Literatures, Environments and Places, MLitt

Literatures, Environments and Places, MLitt


Explore literature’s relationship with place and environment at an ancient university, home to a collection of literary treasures spanning over 500 years. Delivered by experts in English literary studies, the programme provides you with practical and theoretical knowledge drawn from a wide range of critical and interdisciplinary perspectives. Through core and optional courses, we will address the ways literature reacts to and depicts environmental and ecological crises, the intersections between heritage, memory, literature, and location, and questions of cosmopolitanism, travel, and home across diverse time periods and genres.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January
Location of Study

Discover how aspects of place and environment are shaped and expressed in literature across a spectrum of literary periods and styles. You will examine the way literature conveys the ideology of place, covering a selection of relevant issues including environmental crises; the intersection between heritage, memory and location; and questions of cosmopolitanism, travel, and home. The programme intends to broaden your academic knowledge of English Literature with the option to focus on specific literary movements to pursue your own interests. There are fantastic opportunities to work with scholars who have significant international research profiles in an exciting and developing area of literary studies.

Research training involves the acquisition of practical skills and specialised knowledge and understanding of literary periods and critical issues that will be directly relevant to each candidate's proposed field of research. The programme will take advantage of the unique setting of the University of Aberdeen and enable students to explore the connection between literature, landscape and built environment through course-work and field trips. Students can take this degree as a stand-alone one-year or two-year part-time Masters degree or as a first step towards an MPhil or PhD (subject to admission to a further degree programme either at Aberdeen or elsewhere). Students who start in January should be aware that they will complete the dissertation in the middle of the programme, over the summer between their two semesters of coursework.

Available Programmes of Study


Literatures, Environments and Places

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
MLitt 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September Aberdeen More
MLitt 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January Aberdeen More

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £23,800
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
Home / RUK £11,100
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Places and Environments: Critical Dialogues (EL55D3)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces students to a range of critical, theoretical, and philosophical approaches to environment and place, as well as aligned research methods. Students will read key works of ecocriticism, ecofeminism, environmental philosophy, cultural geography, and related areas. Close reading and discussion of central texts will provide a foundation for further research, including the dissertation. Students will have the opportunity to discuss these ideas in relation to both literary and social contexts. This course is restricted to students on the MLitt Literatures, Environments, and Places, or by permission of the School.

Critical Skills: Research and Dissemination (PD55C1)

This course will equip you with core research and dissemination skills. Centred on an interdisciplinary approach to research, the course will allow you to engage with peers from various research backgrounds to contribute, discuss and share in an interactive academic community. The course will detail key research techniques and communicative modes for successful dissemination. Communication skills specific to engaging with industry stakeholders will also be covered as part of this course in order to boost employability.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD5506)

This course, which is prescribed for all taught postgraduate students, is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Optional Courses

Choose ONE of the following:

Infinite Scotlands: Scotland and the Literary Imagination (EL55C7)

30 Credit Points

This course explores the ways in which place is negotiated in a range of Scottish texts. Looking at a selection of texts about rural, urban, and diasporic experience across the centuries, and including both canonical and lesser-known works, this course will acquaint students with key debates in the study of regional and national fiction. Place in these texts is something to be praised and scorned, embraced and abandoned, but always remains central in any discussion of individual and communal identities. Major themes and issues to be discussed include: the idea of ‘home’; the role of nostalgia and longing in Scottish fiction; the nature of community; the significance of emigration and displacement.

Writing the Self (EL55C2)

30 Credit Points

What is at stake in writing autobiographical texts? What are the forms writers have used to write themselves? Is autobiography simply, as Oscar Wilde states, the lowest form of criticism? Looking at a range of texts from the Medieval period to the present, with a special focus on women’s writing, this course examines the formal, ethical, political, and aesthetic choices writers make when writing themselves.

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Dissertation in Literatures, Environments and Places (EL5920)

60 Credit Points

Each candidate will be required to research and write a 15,000 dissertation on a subject related to the themes of the Literatures, Environments and Places programme.

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Locations and Dislocations: the Role of Place in Literature (EL50C1)

30 Credit Points

This course examines the social, political and cultural construction of place in literary texts. The imaginative co-ordinates of places such as ‘Scotland’, or ‘England’ exist in a constant state of flux, refusing to yield an essential, authentic image. Using core texts from the early modern period paired with more recent literary responses we explore the idea of place in its various forms. Key themes and issues to be discussed will include the rural and urban divide; literature and nationhood; the nature of community; the significance of emigration, and displacement; walking texts, metropolitan literature, and ideas of the “new world”

Critical Skills: Reading and Engagement (PD50C2)

This course will equip you with the essential skills required to engage with your postgraduate studies. Through a series of lectures, interactive seminars and authentic materials, you will build on your critical thinking skills with fellow PGT students from across the school. Critical Reading, essay writing and presentation skills will be offered as part of this course, providing students with skills fundamental to PGT and workplace contexts.

Optional Courses

Choose ONE of the following:

The Novel: Environments and Encounters (EL50C5)

30 Credit Points

This module explores how the evolution of the novel form has allowed, and required, authors to find new ways of depicting spaces, places and interactions (between characters in particular environments, but also between characters and their environment). This chronologically wide-ranging course moves from the early days of the novel form through to contemporary fiction, allowing for an opportunity to study the many literary tactics that authors have employed to create the settings for their works – from vast historical backdrops, to natural spaces, to urban environments, to smaller domestic and private places. It also us to consider how different cultural moments have prompted authors to rethink how they represent characters’ encounters with the world around them, and with the other cultures, races, species and genders that inhabit that world. As well as narrative theories, students will have the chance to study canonical and less well-known texts from angles informed by current critical approaches such as ecocriticism, animal studies, postcolonial and queer theory.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Renaissance (EL50D4)

30 Credit Points

This core course is aimed at providing an introduction for students who have chosen the MLitt in Medieval and Early Modern Studies and want to study the Renaissance and early modern period from around 1450 to 1750 through a variety of interdisciplinary approaches.

Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programme(s) above.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The SFC Postgraduate tuition fee scholarship may be available for those classified as Home/EU fee status students for this programme. Visit the scholarship page for more information.

The James Carnegie maintenance scholarship for postgraduate students is available with this degree.


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • E-learning
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Peer Learning
  • Seminars

Assessment Methods

Assessment methods vary by individual course and include essays, reports, presentations, written exercises and written and oral examinations. The MLitt also requires a 15,000 word dissertation, while the diploma consists of coursework alone.

Courses are assessed through essays, presentations, group and project work. The variety of assessment in the programme ensures that students apply theory to practice and become expert communicators and team players.

Why Study Literatures, Environments and Places?

  • This programme can be used to progress to a research-based career and serves as preparation for intensive and specialist research at doctoral level.
  • It also offers valuable experience for those wishing to work in a range of careers such as teaching, journalism and heritage, and for those who have an interest in literature.
  • Acquire research skills and specialised knowledge and understanding in literary periods and critical issues relating to your specific research interests.
  • Benefit from academic support and mentoring from scholars who are experts and researchers in their field.
  • Obtain practical and theoretical knowledge drawn from a wide range of critical and interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Flexibility to focus on specific literary movements to pursue your own interests.
  • Ideal for those who want the challenge and enjoyment of a further year of literary study.

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

A 2.1 Honours degree or the equivalent in English Literature or a relevant cognate discipline in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme


The programme offers exciting opportunities to pursue careers in education, journalism, public and third sectors. Students also benefit from the support and mentoring from academic staff, providing a strong basis for undertaking doctoral research in English Literature.

Useful Fact about this Subject

The University of Aberdeen has been ranked 14th in the UK and 3rd in Scotland for English by the Complete University Guide 2021.

Useful Fact about this Subject

The University holds extensive museum collections and library archives, including Human Culture and Natural History Collections, which are among the oldest and most significant in the country.

Useful Fact about this Subject

The University's Library hosts a stimulating calendar of dynamic exhibitions that bring historic collections into dialogue with contemporary concerns.

Useful Fact about this Subject

The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, home to literary treasures collected over 500 years, from ancient papyri and medieval manuscripts to contemporary e-books and other media.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Helena Ifill

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX