English Literature MA/PGDip


Course facts

  • Name: English Literature
  • Qualification: MA/PGDip
  • Duration: MA: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time; Diploma: 9 months full-time (also available part-time)

The course furnishes the student with the opportunity to pursue English literary studies at an advanced level, developing the skills and knowledge required for textual, theoretical and historical analysis in the candidate’s chosen field. It offers one-to-one supervision from experts in the field. You are also encouraged to participate in the lively research environment of the School and College, which includes the English Literature research seminar series, scholarly reading groups, workshops and conferences.

The course consists of taught modules (Part One) mainly assessed by essays, followed by a dissertation (Part Two). The modules  within the English Literature programme are grouped into four ‘pathways’ . Each of these represents a particular area of research strength at Bangor and offers an aspect of literary study in which MA students may choose to specialise.

The four pathways:

Medieval and Early Modern Literature: This pathway draws on well-known and internationally recognised areas of expertise at Bangor. Members of the School of English undertake research in medieval English poetry, prose and drama; the literature of the Tudor period; the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and seventeenth-century literature in poetry and prose as well as on the stage. Particular areas of interest  include Chaucerian studies, medieval romance, Arthurian literature, medieval and early modern drama, pre-modern travel writing, early modern memory studies, George Herbert and devotional poetry, autobiographical writing, Milton, polemical prose, words and music, manuscript studies, and the work of women writers across the medieval and early modern periods. These wide-ranging topics are reflected in the choice of modules and dissertation topics available to students who follow the pathway.

Material Texts: This pathway introduces the postgraduate student to many of the methodologies associated with the history of the book, the sociology of texts, the history of reading and the theories associated with editing. The investigation of the material text and the circumstances of production and consumption are growing areas within the discipline of literary studies.  Students following this pathway examine a range of texts from medieval and early-modern manuscripts, through early printed books (known as incunabula) and on to the serialised texts of the Victorian period, as well as looking at cinema, screenplays and contemporary technologies of self-representation.  This pathway makes the most of the School’s expertise in book history and scholarly editing, as well as Bangor University’s particularly strong archive collections (including the Cathedral Library) which contain everything from locally produced printed ephemera to documents pertaining to plantations in Jamaica. The School is also actively involved in several digitisation projects, and many of the modules will consider the impact of the latest technological revolution upon literary studies.

Revolution and Modernity, 1750 to the Present: This pathway – unique in the UK – offers students the opportunity to become intimately acquainted with the historical, cultural and literary forces that have shaped our contemporary age. This interdisciplinary pathway explores a variety of visual and verbal print cultures, spaces and identities in order to unravel the complex relationship between texts and their contexts. Bangor University, with its neo-Gothic architecture (1911) and its proximity to Telford’s pioneering Menai Suspension Bridge (1826), is itself a physical embodiment of aesthetic revolution and the pursuit of modernity.  Students are encouraged to make use of the University’s extensive archives and to take part in the research activities of the School and wider College of Arts and Humanities. While honing their knowledge of nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century texts, students will also become fluent in contemporary scholarly discourse and develop their own critical voice.

Four Nations Literature: This pathway offers the opportunity for pioneering study of the literatures of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. In doing so it represents a shift in the focus of the MA in English Literature, inviting postgraduate students to explore in greater detail the literatures of the four nations in the British Isles. It aims to widen the scope of traditional English Literature courses by seeking out continuities and contrasts between the literatures of Britain and Ireland in the modern period. In particular, the Four-Nations pathway investigates the ways in which the literatures of Britain and Ireland register the effects of modernity on British and Irish culture and society, from the late eighteenth century to the contemporary moment. Bangor University, being conveniently located between London, Dublin and Liverpool, is the ideal place to examine such issues.

Students who prefer not to specialise by following one of the pathways may alternatively pursue a broader portfolio of advanced literary studies in English by completing the compulsory module (see Course Content tab) and a free choice of three other modules.

Further Details

Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.

Course Content

Part One:

In the first part of the MA programme, all students are required to study FOUR modules of 30 credits each; for full-time students, this means two modules per semester. Of these four modules, one is compulsory: Literary Theory, Scholarship and Research (in semester 1). This module lays the foundation for the MA by introducing you to key ideas in literary theory, the analysis of texts and the techniques of advanced scholarly writing.

In addition, students are required to choose three further modules from those listed below. You may make an open selection of modules OR follow one of the four pathways described above. In order to complete a pathway, you must choose at least TWO of your three optional modules from that pathway, with the final module being a free choice (from the pathway, from elsewhere in the English Literature MA programme, or from other relevant postgraduate programmes in the School or College).

1. Modules on Medieval and Early Modern Literature, may include:

  • Pre-Modern Travel
  • Manuscripts and Printed Books
  • The European Renaissance
  • Myth and the Early Modern Author
  • Women’s Devotional Writing
  • Medieval Arthur
  • Post-Medieval Arthur
  • Advanced Latin for Postgraduates
  • Editing Texts

2. Modules on Material Texts, may include:

  • Manuscripts and Printed Books
  • Material Texts and Contexts
  • Print, Politics & Popular Culture
  • Editing Texts

3. Modules on Revolution and Modernity, 1750 to the Present, may include:

  • Revolution, Modernity: 1790-1930
  • Welsh Literature in English
  • Material Texts and Contexts
  • Modernisms
  • Print, Politics & Popular Culture
  • Irish Literature
  • Editing Texts

4. Modules on Four-Nations Literature, may include:

  • Revolution, Modernity: 1790-1930
  • Welsh Literature in English
  • Modernisms
  • Irish Literature
  • Editing Texts

In addition to the above pathway-related modules, the following modules are offered:

  • Open Essay
  • The Postgraduate Conference

It is possible to take one optional module from the MA in Creative Writing (if the prerequisites of creative writing experience are met). If you should so wish, and in consultation with the Director of the MA in English Literature, there is also the option of taking one MA module from another School in the College of Arts and Humanities.

Part Two:

After the completion of the four modules which make up Part One of the programme, Part Two consists of a 20,000-word dissertation (60 credits) on a subject of your choice, researched and written under the individual supervision of a subject specialist. If you are following one of the four pathways, you are expected to write your dissertation in a research area relevant to that particular pathway.

Students who have completed Part One of the MA programme but elect not to write a dissertation are awarded the postgraduate diploma.

Modules for the current academic year

Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the English Literature Modules page.

Entry Requirements

Applicants to this programme should normally hold an undergraduate BA (Hons) degree in English Literature or a related subject, demonstrating high achievement in elements relevant to the proposed research, or equivalent experience. Your application should also outline the area in which you wish to specialise. For international students whose first language is not English, the entry requirement includes an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall (with no mark below 6.0 in any aspect of the test).

International Students

For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.

Ask the IEC for assistance...

If you want advice or a general chat about what’s available contact the International Education Centre on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email international@bangor.ac.uk


How to Apply

Home/EU students

Home/EU students: apply online yourself with the help of our Guidance Notes on online application for Home/EU students. We strongly recommend you read these before you start to apply online.

Apply online

Once you have read the Guidance Notes you should apply using our Online Application form.

Need help applying? Home/EU students please contact:

Postgraduate Admissions: postgraduate@bangor.ac.uk or write to:

Admissions Office
Bangor University
LL57 2TF

Telephone: +44 (0)1248 383717.

International students

  • Agents: if you are an agent applying on behalf of the student, then you can Apply here.  For further guidance click here

Need help applying? International students please contact:

International Education Office: international@bangor.ac.uk or write to

International Education Centre
Bangor University
LL57 2DG

Telephone: +44 (0) 1248 382028

When to apply

The University will accept applications throughout the year, but we would generally advise that you send in your application form by the end of June to ensure that you have time to make any funding and/or accommodation arrangements, and for documents such as transcripts and references to be obtained if not submitted with the application. This will also give you more time to meet any conditions we may potentially attach to an offer.

Further information

Next steps