Top Schools for Master’s in English in the UK

Master’s in English in the UK

A Master’s in English in the UK is a postgraduate program that offers a choice of focus on a particular aspect or historical era of English literature. The Master’s curriculum is highly advanced and includes intense examination of literature from a variety of standpoints and disciplines. Students will have the opportunity to study the topics of their choice and learn advanced analytical, critical and research skills.

What Is a Master’s in English?

Most UK universities offer a Master’s in English program. Typically, students will choose an area of literature that interests them and will focus their studies on interpretation through a diversity of lenses. Areas of concentration are often split up as follows:

  • Old English, including language study and examination of works such as Beowulf. Some programs include the study of related works that were strong influences on Old English literature, such as the Icelandic Eddas. This type of program will also examine contemporary translations and interpretations of the works studied.
  • Medieval English. This course of study generally covers authors such as Chaucer and Langland, as well as lesser known poets and non-fiction writing of the period.
  • Early Modern literature programs cover the 16th and 17th centuries, and include the works of authors such as Webster, Marlow, Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne, Vaughan and Milton.
  • Restoration and Enlightenment literature, focusing on authors such as Swift and Pope as well as early Romantics.
  • 19th Century literature, covering the Victorian and early Edwardian periods.
  • Contemporary literature, covering a large time period starting from the beginning of the 20th century and including many diverse genres.

Students will examine historic and social influences, literary precursors and related works. They will also study a variety of critical approaches to literary analysis, including specific works concerning literary theory and critical analysis of particular works. Many programs also offer cultural perspectives.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Master’s in English in the UK?

Students who complete a Master’s in English program in the UK gain valuable research and writing skills. In the UK, postgraduate English programs focus heavily on independent research and written work. Pursuing this degree entails engaging intensely with language, narrative and tone. The deeper understanding gained through this type of academic endeavor prepares students for rigorous analysis in many types of fields.

The UK has a longstanding, rich and diverse literary tradition that has influenced literature and language in many parts of the world. International students often find it extremely rewarding to pursue a Master’s in English in the UK and to immerse themselves in a multifaceted analytical framework.

The study of English literature at an advanced level also means studying relevant history, culture, critical theory, poetics and linguistics. The perspectives afforded by such study serve to broaden the mind and hone critical thinking in a variety of contexts.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect With a Master’s in English?

Many Master’s in English degree holders choose to continue their academic studies and to pursue further degrees. They typically combine academic research and publication with teaching at the university level.

Other graduates choose to enter a variety of fields. In addition to teaching English at the secondary level, English graduates find employment in many sectors. The research, analysis and communication skills gained through a postgraduate Master’s program are highly transferable to many fields. Some sectors where English graduates find success include:

  • Law
  • Politics
  • Government
  • Activism
  • Community education and enrichment
  • Publishing
  • Media
  • Entertainment
  • Journalism
  • Advertising

Some professions require obtaining additional degrees or licensing, depending on the location. For example, legal and counseling positions may be contingent on meeting several types of licensing requirements. Students who choose to pursue additional degrees often find that their Master’s in English studies provide them with a significant advantage when it comes to completing coursework.

Graduates obtain employment with many types of employers, from corporations to government agencies to non-profits. Their ability to think critically and present arguments in a logical, coherent fashion makes them assets in public-facing positions. A Master’s in English from a UK university is also a prestigious credential that is recognised by many employers throughout the world.

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