Covers key areas of the English literary tradition alongside practical application of literary theory, research skills and creative writing.
Study English Literature at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.
The MA in English Literature is aimed at offering students an opportunity to combine a broad-based course of postgraduate study in the field of modern writing in English with a focused interrogation of a selected area of the literary heritage of the English language. In addition, a creative writing pathway provides students interested in using their experience of reading and their literary-critical skills and insights to inform their own writing practice with an opportunity to develop individual writing projects and to reflect, in a self-analytical way, on their own engagement in creative work.
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About this course
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The course offers a programme which is broad-ranging in terms of its coverage of a variety of areas of the literary tradition of the English language In line with recent trends in postgraduate taught courses across the UK, it integrates generic elements, such as the study of critical theory and the development of research skills, with more focused text-based exploration of a variety of key issues in modern literary studies, and with the study of Irish writing in English, which gives the course a distinctive regional identity; at the same time, the provision of a variety of specialist options, both at the taught stage of the programme and in the dissertation/creative project component provides students an opportunity to specialise in a particular area of modern English literary studies, the options on offer reflecting the breadth of research and teaching expertise across the English subject group.
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 2016
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.
All applicants will be interviewed.
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, for example, John Wilson Foster, Terry Eagleton and Paul Muldoon.
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.How to apply
- September 2016
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Scholarships, awards and prizes
For all Ulster University Scholarships, Awards and Prizes see:
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. 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.
John O'Boyle - 'Expand my Knowledge in Teaching':