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MA by Research in English and Comparative Literary Studies

What will you uncover?

The MA by Research course is a pure research course based in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies. You'll complete a 40,000 word research thesis, closely supervised by an academic.

This programme is especially suited to applicants who want to develop their independent research skills and explore a particular writer, topic, theory, or critical debate. Our warm and vibrant research community is one of the largest in the UK, with around 110 postgraduates every year. We offer a full calendar of seminars, symposiums and conferences, with a busy diary of speakers from around the world. We also offer funding for postgraduate study, and career development support during your time here.

You will study alongside ambitious, international scholars and world-leading researchers. Our researchers and writers work at the intellectual cutting edge of their discipline. We want you to harness your intellectual ambitions and interests, and bring your own distinct personal experiences and circumstances to bear on your work.

By the end of the course, you'll be well-positioned for further study or employment with the transferable skills you will develop.

Key facts

Qualification: Master of Research (MRes)

Duration: 1 years full time, 2-5 years part-time

Next intake: October 2022

Contact: PGREnglish at warwick dot ac dot uk

Apply now

At the start of the academic year, you will be welcomed by our department. You will work with your supervisor to create a calendar plan for the year that is bespoke for you and your studies.

The final goal of the research degree is the production of your thesis. You will write 40,000 words (excluding footnotes, bibliography and appendices) on a topic of your choice; and be examined by an internal and external examiner in a viva.

Find out more about degrees:

Research themes at Warwick

We particularly welcome research applications in these research areas.


As a research student, your closest contact will be with your supervisor, or co-supervisors, who will meet with you regularly to discuss your work. The supervisory relationship is at the heart of your research. Your supervisor(s) are experts in their field who will guide you throughout your degree and will agree upon a programme of reading, research and writing with you.

You can ask any academic from our department to be your supervisor.

See our staff pages for more details and to see whose research interests align with yours.

Research expertise

Our department was ranked first in the country in the Research Excellence Framework 2014, and the 2017 QS World University Rankings placed us in the top 20 English departments in the world.

Our staff are renowned experts across a broad spectrum of specialisms.

Thriving research groups

Our Department is home to several thriving research groups, including Comparative Religions and Literatures (CoRAL) and the Warwick Research Collective (Materialist Studies in World Literature). We have close ties to the Centre for Philosophy, Literature and the Arts, the Eighteenth Century Centre, the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies, and many other ongoing research projects and collectives.

International conferences

Our Department is regularly home to major national and international conferences, most recently The Descent into the Classical Underworld, Imperial Cultures of the United States, and Peripheral Postcolonialities.

Large library at the heart of campus

The University library's Rare Books and Special Collectionsinclude early editions of Smollett, Swift, Scott, and Goethe, and is home to the Modern Records Centre.

Regional and national connections

The University campus is approx. 15 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, home to the Royal Shakespeare Company and the largest publically-available collection of Shakespeare material in the world. We are also just over an hour from London, home to world-class museums, galleries, and the British Library - the largest library in the world.

A lively graduate culture

You will get a chance to present your work at our annual Postgraduate Symposium. Our graduate students are an important part of our teaching faculty, and for those progressing well with their research, there are opportunities to gain valuable teaching experience across a variety of undergraduate modules.

A postgraduate English degree is a key route into Higher Education, research, and academic careers, which often require postgraduate qualifications. As part of English’s postgraduate community, you will join a department that values its graduate students and encourages them to become part of our thriving research culture.

The average mean salary for all postgraduates from Warwick is £39,500 per annum, and 93.7% are currently in work and/or further study (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education).

Recent graduate destinations for postgraduate courses:

Barclays Bank; Civil Service Ministry of Justice; Corus Hotels; Coventry University; Deloitte; International Institute for Environment and Development; NewsQuest Media Group; Oxfam; Pan Macmillan; PepsiCo; Royal National Lifeboat Institution; Royal Opera House; Royal Town Planning Institution; TeachFirst; The Burlington Magazine; The Sun; The Times; University of Worcester; V&A Museum; Yale University Press.

Positions of our recent graduates from postgraduate courses:

Account Executive; Business Consultant; Community and Events Fundraising Assistant; Compliance Office; Content Executive; Editorial Assistant; English Teacher; Foreign Rights Assistant; Workshop Director; Writer and Researcher; Innovation and Enterprise Consultant; International and Business Performance Assistant; Journalist; Junior Account Executive; Marketing Manager; Publishing Assistant; Research Analyst; Social Media Analyst; TV Researcher; TV Runner, University Lecturer.

What personal and professional development opportunities and support are available?

  • One-to-one academic mentoring support from your dissertation supervisor and personal tutors
  • Support from the Centre for Arts Doctoral Research Excellence
  • Opportunities to publish in PG student journals (Exchanges and Feminist Dissent)
  • Postgraduate student conferences (Postgraduate Symposium, PG Arts Research Festival, and Café Academique, Arts Out: Annual Faculty of Arts Festival)
  • Student societies (including the Warwick Literature Society)
  • Masters Skills Program, Research Student Skills Program, Transferable Skills Program
  • Arts Faculty workshop series
  • Project, research and placement funding

Entry Requirements

65% (or equivalent) in an undergraduate degree in English literature or a related degree. Applicants may be required to provide a writing sample to demonstrate suitability for the course.

English Language Requirements

Band C

IELTS overall score of 7.5, minimum component scores of two at 6.5/7.0 and the rest at 7.5 or above.

Course Fees

See Student Finance


For information about how to fund your master's degree please consult our own graduate funding page and the Graduate School's list of available scholarships and bursaries.

Additional Course Costs

Students are expected to buy the set primary texts for each module they study.

Find out more about fees and funding on the University website.

Before you apply, we recommend that you get in touch with our Director of Graduate Studies to discuss your plans. If you want to go onto PhD study, our taught MA programmes are often more appropriate, so we encourage you to explore those too.

See how to apply for a postgraduate course at Warwick:

Apply online now