English Literature

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The MA English Literature at Winchester is designed to develop your skills in analysing and reading texts and creating your own arguments as you work on closely focused projects from all the main periods of English Literature. Our course is focussed around four literary periods: Medieval to Renaissance (1473-1660), The Enlightenment (1660-1798), Romanticism and Victorian Literature (1798-1910), and The Modern Period (1910 – the present).

Books on a book shelf in the library

Course overview

The course pushes the boundaries of the discipline, providing opportunities to enjoy a thought-provoking mix of literary materials and approaches to understanding them. You will engage with the ideas of the most exciting critical thinkers in contemporary cultural debates. 

Throughout the MA course your study is backed up by a module in Research Methods, which provides a basis for your advanced learning, your assessments in each module and your dissertation – an extended piece of work on the text(s) or theme of your choice. 

Within the department, staff and students form a community of learners who, together and independently, seek to generate and exchange knowledge. Over the duration of the course, you will develop your abilities in independent and critical learning, building your confidence and expertise progressively through independent and collaborative research, problem solving, and analysis, with the support of staff.

What you need to know

Course start date



On campus, Winchester

Course length

  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time


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Typical offer

A first or second-class honours degree


From £9,550 pa

Course features

  • Develop advanced skills in analysing texts and discourses
  • Explore up-to-date and innovative research skills
  • Engage with your chosen texts at an advanced level 

Course details

Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Learning and teaching

The University aims to shape 'confident learners' by enabling students to develop the skills to excel in their studies here that are transferable to further studies or the employment market. Staff and students form a community of learners who, together and independently, seek to generate and exchange knowledge. Over the duration of the course, students will develop independent and critical learning, building confidence and expertise progressively through independent and collaborative research, problem solving, and analysis with the support of staff. Students will take responsibility for their own learning and are encouraged to make use of the wide range of available learning resources available.

In addition to the formally scheduled contact time (i.e. lectures, seminars etc), students are encouraged to access academic support from the staff within the course team, personal tutors and the wide range of services to students within the University.


Taught elements of the course take place on campus in Winchester.


The University is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, enabling them to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Students are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from their course tutors and lecturers.


Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.



Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing. The University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed. For further information please refer to


Medieval to Renaissance Literature

The Medieval period is often thought of as belonging to the Dark Ages, however, when William Caxton brought printing to England in the late fifteenth century, the richness of its literatures became apparent, permanent, and as well, more widely available. Medieval literary riches were developed over the next two centuries in the English renaissance, when writers such as Shakespeare, Marlowe and Webster graced page and stage with poetry and dramas, and Francis Bacon published philosophical treatises. It is the interlinking of these ages, and the forms of literature produced which will be explored in this module.

The Enlightenment

“The Enlightenment – the great ‘Age of Reason’ – is defined as the period of rigorous scientific, political and philosophical discourse that characterised European society during the ‘long’ 18th century. This was a period of huge change in thought and reason, which (in the words of historian Roy Porter) was ‘decisive in the making of modernity’. Centuries of custom and tradition were brushed aside in favour of exploration, individualism, tolerance and scientific endeavour, which, in tandem with developments in industry and politics, witnessed the emergence of the ‘modern world’.” This definition, from the British Library website, misses out the most important element of Enlightenment publication: literature. It is in the literature of this period that we find arguments about the value and validity of “exploration, individualism, tolerance, scientific endeavour, industry and politics.”

Romanticism and Victorian Literature

Romanticism, the artistic and intellectual movement which took place in Europe between the late eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries, is understood broadly as a break from the guiding principles of the Enlightenment, since the Romantic Movement emphasised the importance of emotional sensitivity and individual subjectivity, claiming imagination, rather than reason, was the most important creative faculty. The movement overlaps the Victorian period, during which Britain acquired unprecedented power and wealth. Many of the intellectual and cultural achievements were made possible by this power. Yet there were intense pressures too. A rising population, rural unemployment, and migration to the towns, together with the horrendous conditions in which many people lived and worked, meant that the country’s often archaic political system and ways of organising itself were coming under immense strain. This conflict between a small, conservative state and the explosive forces of change unleashed by the Industrial Revolution, continued throughout Victoria’s reign.

Modern Literature: 1910 – the present

The module will explore in detail some of the types of literature produced after 1910, which was when Virginia Woolf claimed that “everything changed”. This module is therefore necessarily a sequential study based on the literatures which came before, and from which it differed. The studies of the modern and postmodern periods have been characterized by a focus on very few texts, to the detriment of other forms of literature which rose to prominence during this period. While Woolf, Joyce, Eliot and Pynchon need not be ignored, this module will remind students that there are other forms of recent and contemporary literature which are equally fascinating to study.

Research Methods

This module will enable students to hone the skills required to undertake research in literary studies and which are necessary to present the results of such research through writing and oral presentation. The module will deepen the range of research skills required to develop a sustained research project. Students will develop their understanding of, and practice, these skills and methodologies before employing them in the development of a research proposal based on a literature review. The module will also introduce students to the key academic skills needed to write a conference abstract and give a conference paper, dissemination practices integral to academic life, which will teach them how to present their work orally, defend their research under questioning, and sharpen their general presentation skills.

The module is mostly guided independent study, supplemented by workshops and a mini-conference during which the conference papers will be presented.


This module provides students with the opportunity to undertake an extended, in-depth research project of their choosing on any subject related to the broad subject of literary studies. In 20,000 words the student will have the opportunity to demonstrate the depth and breadth of their knowledge and understanding of the advanced critical theories and research practices developed during the degree. Students will research independently with the support and direction of a supervisor. Completion of this independent study project will show a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of research and scholarship at this level, demonstrating such key employability and life skills as an ability to be original and logical in identifying and tackling problems, to think both systematically and creatively, to learn independently, and to manage a large project.

Entry requirements

A first or second-class honours degree

Normally a first or second-class Honours degree or professional experience in the area of study.

If English is not your first language: IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in writing or equivalent.

International students seeking additional information about this programme can email


International points required

If English is not your first language, a formal English language test will most likely be required and you will need to achieve the following:

  • IELTS Academic at 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all four components (for year 1 entry)
  • We also accept other English language qualifications, such as IELTS Indicator, Pearson PTE Academic, Cambridge C1 Advanced and TOEFL iBT.

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by emailing our International Recruitment Team at

2024/2025 Course Tuition Fees 

  UK / Channel Islands /
Isle of Man / Republic of Ireland


Full-time £9,550 £17,450
Part-time £4,775 £8,725
Total £9,550 £17,450

Additional tuition fee information

If you are a UK student starting your degree in January / September 2024, the first year will cost you £9,550**.

If finance is a worry for you, we are here to help. Take a look at the range of support we have on offer. This is a great investment you are making in your future, so make sure you know what is on offer to support you.

**The University of Winchester will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year.

Additional costs

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the mandatory and optional costs for this course:


Core texts

It is recommended that students buy core texts, but it is possible to buy second-hand copies or study using library and online sources. The indicative cost is £50-£200.


Printing and binding

The University is pleased to offer our students a free printing allowance of £20 each academic year. This will print around 500 A4 mono pages. If students wish to print more, printer credit can be topped up by the student. The University and Student Union are champions of sustainability and we ask all our students to consider the environmental impact before printing. 


We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards.


Students with MA English Literature often pursue careers in teaching and education, publishing, website production, marketing, journalism, writing, the arts, media, the charity sector, and business. The course is also excellent preparation for doctoral studies.

Top areas of employment for English MA holders also include marketing, PR and sales professionals, clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks, arts, design and media professionals, education professionals, and business, HR and finance professionals.

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"At Winchester you are truly valued as a student. I will graduate knowing that the University helped me become the best version of myself, and I have developed the tools and skills to continue learning and growing in my career and personal life." - Ellen Wood, MSc graduate

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