English Studies MA

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Course starts: 12 October 2020Apply now

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Immerse yourself in literature. Indulge your curiosity of language. Broaden your creative abilities and your career prospects.

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MA English combines the study of literatures, linguistics, critical theory and creative writing. Studying English at postgraduate level will allow you to immerse yourself in literature from 1660 to the present day, while also studying linguistic theory and developing your own writing abilities.

You will develop your skills in analysis, reasoning and communication, creating an excellent foundation for either a communication-based career or further academic study.

Why us?

  • Stand out to employers with a well-respected postgraduate qualification
  • 95.3% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2016/17 (based on UK postgraduate students)
  • MA English Studies achieved a 100% overall satisfaction rating (from 11 respondents) in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019 (PTES)
  • Teaching enriched by 'world leading' research, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • Gain publishing experience with Spectral Visions Press

Course structure

A typical week for you will include seminars and discussion groups, as well as independent study. Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters course requires a higher level of independent working.

Your progress will be assessed with essays, and some options may also require oral presentations. Throughout the course you'll have one-to-one support from staff throughout your degree.

A part-time version of this course is also available, which may suit you if you want to combine studying for a Masters degree with other commitments.

This degree is comprised of a core module, three optional modules, and a dissertation.

Core module:

  • Approaching Literature (30 credits)

The remaining modules will be selected from the following topics on a rotational basis:

  • Gothic (30 credits)
  • Late Victorian Gothic (30 credits)
  • Reading 'Ulysses' (30 credits)
  • Orientalism: Representations of the East in Western Travel Literature and Arab and Iranian Novels (30 credits)
  • Crime Fiction: Theory and Practice (30 credits)
  • Reiving and Writing: Literature of the Anglo-Scottish Borders 16th-19th Century (30 credits)
  • Reading and Writing the Fantastic, the Marvellous and the Gothic (30 credits)
  • Irish Literature and the Supernatural (30 credits)

You will also complete a compulsory dissertation on a topic that you negotiate with your supervisor (60 credits)

More about MA English Studies at Sunderland

Discover more articles
  • You can access free Wi-Fi throughout the University campus, so you can work from anywhere. If you don't want to carry a laptop around, just use one of the University’s PCs or Apple Macs. We have hundreds of computers for you to use in the Murray Library, St Peter's Library, and the David Goldman Informatics Centre. If you ever have any technical problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.

    IT provision
  • We’ve got thousands of English literature books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Library resources which you might find particularly useful for English MA include:

    • Early English Books Online, which provides digital images of virtually every work printed in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and British North America during 1473-1800
    • Eighteenth Century Collections Online, which provides 136,000 full-text publications from 1701-1800
    • Periodicals Archive Online, which provides digitised literary journals
    • Project Muse, which provides over 180 full-text humanities and social sciences journals
    Library Services - English MA
  • Map and directions


You'll be based at The Reg Vardy Centre, situated on the award-winning St Peter's riverside campus. The location benefits from dedicated library services and has superb transport links with the city centre and City Campus.






Entry requirements

Our typical offer is

  • 2:1 classification or equivalent from a Canadian bachelor's degree
  • 2:1 classification or equivalent from a USA bachelor's degree

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or an equivalent qualification, for example; a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5, with no less than 5.5 in any element.

Fees and finance

The fee for this course is:

  • £6,250 if you are from the UK or EU
  • £13,000 if you are an international student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


A Masters degree in English is a qualification that employers understand and respect. It is powerful testimony to your intellectual competence.

Your highly developed skills in communication, research and analysis will make you a perfect fit for a wide range of organisations. Many of our graduates progress to careers in teaching, journalism, PR, business and publishing.

With this qualification you also have the option to continue in academia, and study for a PhD.

Spectral Visions Press

Spectral Visions Press is a publishing house located at the University of Sunderland, which specialises in creative writing inspired by Gothic literature.

In its first month, Spectral Visions Press received close to 100 submissions from around the globe for its creative writing collection 'Spectral Visions: Grim Fairy Tales', and for its Gothic studies-centred academic journal ‘Monstrum’.

As well as offering opportunities to publish your creative writing, Spectral Visions Press can also provide you with valuable experience of the publishing industry. More than 70 student volunteers help run the publishing house, with support from the University's academic team. You will gain a work-reference in addition to your academic reference – a huge advantage when applying for popular publishing jobs.

Meet the students

  • The faculty are second to none.
    Andy Mccabe Small

    Andrew McCabe

  • My experience at the University of Sunderland has been inspirational and life-changing.

    Anthony Anderson

  • The unlimited support and guidance are what make this course better than any other.

    Rosie Hordon-Clark

Meet the team

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