English Literature MA

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in English literature or a related subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components
UK fees
£12,000 (Total)
International fees
£25,250 (Total)

Course overview

Students in library

Take a tour of our School

Get a taste for life in the School of English as Masters student Alex takes you on a tour of the School building, as well as some campus highlights.

Discover the incredible diversity of English literature throughout history and around the globe with this broad and varied Masters degree.

You’ll draw upon our School’s extensive research strengths across all literary periods (including Renaissance, Romantic, Victorian, and modern), diverse cultures (including postcolonial and American), and interdisciplinary humanities (such as digital, environmental, and medical).

With access to a rich range of modules, you’ll be able to specialise in your particular field and make unexpected connections between disparate areas, such as Renaissance plays about race and identity, or the Victorian media revolution, Black British writing or the Brontës, psychoanalysis or postcolonialism.

This degree’s flexibility and wealth of module options connects you to internationally-renowned academics with expertise in many areas and specialisms, allowing you to gain a multifaceted perspective on your subject. The range of optional modules will allow you to tailor the degree to your own particular interests, while still encouraging you to explore literatures that you may not have known before coming to Leeds.

You’ll also have the freedom to pursue your personal interests through an independent research project on a topic of your choice. Throughout your studies, you’ll be encouraged to consider overarching issues relating to the study of English literature in all its forms.

Specialist resources

The University Library is one of the UK's major academic research libraries. It has extensive holdings to support your studies, including English Literature Collections that have been designated of national and international importance.

Our Special Collections also offer a huge range of rare books, manuscripts and art, covering topics as varied as poetry, feminism, vernacular culture, and the history of science.

The School of English is based in a characterful set of Victorian terraced buildings on the edge of campus, close to the Parkinson Building. Students are welcome to use its facilities for informal meetings, events, and personal study. In addition, the Workshop Theatre across the road is also part of the School, and regularly hosts poetry readings, drama performances and workshops, and academic conferences.

Brotherton Library Reading Room

Take a 360 tour around our libraries:

Brotherton Library
Laidlaw Library
Edward Boyle Library

Course details

In semester one you will study a compulsory module specially designed to give you a solid base of theoretical knowledge and high level research skills. This module, and all others in the programme, incorporate all of the School’s areas of expertise, meaning that you will benefit from research-led teaching. You will then take these foundations and build upon them by applying them to optional modules in semester two.

Choosing from a range of optional modules will allow you to tailor your studies to suit your interests and career ambitions and as you progress through your studies, you’ll apply what you’ve learned in an independent research project on a topic of your choice.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Hear from our students

In this student panel our current Masters students discuss why they chose Leeds and what it's like to study a Masters in the School of English.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read English Literature MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read English Literature MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Writing Places and Identities 30
Research project 30

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
The Long Poem: Self, Land, Witness 30
Caribbean and Black British Writing 30
Romantic Identities: Literary Constructions of the Self, 1789-1821 30
Africas of the Mind 30
Reading (with) Psychoanalysis 30
Writing, Archives, Race 30
Postcolonialism, Animals and the Environment 30
The Brontes 30
Fictions of Citizenship in Contemporary American Literature 30
Shakespeare's Tyrants 30
Global Indigeneity 30
Feeling Time 30
The Magic of Mimesis 30
Romantic Ecologies 30
Victorian New Media 30
Writing Identities: Criticism, Creativity, Practice 30
War, Mourning, Memory: 1914-1939 30
Culture and Anarchy: 1945-1968 30
Turks, Moors, and Jews: Race and Identity in English Renaissance Drama 30

Learning and teaching

You’ll generally have two-hour weekly seminars in each module where you discuss the themes and issues arising from your reading, and you’ll be able to enhance your learning by attending the wide range of research seminars and talks that we arrange throughout the year. There will also be the opportunity to attend poetry readings, hosted by the University of Leeds Poetry Centre, and performances by Playhouse Lab – our resident theatre group. You’ll also benefit from supervisions throughout semester 2 with your dissertation supervisor.

However, independent study is a vital part of the degree as it allows you to build your skills and explore your own ideas.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Most of our MA modules are assessed with a single essay of around 4,000 words, which you’ll submit at the end of the semester. You’ll usually also be required to submit unassessed essays to gain feedback on your work and give presentations on your reading in seminars. In addition to the optional modules, the year-long Research Project is assessed by a 2,000-word essay submitted at the end of the first semester, plus a dissertation of 10,000 words in length to be completed by the end of the programme.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in English literature, or a degree scheme that includes a significant proportion of English Literature content, or a related subject. This may include English, English Language, English Language and Literature, Chinese Language and Literature and variations of English degree schemes. Translation may also be considered. Applications from those with degrees in other subjects may be considered on an individual basis, along with a sample of recently written work.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply


Please see our How to Apply page for information about application deadlines.

You’ll need to apply for a place before applying for any scholarships, so check the deadlines for available scholarships on our website.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you need

You’ll need to upload the following documents when completing the online application form:

  • A transcript of your completed BA degree or grades to date

  • A personal statement of around 500 words in response to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application form

  • If English is not your first language, you’ll need to submit proof of your English language results (eg IELTS).

We do not generally request references, unless further information is required to support the assessment of your application.

Where further information to support the assessment of your application is needed, we may ask for a recent sample of written work.

Next steps

We will decide whether to offer you a place based on your application form, personal statement, transcripts, predicted or actual degree results and, where appropriate, any additional documentation requested.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of English

Contact us

Postgraduate Administrator

Email: pgtenglish@leeds.ac.uk


UK: £12,000 (Total)

International: £25,250 (Total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

The School of English also offers a range of scholarships for taught postgraduate study. Find out more on our Scholarships page.

Career opportunities

This degree will allow you to develop subject knowledge in a challenging and dynamic subject while building skills that are highly prized by employers.

You’ll be a confident researcher who works well independently, but you’ll also be an excellent communicator and comfortable in a team. You’ll have good analytical and critical skills, as well as having the ability to use different approaches to think about a situation from several different viewpoints.

All of these qualities are attractive to employers across sectors, and you’ll be well equipped to pursue a career in a wide range of fields depending on your interests. Graduates from our English programmes go on to develop careers in a remarkably large range of areas including publishing, broadcasting, teaching, advertising, journalism, and the law. Many of our graduates also choose to progress to PhD-level study.

Careers support

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Whether you're looking to pursue further study, change career, or stand out in the competitive graduate job market, you'll receive expert support in applying the skills you've developed in your chosen career.

Watch: Careers support at Leeds

Find out more about the careers and employability support that you'll receive as a student in the School of English.

Student profile: Heedrinaa Deka

The degree I am studying has helped me to look at contemporary literature from a wider perspective. It has diversified my thinking, which is a necessity for literature students.
Find out more about Heedrinaa Deka's time at Leeds