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 literary-studies academics who are leaders in their fields. They’ll inspire you to extend your understanding of literary theory, genre and literary history, introducing you to a variety of up-to-date approaches to literary study.
What you will study
Building on your existing knowledge, this course will advance your understanding of literary theory, sharpen your academic writing and add authority to your critical voice. We’ll equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to start debating about how notions of literary value change over time, how literature responds to and shapes social change, and the new and distinctive forms of writing emerging in the 21st century.
If you aspire to go on to postgraduate research, this course is ideal for you. Our course is also a great choice if you’re looking for a broad overview of Anglophone culture or you want to develop an impressive level of knowledge within a particular field of literary studies.
Academics and events
Our course offers you the chance to learn from and discuss your ideas with both published academics and creative writers. We’ll also give you access to several conferences, seminars and workshops hosted throughout the year. These cover a wide range of thought-provoking topics within literature, language and linguistics, cultural studies and creative writing.
Thanks to the vibrant research culture of our School of Literature and Languages, you’ll benefit from a programme of research seminars, workshops and lectures, featuring invited speakers from universities in the UK and beyond. Our cultural activities begin with the Morag Morris Poetry Lecture on campus each year, which includes a visiting speaker and readings by students from the Guildford School of Acting.
Visiting academics who have recently spoken at Surrey include:
- Rod Mengham
- Bernard O’Donoghue
- Edward Larrisy
- Robert Hampson
- Adam Roberts
- Helen Hester
- John Wrighton
- J.H. Prynne
- Robert Fitterman
- Allen Fisher
- Barbara Hardy
- Gilbert Adair.
Poets and novelists who have visited us include:
- Ulli Freer
- Jon Ronson
- Tiffany Atkinson
- Gwyneth Lewis
- Iain Sinclair
- Monica Ali
- Jaspreet Singh
- Nikita Lalwani.
You’ll get 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
If you’re a full-time student, you’ll take four modules each semester; then over the summer you’ll complete your dissertation. If you’re a part-time student, you’ll take two modules each semester across two years, then in your final summer you’ll complete your dissertation.
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.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic the University has revised its courses to incorporate the ‘Hybrid Learning Experience’ in a departure from previous academic years and previously published information. The University has changed the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes. Further information on the general principles of hybrid learning can be found at: Hybrid learning experience | University of Surrey.
We have updated key module information regarding the pattern of assessment and overall student workload to inform student module choices. We are currently working on bringing remaining published information up to date to reflect current practice in time for the start of the academic year 2022/23 This means that some information within the programme and module catalogue will be subject to change. Current students are invited to contact their Programme Leader or Academic Hive with any questions relating to the information available.
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:
The programme's compulsory modules are structured to be delivered on Tuesdays with most optional classes running on Mondays or Tuesdays (some double-taught modules shared with undergraduate courses may have one group session on other days as long as the other group is on a Monday or a Tuesday).
Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. View our Timetabling Policy (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 this applies to you, 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, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and 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.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
Start date: October 2022
Full-time - 1 year
Part-time - 2 years
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2022-23 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on a two-year or three-year part-time structured masters course, the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the course.
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.
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and 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 an example of our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: 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 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 more.
Further, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the academic year 2022/23. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2022/23. Detailed information on all changes is available at our dedicated course changes webpage. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.