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English Literature MA

Subject area: English Apply full-time Apply part-time
Mode of study

1-year full-time; 2-years part-time

PG Code


Start date


English Literature MA


Please note the application deadline for this course is Friday 25th August 2017. Any applications after this date will be considered on an individual basis, subject to course vacancies.

Postgraduate Loans: From 1 August 2016, students who live in England will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan in academic year 2016/17 of up to £10,000. Find out more

About the course

The MA in English Literature at Brunel University London offers a combination of various approaches to the study of literary texts, including the historical, author-oriented readings, periodization and a postmillennial focus. It is underpinned by certain core issues: identity, culture and literary engagement; historical contexts; the ideological and social function of literature; exploring self and others through literary forms and genres; how we might more effectively read texts and the world.

The course offers the opportunity to study a range of topics and periods including the contemporary, and it is designed to appeal to you if: you are preparing to undertake further research in literary studies; wishing to take your general studies in English literature to the next level; or, hoping to enhance your career prospects.

The introductory module, Reading, Research & Writing, reinforces and further develops all the required skills and competencies relevant to literary studies, ensuring that from the third term you will be able to pursue self-directed research on an agreed topic of your choice and submit a 15,000 word dissertation.


  • You will explore the diversity of literary and cultural production through innovative modules designed to cross disciplinary, historical, and geographical boundaries, thereby offering a wide scope within which students of the master’s can develop their own interests.
  • The MA in English Literature will equip you with a detailed and sophisticated understanding of English and related literatures. It will support your critical and creative engagement with issues central to and at the cutting edge of English literary studies.
  • If, following the completion of the postgraduate English MA course, you wish to continue your studies at doctoral level, you will have essential research skills, and the opportunity to join a flourishing research culture at Brunel.


College of Business, Arts, and Social Sciences
Department of Arts and Humanities
Brunel University London
Middlesex UB8 3PH
Tel +44 (0)1895 265265

Course Content

You will take five core modules, four of which study a range of texts and a fifth which involves preparing a 15,000 word dissertation on an agreed topic of your choice.

All five compulsory modules have been designed to meet the requirements of the Arts and Humanities Research Council in terms of preparation of graduate students for advanced level study and doctoral research.

Reading, Writing and Research EN5601

By studying nominated texts, you will refine the advanced reading, writing and research skills fundamental to the study of literature at master's level and beyond. You will work on topics such as: online sources and databases; analysis and close reading of primary texts; using secondary sources when writing about literary texts and practical criticism through masterclasses. Through this you will become familiar with: group discussions; presentations; project management; using archives; and preparing for written responses, including a dissertation.

Postmillennial Literature EN5602

This module provides an opportunity to study in depth one strand of postmillennial literature (selected for 2016/2017 in bold): Postmillennial British post-9/11 Novel; Postmillennial Postcolonial Anglophone Writing; Postmillennial Science Fiction and Fantasy; Postmillennial LGBT Writing; or Postmillennial Experimental Poetry

A British Literary Decade: A Historical Approach EN5603

Literary and cultural aspects of one nominated decade will be selected from a range including (selected for 2016/2017 in bold): 1590s; 1850s; 1890s; 1920s; 1930s; 1960s; 1970s; 1980s.

Author(s) Study EN5604

You will study the work of one author and/or those by one well-recognized small group of interrelated authors, which might include: Selected Romantic Poets: John Keats and P.B. Shelley; The Brontes; Charles Dickens; Selected modernist fiction writers: Virginia Woolf and Katharine Mansfield; Chinua Achebe; B.S. Johnson; J.G. Ballard.

Advanced Project: 15,000 word dissertation EN5605

Under the guidance of a nominated supervisor you will undertake critical reading and research culminating in the writing of a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed with the MA Convenor in advance. This will be submitted in early September.

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.

Special Features

  • This master’s degree is taught by world-leading specialists in post-1789 literature and theory, each with an international reputation for publication, their work informing the content of our programme.
  • The course offers innovative approaches and module topics which combine different periods, author-studies, and both a contemporary and a historical focus.
  • The location of Brunel University in West London places it in the heart of contemporary literary and cultural life in the UK.
  • Access to various Brunel archives, including the Fiction and Cultural Mediation of Ageing (FCMAP) archive, the Burnett Archive of Working Class Autobiographies and South Asian Diaspora Arts Archive (SADAA).
  • Our staff have expertise in a wide range of literatures, and you will benefit from events and activities organised by the Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing.
  • There are financial benefits offered to alumni of the Brunel MA programmes to help you on your way.

Teaching and Assessment


The English Literature MA is taught through workshops and seminars, led by distinguished research-active staff working in the field. English students will be expected to contribute to discussions, present your own interpretations and raise new questions for debate.


This English Literature Master's course is taught through workshops and seminars, moderated by distinguished research-active staff working in the field. You will be expected to contribute to discussions, present your own interpretations and raise new questions for debate.

You will be assessed using a variety of methods including written work (essays and dissertation), oral presentations, seminar attendance and performance, and organisation and planning of the dissertation. Some assessments will be formative, i.e you will be given feedback but not graded; this will enable you to improve and work towards graded assessments.



On completing the English Literature MA, you will have skills which are vital for careers in publishing, print and electronic media, the culture industries and education, as well as other professions such as law, the civil service, advertising, market research and marketing, and financial services and business.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2016/17 entry

UK/EU students: £7,300 full-time; £3,650 part-time

International students: £15,400 full-time; £7,700 part-time

Additional course related costs

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Entry Criteria 2017/18

  • A UK first or second class (2:1) Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a related discipline.
  • Candidates of the Master's in English Literature may be considered with a 2:2 Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a related discipline and will be assessed on an individual basis.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.