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English Literature

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English Literature

MA

The initial application deadline for this course is 1 June 2024. Further detail here.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees*: £10,600

International/EU fees**: £21,700

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, Victorian Literature, Art and Culture and other specialist options including ‘Modernist and Contemporary Literature’ or ‘Shakespeare’s King Lear: Critical Debates and Creative Response’. 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 four modules from across the 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.

 

 

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

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.

  • This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.

     

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 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. We study a range of novels in depth, and discuss recent critical approaches to each text 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.

  • This module explores the relationship between Victorian literature and the ‘climates’ of the British Empire: its ecologies, social systems, aesthetics, politics, and histories of slavery, resource extraction, wealth, and violence. In addition to introducing students to one of the liveliest critical fields in Victorian Studies at present, the module will encourages students to reflect on the imbrication of Empire into a seemingly ‘domestic’ canon of Victorian literature and culture to rethink what (or where) we mean by the term ‘Victorian’, and to bring our analysis of the nineteenth century into the present day by engaging with contemporary culture and discussing how we continue to grapple with the legacies of nineteenth-century colonisation.

Students on the MA in English Literature choose a combination of any four modules taught across the MA programmes, equivalent to four 30 credit modules (two modules per term). Students willalso write a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation, submitted early in the September of the year following their enrolment on the MA.

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.

2:2

UK Lower Class Honours degree (2:2) or equivalent in a related subject.

Candidates with professional qualifications or relevant professional experience in an associated area will also be considered.

Academic writing samples, could be an extract from a dissertation or two shorter essays, showing the ability to analyse literature.

International & EU requirements

English language requirements

  • 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.
  • TOEFL iBT: 97 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.
  • Duolingo: 130 overall, 135 in Literacy, 135 in Production and no sub-score below 100.

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*: £10,600

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £21,700

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. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree (if longer than one year’s duration). This means that the overall cost of studying the course part-time will be slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year.

** This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25. Find out more 

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

English Postgraduate Admissions

Dr Helen Kingstone

Postgraduate Taught Director

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