply for Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) studentships (stipend and fee waiver). TECHNE is a consortium of seven universities in London and the South East offering a rich and diverse training programme for doctoral students with a focus on interdisciplinarity and developing career potential both in and beyond higher education. Studentships are awarded by TECHNE to the best students put forward by its member universities. The TECHNE training programme is enhanced by input and placement opportunities provided by TECHNE’s 13 partner organisations (including the Barbican, Natural History Museum, Museum of London, BFI and Science Museum) in the cultural sector. Please visit TECHNE to find out more about the aims and opportunities of TECHNE.TECHNE – the Consortium is named in reference to the Greek term for craft – will create a new model for collaborative research skills training for PGR students across seven higher education institutions (Royal Holloway, Brighton University, Kingston University, Roehampton University, Royal College of Art, University of Surrey, University of the Arts London). TECHNE’s vision is to produce scholars who are highly motivated and prepared for academic, public or professional life. Students will benefit from a diversity of training opportunities and be able to draw on supervisory expertise from across the Consortium.It is not possible to apply directly to TECHNE for a studentship; applications for students wishing to be based at Surrey must be made via the University of Surrey. Your TECHNE application will therefore go through a two-stage process, being considered firstly by either the School of Arts or the School of English and Languages, to go forward to TECHNE and, if successful, secondly by a panel of subject specialists from TECHNE members.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Fee and Maintenance


Open to Home and EU candidates; please see guidance on residency requirements outlined in the RCUK’s Conditions of Research Council Training Grants
Studentships will be awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of both the candidate and the research proposal. This is an extremely competitive process and only very high calibre candidates will be successful

Application Procedure

The first step for all Candidates is to approach their prospective academic school and supervisor.
More Information is available at: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/fass/research/studentships/ahrc/index.htm

Further Information



Faculty Studentship Competition - No. of awards TBC

Faculty Studentships are available in the following areasSchool of Arts:Cultural Production, Creative Practices, Dance, Digital Arts, Film, Interdisciplinary Arts, Music, Performance, Sound Recording, Theatre.School of English and Languages:English Literature, Creative Writing, Translation Studies, Modern Languages, Theoretic Linguistics (Morphology) and Applied Linguistics (Intercultural Communication).School of Social Sciences:Criminology and Criminal Justice; Developments in Methodology; Identities, Diversities, and the Life Course; Media, Culture and Communication; Science, Environment and Technologies; European politics; International politics; Social politics and methodology

Value of Scholarship(s)



Under the FASS Studentship Scheme Home / EU and International Students are eligible to apply for 2016 entry. Successful International students will be awarded a fees at the Home / EU Rate and a stipend. Please note that full international fees are not covered: candidates should ensure that they are in a position to cover the outstanding costs.Studentships will be awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of both the candidate and the research proposal. This is an extremely competitive process and only very high calibre candidates will be successful.

Application Procedure

The first step for all Candidates is to approach their prospective academic school and supervisor.More information is available at: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/fass/research/studentships/faculty/index.htm

Further Information



Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Entry is open to applicants with a UK first or 2.1 honours degree or equivalent in English literature or a related subject. Where students do not have a 2.1 in English literature or a related field, the Department/ School will make a decision on the basis of submitted written work and an interview. English language requirements-IELTS minimum overall: 6.5-IELTS minimum by component: Reading: 6.0 Writing: 7.0 Speaking: 6.0 Listening: 6.0

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