MA English Literature

Overview

Join staff and students from around the world in the School of English. The variety of fresh perspectives you’ll find here will make your masters a unique experience.

MA English Literature

Design the masters you want

Our MA courses give you the chance to explore the subjects you love with the guidance of leading researchers. You can choose to focus your studies in a particular specialism through our pathways in American Studies, Film Studies, Gothic Studies and Literary Linguistics or choose from any of the modules to create the degree that best suits your interests. Medieval and Early Modern Literature or Modern and Contemporary Literature. Or you can design the masters you want by selecting the MA in English Literature which allows you to study modules from across the different degrees and pathways offered by the School of English.

Your future

This MA can help develop the range of transferable skills at your disposal, giving you a wide variety of career options. Some of our modules have been designed specifically to provide opportunities for reflecting on the role of English in the public sphere and to enable you to develop different kinds of skills and experience. These can be especially valuable for those considering a career in English outside academia.

Fast facts

Title: MA English Literature

Award: Master of Arts

Duration: Full-time - 1 year, Part-time - 2 years

Entry: Minimum 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent. Overall IELTS grade of 7.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

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Content

The MA in English Literature allows you to select the modules you want from across the School. Most of our modules are based around seminar teaching. Assessment is by essays and by the dissertation which you will write on the subject of your choice. During your dissertation you’ll be supervised by one of our academic staff who will be an expert in your chosen area of study and who will provide guidance and support on your your topic and methodology.

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Full-time structure

A full-time student will follow the model of study below:

Semester one
Two optional modules.

Semester two
Two optional modules and write a dissertation over the summer.

Part-time structure

A part-time student will follow the model of study below:

Year one
Two optional modules.

Year two
Two optional modules and write a dissertation over the summer.

Pathways

Modules have been grouped into ‘pathways’ to allow you to see how the different modules might help you build up a portfolio that helps prepare you for a dissertation in a particular area. However, you can choose modules from different ‘pathways’ if you wish, and if that suits your own interests and research/training needs.

American Studies

This pathway offers an opportunity to specialize in American Literature within the overall structure of the English Literature MA.With a focus on contemporary American literature, the pathway consists of modules on Urban and postmodern literature, the cold war, life-writing, race and gender.

There is also an opportunity to select the core module, Approaches to the American Past, from the American History MA.In addition to those who have a general fascination with America, this pathway may be of particular interest to students considering a PhD in American literature or culture. A previous background in American literature is not required.

Example modules
To be awarded the degree of MA, students must normally complete a total of 180 credits including 120 credits of taught modules and the 60 credit Dissertation. The Dissertation is a core module, however all other modules are optional. We have listed some example modules that could help you prepare to specialise in American Studies.

  • Memory and Narrative in Contemporary Literature (30 credits)
  • Exchanging Letters (30 credits)
  • Postmodernism to Neo-conservatism in American Culture (30 credits)
  • Rocket State Cosmology (30 credits)
  • Tales of the City (30 credits)
  • Analysis of Film (30 credits)
  • Work placement (15 or 30 credits)
Film Studies

Modules comprising the Film pathway combine the stylistic and theoretical examination of film with the historical and institutional study of international cinema (for example in Lit 6330 Analysis of Film), with the close textual reading and contextual analysis across the histories and outputs of distinctive national film cultures (for example in Lit 631 Postwar British Theatre, Film and Television and Lit 6900 Australian Cinema).

Example modules
To be awarded the degree of MA, students must normally complete a total of 180 credits including 120 credits of taught modules and the 60 credit Dissertation. The Dissertation is a core module, however all other modules are optional. We have listed some example modules that could help you prepare to specialise in Film Studies.

  • Analysis of Film (30 credits)
  • Post-War British Theatre, Film and Television (30 credits)
  • Animal Writes (30 credits)
  • Work placement (15 or 30 credits)
Gothic Studies

This pathway offers an opportunity to specialize in Gothic Studies within the overall structure of the English Literature MA.

With a focus on literature from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the pathway consists of modules on the rise of the Gothic in the eighteenth century, representations of animals and monsters, and the fin de siècle Gothic. There are also modules which can be taken on eighteenth and nineteenth century literature as well as on twentieth and twenty-first century literature. You can also take relevant modules from History and the School of Languages and Culture.

You will have access to the resources that only a Russell Group university can provide, including important archival material. The University’s holdings include the Corvey collection which includes many rare Gothic novels published between 1790-1840. As a member of the University you will be able to attend guest lectures delivered by world-leading academics.

In addition to those who have a general fascination with the Gothic, this pathway may be of particular interest to students considering a PhD in Gothic Studies.

The School of English is home to the Centre for the History of the Gothic.

Members of the Centre run a regular reading group and an annual conference which attracts postgraduate students from a number of institutions. The Centre is directed by Professor Andrew Smith (a past president of the International Gothic Association) and Professor Angela Wright (the current co-president of the International Gothic Association).

Please contact Professor Andrew Smith for further details.

Example modules
To be awarded the degree of MA, students must normally complete a total of 180 credits including 120 credits of taught modules and the 60 credit Dissertation. The Dissertation is a core module, however all other modules are optional. We have listed some example modules that could help you prepare to specialise in Gothic Studies.

  • The Eighteenth Century: Research Approaches (30 credits)
  • Humans, Animals, Monsters and Machines: From Gulliver’s Travels to King Kong (30 credits)
  • British Poetry in the Long Eighteenth Century: Union, Divergence and Death (30 credits)
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Nineteenth Century Studies (30 credits)
  • The Rise of the Gothic (30 credits)
  • Poetry and History (30 credits)
  • Fiction and Reality (30 credits)
  • Work placement (15 or 30 credits)
Literary Linguistics

The University of Sheffield has one of the largest concentrations of researchers in literary linguistics in the world. One of the cluster’s key strengths is the diversity of subjects and approaches it includes, from cognitive poetics to the history of literary and linguistic thought, from dialect representation to empirical stylistics.

We have a lively community of literary-linguistics Masters students, drawn from two MA courses.

Depending on their individual interests and needs, students can pursue a Literary Linguistics pathway through either the MA in English Literature or the MA in English Language and Linguistics. The Literary Linguistics pathway through the MA in English Literature includes two modules dedicated to the interface of literary study and linguistics, taught by our team of interdisciplinary researchers: Literary Language: History and Culture; and Literary Language: Narrative and Cognition.

Students choose two additional modules from other areas of the School of English and across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and they pursue a Dissertation in literary linguistics, working closely with one of our expert supervisors.

This pathway is particularly suitable for students who wish to continue studying a specific aspect of English literature alongside their literary-linguistic interests.

Example modules
To be awarded the degree of MA, students must normally complete a total of 180 credits including 120 credits of taught modules and the 60 credit Dissertation. The Dissertation is a core module, however all other modules are optional. We have listed some example modules that could help you prepare to specialise in Literary Linguistics.

  • Introduction to Literary Linguistics (30 credits - online)
  • Literary Language (Narrative and Cognition) (30 credits)
  • Literary Language (Digital Media) (30 credits)
  • Introduction to Literary Linguistics (30 credits - online)
  • Work placement (15 or 30 credits)
Medieval and Early Modern

The medieval and early modern team provides full chronological coverage of the period from the early medieval period to the late Seventeenth Century. The genres we study encompass prose, poetry, and drama, as well as fictional and non-fictional forms such as letters and news. We are particularly interested in the ways in which texts and ideas circulated (in manuscript, print and performance), and the relationships between literature, language, place, and identity. Our students enjoy a stimulating interdisciplinary environment. They are part of the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies (SCEMS), the Medieval and Ancient Research Centre (MARCUS), and have the opportunity to take modules in History if they wish.

Example modules
To be awarded the degree of MA, students must normally complete a total of 180 credits including 120 credits of taught modules and the 60 credit Dissertation. The Dissertation is a core module, however all other modules are optional. We have listed some example modules that could help you prepare to specialise in Medieval and Early Modern Studies.

  • Reconsidering the Renaissance (30 credits)
  • Early Modern Paleography (15 credits)
  • Directed Reading: Topics in Early Modern Literature (15 credits)
  • Early Modern Books (15 credits)
  • Latin (15 credits; taught by Modern Language Teaching Centre)
  • Cities and Culture in Medieval Europe, 1250-1550 (15 credits)
  • Interdisciplinary Early Modern Studies (15 credits)
  • Work placement (15 or 30 credits)
Modern and Contemporary

This pathway offers an opportunity to specialize in the fiction and poetry of the Modern and Contemporary period, within the overall structure of the English Literature MA.

With a focus on literature since 1900, the pathway consists of modules on memory studies, contemporary poetry, urban and postmodern literature, the Cold War, life-writing, race, gender, and animal studies.

Example modules
To be awarded the degree of MA, students must normally complete a total of 180 credits including 120 credits of taught modules and the 60 credit Dissertation. The Dissertation is a core module, however all other modules are optional. We have listed some example modules that could help you prepare to specialise in Modern and Contemporary Studies.

  • Exchanging Letters: Art and Correspondence in Twentieth-Century American Culture (30 credits)
  • Analysis of Film (30 credits)
  • Animal Writes (30 credits)
  • Rocket State Cosmology (30 credits)
  • Memory and Narrative (30 credits)
  • Tales of the City (30 credits)
  • Work placement (15 or 30 credits)

Entry

Academic Requirements:

A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree (GPA 3.0) in English literature, language, linguistics, or a related discipline (e.g. history, philosophy, modern languages) is usually required. Find out more about EU and international student entry requirements.

English Language Requirements:

For applicants whose first language is not English, IELTS is the preferred test of language. You need an overall IELTS score of 7.5, with at least 6.5 in all the component tests. Further information can be found here.

English Language Support

The English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) provides language support and development for students whose first language is not English. See their services here.

Fees and Funding:

Find information on fees and the sources of funding that can help you pay for your postgraduate studies.

How to Apply:

Apply online

Applying to start in over 12 months time?

Please feel free to submit your application via our online system, however please note that we will not be able to process your application for this course until 12 months before your proposed start date.

Visit Us:

If you’re considering a postgraduate programme at Sheffield, you are very welcome to visit us. You can attend an open day or a visit afternoon, which will include a tour of the University campus and the department, or contact the department directly (english@sheffield.ac.uk) to arrange a personal visit to meet with the director of your chosen programme.

More information and booking.

Further Information:

If you have questions about the academic content of this course please contact Dr Maddy Callaghan.

For any other queries please contact Jane Lowe or email english@sheffield.ac.uk, T: +44 (0)114 222 2900

Staff

Core Teaching Staff:

Staff profiles

MA English Literature: Dr John Miller
American Studies Pathway: Dr Duco van Oostrum
Creative Writing MA: Dr Agnes Lehoczsky
Modern and Contemporary MA modules: Professor Sue Vice
Early Modern Pathway: Dr Emma Rhatigan and Dr Tom Rutter
Eighteenth-Century Studies MA: Dr Hamish Mathison and Professor Joe Bray
English Literature MA: Dr Madeleine Callaghan
Gothic Studies: Professor Andrew Smith
Film Pathway: Dr Jonathan Rayner
Nineteenth-Century Studies MA: Professor Andrew Smith
Online MA: Dr Tom Rutter and Dr Sara Whiteley
Theatre & Performance Studies MA: Dr Frances Babbage
Literary Linguistics Pathway: Professor Susan Fitzmaurice