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English Literature

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What you'll need

As part of the application process, you'll need to submit:

  • School or college transcripts/certificates
  • University transcripts and certified translations if applicable
  • Degree certificates
  • Personal statement outlining your learning ambitions

Our application process

  • Sign into our online portal, Apply Yourself, and start your application
  • Submit your application
  • We'll email you to let you know we're processing your application
  • Track the progress of your application using the Postgraduate Application Tracker (we'll send you a link to the tracker)
  • We'll email you when a decision has been made
  • If you've been made an offer, you can then accept or decline it using the Postgraduate Application Tracker.

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Master of Arts

A Master of Arts (MA) is a master’s degree awarded for a postgraduate programme in the arts.

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Course overview

Studying for an English Literature MA at Liverpool allows you to advance your literary scholarship and pursue areas of interest across a wide variety of genres and historical periods.

Introduction

You will have the opportunity to study a wide range of literary disciplines, genres and themes. Our general pathway offers a flexible and bespoke route of study, allowing you to take modules from across other MA English Literature pathways, such as Renaissance and Eighteenth Century, Victorian, Modern and Contemporary, and Science Fiction.

We look to equip our students with the knowledge and confidence to reflect critically and creatively on the practices, contexts and real-world applications of literary study.

You’ll acquire the necessary research skills to make effective, critical interventions in the study of English Literature. You will be able to participate in our lively research culture through attending regular seminars and lectures by guest speakers, as well as our own staff and students.

You will be encouraged to take a global perspective on changing literary, cultural and political landscapes, and invited to explore current critical and theoretical debates.

You’ll be taught by staff including award-winning writers and four BBC ‘New Generation Thinkers’, who are experts in their respective fields.

English Literature students graduate with sought-after skills that apply to a wide range of careers, and a significant number of MA graduates also continue their studies to PhD level.

Who is this course for?

This master’s is suitable for English Literature graduates who want to explore this subject further across a number of literary time periods.

What you'll learn

  • Detailed literary knowledge across a variety of genres
  • Effective and critical research skills
  • How to present and communicate clearly for advanced study
  • Textual analysis from multiple perspectives
  • How to debate, argue and persuade
  • Continued independent learning and critical thinking

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Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Studying this course part-time

International students may be able to study this course on a part-time basis but this is dependent on visa regulations. Please visit the Government website for more information about student visas.

If you're able to study part-time, you'll study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.

Studying part-time means you can study alongside work or any other life commitments. You will study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.

Semester one

In addition to the three compulsory modules, students are required to take at least 60 credits. You must take any two core modules from across the other English Literature MA pathways in semesters one and two.

The remaining credits can be taken in any pathway from the Department or Faculty.

Compulsory modules

Research Skills and Practice (ENGL700)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Research Skills and Practice introduces students to the practices, contexts and real-world applications of academic research. Through regular seminars and a variety of assessment methods, it provides students with the opportunity to develop skills in advanced literary study, independent research and para-academic activities. The knowledge and skills practised through this module provide a foundation for the world after Master’s study.

Optional modules

Genre Definitions (ENGL780)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

How (and why) do we point at a story and say, “This is science fiction”, and what does such a gesture reveal about the genre and our own attitudes to its concerns? In this module, we will explore the territories that Science Fiction ranges over, historically and conceptually. From “A Planet Called Science Fiction” (weeks 1-4), which examines the space that science fiction marks out for itself, we will move into the complicated relationship that Science Fiction has with fantasy, and analyse the ways in which it has been sub-divided into various effects and sub-genres in “Travels in Genre Space” (week 5-8). The final section of the module, “Re-drawing the Genre Map” (weeks 9-12), explores the burgeoning field of sf production, its relevance to society, and the ways in which its tropes and techniques relate to other “fantastic” modes of literary production, alongside recent controversies in the field.

Literature and Crisis (ENGL771)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module encourages students to read widely across the late 19th, 20th and 21st centuries with the specific angle of ‘crisis’. Topics may include literary responses to political, social, psychological, theological or climate crisis, aesthetic responses to moral or societal panic, war and migration/trauma, as well as any links between identity and crisis in literature and the visual (photography, film, fine art). Authors may include: Bessie Head; Jean-Paul Sartre; Virginia Woolf; Sarah Kane; Danez Smith; Solmaz Sharif among others. We will consider how the framing of crisis as a moment or event shapes how we think about chronologies of literary response and its social uses. The module will be delivered via six fortnightly seminars.

Literature, Slavery and Empire (ENGL750)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

At the end of the sixteenth century, England was making its first attempts to build a tradition as a nation of travellers and unsuccessfully attempting to establish colonies in north America. By the end of the Eighteenth century the European Grand Tour was a standard part of a British aristocratic education, and the British Empire was a global force actively participating in the international slave trade. This module looks at both literary and non-literary records of and responses to: the relationship between the ‘old world’ or the Mediterranean and the ‘new world’ of the Americas; the encounter with unfamiliar people and lands; the rise of and debate about the international slave trade, from the perspective of both the enslaver and the enslaved; the literary and cultural importance of these developments for the city of Liverpool.

Reading Victorians (ENGL762)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

Reading was woven into the fabric of the Victorian world. Thanks to urban living, cheaper printing, and vastly increased rates of literacy, Victorian society was one of the first societies where you might not have known your neighbours very well, but in which you were surrounded by vast swathes of paper and print – a forest of words. This module not only aims to investigate how the Victorians thought about reading – what they read, how they read it, and how reading itself was thought about and portrayed in literature; but also how we read the Victorians today – who reads them, how and where they are read, how that reading is perceived and constructed, and what insights and benefits our reading of the Victorians in the contemporary moment might gift to us.

Science Fiction and/as The Archive (ENGL781)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Science Fiction texts are, for all their presentations of alternative worlds, deeply embedded in the cultures that produce them. Using examples from the Science Fiction Foundation Collection and science fiction archives in the University Library, this module introduces students to skills of archival research alongside providing the knowledge required to understand how modern Science Fiction developed as a unique interaction of authors, editors, and readers. Alongside this, students will read selected sf texts that consider or reflect upon the notion of the archive and/or which reveal themselves to be “archival” texts through their relationship to their contemporary period. Although texts may vary year-by-year, indicative authors include Margaret Atwood, Alastair Reynolds, Olaf Stapledon, and John Wyndham.

Shakespeare & Co (ENGL751)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

The aim of this module is to read Shakespeare’s plays and poetry in company with others’ works and writings, and thereby to consider a ‘comparative’ approach to reading and interpreting Shakespeare both within and beyond his own time, and against eighteenth-century ideas of him as the great English poet of ‘Nature’, ‘Nation’, and ‘Genius’. Particular attention will be paid to Shakespeare’s contemporaries – for example Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson – as well as to his Restoration and eighteenth-century adapters and ‘improvers’, critics and performers, such as Colley Cibber and David Garrick. Material studied may include Shakespeare’s critics: Jonson to Johnson; Shakespeare and Marlowe; Shakespeare, and Milton; Hamlet and its ‘ghosts’; Richard III – sources and adaptation; and collaborative dramas in which Shakespeare is a co-author, such as All is True and Sir Thomas More.

The Modern (ENGL770)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module encourages students to engage with literary modernism in a range of contexts, from the cities in which it was made to the periodicals in which it was published and the theories that contributed to its development. As well as analysing the formal innovations of modernist literature, students will explore connections between writers, texts, works of visual art, geographic locations and mass culture, to understand modernism as a global network of people, objects, places and ideas. Conceptions of modernity will be studied, including approaches to the past and tradition, and ideas around novelty and fashion. Authors may include: T.S. Eliot, Hope Mirrlees, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys, Mina Loy, Djuna Barnes, Jean Toomer and Nancy Cunard.

Victorian Murder and Other Crimes (ENGL763)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module examines the literary representation of murder and other serious crimes in the Victorian period. Students will examine the interrelation of different genres in the period (such as court and newspaper reports, essays and the novel). The module considers these topics in relation to wider cultural and intellectual developments such as evolving ideas about psychology and forensic evidence, and in particular how such matters may be reproduced in literature so as to allow the reader a window into the world of crime. Students will be encouraged to consider the significance of genre when thinking about Victorian representations of murder and to engage with a wider range of primary sources. They will develop appropriate research methods and understanding of theoretical perspectives, and combine these with detailed textual analysis in the development their critical reading and writing skills.

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Your experience

The Department of English, based in the School of the Arts, is committed to small group teaching and encouraging a more rewarding learning experience, with ideas shared and explored amongst peers and tutors. You’ll have access to extensive library facilities, special collections and Liverpool’s renowned museums, libraries and galleries.

Virtual tour

Supporting your learning

From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:

An exciting place to study English

  • We are internationally renowned for advancing the study of language, literature, and creative writing and have a strong research ethos
  • Our programmes offer opportunities to study creative writing and literature from a wide range of periods, as well as a range of approaches to understanding the way in which the English language works
  • We have a reputation for radical thinking, as exemplified by our success rate in the BBC and Arts and Humanities Council’s ‘New Generation Thinkers’ scheme. In total, five members our academic staff have been selected since the scheme was established in 2010
  • We are committed to small group teaching. This encourages a more rewarding learning experience, where ideas are shared and explored with peers and tutors
  • Ranked 10th in sector for research impact classified as outstanding (4*) (REF 2021)
  • We are host to Europe’s largest collection of science fiction materials which includes the John Wyndham Archive and home to the annual Liverpool Literary Festival.

What students say...

Photo of Alex Carabine

The staff are the best thing about the English department. They’re not only incredibly knowledgeable about their fields, but they are also enthusiastic, encouraging and take a genuine interest in their students’ work.

, BA (Hons) English Literature 2018, MA English 2019

Careers and employability

The MA in English Literature provides students with rigorous academic training in the broad interdisciplinary field of literary history, theory and culture. The professional skills that students will develop upon completion of the programme will prepare them well for a wide range of potential employment areas.

Career planning

Three career coaches standing outside the Careers Studio

Our campus Career Studio is a space for students and graduates to drop into and talk to a career coach. Career coaches are highly trained to help no matter what stage you are at in your career planning. You can access support to find and apply for full-time and part-time roles, placements, internships and graduate schemes. You will also find the help you need if you have a start-up idea or want to create a business plan. You can explore the world of work, prepare for job interviews, and access careers events and workshops. The Career Studio is open Monday to Friday from 10am-5pm, simply drop in at a time that works for you.

From education to employment

Two graduates in postgraduate robes.

We develop our programmes with employers in mind. You will be supported to enhance your long-term employment prospects as you learn. We do this by exposing you to professionals, a variety of sectors and supporting you to work collaboratively with others to develop transferable skills. You are equipped with a clearer view of what to focus on in your area of interest, and to reflect on your studies. Our digital employability tools give you a tech-enhanced curriculum experience and make it easy for you to prepare for the world of work. You can use tools like the Handshake platform to connect with employers and message the Career Studio 24/7.

Networking events

Postgraduate students hold a discussion while sat round a table in in the Liverpool Guild of Students.

You can start building good professional networks by attending events and employability activities. Our events are designed to develop your skills and expose you to many different employers, as well as to help you make contacts in your field. We help you improve your confidence when speaking to employers and give you access to unique opportunities. Our networking events also boost your understanding of the competencies and skills that employers are looking for in their recruitment process, giving you a competitive edge.

Your future

Our English degree programmes are valued by employers who recognise the skills our students develop, including teamwork, project design, critical thinking, proficiency in text analysis and communication and presentation skills.

The MA is particularly suitable for graduates looking to pursue careers in:

  • The arts
  • Culture, creative and heritage sectors
  • Journalism
  • Copywriting
  • Management in arts and culture organisations
  • Teaching.

If you wish to continue your academic studies, you will find a supportive and nurturing research environment that prepares you well for doctoral-level research activities. Career pathways that follow this route include employment in higher education (teaching and/or research), or teaching at secondary and further education levels.

89% of University of Liverpool postgraduate students go on to highly skilled employment within 15 months after graduation.

Graduate Outcomes survey, 2019-20

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
Full-time place, per year £10,800
Part-time place, per year £5,400
International fees
Full-time place, per year £22,400
Part-time place, per year £11,200
Fees stated are for the 2024-25 academic year.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support.

If you're a UK national, or have settled status in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan worth up to £12,167 to help with course fees and living costs. Learn more about paying for your studies..

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries that could help pay your tuition and living expenses.


Postgraduate Global Advancement Scholarship

  • International students

If you’re a new international student starting this course with us from September 2024, you could be eligible to receive a discount of £5,000 off your tuition fees.

Graduate Loyalty Advancement Scholarship

  • Home and international students
  • University of Liverpool current students and alumni only

Completed your undergraduate degree, or studied as an undergraduate exchange student, at the University of Liverpool?

You could get a loyalty discount of up to £2,500 off the tuition fees for this course from September 2024 entry.

  • £1,500 tuition fee discount for eligible UK University of Liverpool graduates
  • £2,500 tuition fee discount for eligible international University of Liverpool graduates.

ANID Chile Scholarship

  • International students
  • Chile

Postgraduate taught and research students from Chile are eligible for this scholarship.

Chevening Scholarships

  • International students

The University, in partnership with Chevening, is delighted to offer this generous scholarship to students who are studying a master’s programme and who have future leadership potential. Please note that there is a fee cap applied to MBA programmes that requires applicants to cover any additional tuition costs over £18,000. You will still receive all additional allowances.

CONACYT Award

  • International students
  • Mexico

The University of Liverpool has an agreement with CONACYT to support postgraduate taught and research students from Mexico.

FIDERH Award

  • International students
  • Mexico

20% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate taught and research programmes. Must be Mexico national.

Fulbright Scholarship

  • International students
  • University of Liverpool alumni only
  • United States

One scholarship is available for a master’s student from the US and another is available for a postgraduate research student to undertake a three to six month research stay from the US

FUNED Awards

  • International students
  • Mexico

Up to ten awards are available for Masters or Research students from Mexico in receipt of FUNED loans. The award gives students a 20% reduction in fees for all applications received.

Graduate Association Hong Kong & Tung Postgraduate Scholarships

  • International students
  • China
  • Hong Kong

The University is able to offer competitive scholarships for both postgraduate taught master’s and research programmes.

HRM Princess Sirindhorn University of Liverpool Scholarship (Thailand)

  • International students
  • Thailand

The University is able to offer one award to a new postgraduate taught master’s student from Thailand.

The scholarship is open to all subjects offered as a one-year taught master’s programme.  However, priority will be given to those students who wish to study in a subject area associated with HRH Princess Sirindhorn such as science, IT, medicine, the arts, geography, history and languages.

JuventudEsGto Scholarship

  • International students
  • Mexico

Residents of State of Guanajuato, Mexico, wishing to study at postgraduate taught and research levels are eligible for this scholarship.

Marshall Scholarship

  • International students
  • University of Liverpool alumni only
  • United States

One scholarship is available for a master’s student from the US to cover the cost of tuition fees. Another, to the value of £20,000, is available for Doctoral study visit: https://www.marshallscholarship.org/

Turkish Ministry of Education Scholarship

  • International students
  • Turkey

Postgraduate taught and research students from Turkey are eligible for this scholarship, see the Turkish Ministry of Education website https://meb.gov.tr/ for more information.

University of Liverpool Humanitarian Scholarships for Master’s Programmes

  • International students

The three awards available cover full tuition fees, visas and support for accommodation and living expenses.

This scholarship is open to support people who have recognised status as either refugees or are under humanitarian protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention. This status must be held outside of the UK.

The scholarship is open for all postgraduate-taught programmes, excluding medicine, dentistry, veterinary and nursing.

University of Liverpool International College Excellence Scholarship

  • International students

The University of Liverpool will award five University of Liverpool International College students, who achieve the highest academic excellence (minimum 75%) in their UoLIC Pre-Master’s programme, the prestigious UoLIC Excellence scholarship.

University of Liverpool International College Impact Progression Scholarships

  • International students

University of Liverpool International College recipients of the Kaplan awards will receive the £3,000 Progression Impact Scholarship, deducted from first-year tuition fees, on successful progression to their UoL degree programme.

To be eligible for our Impact Progression Scholarships, students must apply for one of the Kaplan Impact Scholarships demonstrating their commitment to making an impact across issues of importance to the University and Kaplan. Themes include:

Sustainability
Women in STEM
Community
Career Focus (Employability)

Vice-Chancellor’s International Attainment Scholarship for China

  • International students
  • China

Details are:
1 (one) Full scholarship
2 (two) £10,000 scholarships
5 (five) £5,000 scholarships
10 (ten) £1,000 scholarships
All scholarships will be awarded after the formal registration at the University and will take the form of a fee waiver.

Please note: This scholarship cannot be combined with any other scholarships or bursaries provided by the University.

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

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Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

Postgraduate entry requirements

For entry to our master’s programmes a good 2:1 honours degree in English studies or a similar subject is required.

Applicants will be asked to submit a sample of written work (e.g. an essay from your undergraduate studies) as part of the application process. You will be contacted in regard to this once you have submitted your application.

International qualifications

If you hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, but don’t meet our entry requirements, a Pre-Master’s can help you gain a place. This specialist preparation course for postgraduate study is offered on campus at the University of Liverpool International College, in partnership with Kaplan International Pathways. Although there’s no direct Pre-Master’s route to this MA, completing a Pre-Master’s pathway can guarantee you a place on many other postgraduate courses at The University of Liverpool.

English language requirements

You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language. International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.

English language qualification Requirements
IELTS C
View our IELTS academic requirements key.
International Baccalaureate

Higher Level (Grade 5)

TOEFL iBT 88 or above with minimum scores in components as follows: Listening and Writing 19, Reading 19, Speaking 20.
INDIA Standard XII National Curriculum (CBSE/ISC) - 75% and above in English. Accepted State Boards - 80% and above in English.
WAEC C4-6
Hong Kong use of English AS level B

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new application cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted on the website.

More about life in Liverpool

Discover more about the city and University.

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Why Liverpool?

Liverpool bursts with diversity and creativity which makes it ideal for you to undertake your postgraduate studies and access various opportunities for you and your family.

Accommodation Postgraduate students walking through the campus.

Accommodation

To fully immerse yourself in the university experience living in halls will keep you close to campus where you can always meet new people. Find your home away from home.

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Fees and Finance

Discover what expenses are covered by the cost of your tuition fees and other finance-related information you may need regarding your studies at Liverpool.

Changes to English Literature MA

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

23 March 2023: New postgraduate taught course pages

New course pages launched.