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Postgraduate Taught

MA English Literary Studies

Please note: The below is for 2025 entries. Click here for 2024 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year September 2024
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline English

Programme Director: Dr Chris Campbell
Web: Enquire online 
0300 555 6060 (UK)  
+44 (0)1392 723044 (non-UK)

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

2:2 Honours degree

Contextual offers


  • Develop an enhanced understanding of literature and media in their historical and cultural contexts, and foster your communication and analytical skills
  • Our varied module options allow you to tailor your degree to suit your interests
  • Ideal for students wishing to extend and enhance their studies before starting their career and work with the department’s internationally recognised Research Centres and Groups
  • Excellent facilities on campus include our Special Collections featuring the papers of internationally important writers, The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum which is a unique film and popular culture resource and our Digital Humanities Lab. Exeter has also recently been awarded UNESCO City of Literature status

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View 2024 Entry

Fast Track (current Exeter students)

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Programme Director: Dr Chris Campbell

Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Discover MA English Literary Studies at the University of Exeter.

Our English research environment is 100% world leading

Based on 4* research environment submitted to REF 2021

Top 50 in the world for English Language and Literature

QS World University Subject Rankings 2024

A thriving and supportive writing community - our team of prize-winning and best-selling authors will help you develop your creative writing skills

Unique on-site resources: Exeter’s Special Collections archive and The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

Entry requirements

We will consider applicants with a 2:2 Honours degree with 53% or above in their first degree in a relevant subject area. While we normally only consider applicants who meet this criteria, if you are coming from a different academic background which is equivalent to degree level, or have relevant work experience, we would welcome your application.

Applicants will be asked to submit a sample of academic work. We require roughly 2000 - 3000 words of prose (this could be in the form of a critical essay or part of a critical essay that you have already produced for an undergraduate degree).

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile E. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

Course content

The programme is divided into units of study called modules which are assigned 'credits'. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.

Our flexible programme enables you to choose from a varied range of modules. The compulsory dissertation is 60 credits, allowing you to tailor your degree to your own interests by selecting the remaining 120 credits from our expansive list of options.

The programme is specifically designed for those seeking high level training prior to embarking on doctoral research, recent graduates wishing to extend and enhance their studies by a year before taking up a career, individuals already in employment who are interested in career development, and those who simply wish to broaden their intellectual horizons.

Please note that this course requires you to read and analyse complex English literary texts, but we do not teach English language skills on these modules. You will need a near-native level of English to participate fully in classes and complete assessments successfully.

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.


2024/25 entry

UK fees per year:

£12,000 full-time; £6,000 part-time

International fees per year:

£24,300 full-time; £12,150 part-time


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students. This includes over £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*.

For more information on scholarships, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.

Having studied BA English Literature at Exeter, I knew I had to stay for my MA. The lecturers are always passionate about what they are teaching, but most importantly to me, they are always genuinely keen to discuss my own work.

I did my BA dissertation on post-feminism within Taylor Swift and Beyoncé’s music videos. This year I’ve taken my work on music video even further and have also written on films ranging from Hitchcock to La La Land thanks to the flexible Film modules.

In allowing me to pursue my interests, Exeter has helped me reach my full potential. I want to work in the music industry, so it is really useful that my course has not only given me skills to take into working life, but has also provided me with the opportunity to craft essays which I can talk about in job interviews.

Read more from Ellie


MA English Literary Studies

Teaching and research

Learning and teaching

We believe in collaborative, small group learning and teaching for your modules will be delivered through seminar groups. Each module has one two-hour seminar per week, with independent work set that involves intensive, self-motivated research and writing.

You will be encouraged to discuss your ideas and interact with your fellow students and academic staff through visiting speaker seminar series, postgraduate conferences and Research Centre activities. 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 15,000 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.

Research areas

When you study on the MA in English Literary Studies, you will join a world-leading English and Creative Writing Department that regularly hosts talks, workshops, and conferences spotlighting prestigious visiting speakers and the Department’s own experts. As members of our learning community, postgraduate students are warmly included in such events. These activities are coordinated by the Department’s many research groups and centres, including the Centre for Victorian Studies, the Centre for Intermedia and Creative Technology, and the Centre for Literature and Archives. You will benefit from staff at the forefront of their fields, stretching from medieval literature all the way up to contemporary culture.

Research Centres

Dedicated research centres and groupings within our department include:

Research Groups


You will join a vibrant postgraduate and research community. All our staff belong to one or more research group which plan and develop research initiatives across the humanities. Research activity is carried out collaboratively by staff at our Exeter and Cornwall Campuses.

The Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences also houses the Digital Humanities Lab, a state-of-the-art facility offering unique spaces, equipment and training for staff and students. A specialist team conducts and supports innovative Digital Humanities research, offers training and teaching, and undertakes the digital preservation and display of historic material and artefacts using advanced technologies. For more information view our Digital Humanities Lab page.

At Exeter, research is at the heart of what we do, and we hope 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.

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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, Henry Williamson and William Golding.

The University has invested £1.2 million into Digital Humanities to create a state-of-the-art lab and research space for the examination and preservation of important historical, literary and visual artefacts. The lab will allow you to use high-tech equipment to find out more about our cultural heritage, examine items in greater detail and share discoveries with the public. For more information view our Digital Humanities Lab page.


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 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.

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