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English Literature (MA)

Offering a range of approaches and subjects from the medieval to the contemporary, together with the opportunity to specialise in a particular area, this programme engages creatively with the key cultural, theoretical, historical and political contexts informing the latest literary research.

English Literature at Cardiff is taught by staff with an international reputation for innovative and influential research. Our passion for the subject and the strength and range of our scholarship enable us to offer a degree which is:

  • Inclusive. We teach across the whole chronological span of English Literature, from Middle English to literature of the twenty-first century.  We offer modules in a range of critical approaches, from bibliography and textual studies to contemporary women’s writing, and from Barthesian semiotics and postcolonial ways of reading, to theories of gender and queer studies. We are intrigued by the connections between literature and popular culture and literature and theory, and our teaching reflects these interests.
  • Challenging. Staff offer modules on their research areas of expertise. This means that students engage with new, up-to-date ideas that are helping to shape and define the future of the discipline.
  • Diverse. There are no compulsory modules. You have the freedom to use any critical, theoretical perspective to analyse any type of (aesthetic, cultural, historical) material.
  • Engaged. The MA in English Literature is a successful programme of study that has a strong reputation for offering a comprehensive range of modules from all periods and genres that bring the latest developments in literary and critical theory to bear upon the reading of literary and cultural texts.

Distinctive features

  • A wide-ranging programme of research-led modules taught by specialists in the field
  • A series of dedicated research pathways, including Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Romantic and Victorian Studies; Modern and Contemporary Literature; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Cultural and Critical Theory
  • Access to skills training and various research activities
  • The freedom to assemble a programme of study tailored to personal and professional interests
  • High-level training in the latest research methods, critical theory and scholarly writing and presentation skills in a non-assessed core module
  • Popular two-day residential conference and workshop at Gregynog Hall, where you will present short 15-minute papers in a supportive and lively atmosphere
  • One-day symposium dedicated to increasing your employability skills
  • Opportunities to take part in a series of dynamic research seminar series 
  • Access to specialist library collections

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration1 year
QualificationMA
ModeFull-time
Other ways to study this course
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Admissions criteria

A 1st or upper 2nd class UK honours degree, or equivalent, in a related discipline is usually required. 

Early application is strongly advised, normally well before the end of June. Later applications will be considered, but international students must bear in mind the time needed to obtain a visa.

Typical IELTS offer:

A score of band 7 on IELTS with a minimum of 6.5 in each category is required for non-native English speakers or those who have not had a substantial part of their education taught in the English language.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements

Our flexible structure allows you to assemble programmes of study tailored to your personal and professional interests. You can opt for the open pathway, or choose one of our specialist pathways: Medieval and Renaissance; Romantic and Victorian Studies; Modern and Contemporary Literature; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Cultural and Critical Theory, which groups together groups of taught modules with related research activities and skills training available in the School.

The degree is structured in two parts. 

Part one

You choose four modules from a range of specialist options. You take two modules per semester.

All teaching is by seminars and workshops structured around student participation, featuring opportunities to present your work. Each module consists of a two-hour seminar per week and is assessed by a 5,000-word essay (or equivalent).

In addition to the taught modules, you attend weekly workshops on research methods and scholarly presentation.

Part Two

You undertake a dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words on a subject of your choice, developed in consultation with a supervisor in the field. You begin to plan and research your dissertation in the second semester for submission in September.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Teaching is delivered in seminar groups for all modules. The teaching for each module is text-based and revolves around the exploration of concepts and ideas from a range of literary, historical, and theoretical perspectives within the broad field of English Literature.

The learning activities vary from module to module as appropriate, but will include such as activities as interactive discussions of prepared texts/topics and, in some cases, student-led presentations. 

Encouraged to explore our excellent library resources, you are expected to undertake preparation including wide-ranging reading to enable full participation.  

How will I be supported?

You are encouraged to discuss your ideas with module tutors both in seminars and on a one-to-one basis in office hours and in consultation with allocated personal tutors.

The second part of the MA is examined by dissertation, for which you receive individual one-to-one supervision after the Easter vacation and up to the end of July, alongside fortnightly dissertation workshops.

Feedback

Discussion of essay plans and dissertation proposals is offered throughout the programme, and written feedback is provided on both formative and summative assessments. 

 

How will I be assessed?

Each module on Part One is assessed by a 5,000-word essay or equivalent (which can include up to 10% of the module being assessed by oral presentation).

Part Two is examined by a 15,000-20,000-word dissertation. 

What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge and understanding

  • Fundamental grounding in a number of discrete research areas and the critical debate surrounding them
  • Fundamental grounding in research and bibliographic methods
  • Awareness of the historical and cultural contexts of literary texts

Intellectual skills

  • Ability to identify, gather and evaluate a wide range of materials appropriate to the topic
  • Analyse and interpret material drawn from a diversity of sources
  • Demonstrate and exercise independence of thought and ideas
  • Ability to reason in a critically sustained manner
  • Ability to plan and execute an individual research topic

Subject-specific (writing) skills

  • Ability to apply techniques of close analysis to both historical and literary texts
  • Ability to challenge, review or question received ideas about the meanings of historical and/or literary texts
  • Ability to demonstrate a good knowledge of academic systems of the presentation of arguments
  • Ability to sustain a critical argument that engages with the nuances of a literary text
  • Ability to write at a level appropriate to research work
  • Preparation for advanced academic study

Postgraduate study is a gateway to many careers within and beyond academia.

Many of our alumni enter (or return to) various professions including academia, primary and secondary education, journalism, publishing, archival and library work, the Civil Service, arts administration and the creative industries.

In addition to taught modules and academic workshops, we also offer dedicated sessions to increase your transferable skills and employability prospects. We also encourage all students on the programme to work closely with the University’s Careers and Employability office. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£7,650None

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

EU students entering in 2019/20 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2020/21 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Students from outside the EU (2019/20)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£17,350£1,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.