English Literature MA

Postgraduate (12 months full-time, part-time)


January, September

Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

Course duration: 12 months full-time or up to 3 years part-time (September starts); 15 months full-time or up to 3 years part-time (January starts)

Teaching times


Semester 1: Monday or Thursday 18:00 - 20:00
Semester 2: Monday or Thursday 18:00 - 20:00


Pursue your love of literature at an advanced level, study modules on topics from the Renaissance to the modern day, and gain research skills that will help you stand out to employers or progress to a PhD. Our Masters course is ideal if you want to advance your teaching career or begin the move into academia.

Full description


This course will give you the higher-level skills to stand out in today’s competitive job market.

If you are a teacher, you could study with us to update your knowledge and further your existing career, or even move into another discipline. Or, if you are hoping to move on to an academic post, this course will give you the research skills you will need for a PhD.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Major Project
    This module will support you in the preparation and submission of a Masters dissertation, allowing you to explore in-depth a particular topic that reflects your academic interest.

Optional modules

  • Shakespeare and Society
    On this module, you will focus on a detailed study of Shakespeare's works and their later performance, history and creative reception in the context of the social changes at work both in his era and in the centuries which followed. You will study a wide-ranging selection of Shakespeare’s works, including examples from all major genres. You will explore key cultural contexts, such as gender, race, politics and power, in relation to both the early modern stage and to later adaptations and performances. From the seventeenth century to the present day, Shakespeare's works have been re-appropriated within a range of different cultural, geographical and political contexts. This module will require you to examine an indicative selection of these: global performances, film versions, poetic and visual responses, prequels and sequels in fiction and drama. You will also be required to engage with relevant critical and theoretical debates. Your two assessment elements for this module consist of a 1000-word critical review and a 5000-word essay.
  • Twentieth and Twenty First Century Fiction and Social Change
    This module provides a survey of literature from the 20th and 21st centuries. You will analyse fiction within a framework of social and political change. Centring on a number of key developments – the first and second world wars, gendered and sexual change, migration and multiculturalism, the rise of neo-liberalism and 9/11 – you will explore a range of literary and theoretical texts. Your assessment will include two elements, the first a 1000-word literature review discussing one key area of social change and its relationship to developments in fiction, the second comprises a 5000-word essay on a topic of your choice, devised in consultation with the module team.
  • Workshop: the Short Story
    On this workshop-based module you will study and practice the techniques of short story writing. To maximise the use of group feedback and feedback from the tutor you will undertake many exercises in workshop time, but also longer writing exercises to consolidate what you have done in class. You will undertake a series of structured exercises designed to develop your techniques in, for instance, characterisation, dialogue, plot structure, time frames and time sequencing with a particular emphasis placed on how these techniques differ from those used in novel writing. You will read short stories from a range of classic and contemporary short story writers such as Chekhov, Henry James and Alice Munro and the work of other writers featured on the East of the Web short story website. As the module progresses you will be expected to reflect critically both on your own writing and that of your peers. This module will also incorporate practical advice on agents, the marketplace, writing competitions and how to get writing published. You will be assessed through the portfolio of writing of up to 4,000 words and a critical commentary of up to 2,000 words.
  • Patterns of Story: Fiction and its Forms
    This module is a literary history course for writers. You will examine the history of the novel from its formation in the 18th Century through to some of its more modern forms, exploring along the way some of the cultural and social contexts that have helped to shape these changing patterns of story. Your studies will include some narrative theory. Through reading and discussing recent and classic books on the history and structure of the novel, by writers such as Jane Smiley, Christopher Booker, John Mullen and Dorothea Brande, you will consider what it means to write novels and what it means to be a writer, and the ways in which some contemporary writers use and reuse much older forms of storytelling and patterns of story. You will be assessed through a 6000-word essay on an aspect of narrative form that will incorporate samples of your creative writing.
  • Creativity and Content in Publishing
    You will cover issues, principles and practices related to the research, commissioning, preparation and packaging of publishing products and services in a variety of formats and on various platforms. You will consider the importance of determining the strategic direction of a publisher's list, the publisher's relationship with content creators, and the need for quality control in managing editorial projects. The module will introduce you to the world of contemporary publishing and the importance of different media markets. You will also be introduced to the processes by which publishers work with authors and designers in the preparation of text and images for publication in both print and electronic formats. Workshops will cover commissioning and editorial skills and in further sessions you will address issues such as marketing and the making of effective presentations. Industry specialists will be brought in where appropriate to introduce you to case studies in order to illustrate salient contemporary content management issues. The module will conclude with student group presentations of new product proposals. For assessment you will complete an editorial plan to present a new publishing idea. You will work in a group to submit an acquisitions proposal comprising appropriate documentation and graphics, as well as an assessed presentation.
  • Research Methods - English Literature
    This module covers the research methods necessary for completion of the MA dissertation, including topics such as developing research questions, critical practice and theory, archives, research methodologies, bibliographies, library searches, writing review essays, drafting proposals and structuring a dissertation. It will prepare you for the dissertation and give you an understanding of the literature and research methods in a specific aspect of the discipline of English. You will also have the opportunity to reflect on the nature of research and the discipline of English. You assessment will include three tasks, each of which will focus on your individual dissertation topic.
  • Revolution and Reform in the Long Nineteenth Century
    On this module, you will examine writing produced during the ‘long’ 19th century that relates to or engages with the revolutions and major reforms between 1789 and 1914. The controversies and revolutions of the period are political, religious, social, cultural, and scientific: for example, the political ferment in Britain following the French Revolution and after the Napoleonic Wars, and the continuing pressures for a widening of the franchise throughout the Victorian period and beyond; the socio-scientific debates about sanitation in overcrowded Victorian cities; social, political, medical and legal debates about the status of women; and the changing scientific and religious divisions prompted by evolutionary hypothesis and discovery. You will consider the imaginative use of contemporary debate in the work of, for example, Wordsworth, Shelley, Dickens, Tennyson, Gaskell, Eliot and E.B. Browning alongside the strategies in a wide range of other writing and graphic art, paying close attention to the changing historical and political context. Your assessment will consist of two elements: a 10-minute oral presentation using PowerPoint or Prezi in which you will analyse a critical essay or article and assess its usefulness in relation to a literary text or texts, and a 5000-word essay on a topic of your choice, devised in consultation with the module leader.
  • Workshop: the Novel
    On this module, you will study and practice the techniques of novel writing in peer-discussion workshops. Outside of these workshops, you will complete samples of your own novel, which will be presented to your fellow students and module tutors during the workshop, allowing you to receive a range of feedback on your writing. You will undertake smaller writing exercises during workshop time, but will also receive longer writing exercises to consolidate what has been done in class. You will undertake a series of structured exercises designed to develop your techniques in, for instance, characterisation, dialogue, and the selection and effectiveness of different points of view, setting. You will also read extracts from a number of well-known novels to underpin these discussions of techniques. The module will also incorporate practical advice about agents, the marketplace and how to get your work published. You will be assessed through the portfolio of writing of up to 4,000 words that you produce during the module, and a critical commentary of 2,000 words.
  • Special Topic in Creative Writing/English Literature
    This module will give you the opportunity to study a particular topic or genre taught by a practising writer with current or recent work in this area. The texts will include those written for adults and children or young adults that share the focus. You might study a particular subgenre such as historical fantasy or weird fiction, or a particular topic such as the apocalypse or time travel. The module will include close reading of the texts, instruction and discussion on how to write in the particular genre, and workshopping of your writing. You will be assessed by means of a final 4,500-word portfolio of creative writing appropriate to the special topic and a critical commentary of 2,000 words. Please note all students wishing to enrol in this module must submit a short writing sample to get approval from the module leader.


Your assessment will comprise a combination of essays, critical reviews and presentations, as well as a 15,000-word dissertation.

You can get advice on essay writing at consultation workshops which are built into the course.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

At the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, we believe in thinking critically about the past, present and future to challenge perceptions and better understand communities and people.

With expertise from gender issues to literary analysis to exploring how the past has shaped our modern world, all our staff members are active researchers. This is reflected in our teaching, allowing us to support our students with the latest theories and practices, as well as essential employability advice.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Specialist facilities

You’ll be able to access the world-class library at the University of Cambridge as well as our own campus library, plus electronic resources including Early English Books Online and JSTOR, an interdisciplinary archive of academic journals, books and primary sources.

Activities and events

Our many extra-curricular activities include an annual three-day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, poetry and writing evenings, Literary Society events, and research symposia and conferences. You’ll also be able to take some of our publishing and editing short courses at a discounted price.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year, part-time)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year, part-time)


UK & EU students, 2019/20 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2019/20 (part-time, per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (part-time, per year)


Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you're studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

Additional costs

Various optional trips

How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you're at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online