Literary Studies

You are viewing this course for September start 2024

The MA in Literary Studies at Aberystwyth University offers you a stimulating engagement with English literature in all its depth and diversity, with the opportunity to develop particular expertise in one of a number of specialist areas. By studying the latest developments in critical theory and research methodology you will cultivate the necessary skills to undertake your 15,000 word MA Dissertation, an extensive piece of critical research in your chosen field. You will also develop a host of transferable skills which you may deploy in a range of other academic or employment contexts.

As a student on this course, you will benefit from the University’s superb library and information technology resources and have access to the unrivalled collections of the National Library of Wales, one of the five elite research libraries in the UK.

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:1 Bachelors (Hons) degree in a relevant subject together with submission of a satisfactory writing portfolio. These are minimum requirements for entry. A transcript of marks demonstrating consistent performance at 2:1 level should also be provided.

Non-graduates and non-subject specialists will be considered individually based on relevant experience and submission of a satisfactory writing portfolio.

The writing portfolio should consist of 4000-5000 words of critical and/or creative prose. In cases where portfolios comprise or include poetry, 100 lines of poetry is considered equivalent to 1000 words of prose.

English Language Requirements IELTS 7.0 with minimum 7.0 in each component, or equivalent

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Course Overview

This degree will suit you:

  • If you are fascinated by particular developments in English Literature and want to deepen your knowledge.
  • If you want to enhance your understanding of particular topics or periods in literary history.
  • If you wish to cultivate your existing skills as a reader and writer.
  • If you want to develop your research and analytical skills for future work in academia.

The MA in Literary Studies provides several modules on fascinating topics and periods of literary history, including Medieval Lives, Queer Fiction, Romanticism's Radical Cultures, Victorian Popular Fiction, Postmodern Genres, and many more. An important part of the course is the writing of a 15,000-word Dissertation on a specialist topic chosen by you in consultation with a specialist supervisor. We will take care in assigning you a supervisor whose interests match your own as closely as possible. 

Our Staff

Our nationally significant research forms the basis of our teaching and throughout your studies you will be taught by some of the UK’s leading scholars in Creative Writing and Literary Studies. They are either qualified to PhD level or have commensurate professional experience. Our lecturers either hold or are working towards a Higher Education teaching qualification, and most academic staff also hold Fellowships with Advance HE. Staff research interests are as broad and dynamic as our curriculum, and recently the majority of our research activity was judged either internationally excellent or world-leading (REF 2021).

About this course


12 months full-time; 24-36 months part-time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September.

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.


Funding opportunities may be available; please check our funding calculator for details.

Modules September start - 2024

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Master's Dissertation ENM0560 60
Research and Project Planning ENM3020 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
21st-Century Medievalisms ENM0920 20
Late Modernist Poetry ENM0020 20
Postwar American Fiction ENM1220 20
Queer and Now: 100 years of Queer Writing ENM0220 20
Reading Ulysses ENM3120 20
Romantic Radical Cultures ENM1520 20
Sensational Sales: Victorian Popular Literature 1848-1894 ENM1720 20
Women, Fiction and Female Community, 1660-1792 ENM1620 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


Every MA course at Aberystwyth University is specifically designed to enhance your employability. In addition to developing your writing and research skills, this course will help you to master key skills that are required in a wide variety of workplaces. You will be pushed to improve your approaches to planning, analysis and presentation so that you can tackle complex projects thoroughly and with professional independence. Your MA in Literary Studies will place you in the jobs marketplace as a professional writer with highly desirable skills suitable for a career in the arts, literature, journalism and many others.

Key Skills and Competencies Study Skills

You will learn how to identify and interrogate the most relevant materials and literature in your field. You will be taught to master a range of research methodologies and, importantly, you will learn to justify your preferred methodological approach to your subject. You will learn how to deploy your research and analysis in critical discussion and build sophisticated academic arguments. You will learn to quickly assemble, assimilate, interpret and present a broad range of information regarding your specialism, a set of skills keenly sought by many employers from the civil service and journalism to media and commerce.

Self-Motivation and Discipline

Studying at MA level requires high levels of discipline and self-motivation from every candidate. Though you will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of Departmental staff, you are ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your MA degree. This process will strengthen your skills in planning, executing and analysing work projects in ways that reflect standard practice in the world of employed work.

Transferable Skills

The MA is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of research interests and employment contexts. Upon graduation, you will have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working to specific deadlines.

Teaching & Learning

A significant part of the course is devoted to research skills, including exploiting library resources; using electronic journals and databases; building a critical bibliography; researching and writing a proposal; and honing your oral presentation skills. You will also be taught to interrogate the different kinds of ‘textuality’, or aspects of the literary text, that need to be considered in the study of literature at postgraduate level and beyond.


Assessment takes the form of a research proposal, including a critical bibliography; examined oral presentations; and essays of 3,000- 5,000 words. In the third semester, you will complete a MA Dissertation of 15,000 words on a specialist topic of your choice.