About this taught graduate course
Our MA will train you in the study of writing and culture across a range of periods, cultures, and genres. It has an open and flexible study route. You will choose from a number of modules that address a range of issues and topics in the field of literatures written in English as well as literary theory and world literature.
Modules range from Feminist Literary Theory and Queer Studies to Ecopoetics and Gothic, World Literatures and Drama . You will study four modules, two in Term One and two in Term Two; and undertake a dissertation project on an (approved) topic of your choice with a specialised supervisor in Term Three.
General 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
You can find out more about our English language requirements. This course requires the following:
- 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.
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
For more information, please visit the international entry requirements page.
There are no additional entry requirements for this course.
The Dissertation offers you the opportunity to pursue your own distinct research interests. You can develop any idea you’ve discovered in your modules, or write on a completely new topic that has always fascinated you. Our students choose an array of topics within the broadly-conceived boundaries of ‘literary studies’, although we’ll discuss with you to make sure your subject can be supported by an available member of our teaching staff.
Students often use their MA dissertations as springboards to PhD projects, and have sometimes gone on to publish parts of their work in scholarly journals.
Choose one Critical Theory module from options including:
Critical Theory Today
Critical and Cultural Theory has never been more vibrant, nor more urgently needed, than today. Work in all areas of the Humanities has long been inextricably intertwined with critical reflection, often drawing from a multiplicity of disciplines, from philosophy and sociology, to literary and visual studies.
This module charts key developments in the development of critical and cultural theories, focusing on specific movements or schools, and methodologies, as well as on important figures such as Adorno, Arendt, Brown, Buell, Butler, Derrida, Gramsci, Hall, Lacan, Latour, Mulvey, and Williams. We explore different, often clashing, critical perspectives on culture, from textual, material, philosophical, and other perspectives. These situated, and often transnational, critical platforms, allow us to both map historical developments in the study of the Humanities. The interaction between aesthetics, culture, and societal issues remains a permanent concern throughout the module.
This seminar will examine the emergence, institutionalization, and a purported 'crisis' of postcolonial theory through a set of key fictional, historical, and political texts. Much, of course, can be said about the academic disciplinarization of postcolonial studies in the Anglo-American academy from the 1980s onwards, occurring in the context of economic and cultural globalization and a new American imperialism. This seminar will consider these issues, but also focus on a range of influential texts written in earlier decades to try and understand the relationship between anti-colonialism and Postcolonialism, and to examine the ways in which these have shaped a host of contemporary academic debates about postcoloniality.
This module will consider some of the most important debates and trends in feminist literary theory over the last few decades. The module will consider the intersections of academic and popular, intellectual and activist dimensions of feminist literary theory; we also place emphasis on the articulation of feminist literary practice with representations of race, sexuality and class. Questions of reading practices, genre and canon-formation, as well as those of artistic expressions in response to the collaboration and conflict engaged between 'western', 'multicultural' and 'third world' feminisms will be some of the key themes that the module will explore.
We will examine the 'use' and 'abuse' of writing by black women in the formation of feminist literary theory - the way in which white feminist critics have recuperated black authored texts and have avoided the interrogation of whiteness. We will also address the question of feminist literary theory's relationship with cultural and social theory - Marxism and psychoanalysis were from the outset of the period we are engaged with crucial interlocutors of feminist thought and feminism's encounter with literature was a particularly rich site of these encounters.
We will think about the historicity of feminism's engagement with literature and culture - does it make sense to bring concepts generated by feminism into dialogue with texts or practices chronologically or politically outside of the 'enlightenment' or 'modernity'? As we will see, the demarcation between 'literary' and 'theoretical' texts has always been unstable within feminism and the module sets up a dialogue between the two categories. Key ‘literary’ texts will be used as touchstones for our debates and discussions during the module.
Petrofiction: Studies in World Literature
This module studies the world literature of energy and natural resources, a critical category in the conjoined fields of the Energy and Environmental Humanities. We explore a range of works about that most combustible of planetary resources: oil. Our lives are saturated in oil – the most significant resource of the post-war capitalist world system. It is everywhere, especially in those places where it often appears abstract, scarce, or unseen.
Oil and its myriad refined products determines how and where we live, move, work and play; what we eat, wear, consume. It is heavily invested in the shaping of our political and physical landscapes. To think about oil is not solely to think about automobiles or derricks or spectacular spills or barrel prices. The computer or the phone (or even the paper!) on which you are reading this blurb could not be made – or brought to you – without this mineral. Oil’s universality makes it as controversial as it is ubiquitous in its apparent vitality and necessity as much as its toxicity. Energy, then, is as social a phenomenon as it is technological or a matter for engineering. Modern culture is a Hydrocarbon culture and recent scholarship has begun to engage with it as such, finding that oil, fossil fuels and other energy forms are deeply embedded in modern literature, art and culture.
World Literature and the Anthropocene
This module investigates the implications of the concept of the Anthropocene for literary-cultural studies on a world scale. We read initially in the history of debates surrounding this term, denoting the advent of a geological era in which human action acquires decisive planetary force, as a way of revisiting conventional interpretive frameworks and categories, including questions of periodisation, comparative methodology and the ‘worlding’ of literary study. We will then take up a series of optics prompted by the Anthropocene and its counter-concepts (Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene) to further explore the challenges of reading ecological crisis and culture in an era when it is no longer feasible to disarticulate human from so-called natural history. Texts range from literary to field-specific criticism to theoretical, with an emphasis on the latter.
Optional modules can vary from year to year. Example optional modules may include:
- Early Modern Ecologies Gothic
- The Poetics of Urban Modernism
- Narratives of American Empire
- Shakespeare in Performance
- Romantic Elegy
The MA in English Literature comprises a Research Methods module, a core module from a list of critical theory options, three further optional modules, and a Dissertation of 16,000 words. You can take one of your three optional modules from outside of the department, including the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.
Seminars consist of 5 to 10 students.
Typical contact hours
Contact hours comprise 4 hours of seminars a week, 2 office hours per member of staff, weekly reading groups and research seminars, and one-to-one Dissertation supervision in terms 2 and 3.
All essays are marked by two members of staff. The standard length for essays for modules on this course is 6,000 words; the Dissertation is 16,000 words. Marks are given out of 100.
For more information, please visit the English Literature web page on the English website.
Most departments have reading lists available through Warwick Library. If you would like to view reading lists for the current cohort of students you can visit our Warwick Library web page.
Your personalised timetable will be complete when you are registered for all modules, compulsory and optional, and you have been allocated to your lectures, seminars and other small group classes. Your compulsory modules will be registered for you and you will be able to choose your optional modules when you join us.
Graduates from these courses have gone on to work for employers including: Deloitte; International Institute for Environment and Development; TeachFirst; The Times; V&A Museum; Yale University Press. They have pursued roles such as: arts officers, producers and directors; higher education teaching professionals; journalists, newspaper and periodical editors; management consultants and business analysts and marketing associate professionals.
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant offering impartial advice and guidance together with workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Understanding Assessment Centres
- Careers following your English and Comparative Literary Studies Degree
- Discovering Careers in the Creative Industries
- Careers in Publishing and Journalism
- Careers in the Public Sector
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick
Have the freedom to follow your own path.
We’re fond of freedom at Warwick. Freedom to learn, through an enormous array of modules to suit your interests, and through a range of innovative assessment techniques. You’re also free to explore the award-winning Warwick Arts Centre on campus or you can travel further afield and visit the home of Shakespeare in Stratford or immerse yourself in the poetry scene in Leamington Spa and Birmingham.
We were ranked first in the UK for our research in the latest Research Excellence Framework 2014, which means you’ll feel well connected and ahead of the game.
Our Postgraduate courses
Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. Academic fees cover the cost of tuition, examinations and registration and some student amenities.
Fee Status Guidance
The University carries out an initial fee status assessment based on information provided in the application and according to the guidance published by UKCISA. Students are classified as either Home or Overseas Fee status and this can determine the tuition fee and eligibility of certain scholarships and financial support.
If you receive an offer, your fee status will be stated with the tuition fee information, however we are awaiting guidance from the UK government regarding fee status for EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members living in the UK for academic year 2021/22 onwards. We are not able to confirm the fee status for these students until the relevant eligibility criteria have been confirmed. Once we have received further information from the UK government, we will provide you with an update on your fee status and let you know if any additional information is required. If you believe your fee status has been incorrectly classified you can complete a fee status assessment questionnaire (follow the instructions in your offer) and provide the required documentation for this to be reassessed.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides guidance to UK universities on fees status criteria, you can find the latest guidance on the impact of Brexit on fees and student support on the UKCISA website.
Additional course costs
As well as tuition fees and living expenses, some courses may require you to cover the cost of field trips or costs associated with travel abroad. Information about department specific costs should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:
- Core text books
- Printer credits
- Dissertation binding
- Robe hire for your degree ceremony
Scholarships and bursaries
Find out how to apply to us, ask your questions, and find out more.
Here is our checklist on how to apply for taught postgraduate courses at Warwick.
Here is our checklist on how to apply for research postgraduate degrees at the University of Warwick.