Skip to main content

English Literature

English Literature

MA
Apply now

The vast majority of our postgraduate courses are still open for 2021/22 entry, and there is no formal application deadline. However, please remember that at this time of year, it can take between four and six weeks for us to process your application. In addition to this, if you are an international student, you also need to allow time to apply for a visa, apply for accommodation and make travel arrangements. For this reason, we recommend that, where possible, you submit your application by 31 July 2021.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees: £8,100

International/EU fees: £17,200

The course

English Literature (MA)

If you want to undertake further English literature study, but don't want to specialise in any one area, MA English Literature may be the perfect course for you. With a wide range of expertise in the department, you have the option to choose units from the MAs in Medieval Studies, Shakespeare, Victorian Literature, Art and Culture and specialist options in Modernism and Contemporary Literature. The course is ideal if you are interested in more than one period of English literature, or if you want to combine or juxtapose the literatures and genres of different periods.

You'll choose the equivalent of two whole modules from across the four MA literature programmes and carry out your own research, writing a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation.

You will be taught by highly regarded scholars, writers and critics who are engaged in research, writing ground-breaking books, talking to or writing in the national media, and providing expert advice to organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Department for Education and other national and international bodies.

You may study this course full-time for one year or part-time over two years.

For some of you, the shift to online learning will be unfamiliar, but the department of English has been providing resources and learning support online for some time through TeacherHub>English. Primarily aimed at teachers of English Literature at KS5, TeacherHub>English also provides an insight into our MAs by introducing you to our staff and to a range of materials which can support your studies. On our teaching resources page, you will find colleagues introducing ways of studying key English texts. We have also rounded up a range of the best freely available resources to support your studies through the Covid-19 crisis.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience, and this is particularly the case as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.

Core Modules

  • This will be a piece of original written work, of between 12,000 and 15,000 words. The topic of the dissertation will be agreed between you and whichever member of staff is allotted a supervisor and is normally required to be submitted by the beginning of September in the year of the completion of the programme.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

  • This module is designed to introduce you to a number of key topics related to the methods of postgraduate research, and to some of the resources and materials that will be useful to your studies.

  • The course aims to provide an introduction to some of the key texts in modernist and contemporary writing. It seeks to provide students with the critical contexts necessary to engage with the critical debates surrounding these respective areas. It will offer an introduction to the relevant social and historical contexts surrounding the production of literary works during the periods covered. It will familiarise students with key terms such as modernism, postmodernism and late modernism. During the latter part of the course students will be encouraged to compare different works, and the critical debates surrounding them, across historical time frames.

  • This module aims to engage you in a sustained, intensive study of Shakespeare’s supreme tragic masterpiece, the controversies it has provoked, and the diverse ways in which it has been adapted and transformed by poets, dramatists, novelists, and by film and theatre directors, since Shakespeare’s time. You will begin with a detailed discussion of the play itself before turning to critical debate and exploring the creative impact of King Lear on later poetry, drama and fiction. The second term is devoted to studying the creative response to King Lear in the theatre and the cinema, tracking its performance history on stage and screen through in-depth analysis of landmark productions and film adaptations.

  • This module provides a point of coherence for the interdisciplinary study of Victorian Culture. You will be introduced to the theories and methods of a variety of humanities disciplines through the medium of an in-depth study of the literature, history, geography, and visual culture of nineteenth-century London. You will be asked to reflect critically on your own approach to the material studied, through engagement with both primary materials and a variety of recent secondary sources.

  • This module aims to provide an advanced understanding of the complex field of aestheticism in nineteenth-century literature and culture, with particular attention to concepts of ‘decadence’ and the relationship between the written word and the visual arts. Classes cover key theoretical and critical interventions into nineteenth-century aesthetic debates, from Ruskin and Pater through to Oscar Wilde and selected women writers of the 1880s and 1890s. 

  • This module aims to equip you with a systematic understanding of the scope and range of the mid nineteenth-century novel in the context of Victorian publishing, reading and critical practices. In the first half, you will read three Dickens novels in depth, and while in the second half you will concentrate on theories of realism and the 19th Century novel. The module seeks to integrate reflections on recent critical approaches to the texts in order to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the critical techniques and discourses that will be applicable to your own advanced scholarship in the assessed essay and final dissertation.

  • This module aims to equip you with a systematic understanding of the scope and range of the Pre-Raphaelite Movement in the context of Victorian art criticism, attitudes to gender and poetics. The first five-week block concentrates on poetry and the visual arts in the first decade of the movement; the second five-week block deals with the second generation of Pre-Raphaelites and their links with Aestheticism.

  • This interdisciplinary module explores the traditions and forms and varieties of medieval story-telling. You will read texts in Old and Middle English, French, Latin and Italian in translation. You will explore various narrative genres, such as epic, chronicle, romance, and fabliau, and two of the major tale collections of the period, the Decameron and the Canterbury Tales.

  • This module examines the development of Arthurian literature and legend across four centuries and three languages. Beginning with Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, it focuses on the different ways in which Arthur’s reign was represented and understood in the Middle Ages.

Students on the MA in English Literature choose the equivalent of two whole courses from across the four MA programmes and write a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation, submitted early in the September of the year following their enrolment on the MA.

The courses chosen may be made up of combination of full and half-units (one 'course' equals one full-unit, or two half-units). Some of the available MA programmes are comprised entirely of full-units, as is the case with the MA in Shakespeare, and some of half -units, as is the case with the MA in Victorian Literature, Art and Culture. In addition, all students are registered for the compulsory unassessed course 'Methods and Materials of Research'. 

The MA may be taken on a full-time, as a one year basis, or part-time, over two years; in the latter case, the dissertation would be written in the second year of study.

2:1

In a related subject.

Normally we require a UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in relevant subjects but we will consider a high 2:2 or relevant work experience. Candidates with professional qualifications in an associated area may be considered. Where a ‘high 2:2’ is considered, we would normally define this as reflecting a profile of 57% or above. Applicants with degrees in other subjects may also be considered.

Applicants will be required to submit a sample of recent written work, such as two short essays or an extract from a dissertation.

International & EU requirements

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start of your course.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 7.0 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 69 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE IV.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here.

The Department has an impressive record for placing graduates in academic jobs and in prominent position outside academia. In the field of Shakespeare and Renaissance studies alone, our postgraduates have recently secured positions at the Universities of Edinburgh, Sussex and Leeds, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National University of Ireland. Recent postgraduates in America literature, modern and contemporary literature and theory have secured prestigious appointments in London.

The English Department also prepares postgraduates for successful careers in a variety of the other areas, such as:

  • teaching
  • writing and journalism
  • administration
  • marketing

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £8,100

EU and International students tuition fee per year**: £17,200

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the programme via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees see our terms and conditions. Please note that for research programmes, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.

** For EU nationals starting a degree in 2021/22, the UK Government has recently confirmed that you will not be eligible to pay the same fees as UK students. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us during the academic year 2021/22, we will award a fee reduction scholarship which brings your fee into line with the fee paid by UK students. This will apply for the duration of your course.

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included. 

 

English Postgraduate Admissions

Dr Sophie Gilmartin

Postgraduate Taught Director

+44 (0)1784 443215

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

They say the two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today