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English Literature - MA

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

Our MA in English Literature is taught by a team of distinguished critics, scholars and creative writers, all working at the cutting edge of their disciplines....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of English
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media


Our MA in English Literature is taught by a team of distinguished critics, scholars and creative writers, all working at the cutting edge of their disciplines. As well as developing your skills as a critical thinker, you will join a thriving intellectual community, and benefit from a range of guest seminars and masterclasses, many of which are organized through our Institute of Creative and Critical Writing.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

The course is aimed at undergraduates who want to take their interest in literature to the next level, as a career development opportunity or simply for the love of the subject. Students with interests in both literary criticism and creative writing can opt to take a module from our MA in Creative Writing.

At the centre of the course is the module ‘Literature and Place’, which encourages students to think about how literary writing responds to, and creates, the places we inhabit and move through. Situated in the heart of a culturally diverse and always evolving city, you will be perfectly located to think about how writing intersects with the world it describes.

Texts for study are drawn from a range of historical periods, but the intellectual focus is distinctly contemporary.

As well as receiving specialist tuition from expert tutors, you’ll attend our programme of guest speakers and public events devoted to the ongoing life of literary writing.

I have spent four excellent, rewarding and productive years in the School of English at BCU. I always found the academic teaching team incredibly supportive and above all devoted to developing the skills and interests of the students. The MA year in particular struck precisely the right balance between the taught modules and the independent learning required to achieve an MA.

Russell Cook

Why Choose Us?

  • BCU English is an established member of the M4C – the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. In English and Creative Writing we have a strong record of securing doctoral funding and our experience and expertise will be invaluable for students who wish to take their studies to the next level.
  • You'll become part of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media’s 6,000-strong student community, and you will be supported by our highly experienced staff, who are all nationally and internationally recognised academics and writers.
  • Our teaching staff are also expert researchers in English Language and Literature. You will be joining an elite research community. 94% of research in English at BCU was judged to be either world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) in REF2021
  • You’ll study at both the home of the School of English in Millennium Point, and at our £63 million development the Curzon Building, which boasts a richly stocked University Library, a wealth of digital learning resources, a Students’ Union and a dedicated student support hub.
  • This is a fully taught MA in which you will study four bespoke modules in addition to a final project, for which you will have a dedicated tutor. You will study in small, friendly groups and receive expert tuition. All of our teaching is designed specifically for students of English Literature.
  • You will be able to take advantage of an exciting programme of guest seminars and public events hosted by BCU’s Institute of Creative and Critical Writing. There is also an option to study some Creative Writing within the course and we are well placed to help you develop final projects that explore the intersections of creative and critical work, of traditional scholarship and cutting-edge practice.

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Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.


Join us for an on-campus open day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. Booking for the next event isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Event: Saturday 24 June

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Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

2.2 or above in English Literature or relevant subject.

Alternative equivalent professional qualifications and experience may be considered.

Online interviews will be offered at the discretion of the course team.

For anyone who has studied at undergraduate level in a non-English-speaking country, we also require an English Language qualification equivalent to a British Council IELTS score of 7.0, with no score in any category under 6.5.

If you do not meet all of the essential entry requirements, you will be required to complete a successful interview in order to receive an offer for this course.

International Students

Entry requirements here

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £8,500 in 2023/24
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £9,350 in 2023/24

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £16,870 in 2023/24
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £18,557 in 2023/24

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Personal stationery and study materials (optional)

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £30 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

*Professional Placement option

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.

This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth


In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 140 credits)

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Professional Placement

In order to qualify for the award of MA English Literature with Professional Placement, a student must successfully complete all of the Level 7 modules listed above as well as the following Level 6 module.

Download course specification

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MA English Literature is full time, taught over two semesters, and incorporates 180 credits. You will take one 40 credit and one 20 credit taught module in each semester. A major project or dissertation extends from semester two into the summer vacation.

Taught seminars will be supplemented by guest speakers who are concerned in various ways with the positive role that literature and literary study might take on in our present political and social climate (nationally and globally). This will include experts drawn from our impressive range of professional and creative sector contacts: e.g. Birmingham Literature Festival and Writing West Midlands.

Assessment briefs will allow you to develop a range of projects in the form of extended essays, and you will also develop a major project. This might have a traditional English Literature academic focus, but there is also scope to develop original projects with other parts of the Faculty (Media, Fine Art, Music) or in pedagogical theory (e.g.. a project concerned with innovate teaching techniques).


Studying MA English Literature will help you to develop a range of high-level skills and knowledge.

Upon completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Form and communicate complex judgements and ideas and demonstrate comprehensive research skills relating to the advanced study of English Literature.
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of techniques in conceptual analysis as it relates to the advanced study of English Literature.
  • Critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline, to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.
  • Demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline.
  • Develop the independent learning ability and self-direction required for continuing professional and academic development.

Industry Links

The School of English has links with local and regional arts organisations, authors, poets, and many more leading professionals. Our staff and students have worked with:

  • Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
  • The Birmingham Midland Institute
  • Writing West Midlands (the Literature Development Agency for the region)
  • Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
  • The Library of Birmingham

Find out more about how we work with industry here.


Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Facilities & Staff

Curzon with Millennium Point and Parkside

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You will study at both the home of the School of English in Millennium Point, and at our £63 million development the Curzon Building, located on our City Centre campus in the vibrant second city that is Birmingham.

Discover your bright and open learning spaces, your 24 hour (during term time) library, drama, media and radio studios, along with state of the art lecture theatres, and a variety of sociable break-out areas, all adding to your unique learning experience.

Our staff

Dr Anthony Howe

Reader in English Literature and MA English Literature Course Director

Dr Anthony Howe is Reader in English Literature and Associate Director of Research in the School of English at Birmingham City University. Originally from the North East of England, he studied at Liverpool (BA; MA) before taking a PhD at Cambridge. Prior to his current post he taught at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. He is a Senior...

More about Anthony

Dr Gemma Moss

Reader in Modern and Contemporary Literature

Before joining BCU, Gemma taught at the University of Salford and the University of Manchester, where she completed an MA in Postcolonial Literature and an AHRC-funded PhD. Gemma is author of Modernism, Music and the Politics of Aesthetics (Edinburgh University Press, 2021). She is currently editing E. M. Forster’s first novel, Where Angels Fear to...

More about Gemma

Dr Sarah Wood

Head of Birmingham Institute of Media and English

Sarah Wood holds degrees from JMU, the University of Liverpool, and Birmingham City University, where she gained her PhD. Her research interests are in feminism and science fiction. She has an article on Octavia Butler forthcoming in FEMSPEC and is working on further studies of Butler as well as of Nalo Hopkinson and slave narrative.

More about Sarah