MA English Literary Studies

Duration Full time 1 year
Part time 2 years
  • English
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September


We are one of the strongest English departments in the UK with an excellent reputation for high quality research. Our Postgraduate students are an important part of our research community, and if you choose to join us at Exeter then you will be too.

There are many reasons why you might choose our English Literary Studies MA. If you are thinking about taking your study of English to the next level in preparation for a PhD then our Department has the knowledge to give you the high level training you need to set you on that path. If you are a recent graduate looking to stand out in the job market, already working but want to develop further, or simply looking to take your passion for English to the next level then we have the strength and depth of specialisms to fit your interests.

Our Library and Special Collections offer modern study facilities and a vast amount of original source material, and if you’re interested in film or visual culture then the on-site Bill Douglas Cinema Museum is an invaluable resource.
You can choose to study one of the specialist pathways we have chosen to match the Department’s strengths or you can take an open pathway and tailor your own programme from our wide range of modules.

Specialist pathways include:

Programme structure

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

We believe in collaborative, small group learning and teaching for your modules will be delivered through seminar groups. You will be encouraged to discuss your ideas and interact with your fellow students and academic staff. You will be expected to play an active role in debating and presenting your work. Throughout your programme you will develop and enhance your communication, analytical, and critical thinking skills.

On your modules you will be assisted by the coursework you produce such as critical essays. The final assessment piece will be your dissertation, the culmination of your programme of study. You will conceive, plan, research and write an independent 20,000 word piece that will display your subject knowledge and methodological skills. The dissertation is your opportunity to explore a topic that interests you in greater detail, something which may form the basis of further research or other portfolio.


An English degree is a uniquely versatile qualification valued by employers for the combination of communication and analytical skills as well as combining an understanding of literature and media in a historical and cultural context. For some of our students the MA is a step on the path to doctoral study, for others it opens up a range of career paths in areas such as teaching, publishing, media, journalism, advertising and communications.

In recent years the positions some of our graduates have gone on to include:

  • Copywriter
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Assistant Editor
  • Publishing Assistant
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Freelance Journalist
  • Writer

Careers and employment support

While studying at Exeter you can also access a range of activities, advice and practical help to give you the best chance of following your chosen career path. For more information visit our Careers pages.

Research areas

We are a world-leading English Department for research, with extensive expertise that stretches from medieval to modern literature. We have four dedicated research centres:

All our staff belong to one or more research groups which plan and develop research initiatives across the following areas. Research activity is carried out collaboratively by staff at our Exeter and Cornwall Campuses. 

Our research groups include academic and post-doctoral staff, PhD students and other Postgraduates. Each group works together to plan and develop research initiatives across their specialist areas. Research is at the heart of what we do at Exeter and we hope that you will become an active member of our research community. 

To find out more about our staff research interests have a look at our staff profile pages.


You will be able to use the whole range of Library services during your time at Exeter. We have modern study spaces, an extensive Academic Library, inter-Library loan system, and an extensive Digital Library to all of which you will have full access.

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, housed within the University’s Old Library, holds a unique archival collection with particular strength in the area of British Film.

The University also houses its own Special Collections which includes original papers relating to important South West literary figures such as Ted Hughes, Daphne Du Maurier, John Fowles, John Betjeman, Agatha Christie, and Henry Williamson.

Entry requirements 2017

Normally a 2:1, preferably in English, although other subjects are considered. 

We also welcome applications from industry professionals interested in the academic study of the subject or looking to enhance your CV with an academic qualification.  We also welcome applications from individuals with suitable skills and experience of writing creative works.

Candidates may be called for interview (which may be by telephone or video link).

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements. 

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

At least 7.0 overall and no less than 6.0 in any other section.


At least 100 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

65 with no less than 55 in all skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2017/18

  • UK/EU: £7,500 full-time; £3,750 part-time
  • International: £16,500 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

UK government postgraduate loan scheme

Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for Masters degrees. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Scholarships and other funding

Find out about funding opportunities available to students on our taught Masters programmes in English.

Contact us

College of Humanities
Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306

Department of English
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725309