English Language and Literature MA

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UKPASS code: 052067 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Part-time day
Start: 15 September 2016
Duration: 2 years
Location: Central London
Campus: Regent

Important tuition fee information – please read.

Alumni discount.

Home/EU: £2,500.00
Overseas: £5,750.00

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.

Course content

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.

Core modules


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.


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 overtime 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.


In this module 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 very notion of literature itself, and the material cultures of literary production and consumption.


This module focuses on the themes of reading and re-reading. You will explore different critical approaches, such as feminism and deconstruction, as well as looking at key issues in literary studies such as the author and the reader.

Option modules


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.


In this module you will study 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, teacher language and national curriculum.


This is a research-led module which explores experimental women’s writing from 1900 to the present day. It has a theoretical focus on gender studies, philosophies of language, and theories of the avant-garde. Authors studied include Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Kathy Acker, Christina Brooke-Rose, Clarice Lispector, Ann Quin, Caroline Bergvall and Vanessa Place.


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.


This module examines the idea of British literary culture since the 1990s. Beginning with Carlyle, the notion of literature as an ‘industry’ has been resisted by a strong tradition of cultural criticism in Britain. This module discusses what happened to this tradition, whether it still exists, and what may have replaced it. 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, Sarah Waters and Irvine Welsh. 


Through this module you will explore ways in which texts can be contextualised and discussed in terms of the concepts and practices of nationalism, and of attempts to understand the nation as a discursive practice. You will address a variety of texts and relate these to theoretical concepts such as nationalism, decolonisation, colonialism and post-colonialism. You will consider how such concepts intersect with issues concerning gender, race and social class. Authors studied include Howard Brenton, David Hare, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Michael Ondaatje; you will also consider a range of influential theorists, including Benedict Anderson, Homi Bhabha, Michel Foucault and Edward Said.


This module focuses on the literature, art and intellectual culture of the first half of the 20th century, and on the heterogeneous interpretations of the term modernism itself. The module covers a range of different forms, styles and practices included under the heading of modernism, and seeks to situate modernist literature within an international context. You will also look at the relationship of literature to other art forms, and discuss the central issues within ongoing debates surrounding modernism, including the politics of form, the concept of an avant-garde, myth, tradition, urban experience, and ideas concerning modern space and time.


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. Key authors, artists and theorists studied include Georges Bataille, Judith Butler, Jeffrey Eugenides, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Michael Haneke, Michel Houellebecq, Adrienne Rich and Oscar Wilde.


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.


You will examine the ways in which both the world and ‘other worlds’ were formed through representation during the latter part of the 19th century. With particular emphasis on the idea of ‘exploration’, the module focuses on themes such as archaeology and the ruin, mapping the empire and the city, the afterlife, the life of the mind, the natural world, and the scientific world-view. You will consider key concepts in 19th-century culture, such as degeneration and criminality, as well as less investigated aspects of the Victorian imagination. Writers studied include William Booth, Darwin, George Eliot, Edmund Gosse, Richard Jeffries, Max Nordau, H. Rider Haggard, and James Thomson.

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. 

Associated careers

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.

Further information

If you would like to know more about the MA, please contact Dr Sean Sutherland, the course leader.

Course team

Dr Sean Sutherland, Course Leader

Related courses

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:

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.


Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.

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.

During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.

In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.

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.

Work Placements

Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.

More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.

Career options in your subject area

Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.

You can also browse the career options available to you after you graduate on the Career Development Centre's Finding work in your subject area pages and on the Prospects website.

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.


After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.

Upcoming postgraduate information evenings

16 November 2016Postgraduate Information EveningHarrow, Little Titchfield Street, Marylebone, Regent Street
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Social Sciences and Humanities

We offer an exciting breadth of activity across the Social Sciences, Law and the Arts and Humanities. We are one of the country's biggest providers of Modern and Applied Language tuition.

Find out more in our welcome from the Dean of the faculty

Postgraduate student funding

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Find out about new student loans of up to £10,000 for postgraduate master’s study.

15% discount for teachers

English MAs discount

If you are currently teaching in a UK secondary school or further education college, you may be entitled to a 15% discount on this MA course.

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