Explore key areas of English literary tradition and enhance your creative writing ability.
Combining the study of modern prose, literary heritage and creative writing, the MA English Literature at Ulster University offers an exciting opportunity to further your love of literature.
Whether you are a recent graduate, a budding creative writer, a teacher keen to upskill, or simply returning to education for your own personal development, the variety and breadth of this programme will appeal to many. It also provides an excellent springboard for doctoral studies.
The MA English Literature at Ulster will develop your critical and research skills. You will explore and discuss a range of texts and also have the opportunity to enhance your own creativity and writing style, with on-going encouragement and guidance from our expert academic staff.
Graduates have been successful in a wide variety of careers including teaching, publishing, librarianship, the media, public relations and advertising.
Sign up for course updates
Sign up to receive regular updates, news and information on courses, events and developments at Ulster University.
We’ll not share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Our coastal and riverside campus with a primary academic focus on science and healthWatch the video
About this course
In this section
Broad-ranging in nature, the MA English Literature covers a variety of areas of English literary tradition and is designed to stimulate debate and evoke your creativity.
You will explore key theoretical approaches to literature including structuralism, Marxism, feminism, psychoanalysis and eco-criticism, giving you a solid foundation in critical models and concepts.
Pioneering research shapes our teaching. You will benefit from the extensive knowledge and expertise across our academic team as you study and debate a broad range of texts and themes. You will also investigate Irish writing in English, a unique element which gives the course a distinctive regional identity.
A creative writing pathway offers you with the opportunity to develop individual writing projects and to reflect, in a self-analytical way, on your own engagement in creative work.
Throughout the course, you will hone your research ability as well as a range of key transferable practical skills that can be utilised across a host of employment settings.
The programme offers the perfect pathway for further study and research at PhD level, as well as a bridge to new and enhanced career opportunities.
Start dates: September
Duration Full time: One calendar year September - September
Two and a half calendar years (five semesters) e.g. September 2016 - January 2019
Full Time: Two modules per semester. Each taught module involves one three-hour lecture/seminar meeting per week for twelve consecutive weeks. Taught modules are scheduled for evenings 6-9pm. Independent study modules involve an equivalent number of study hours, with contact hours arranged with supervisory staff.
Part Time: One module per semester. Each taught module involves one three-hour lecture/seminar meeting per week for twelve consecutive weeks. Taught modules are scheduled for evenings 6-9pm. Independent study modules involve an equivalent number of study hours, with contact hours arranged with supervisory staff.
- September 2019
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
In this section
Critical Theory and Research Methods
The module acts an introduction to the study of English at post-graduate level, and covers the main elements of the theory and practice of literary studies as an academic discipline.
Debates in Modern English Literary Studies
The module examines key debates in English literary studies through detailed study of set texts, and will foster students' deep engagement with patterns of connection between fixed texts and the changing Zeitgeist.
Themes in Irish Writing In English
This module will examine some of the key themes and issues in Irish literature (mainly in English) from the early nineteenth century to the present day through a comparative analysis of major representative texts in various genres - novel, poetry, drama - considered in relation to their historical, social, and political contexts.
Creative Writing Project
This module is optional
This module gives students the opportunity to conduct supervised research in an area of Anglophone literature of their own choice, or to undertake the composition of an advanced piece of creative writing under the guidance of published writers.
Special Author / Topic in English
This module is optional
This module encourages focused study of the work of one major author, or significant literary topic, from a selection reflecting the specialisms of the teaching team. Taught by individual consultation and examined by an extended essay, the module will foster deep engagement with specifically related clusters of literary texts.
Writing and Creativity
This module is optional
This module provides students with the opportunity to undertake a genre-specific creative writing project and, through sophisticated self-assessment and constructive supervisory feedback, to develop original work to publication standard.
This module is optional
This module gives students the opportunity to conduct supervised research in an area of Anglophone literature of their own choice.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
In this section
Applicants must normally have gained an upper second class honours degree or better in English Literature or a related discipline, but applicants with a lower second class degree may also be considered. The degree held must be from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard. Applicants may alternatively hold an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification. They must provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent).
In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Teaching and learning assessment
Teaching and Learning Methods:
In the initial stages of the programme, knowledge and understanding of the subject are taught, practised and learned through a combination of lectures (some of them dealing, in a synthetic way, with broad issues of literary history and/or theory, and others focusing on the analysis of specific texts, concepts, and ideas), seminars, presentations, and discussions, as well as through independent study (under various levels of direction and supervision), involving reading and analysis of primary texts, study of secondary literature, and preparation of assignments. At dissertation/creative project stage, the teaching and learning methods include a combination of seminars, presentations, and individual supervision consultations, as well as independent study, involving reading and analysis of primary texts, study of secondary literature, drafting of chapters, creative practice where appropriate, and writing-up and proof-reading of the complete dissertation/creative writing portfolio.
In a predominantly non-practice-based subject such as English, professional/practical skills are embedded in all the teaching and support offered to students, and are therefore inculcated in students through the entirety of their learning experience. The development of those skills is also stimulated by the more general aspects of the organisation and management of the course, such as attendance requirements, submission deadlines, student support systems relating to the development of study skills, academic supervision and pastoral care.
Transferable skills are practised and enhanced through all the forms of teaching and learning used on the programme, particularly in seminar work and in independent study, including in particular study of secondary literature, planning and delivery of presentations, and preparation of assignments.
The achievement by students of knowledge and understanding is measured using coursework essays (with some of the assignments designed to test students’ ability to deal with text-specific analytical questions, and others focusing on more general synoptic, thematic, or literary-historical issues) and oral presentation assessment, as well as either extended essays or creative writing portfolios and accompanying reflective work. At dissertation/creative project stage, the achievement by students of the learning outcomes is measured by the dissertation/creative writing portfolio.
The generic intellectual skills taught and practised on the course are measured through all the forms of assessment used – coursework essays, oral presentations, as well as either extended essays or creative writing portfolios and accompanying reflective work. At dissertation/creative project stage, the achievement by students of those intellectual skills is measured by the dissertation/creative writing portfolio.
The achievement by students of professional/practical skills is linked to their achievement of the subject-related and generic intellectual skills, and therefore measured, as specified above, through all the forms of assessment used on the programme. In addition, students’ success in the acquisition of professional/practical skills is demonstrated also by the timeliness of their delivery of assessed work (including, at dissertation/creative project stage, individual chapters/sections of their dissertation/creative writing projects) and by their ability to cope with the practical aspects of the organisation and delivery of their oral presentations.
As in the case of professional/practical skills, the achievement by students of the learning outcomes related to transferable skills is linked to their achievement of the subject-related and generic intellectual skills, and therefore measured, as specified above, through all the forms of assessment used on the programme.
Exemptions and transferability
Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that they register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level. No exemption is permitted from the dissertation.
Careers & opportunities
In this section
Students graduating with the MA in English Literature are well-prepared to undertake a variety of occupations, both those related directly to the nature of literary study as an academic discipline and to the subject-specific skills acquired in the course of the programme, and those of a more generally defined postgraduate-level variety. Some typical careers followed by graduates from the course include teaching, publishing, bookselling, librarianship, archive work, media work, public relations, advertising, marketing, and administration. The MA also responds to a demand from serving teachers of English who wish to develop their own knowledge and advance their careers. For both full-time and part-time students, the course offers a useful bridge to further research work at the doctoral level.
For information on postgraduate research opportunities see: www.arts.ulster.ac.uk/rgs.
Work placement / study abroad
Not currently available.
The majority of staff teaching on the MA in English Literature are members of the Higher Education Academy.
There will be occasional guest lectures by visiting professors of English Literature and Creative Writing.
ApplyHow to apply Request a prospectus
Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.
You are advised that the deadline for submission of applications is 15th May. We will consider late applications but these may suffer delays in processing and places may be unavailable.
- September 2019
Fees and funding
In this section
Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £14,060.00 Scholarships available
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Course Director: Dr Kathleen McCracken
International Admissions Office
For more information visit
- The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
- Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
- If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
- The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
- The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.
John O'Boyle - 'Expand my Knowledge in Teaching':