English Language and Literature MA
Alternative attendance modes for this course
View course-specific entry requirements
Applicants are normally required to have a good first degree (2.1 or above) or equivalent experience in a relevant subject (eg English language, English literature or TESOL). Students whose first language is not English must have an IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or be able to demonstrate an equivalent level of proficiency. Applicants will be required to submit two academic references, and they may be invited to an interview (either face to face or via Skype) and/or to submit a 1,500-word essay.
Applications from candidates without a first degree in a relevant subject are also welcomed. These applicants can submit professional or academic references.
The English Language and Literature MA aims to allow you to explore the interconnections between language and literature. It will provide you with a thorough understanding of the linguistic features of English from a wide range of perspectives (theoretical and applied, synchronic and diachronic), as well as leading you to explore a wide array of texts in connection with the social, historical and political circumstances from which they emerge. Furthermore, the MA will equip you with the intellectual perspectives and the scholarly skills that will prepare you to conduct independent research.
The MA is suitable for students who have taken English language and/or literature modules at undergraduate level, and others who have taken allied disciplines such as TESOL. It is of particular interest to those wishing to pursue further study and those teaching English who wish to gain a further qualification and investigate recent and current developments in the field.
If pursuing the degree full-time, you will study 180 credits in one academic year; if part-time, you will normally complete 180 credits in two academic years. You will study four core modules (including a 60-credit dissertation on a topic of English language and/or literature), as well as two modules from the list of options. The core modules Subjectivities: Modern and Contemporary Fictions and Institutions and Histories examine classic and contemporary critical texts on literature in relation to ideas in larger contexts, such as history, the visual image, gender, psychoanalysis and post- colonialism, while the module English Language in Use will help you acquire the scholarly tools necessary for the stylistic interpretation of literary and non-literary texts.
The teaching is mainly through weekly two or three hour sessions for each module, which include tutorials, seminars, practical sessions and workshops. There is also independent self-directed study, and you will be prepared for the Dissertation via structured sessions in research methodology. Assessment methods include submitted coursework such as essays, reviews and exercises; there are no formal examinations.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
The Dissertation gives you the opportunity to conduct autonomous work with supervisory support on a topic you feel passionate about. At the beginning of the module you will have a series of practical seminars on the different issues involved in the process of writing a dissertation, such as finding a topic, the role of the supervisor, research methodology and the conventions of academic writing.
English Language in Literary Contexts
In this module you will study English historical linguistics and stylistics, literary linguistics and cognitive poetics. Thus, you will gain a good knowledge of the ways in which the language has changed over time and the stylistic effects of particular linguistic choices, as well as an in-depth understanding of the theoretical frameworks that can be used to describe the interaction between language and literature.
Institutions and Histories in Modern and Contemporary Fictions
This module is designed to give you the opportunity for preparatory discussion of topics in optional modules. You will examine a range of topics, including: genre and history; literature’s contemporary globalisation; the historical development of English Literature as a discipline; the history and theorisation of the notion ‘literature’ itself; and the material cultures of literary production and consumption.
Subjectivities in Modern and Contemporary Fictions
This module is designed to give you the opportunity for preparatory discussion of topics in optional modules. As a part of this, you will explore different critical approaches, such as feminism and post-colonialism, as well as looking at key issues in literary studies such as the roles of the author and the reader.
Analysing Spoken and Written Discourse
This module offers a range of different linguistic tools for exploring texts. They are analysed for lexical and grammatical cohesion, metonymy and metaphor, and register and thematic progression (Hallidayan functional grammar). Texts are also analysed using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Multimodal Discourse Analysis (MDA). You will acquire a theoretical understanding of the main approaches to discourse analysis, and the practical skills for carrying out these analyses on real texts. You will also gain a broader awareness of how written discourse is constructed by comparing it to spoken discourse, and by discussing it in terms of more general semiotic and communication theories.
Current Developments in Language Teaching
You will examine current practice and developments in language teaching, including communicative competence in language learning. During this module you will cover a range of topical issues in language learning and teaching, including: content and language integrated learning; individual differences in language learning; language for specific purposes; learner autonomy and strategy training; methodology; neurolinguistic processing and multiple intelligences; skills lessons and real language; and teacher language and national curriculum.
Experimental Women’s Writing, Photography and Film
This module explores innovations by women through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the areas of writing, film and photography. Through paying close attention to their experimental practices, it will explore questions of gender and sexuality in relation to the formal conventions of, among others, narrative, voice, montage, mimesis and the intertextual. In particular, it will explore how a range of women artists over the period have experimented by moving between and combining writing, film and photography.
Intercultural Communicative Competence
You will gain a greater understanding of what is happening in cross-cultural communication, and develop your ability to do it well. In the first part of the module you will examine critically different theories of the nature of cultural difference and its impact on cross-cultural interaction. You will also explore theories of the intercultural abilities needed to manage such interaction effectively. In the second part of the module you will apply these theories to specific issues in professional contexts of potential relevance, such as language teaching.
London Vortex: The City and Modernism
This module focuses on the literature and art of the first half of the twentieth century produced in and engaging with London. It considers how the city shaped the writing and visual art of the period, and in so doing investigates the idea of modernism, its debates, its meaning and its boundaries.
Reading Contemporary Culture
This module examines the idea of British literary culture since the 1990s. By focusing particularly on the relationships between writing and film, and writing and the visual arts, the module investigates the state and status of literary writing during this period. Authors studied include A. S. Byatt, Sarah Kane, Zadie Smith, Irvine Welsh, Ian McEwan and Stewart Home.
Sexuality and Narrative
Focusing on the period from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century, you will examine a range of cultural, literary, artistic and theoretical perspectives on sexuality, in order to investigate the complex relationship between sexuality and narrative. Assessing and comparing a diverse range of theoretical writings on sexuality, including in psychoanalysis, Foucault and feminist theory, the module considers the history and development of these distinct but related narratives and discourses in relation to textual and cinematic narratives.
You will critically explore concepts and issues in sociolinguistics, including: language in face-to-face interaction; language variation, choice, creation, planning, change, decline and death; languages and factors such as age, class, gender and ethnicity; multilingual communities; language and society; bilingualism and diglossia; casual and ritual interaction; conversational interaction focusing on issues such as linguistic politeness; oral narratives, and conversational routines; language socialisation; conversational code-switching; talk and gender. Throughout the module, attention will be paid to issues of methodology, and the most appropriate methods for studying each topic area.
This module aims to give you a better understanding of what translation is, how translation is a reflection of its social setting, and what goes on in the mind when a translator translates. Translation Studies has seen rapid growth in recent years, and this module reflects these developments. The topics you will cover include: discourse analysis approaches; equivalence; historical and contemporary translation theories; loss and gain; psycholinguistic approaches; ‘skopos’ theory; the unit of translation; translatability; translating culture; translating ideology; translating literature and sacred texts; and translation and ICT.
Teaching and assessment
Teaching is conducted mainly through weekly two- or three-hour sessions for each module, which include tutorials, seminars, practical sessions and workshops. There is also independent self-directed study. You will be prepared for the dissertation via structured sessions in research methodology, besides receiving one-to-one advice.
Assessment methods include submitted coursework such as essays, projects or reports. There are no timed written examinations.
The Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster boasts a long established research culture in literature and linguistics. Its commitment to the study of language and its interaction with literature, both from a theoretical and an applied perspective, has led to its more recent expansion of the English language and creative writing areas and the appointment of internationally renowned experts in these fields.
The English Language and Literature MA will provide you with sophisticated analytical skills and a widely applicable knowledge base, which will enable you to study at MPhil or PhD levels with a view to pursuing an academic career. The course is also particularly relevant to teaching English as a first or foreign language, and to a range of professions involving the study and use of language and literary texts.
While studying the MA, you will also benefit from the careers workshops organised by the departmental employability coordinator.
If you would like to know more about the MA, please contact Dr Sean Sutherland, the course leader.
Dr Sean Sutherland, Course Leader
Students interested in the English Language and Literature MA may also would like to know about the following MAs taught at the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies:
- English Language and Creative Writing MA
- English Language and Linguistics MA
- English Literature: Modern and Contemporary Fictions MA
- TESOL MA
- TESOL and Creative Writing MA
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
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We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.
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For more details, visit the employability section on our site.
Career Development Centre
Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.
We can help you to:
- find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
- explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
- plan your career development
- identify your career options
- market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
- develop your enterprise skills
We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.
Find out more about the Career Development Centre.
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More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.
Career options in your subject area
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Study Abroad and Summer School programmes
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Upcoming postgraduate information evenings
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