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MA in English Literature

MA in English Literature

The MA in English Literature at Cardiff offers exciting opportunities for students to expand their intellectual horizons while gaining advanced subject knowledge and developing sophisticated research, writing and analytical skills. Composed of a stimulating programme of research-led modules, the programme enables students to engage with some of the key cultural, theoretical, historical and political contexts informing literary research at postgraduate level.

The flexible structure of the MA allows students to assemble programmes of study tailored to their personal and professional interests. The MA provides excellent research training for students who plan to move on to doctoral research. It is also ideal for those who wish to enhance their employability before taking up a career, as well as those who are seeking professional development in their current employment. Many of our students undertake the MA to strengthen their transferable skills for a variety of careers, including journalism, publishing, teaching, research and administration.

Modules range from the medieval to the modern, and traverse various genres and approaches. Students are free to follow one of the specialist pathways or the Open Pathway. Specialist pathways in the current session include:

Teaching and Assessment

The degree is structured in two parts. In Part One (the taught component of the degree), full-time students choose four modules (two per semester) from a range of specialist options. Part-time students take one module per semester. All teaching is by seminars and workshops structured around student participation, with opportunities for students to present their work. Each taught module consists of a two-hour seminar per week and is assessed by a 4,000-word essay (or equivalent assessment). In addition to the taught modules, students attend weekly workshops on research methods and scholarly presentation and a critical theory reading group.

In Part Two of the degree (the dissertation), students undertake a substantial and sustained research project of 16,000-20,000 words on a subject of their choice, developed in consultation with an assigned supervisor.

Length of Course

The MA programme is available on a full-time or a part-time basis, with entry every September.

Entry Requirements

Students are normally required to hold a first degree in English Literature (single or joint honours) of at least 2:1 standard, but applicants with other relevant qualifications will be considered.

How to Apply

You may apply online or send us a paper application form (also available from the 'Apply' section of Cardiff University's website). Applications are considered on a continuous basis throughout the year.
In addition to the application form we require the following supporting documents:

The School welcomes applications from students from outside the United Kingdom. More information is provided on our International Students page.

The School also offers opportunities for full-time and part-time study leading to the degrees of PhD and MPhil. Please see our Postgraduate Research section for further information.


For details of possible funding opportunities please visit the following sites:


Find Undergraduate courses

Find Postgraduate courses

For further information, please contact:
Postgraduate Office

Phone: +44 (0)29 208 70322

Cardiff School of English, Communication,
and Philosophy
Cardiff University
John Percival Building
Colum Drive
CF10 3EU

Student Views

"The MA is the most rewarding, challenging and intellectually stimulating course I have undertaken – and I have enjoyed every moment of it. The course is structured in such a way that, over the four modules, I was constantly developing advanced analytical skills in critical reading and writing which allowed me to write my dissertation with confidence and enjoyment.  This, combined with the friendliness and approachability of staff, creates a learning environment that is highly conducive for students to fulfil their academic potential.  Personally, the most important and unexpected outcome of the course is that it has instilled in me a genuine sense of pride in my own writing and at the end of the year I felt extremely proud of all that I had achieved.’

Michael John Goodman – former MA student

‘I chose to study the MA in English Literature at Cardiff University because of the wide range of modules and pathways available.  I can’t believe how much I learnt in a year!  The course was intensive but the tutors were supportive and this helped me to develop the skills and confidence I needed.  I enjoyed the experience so much that I am now studying for the PhD within the School."

Elinor Smith – former MA student