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.
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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
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.
Attendance and Independent Study
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
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.
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.
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.
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