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English Literary Studies (MA)

Different course options

Full time | Avenue Campus | 1 year | 25-SEP-23

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Literature English Language

Course type


Course Summary

About this course

Explore English literature in-depth with a master’s degree at the University of Southampton.

Our course gives you the opportunity to pursue literary topics and genres from a wide selection of authors and periods, including:

  • Shakespeare
  • Jane Austen
  • Holocaust literature
  • Victorian print culture
  • literature and law

On completion of the course, you’ll be ready for careers in teaching, publishing and arts administration.

You’ll get the chance to carry out advanced-level research and independent critical thinking, and to make effective use of archives, manuscripts, and research libraries. We'll help you examine how literature shapes the public understanding of diverse fields such as:

  • climate change
  • economics
  • medicine
  • religion

We offer a flexible module structure which is designed to give you an advanced understanding of cultural analysis, textual interpretation and theoretical method. You can specialise with one of 4 subject-specific pathways, or take a more general approach by choosing modules from each pathway.

The information on this page refers to the general pathway.

Across all pathways, you’ll explore the interrelations of text, theory and culture across the field of English literary and cultural studies. We’ll work with you to:

  • develop your knowledge of critical and research methods
  • raise your awareness of the historical and critical reception of literature in various periods
  • explore the role of literature in a contested cultural framework


A master's in English literature is excellent preparation for a career in teaching, publishing and arts administration. Our graduates go on to careers in:

  • writing (from journalism to fiction)
  • education
  • international PhD programmes
  • teaching
  • broadcasting
  • creative industries

Assessment methods (Outcome qualification level)

On this course you'll learn through a range of activities that may include small seminar groups, student-led debates
group work, oral presentations, individual consultation.

You'll be able to demonstrate what you have learnt through a variety of assessment methods, such as essays, group presentations, independent research project and dissertation.

You’ll be supported by a personal academic tutor, and you'll have access to a senior tutor. Your contact hours will vary depending on your module choices.


Adventures in Literary Research will provide you with the advanced knowledge and skills you need to be a successful researcher and scholar in the field of literary studies. You will learn about the methodologies of theory and criticism, book history, textual editing, and archival research. The module will help you to define a distinctive approach to a literary research topic; differentiate between scholarly sources and evaluate the limits of a literary critical monograph; participate in the research culture of the department and the Faculty through research seminars; reflect on the material form and history of the book; acquire skills in effective scholarly presentation and referencing; and learn how to mobilise theoretical concepts and historical sources in the close literary analysis of texts. As well as providing excellent preparation for doctoral study, this module provides high-level transferable skills.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

Students will need a 2:1 degree in English literature or a related subject. You will also need to provide a sample of written work for assessment. The sample should be approximately 2,500 words in length.

University information

The University of Southampton is an institution with a strong heritage, with more than 100 years of history and tradition supporting a modern educational model that focuses on student success. Southampton is one of the founding members of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group, a network of research-focused and prestigious universities. Today, the 2023 Complete University Guide league table places Southampton among the top 13 institutions...more