Taught course

English Literary Studies

Durham University · Department of English Studies

Entry requirements

You will normally require an English or English-related Honours degree (at least a 2:1 or equivalent) from a recognised university. Please use the 'additional comments' section of the application form to provide a personal statement. In addition to your three module choices, you will also need to include a piece of written work of approximately 2,000 words in length on a literary subject. This can be any piece of literary-critical work you have completed recently and may be emailed direct to the Department if you wish (english.pgadmissions@durham.ac.uk). We welcome applications from holders of international qualifications. For advice on the equivalency of international qualifications, please contact our International Office. English Language requirements Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

Months of entry


Course content

Our taught MA provision offers choice, flexibility and the opportunity to specialise. You can learn from the rich variety of research expertise in the Department and you also have the chance to concentrate on a particular area of literary study. Our commitment to research-led teaching means that students are able to explore the cutting edge of the discipline - from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary crime narrative. We provide an intimate, dynamic and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds and nationalities.

Our programmes offer up-to-date training in research methods and skills and a wide selection of literature modules from which you choose three; you will also write a dissertation. You will have the opportunity to follow up particular interests by studying a named pathway, or to designate your own area of study within the broad MA in English Literary Studies, tailoring an individual programme based on period, theme or genre.

An MA in English is often the platform for further research at PhD level, as well as providing an excellent grounding for jobs in education, the arts and the media.

Course Structure

If you choose to take one of the named pathways, you will be expected to select two modules from those available within a pathway and to write your dissertation in an area related to your named pathway. You need not confine your choices to a named pathway, as on the broad MA in English Literary Studies you may choose any three from the full list of modules on offer if you prefer. Students may, with permission, take one module from other modules on offer elsewhere in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. All students must take the core Research Methods and Resources module and the dissertation alongside their three optional modules.

Core Modules
  • Research Methods and Resources
  • Dissertation
Optional Modules

Typical modules might include:

  • Old Norse
  • Warrior Poets in Heroic Societies
  • Old English Language, Texts and Contexts
  • Narrative Transformations: Medieval Romance to Renaissance Epic
  • Middle English Manuscripts and Texts
  • Issues in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
  • Renaissance Tragedy
  • Renaissance Humanism
  • Lyric Poetry of the English Renaissance and Reformation
  • John Milton: Life, Works and Influence
  • Women and the Novel in the Eighteenth Century
  • Reflections on Revolution, 1789-1922
  • Second-Generation Romantic Poetry
  • Romantic Forms of Grief
  • Elegy: From John Milton to Seamus Heaney
  • Women in Victorian Poetry and Painting
  • Thinking with Things in Victorian Literature
  • Literary Masculinity at the Fin-de-Siècle
  • The Literatures of Slavery
  • Literature of the Supernatural
  • Modernism and Touch
  • S. Eliot
  • Representing the Self: From Sophocles to the Sopranos
  • Post-War British Drama
  • Modern Poetry
  • The Contemporary US Novel
  • Blood and Soil: Regionalism and Contemporary US Crime Narrative
  • Short Fiction Today
  • Reading As A Writer: The Seminar
  • The Writing of Poetry.

Modules are subject to staff availability and normally no more than twenty of the above will run in any one year.

Information for international students

English Language requirements Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students


Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Department of English Studies
(0) 191 334 2500