Taught course

English Literature

University of Sheffield · School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Entry requirements

At least a 2:1 or the international equivalent in English, or a combined degree including a substantial element of English Literature. For the Literary-Linguistics pathway, you need a 2:1 in English literature, language or linguistics – or a related subject such as history, philosophy or modern languages.

Months of entry


Course content

Our MA courses give you the chance to explore the subjects you love with the guidance of leading researchers. The range of options available means you can design the masters you want.

Course description

This is our most flexible course. It's designed to let you explore modules from across our degree programmes to create your own pathway:

American Literature pathway

Develop your knowledge across a range of fields including urban studies, gender studies, race studies, travel writing, postcolonial writing, autobiographical and epistolary studies.

You’ll cover contemporary and recent American fiction and the way ‘real history’ appears in the texts. You are also able to take modules in American history offered by the History Department.

If you intend to continue to PhD study, you’ll get essential research training.


  • Memory and Narrative in Contemporary Literature
  • Exchanging Letters: art and correspondence in twentieth-century American culture
  • Tales of the City
  • Analysis of Film
  • White Like Me
  • Rocket-State Cosmology

Medieval and Early Modern pathway

You’ll examine early modern texts, language and culture. Staff expertise includes palaeography, rhetoric, news writing, the sermon, drama, and issues of political, sectarian and national identity between 1400 and 1700. Modules (including modules from History) can be tailored to suit your interests. You’ll complete one core module, optional modules and a dissertation.

Core module

  • Reconsidering the Renaissance

Examples of optional modules – literature

Modules may include:

  • Early Modern Paleography (ie training in reading sixteenth and seventeenth-century manuscripts)
  • The English Civil War
  • The Country House
  • Directed Reading
  • Early Modern Books
  • Pastoral Literature (online module)
  • Shakespeare and Early Women Dramatists (online module)

Modern and Contemporary pathway

You’ll study modern and contemporary fiction and poetry, with a focus on literature since 1900. Modules include: memory studies, contemporary poetry, urban and postmodern literature, the Cold War, life-writing, race, gender and animal studies.

Examples of optional modules

You’ll choose four modules from a range which may include:

  • Tales of the City: the living space in contemporary American fiction
  • Exchanging Letters: art and correspondence in twentieth-century American culture
  • Memory and Narrative
  • Rocket State Cosmology
  • Contemporary Poetry
  • White Like Me: reading whiteness in American literature
  • Interpret the Brutes: the animal in postcolonial writing

Film pathway

You’ll develop skills in textual and theoretical interrogation of narrative film, in both popular and art cinema. Close textual analysis of the moving image is supplemented by a range of optional national cinema studies, including Australian cinema and British visual culture. You’ll complete one core module, optional modules and a dissertation.

Examples of optional modules

Modules may include:

  • Analysis of Film
  • Approaches to the American Gothic
  • Postwar British Drama, Film and Television

Literary-Linguistics pathway

This pathway brings literature and linguistics together. Through a series of interdisciplinary modules, you’ll explore the language of literature. Subjects include: stylistics, narrative and contemporary fiction, cognitive poetics, the language and literature of the city.

Core modules

  • Literary Language: narrative and cognition
  • Literary Language: history and culture

Examples of optional modules

May include:

  • Rise of the Gothic
  • Analysis of Film
  • Contemporary Literature
  • Linguistics in Context
  • Work Placement with Research
  • Essay

Gothic Studies pathway

Develop your knowledge of the Gothic by following a range of modules on the Gothic from the eighteenth century onwards. This pathway enables you to consider how images of ‘evil’ and otherness are used in the Gothic as way of asking difficult questions about social convention and identity formation.

You will have access to the resources that only a Russell Group university can provide, including important archival material such as the Corvey collection (which includes some rare gothic novels published between 1790 and 1840) and the opportunity to attend guest lectures delivered by the world’s leading academics.

In addition to those who have a general fascination with the Gothic, this pathway may be of particular interest to students considering a PhD in Gothic Studies.


With a focus on literature from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the pathway consists of modules on the rise of the Gothic in the eighteenth century, representations of animals and monsters, and the fin de siècle Gothic. There are also modules which can be taken on MA Literature, Culture and Society: 1700–1900 as well as on twentieth and twenty-first century literature. You can also take relevant modules from History and the School of Languages and Culture.

Information for international students

Overall IELTS grade of 7.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Dr Madeleine Callaghan
+44 (0)114 222 8461