MA English Literature by Research

Entry requirements: First or Second class undergraduate degree 
Full or Part-time: Full-time, Part-time
School: School of Humanities Back to course finder

Course outline

The MA in English Literature by research is taught through seminars, group sessions, and personalised one-to-one teaching with a first and second supervisor. A postgraduate reading group, and seminars led by staff and guest speakers, gradually develop the insights needed to complete your research project.

English MA brochure coverThere are four parts to the qualification:

  • a research proposal
  • a bibliography
  • a short essay
  • a longer Dissertation

There are no exams. For more detail, click on the image on the right to download the brochure (PDF file, 7 MB).

This is an opportunity to work closely on a writer or topic that fascinates you, within a supportive environment. You can undertake research in most literary topics within the period 1550 to the present day. You start by developing the Project Preliminaries with your supervisors: the research proposal, bibliography, and essay. Then you progress to the full Dissertation (25,000-30,000 words), written under the guidance of your supervisors.

The MA commences in September or January each year, on a full- or part-time basis. The MA takes one year full-time, two years part-time.

For the MA, full-time attendance on campus is not required, but overseas students in particular, or home students wishing to use libraries intensively, may apply for a room in University accommodation. Alternately, you can travel in for the teaching days, usually Wednesdays during term. The one-to-one sessions with your supervisors can be arranged for any day of the week.

Application process

Please fill in the application form above (“Apply Now”), giving as much detail as possible. In the “Personal Statement” section, give an outline of your ideas so far for your research project (300-500 words). This could include:

  • the general area (e.g. “I am interested in the general area of Modernist writing and in particular the work of T. S. Eliot. I propose to consider in depth … ̕”
  • your method or approach to study (e.g. “I intend to work with the new edition of T. S. Eliot’s work by Christopher Ricks, to consider how it changes our understanding of …”; “I want to consider the way gender-based approaches to Eliot’s work…” )
  • a short bibliography of relevant works. See below, for some recent projects in the Department.

At this stage we do not expect a fully-formed view of the project, rather an indication of the area you are interested in. If you would like to discuss your research ideas before applying, please e-mail:
Professor John Drew (john.drew@buckingham.ac.uk) or
Professor Stefan Hawlin (stefan.hawlin@buckingham.ac.uk).

For other queries about the MA, contact the Admissions Officer on english-admissions@buckingham.ac.uk or 01280 820156.

Recent projects

  • The treatment of the family in the novels of Elizabeth Bowen
  • C. S. Lewis, scholar and writer
  • form and vision in the works of Jeanette Winterson
  • the staging of evil in Macbeth
  • Enlightenment feminism in the novels of the Brontës
  • the supernatural in the novels of Joseph Conrad
  • form and experiment in Modernist narratives.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry level required for this course is as follows:

  • a first or second-class honours degree from a recognised university or,
  • a recognised professional qualification with relevant work experience

Mature students

Age is no barrier to learning and we welcome all applications from suitably qualified students.

International students

We are happy to consider all international applications and if you are an international student, you may find it useful to visit our international pages for details of entry requirements from your home country.

The University is a UKVI Tier 4 Sponsor.

English levels

If English is not your first language, please check our postgraduate English language requirements. If your English levels don’t meet our minimum requirements, you may be interested in applying for our Pre-sessional English Language Foundation Programmes.

Selection process

Wherever possible, you will be invited to the University to meet the Admissions Tutor for an informal interview and to have a tour of our campus. If you are an international applicant, it may not be possible for you to visit in person, so if the Admissions Tutor has any queries about your application you may be conducted by skype, email or phone.

The Admissions Team would be happy to answer any questions you may have:

Nancy Zulu

Miss Nancy Zulu

Admissions Assistant for English, History of Art and Media
english-admissions@buckingham.ac.uk

Read more →

Terms and conditions for prospective students

When you are offered a place at the University you will be notified of the terms and conditions between the University and students on our courses of study. When you accept an offer of a place on the course at the University a legal contract is formed between you and the University on the basis of the terms and conditions outlined in your offer letter. Your offer letter and the terms and conditions contain important information which you should read carefully before accepting any offer. Read the admissions terms and conditions > >

Quality teaching

We offer high quality, traditional Oxbridge-style teaching, which leads to our degrees being recognised around the world. The standards of degrees and awards are safeguarded by distinguished external examiners – senior academic staff from other universities in the UK – who approve and moderate assessed work.

High calibre staff

Most of our academic staff teach for three terms out of four, with the remaining term used for research. Because of this, we have no difficulty in attracting high calibre, highly respected lecturers, many of whom also have a background in business or industry and can offer networking opportunities for students.

Teaching methods

At the heart of the MA is the close working relationship between candidate and supervisor. While the final thesis must be the candidate’s independent work, it is the supervisor who offers advice on refining the topic (if necessary), on primary sources, on secondary reading, on research techniques and on writing the final thesis. Supervisors and candidates meet frequently throughout the year, and not less than twice a term; and the supervisor is always the candidate’s primary contact for academic advice and support.

Those with limited time may prefer to spread the writing of their dissertation over two years, in which case an individual timetable of lectures and supervisions will be arranged.

Graduate employment

We have a high graduate employment rate, The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) ranked Buckingham top for graduate employability with 98.1% in July 2015.

Our graduate prospects are excellentOur graduates have gone on to further study at most of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, London, Oxford and Cambridge and secured jobs in senior positions around the world. Among our alumni we have a graduate who became the head of his country’s civil service and one who became a leading Formula One motor-racing driver. Another secured a position as the Minister of Sabah and one female law graduate became the first British lawyer to become a French Advocate.

Postgraduate loan scheme

A new system of postgraduate loans for Masters degrees in the UK will be introduced from 1 August 2016 with support from the UK Government. The loan will provide up to £10,000 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. The loans can be used for tuition fees, living expenses or both.  Find out more >>

Postgraduate first class scholarship

From July 2015 a first class scholarship will be available to both home and international students following a taught postgraduate degree at the University. The scholarship will reduce tuition fees by 33%. The scholarship will be automatically awarded to applicants who already have a first class honours degree that is recognised to UK standard.

Details of other scholarships can be found on our main Bursaries and Scholarships page. You should make an application to study at the University and receive an offer letter confirming our acceptance of your application before applying for a scholarship.

You may also find it useful to visit our External Funding page.

For the MA, full-time attendance on campus is not required, but overseas students in particular, or home students wishing to use libraries intensively, may apply for a room in University accommodation. Alternately, you can travel in for the teaching days, usually Wednesdays during term. The one-to-one sessions with your supervisors can be arranged for any day of the week.

If you require short-term accommodation in Buckingham we would be happy to provide a list of local bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation. Alternatively, please contact our Accommodation Office for advice.