M.A. English Literary Studies

University of York | York , United Kingdom
Our new MA in English Literary Studies is the most flexible of all our MAs; as well as allowing students to select modules from across the whole range of programmes we offer at MA level, there are no compulsory modules on this course.



The Department of English and Related Literature at York is one of the leading departments in the UK, with an international reputation for the quality of its postgraduate research and teaching.

Our new MA in English Literary Studies is the most flexible of all our MAs; as well as allowing students to select modules from across the whole range of programmes we offer at MA level, there are no compulsory modules on this course. This enables students to choose four option modules (as opposed to the normal three per course). It thus provides exceptional opportunities for students to forge new avenues of scholarly enquiry by working across different literary periods and genres. It is also possible to select one option module from another Department, to facilitate one of the key aims of this MA - freedom of choice, diversity of modules, and interdisciplinary breadth.

So, for instance, a student seeking to develop an expertise in poetry might combine courses on `Shakespeare and The Powers of Language´, `Dante in Context´, `Milton and The Seventeenth-Century Public Sphere´, and `The First-Person in Nineteenth-Century Poetry´. Or perhaps a student might wish to trace a particular idea or topic across periods, and so take the following options relating to gender debates: `Femininity and Literary Culture: English Women Writers and the Politics of the 1790s´, `Cultures of Life-Writing: The Victorians´, `Office Politics: the Secretary in Film and Fiction, 1890-1940´ and `Contemporary Feminist Theory´. Alternatively, one might refine an interest in drama by combining `Reading the Renaissance: Words, Texts, Discourses´, `Theatres of Revenge, 1580-1642´, `Romantic Performances´, `British and Irish Theatre Since 1965´.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline as early as possible
Tuition fee
  • EUR 15305 Year (Non-EEA)
  • EUR 5560 Year (EEA)

£4,620 (EU); £12,720 (Non EU)

Start date
Credits (ECTS) 60 ECTS
Duration full-time 12 months
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Part-time, Full-time

Course Content

Teaching takes place over two terms, between October and March. Coursework includes three assessed essays of approximately 4,500 words each. Students are also required to give regular seminar presentations and to attend Departmental research seminars and day conferences. Compulsory training, for example in research methods and resources, is given, and optional courses offered by the University in computing and languages are also available.

The summer term and the rest of the academic year are devoted to the production of a 15-20,000 word dissertation, written in consultation with a supervisor on a topic to be agreed with the course convenor, to be submitted in late September. Dissertation supervisors are assigned by the convenor in line with the interests of both supervisor and supervisee. The Department's staff include many of the world's foremost experts in literary topics from Chaucer to Coetzee;

Successful candidates are awarded either a Pass or a Distinction.

The programme is fully modularised and divided into four option modules (assigned 20 credits each), a graduate training programme (10 credits), and a research dissertation (90 credits). It can be taken on a full or part time basis. Modules on offer will vary from year to year according to staff availability, and will run subject to minimum numbers, but it is expected that those on offer in 2007/8 will include most of those listed below:

  • American Fiction Since 1960
  • American Poetry in the Twentieth Century
  • 'Ay me! ay me!': The First Person in Nineteenth-Century Poetry
  • British and Irish Theatre Since 1965
  • British Literary Orientalisms in the Long Eighteenth Century
  • Contemporary Feminist Theory
  • Cultural Identity in Anglo-Saxon Literature
  • Cultures of Life-Writing: The Victorians
  • Dante in Context
  • Deconstruction, Ethics and Literature
  • Femininity and Literary Culture: English Women Writers and the Politics of the 1790s
  • Fictions of Audacity: Middle English Popular Romance
  • Film Aesthetics and Film History
  • Flaubert and After
  • Forms of Enquiry: Poetry and Poetics 1850-1922
  • The French of England: Texts and Territories
  • The Global Eighteenth Century - an Introduction
  • Henry James
  • James Joyce
  • Latin Echoes in Anglo-Saxon England
  • Milton and the Seventeenth-Century Public Sphere
  • Modern Arabic Literature
  • The Monsters and The Critics
  • Narrative, Fiction, Theory
  • Office Politics: the Secretary in Film and Fiction, 1890-1940
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Questioning the Victorians: Texts, Contexts and Afterlives
  • Reading Modernity
  • Reading the Renaissance: Words, Texts, Discourses
  • Reading Materials: The Book in Early Modern England
  • Romantic Confessions and Poetic Personae, 1790-1830
  • Romantic Performances
  • Shakespeare and the Powers of Language
  • 'So gret diversite': Late Medieval English Literature
  • South African Literatures
  • Strangers to Ourselves: Dickens and Collins
  • Textual Criticism and Codicology
  • Theatres of Revenge, 1580-1642
  • Viking Poetry
  • Writing Space
  • Writing Violence

English Language Requirements

CAE score
200(Grade A)
TOEFL paper-based test score (read more)
TOEFL iBT® test (read more)

IMPORTANT NOTE: The UK government confirmed new requirements for secure English language testing for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more


Candidates for admission to the MA degree should normally have a good honours degree or its equivalent in an appropriate subject. Applicants for whom English is a second language are normally expected to have achieved one of the following scores: IELTS: 7.0; TOEFL: 620 (paper-based test)/260 (computer-based test)/105 (internet-based test); or (preferably) Cambridge Proficiency: A or B.

Work Experience

No work experience is required.

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