Taught course

English Literature: Fantasy

University of Glasgow · College of Arts

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for postgraduate taught programmes are a 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent qualification (for example, GPA 3.0 or above) in a relevant subject unless otherwise specified.

We also require:

  • a sample of written work, about 3,000 words in length. This can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate degree. The work should be written in English and the content does not have to cover a topic related to this specific programme.
  • a short statement of around 500 words outlining your interest in the programme.
  • at least one academic reference.

Months of entry


Course content

Are you a fan of fantasy fiction? Or are you simply curious as to why the fantastic can be found all around us in the twenty-first century, from videogames and films to poetry, songs, television, novel series, and so-called 'mainstream' fiction? This programme allows you to engage with one of the most vibrant literary genres of the last two centuries - and a major cultural phenomenon of our time.

· You will be supported by a friendly, internationally acclaimed team of scholars working in all areas of the arts, from literature and comics to film, TV, history of art and modern languages.

· You will have access to world class libraries, museums and teaching/research facilities. And there will be the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of Glasgow itself, which attracts major fantasy-related conventions and is famous throughout the world for its musical, artistic, technological and literary energy

The programme involves core and optional taught sessions, followed by a period of research and writing over the summer when you will undertake supervised independent work on a special topic of your choice, researching, planning and writing a 15,000 word dissertation.

You will take a research training course which will prepare you both to work on your dissertation and to develop a proposal and funding applications for a PhD, should you choose to pursue research at doctoral level.

You will have the opportunity to meet and learn from visiting scholars, writers and publishers from the UK, Europe and the United States. And you will form part of the dynamic graduate/research community of the School of Critical Studies and the College of Arts.

The programme is made up of three components:

· Core course: taught over two ten-week teaching periods, from October to December and January to March.

· Optional courses: also taught in ten-week blocks. Full-time students usually study one topic course in each semester.

· A dissertation: written during the final phase of the course, from April to September.

Core Course

Part 1 introduces you to the history of fantasy literature in English and its attendant theories from c. 1780 to 1950. As well as charting the early history of modern fantasy, including major children’s fantasies where these had a significant impact on the development of adult fantasy literature, the course will introduce you to the most influential critical and theoretical approaches to fantasy and the fantastic.

Part 2 investigates the history of fantasy literature in English from 1950 to the present. It will also consider the unprecedented spread of fantasy in recent decades through comics, films and the new media, and delve into the critical and theoretical approaches to fantasy and the fantastic that have emerged since the 1950s.

Optional Courses

You may choose from the available optional courses offered by any of the Masters programmes in the School of Critical Studies. You may also opt for courses from other Masters programmes in the College of Arts (subject to approval by the relevant convener). One course can be taken at Honours level. Examples of possible options include:

· Animation

· Children's Literature And Literacies: Critical Enquiry

· Core Structures Of Scottish Culture

· Creative Writing Fiction Workshop (cross-discipline)

· Decadence And The Modern

· Finn in Gaelic Literature

· Magical Narratives: Imagination, Fantasy and the Creation of Worlds

· Modern Everyday

· Neovictorianism

· Religion, Theology and Culture Directed Study Science Fiction

For further information, contact the convener.


The topic normally arises out of the work of the taught sessions, but the choice is very much open to the your own initiative. The only restrictions are that the topic should be capable of serious scholarly treatment, and that adequate supervision is available. Your supervisor will help you to develop the proposal and plan the most appropriate reading and methodology.

In addition, you will attend seminars in the School Research Training Programme and the College of Arts Graduate School Research Training Course. Topics include:

· Use of library resources

· Advanced humanities computing

· Research skills and research management.

Information for international students

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training): overall score 6.5; no sub-test less than 6.5. IBTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 22 with Speaking no less than 23

Fees and funding

UK students
International students


Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details