MA English Literature

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Awards available MA
Programme length One year full-time;
two years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Start date September 2017

Programme overview

The MA in English Literature allows you to deepen your passion for literature while developing the rigorous specialist skills essential to postgraduate-level research. With the help and support of one of the leading English departments in the country, we aim to provide a stimulating and challenging intellectual experience in a friendly, supportive environment.

The programmes offers three pathways (Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature; Romantic and Victorian Literature; 20th-century and Contemporary Literature) which build on the core research strengths of the department. If you wish to focus on a particular period you may follow a single pathway. Alternatively, if you want to broaden your engagement with English literature, you may choose a combination of pathways and optional units. All students are taught the specialist skills required for postgraduate-level research and the practical skills that academic life demands. Everyone is expected to enter fully into the wider academic community of the department and the University.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


Part-time fees


Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2017/18

For further information on funding, please see the Faculty of Arts funding pages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

First semester

  • Introduction to Literary Research
  • One pathway unit

Second semester

  • Two pathway units or one academic conference unit
  • Optional unit or third pathway unit or academic conference unit


Following successful completion of the taught course, you must complete a dissertation of 15,000 words maximum.

Pathway units

  • Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature
    • Renaissance Literature: Text and Context
    • Hamlet: Text and Interpretation
    • Intertextual Shakespeare
  • Romantic and Victorian Literature
    • Romantic Poetry and Poetics
    • The Gothic or From Romantic to Victorian Literature
    • Victorian Literature and Place
  • 20th-century and Contemporary Literature
    • Modernism, Experimentation and Form
    • Literature 1940-1970: Writing After War, After Modernism
    • Contemporary Literature

Optional units can vary each year but may include:

  • Aesthetic Possibilities
  • Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages
  • Charles Dickens
  • Global Cultures of the Book
  • The Cultural Imagination of Gender
  • The Rise of the Novel in 19th-century Europe
  • U.S. Postmodernist Fiction
  • European cinema
  • Half-day academic conference
  • Introduction to Old English
  • James Joyce
  • Literature and Medicine
  • Modernism and the Body
  • Place in Victorian and Recent Fiction
  • Post-Colonial Imaginings
  • Public Role of the Humanities
  • Shakespearean Tragedy: Textual and Literary Criticism
  • Tradition and Experimentation in 20th-century European Fiction
  • Victorian Afterlives
  • Writing for Art
  • Animal Planet: Humans and other Animals in Modernity

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent). Non-traditional qualifications/routes may also be considered.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile A
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.


Students who completed the MA programme in English Literature have been successful in obtaining employment in the media, journalism, publishing, the theatre, arts administration and various kinds of teaching, as well as in industry, commerce, law, computing, accountancy, human resources and social work. Many English MA graduates continue their studies by taking up MPhil/PhD programmes.

How to apply
Application deadline:

1 August 2017

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 11% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 57% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 25% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 7% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Get in touch

Postgraduate Admissions Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 8458 Email:

Faculty of Arts
University of Bristol
3-5 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1TB


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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