Why choose this course
In a world of information overload and 'alternative facts', the ability to read between the lines is more valuable than ever. Studying English literature equips you with the skills to do this.
Our course will further your ability to analyse words and literary forms, deepening your knowledge of important literary periods, movements, authors and texts.
You'll benefit from the expertise of our academics who are leaders in their fields. They’ll inspire you to extend your understanding of literary history, genre and theory, introducing you to a variety of up-to-date approaches to literary studies.
What you will study
You’ll be joining a course with a strong emphasis on contemporary, 21st-century literary forms and themes, and on literature and cultural production with an innovative, sometimes avant-garde dimension. The material you read (and possibly write) can therefore range from gaming narratives, screenplays, travel writing and experimental poetry to science fiction, children’s literature, neohistorical fiction and queer ecology.
At the same time, there is ample scope to study other periods and more traditional, canonical texts, for example from the medieval era or from the Victorian period. The programme also builds in plenty of flexibility (in its Open Writing modules, the dissertation and several other modules), giving you scope to home in on the topics and texts that most interest you. This means you can use the MA to lay down a good foundation for PhD study, or just to explore in depth a particular enthusiasm or fascination.
Please be aware: the course content and modules listed for this course are subject to change for the 2023/24 academic year, whilst we undertake a curriculum design review. Please contact the programme leader if you have any queries about the course.
You’ll get to use of our Library, open 365 days a year, and our extensive assortment of e-publications, allowing you to access resources 24-hours a day. We also have over 100 archives and special collections, with previously unseen texts and transcripts available to you. In addition, you can use our publishing room, bookable project spaces, study areas and computer suites. You’ll also be able to utilise our common room, surrounded by staff offices, ensuring you can access academic support as soon as you need it.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University. Our graduates have lifetime access to Surrey Pathfinder, our online portal for appointment and events bookings, jobs, placements and interactive development tools.
The skills you develop on our course are a gateway to a wide range of careers in the creative industries, marketing, PR and professional writing.
Some of our graduates have gone on to start their careers in the following roles:
- Content writer
- Technical writer.
Academic year structure
For full-time students, the year falls into three main sections: Semester 1 (in the autumn), Semester 2 (in the spring), and then a summer period in which students write up their final dissertations or creative writing portfolios (usually submitted at the beginning of September). Part-time students typically study for two years, attending four semesters and writing up their dissertations/course work submissions in the summer of their second year.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. We usually run the English Literature MA and Creative Writing MA modules on Mondays and Tuesdays, but please note that we cannot always guarantee this, and scheduled teaching can potentially take place on any day of the week (Monday – Friday). Please therefore check with academic staff before the beginning of the academic year. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. View our Code of practice for the scheduling of teaching and assessment (PDF).
Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.
A minimum of a 2:1 UK honours degree in English literature, history or philosophy.
Alternative degree subjects can be considered by the faculty on a case-by-case basis. A sample of written work and/or interview may be requested.
We may be able to take relevant work experience into consideration if you don't meet these requirements. If you have at least one year of relevant experience in a full-time graduate-level role (or a minimum of two years’ experience in a relevant graduate-level part-time role) please provide full details of your role and responsibilities in your personal statement and CV when you submit your application.
International entry requirements by country
Do I meet the requirements for this course?
We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and 6.0 in each other element.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
In special circumstances, an applicant who does not have a background in English literature may be considered. In such cases, the applicant will be set an assessment which will be reviewed before a decision is made.
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If your experience exceeds the typical requirements for entry to the programme, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience. If you can demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes for specific modules through your previous learning, it may be possible to exempt you from those modules, and for you to be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
In some cases, prior knowledge and skills may allow applicants to join the start of a course without meeting the formal entry requirements.
Please see our code transfer and recognition of prior learning guide (PDF) and recognition of prior learning and prior credit web page for further information. Please email Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any queries.
Start date: September 2023
Full-time - 1 year
Part-time - 2 years
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2023-24 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually
- If you are on a two-year full-time MFA programme, or a two-year or three-year part-time masters programme (excluding modular/self-paced/distance learning), the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the programme
- Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
You may be able to borrow money to help pay your tuition fees and support you with your living costs. Find out more about postgraduate student finance.
Scholarships and bursaries
We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.
Brunei GREAT Scholarship
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our Charter, Statutes, Ordinances, Policies, Regulations and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2022/2023 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: the offer terms and conditions and registration terms and conditions which you will be asked to agree to may be different from those detailed in the examples. Our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will be available at the start of each academic year and will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing but changes (for example, to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.