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English Literature MA

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Study mode

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

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Start date


Study location

Brunel University London campus


Postgraduate Loans: From 1 August 2018 , students who live in England will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan in academic year 2018/19 of up to £10,609. 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.


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

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.


Careers and your future

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

Entry criteria 2019/20

  • A 2:2 (or above) UK Honours degree, or equivalent internationally recognised qualification, in a related subject.

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: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Teaching and learning

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.

Assessment and feedback

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.

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.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019/20 entry

UK/EU students: £8,000 full-time; £4,000 part-time

International students: £16,850 full-time; £8,425 part-time

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

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).

Fees quoted are per year and may be subject to an annual increase. Home/EU undergraduate student fees are regulated and are currently capped at £9,250 per year; any changes will be subject to changes in government policy. International and postgraduate fees will increase annually in line with RPI, or 5%, whichever is the lesser.

There is a range of financial support available to help you fund your studies. Find out about postgraduate student funding options.