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MA in English



Our MA in English offers you a rich and exciting experience of higher level literary study. You’ll broaden your knowledge and appreciation of different genres, periods, techniques and writers, and of the ways in which they have been transmitted and read. You’ll also develop your independent skills in literary research that will culminate in a dissertation on a topic and texts of your choice. This course can help you pursue or develop a career in the media, culture and knowledge industries, and other professions that require understanding of literature and culture, and skills in the creative use of textual analysis.

Key features of the course

  • Explores a wide range of literary texts from ancient times to the present
  • Equips you with key research methods in literary study
  • Provides ideal preparation for doctoral level research and a wide range of careers.

Course Level:

Master Degree



2.5 years



Study method:

Distance learning

        Course details

        Course details



        To gain the 180 credits you require for this qualification, you must study the modules in the order shown below and pass part 1 before progressing to part 2:


        Compulsory modules Credits
        MA English part 1 (A815)
        MA English part 2 (A816)

        Please note that MA English part 1 (A516) is worth 120 credits. Module fees for postgraduate modules are based on the number of credits you study. Therefore the fee for this 120-credit postgraduate module will be double that for a 60 credit module MA English part 2 (A517).

        You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from NU modules that have not been counted in any other NU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

        We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. 

        Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

        The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

        • Knowledge and understanding
        • Cognitive skills
        • Practical and professional skills
        • Key skills


        Credit transfer

        Credit transfer is not available for this qualification.


        On completion

        On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded the Master of Arts in English entitling you to use the letters MA (Engl) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

        If you leave the programme before you qualify for the MA you can gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities (D53) after successfully completing the 120-credit module MA English part 1 (A516).


        Recognition in your country

        If you intend to use your Northampton University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the USA, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

        Entry requirements

        Entry requirements

        You must hold a USA honours degree (or equivalent), preferably in English or a closely related subject, and preferably with at least a 2:1 or higher degree classification. As the MA in English assumes you will have completed an undergraduate degree in the subject, you will need some knowledge of undergraduate English literary studies to successfully complete this qualification.

        If your degree is not in English or a closely related subject, we strongly recommend that you read material from the set books list for MA English part 1 (A516). The Handbook to Literary Research (ed. Da Sousa Correa and Owens) outlines the skills you will need to study for this qualification.

        Before you enter the degree you must be able to:

        • write clear, concise, accurate prose
        • read large quantities of text quickly and accurately
        • classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
        • argue logically and coherently
        • provide evidence in support of your ideas and arguments.

        If you’re in any doubt about the suitability of your qualifications or previous experience, please contact us for advice before you enrol.


        How long it takes

        You will be able to complete this masters qualification within two and a half years by studying the first module in a year and a half and the second module in a year.


        Career relevance

        This degree is relevant to careers that directly call on knowledge of English literature and culture. It may also be relevant for careers that demand skills in the creative use and analysis of texts of various sorts, critical thinking and organisation, and understanding of culture in a broad sense. It is also useful (particularly alongside relevant skills and experience) if you aim to work in the media, culture or knowledge industries – or are employed already in these areas and need further qualifications to progress.  A masters degree can be useful for professional development in teaching, and if you want to pursue an academic career it provides good preparation for the higher level research that is prerequisite (such as a PhD).