M.A. English

  • On Campus
  • 12 months
  • EUR14260 Year (Non-EEA)
  • English
Oxford Brookes University | Oxford, United Kingdom
The MA in English offers the opportunity to undertake a coherent yet flexible programme of graduate study covering a range of periods and genres, from the Renaissance to the present day. Specialist

Description of English


The MA in English is a course of advanced study combining the development of subject expertise with the ability to undertake independent research projects in your areas of interest.

These abilities are fostered through taught seminar courses which allow you to study specific subjects in-depth, and through training in independent research undertaken for the dissertation. Specialist options are currently available in fiction, poetry, drama and language studies, and they range in period coverage from the Renaissance to contemporary.

Why Brookes?

  • A broad ranging postgraduate curriculum that enables you to encounter texts either from the Renaissance to the contemporary, or to specialise in a particular period.
  • A research-led teaching programme with access to the unparalleled research resources at the Bodleian Library.
  • Access to the Man Booker Prize archive, based here at Oxford Brookes.
  • The opportunity to work alongside leading contemporary writers and Royal Literary Fund Fellows who have included Jo Shapcott, Tim Pears, Caroline Moorhead, Henry Shukman and Jane Bingham.
  • A vibrant poetry community based at our Centre for Modern and Contemporary Poetry.

Career prospects

Our alumni go on to a wide range of careers in different sectors, including teaching, publishing, NGO/charity work and the creative industries. A significant number of successful MA students continue on into further research and into careers in academia, either at Brookes or at other institutions. The MA course offers an excellent grounding in further study in English no matter what you decide to do afterwards and provides the research experience and training you need to pursue a successful PhD project.

You apply for this course through UKPASS.

Applications should be accompanied by two references, and if English is not your first language, you will need to supply evidence of English language proficiency. All applicants should send a sample of their recent academic writing in English, together with the application form. If this is not possible you may substitute a 1,500-word essay reviewing a work of academic criticism or work of fiction, poetry or a recent theatrical production you have seen.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline as early as possible
Tuition fee
  • EUR 14260 Year (Non-EEA)
  • EUR 5950 Year (EEA)

UK/EU £4,840; International £11,600

Start date September  2016
Credits (ECTS) 90 ECTS
Duration full-time 12 months
  • English
Take an IELTS test
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Part-time, Full-time

Course Content

Course length

Full-time: PGCert: 4 months, PGDip: 9 months, MA: 12 months
Part-time: PGCert: 2 semesters, PGDip: 3 semesters, MA: 24 months

There are three MA pathways to choose from:

Pathway in 19th-Century Literature and Culture This pathway allows you to focus your study on literary and cultural production of the 19th century, and gives you the opportunity to take modules that examine in depth the historical, political and aesthetic contexts that influenced the making of the Romantic and Victorian periods. This broad pathway enables analysis of a variety of forms of writing, and modules will be dedicated to specific thematic, generic and stylistic aspects of the century. Topics covered will include the development of the romantic sensibility; the place of religion in the 19th century; the role of women in literature and culture; travel and empire; the limits and possibilities encompassed by the definitions of Romantic and Victorian.

Pathway in Modern and Contemporary Writing and Culture This pathway allows you to focus your study on literary and cultural production of the last century, and gives you the opportunity to take modules that examine in depth the historical, political and aesthetic contexts that influenced the making of the 20th century. This broad pathway enables analysis of prose, poetic and dramatic forms of writing from the Anglophone world, but will also encompass critical/creative rewriting and film studies in its discussion of cultural trajectories from 1900 to the present. Modules will be dedicated to specific thematic, generic and stylistic aspects of the period and topics covered will include: the development and expression of a modernist sensibility; the liberations and limitations of postmodernism; the search for place in 20th-century writing; the gendering of voices, and the formulation and parameters of the literary text as a creative act.

Pathway in Modern and Contemporary Poetry The 20th century produced some of the most dynamic, experimental and challenging poetry from Britain, Ireland and America. From the disruptive texts of modernism through to more recent retrenchments and requisitioning, the poetry has consistently confronted issues of tradition, technique, identity, politics, and aesthetic value. This pathway aims to familiarise you with the major movements and ideas in poetry across the century and into the 21st century and also allows you to study in more depth poets of your own choosing.

The English Department at Oxford Brookes University has consistently been ranked among the best in the UK and is recognised as a centre of academic excellence in both teaching and research. Shorter postgraduate courses in English are also available; the postgraduate diploma and the postgraduate certificate, and it is possible to transfer between these courses. All pathways within the MA in English share the same structure, consisting of four modules: a compulsory core module, two elective modules and a dissertation. Postgraduate diploma students take modules 1, 2 and 3; postgraduate certificate students take Module 1 and one elective module.

Modules may change from time to time; an indicative list is shown below.

    • Module 1: Key Concepts and Methods in Humanities Research (English) Every student takes this compulsory core module in advanced literary studies, which is designed to help you make the transition from undergraduate to graduate-level work. You will be introduced to a variety of perspectives on theory and method in English, and you will acquire the advanced study skills needed to engage in independent research. You will also receive training in the use of electronic research resources. This module is taken in Semester 1 and is assessed by two written assignments.
    • Modules 2 and 3:

Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics*

A broad-ranging course, tracing the interconnections and negotiations between modernist and subsequent poetries, as well as addressing issues of gender and performance. It also provides a grounding in major ideas about poetry across the century up to the present day, and in recent theoretical approaches to poetry.


Questions understanding of the literary period known as 'Romantic', through a pluralising range of contrasting and contesting texts, contexts and positions emergent in Britain in the period 1780-1832. The module sets up various critical definitions of Romanticism, and through detailed and historically informed case studies, traces the shifting shapes and interests of Romantic-period literary study. Contrasting theoretical approaches to texts will be engaged to question issues of history, gender, class, creativity, ecology, ethnicity, travel, empire, social change, subjectivity and modernity. The course will also self-reflexively question periodicity and canon formation, requiring you to consider how textual and cultural value develops in the period and in recent criticism, and ask how viable and useful the term 'Romantic' might be.

Modern and Contemporary Fiction

Offers the opportunity to engage with a number of texts written in the 20th and 21st centuries. Textual and contextual analysis will form a significant part of the study, and theoretical approaches to the reading of texts will also be addressed. Each year the module will focus on a particular aspect of modern and/or contemporary fiction drawing on the research and expertise of staff.

Victorian Texts: Visions and Revisions

Covers a range of genres, writers and forms of the Victorian period and provides the opportunity to consider some of the ideas central to 19th-century writing and culture. It demands critical encounters from a range of perspectives with a mixture of canonical and of less familiar material. You will be expected to compare and contrast various elements of this material in order to reconsider traditionally received views of the Victorian period. Each year the module will focus on a particular aspect of Victorian writing, drawing on the research expertise of staff.

20th-Century Texts

Covers a range of genres, writers and forms of the twentieth-century and provides the opportunity to consider some of the ideas central to 20th-century writing and culture. Creative engagements with texts may be encouraged and theoretical perspectives that seek to organise and articulate the nature and concerns of modernity and the 20th-century (to do with race, sexuality, history, or economics for example) will be brought under consideration. Each year the module will focus on a particular aspect of twentieth-century writing, drawing on the research expertise of staff.

Shakespeare and his Afterlife

Introduces both Shakespeare's work and his literary and cultural legacy. In the process it will examine key conceptual issues within the field of Shakespeare studies including historicism, the status of the Shakespearean text, the 'truth claims' made by Shakespeare in his work and the process of recuperating Shakespeare's legacy. In particular, the module will focus on a number of recurring themes in Shakespeare's work; the status of knowledge and literary authority; the relationship between love and desire; and the construction of gender. The module will also examine the literary appropriation of Shakespeare by a range of readers and critics from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries. You will be asked to place Shakespeare's work within competing historical contexts as a way of problematising current approaches to Shakespeare.

Independent Study

The opportunity to design a course of study to suit your own research interests and concerns; to organise and carry out your own work schedule; and to determine a set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria in collaboration with the module leader and a supervisor. Registration for the module requires the production of a Learning Contract to be completed no later than 6 weeks in advance of the start of the semester in which the study is to be undertaken.

Full-time MA students take one elective module in each semester. Part-time MA students take their first elective in Semester 2 of the first year and their second elective in Semester 1 of the second year.

* these run in alternate years

  • Module 4: Dissertation This is the capstone of the Master's programme. You will have the opportunity to conduct a major in-depth investigation into a literary topic of your choice, leading to the production of a 15,000 word thesis. The topic may be related to one of your elective modules or may be chosen from another area of interest. You will be supported in your research with individual supervision from a specialist tutor and by group workshops on advanced research design that take place during Semester 2 (for part-time students this is taken in Year 2). The dissertation is completed over the summer and submitted by 1 September.

The Postgraduate Certificate provides an introduction to advanced work in your discipline. Students are required to complete Key Concepts and Methods in Research (40 credits) and one elective module (40 credits).

Duration: 1 semester full-time, 2 semesters part-time

The Postgraduate Diploma enables a greater degree of specialisation in your chosen field. Students are required to complete Key Concepts and Methods in Research (40 credits) and two electives (each 40 credits), but are not required to produce a research dissertation.

Duration: 2 semesters full-time, 3 semesters part-time

English Language Requirements

IELTS take IELTS test
CAE score
193(Grade B)
TOEFL iBT® test (read more)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per 6 April 2015 only the English language tests from IELTS and Trinity College London are accepted for Tier 4 Visa applications to the United Kingdom. Other tests (including TOEFL, TOEIC, Pearson, City & Guilds) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. Since the Trinity College London language tests must be taken in one of their exam centres in the UK, IELTS is now the only language test accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK that can be taken worldwide.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

Requirements for English

You should normally hold an upper second-class honours degree, or its equivalent, in English literature or a related subject. If it is some time since you completed your undergraduate education or you do not meet the standard requirement, it may be possible to consider your application based on evidence of other relevant personal and professional experience, the support of your referees and examples of written work.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you will need to provide certification of your English language proficiency. For this course you will need an IELTS score of at least 7, or TOEFL 100 (internet-based).

Work Experience for English

No work experience is required.

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