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
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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
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.
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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
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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
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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
John O'Boyle - 'Expand my Knowledge in Teaching':