Literature in English is written and read all around the world. The MLitt English Literary Studies is an advanced programme which explores the theory and criticism of a range of literary periods and national literatures. This flexible programme offers a choice of modules and training in research skills.

This programme is studied on campus.

The MLitt in English Literary Studies is primarily intended to provide a basis for undertaking research in English literature, including the literature of Scotland and Ireland. Research 'training' involves the acquisition of practical skills and knowledge and of specialised knowledge and understanding of literary periods and issues that will be directly relevant to each candidate's proposed field of research. You 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). The programme is likely to appeal to you if you wish to create a solid foundation on which to build a PhD research proposal, or if you wish to teach literature, or to study literature at a postgraduate level to further an interest in culture and life-long learning.

The MLitt in English Literary Studies is taught by experts in English, Irish and Scottish literature. It can serve as preparation for more intensive and specialist research at doctoral level, but it is equally appropriate for graduates who simply want the challenge and enjoyment of a further year of literary study. We welcome mature students who wish to re-experience the stimulation of university after some years away. Students may take the degree part time over two years.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

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

Study Options

ISS 12 months On Campus Learning Part Time September

Please contact for more information about this programme.

MLitt 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January or September
Semester 1

Semester 1

Each candidate's curriculum is personalised, so courses undertaken provide everyone with a programme that fits their interests and their needs.

The courses centre on the four areas of the Department's research: Renaissance literature; Enlightenment, Romantic, and Victorian literature; Modern and Contemporary literature; Scottish and Irish literature.

Courses include training in theory and methods of research, plus a large variety of options covering both different periods and genres.

Compulsory Courses

Approaching Literature (EL5092) - 30 Credit Points

This course examines some critical approaches and theories that have shaped modern literary inquiry. An organising theme of the course is different notions of ‘text’, ranging from historicist definitions of the ‘material text’ to poststructuralist theories of intertextuality and the practice of modern textual editing. The relevance to literature of different types of context is also explored, as are the interpretative possibilities of various forms of ideological critique, including feminism and post-colonialism. Throughout the course students are exposed to a wide variety of primary and secondary texts.

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Optional Courses

Novel Ideas: Reading Prose Fiction (EL5089) - 30 Credit Points

Novel Ideas: Reading Prose Fiction explores the many different voices of the novel from the eighteenth century to the present day, and considers how these voices are assimilated by readers and reading communities. It looks at how this literary form, sometimes regarded as trivial entertainment, has developed into a powerful and highly theorised literary genre, capable of handling complex cultural and psychological material, and of effecting profound social impact.

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Critical Approaches to Literature, Science and Medicine (EL50A4)
Creative Writing III: Non - Fiction (EL5095) - 30 Credit Points

This course is devoted to the development of non-fiction creative prose. Among the themes and genres engaged with will be: travel writing, psychogeography, non-academic critical writing, prose poetry, diary, memoir, and the fragment. Students will study examples across the genre and build up a portfolio of work, discussion of which will form the basis of weekly workshops.

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The Making of Middle Scots (EL50B8)
Semester 2

Semester 2

Elective courses totalling 30 credit points from a designated list of options.

Availability of courses will vary from year to year.

Optional Courses

Irish and Scottish Science Fiction (EL55A6)
Pen to Paper: James, Conrad, Wharton and the Making of the Modern Novel (EL55A5)
Irish and Scottish Romanticism, 1760 - 1830 (EL5585) - 30 Credit Points

The Romantic period was one of the most exciting in the history of literature. It brought about a new aesthetic sensibility and has helped to shape much of our thinking about art, creativity, and the role of the artist. However, while it is sometimes figured in terms of six great English males it was a phenomenon that emerged across Britain and Ireland. This course will consider the particular form that the Romantic movement took in Scotland and Ireland by considering writers such as Burns, Scott, Edgeworth, Maturin, and James Hogg.

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Semester 3

Semester 3

Elective courses totalling 30 credit points from a designated list of options.

Compulsory Courses

English Literary Studies: Dissertation (EL5904) - 60 Credit Points

Candidates will be required to research and write a 15,000 dissertation on a subject and in an area approved by the supervisor and the Head of School.

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Course Availability

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.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures

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 English Literary Studies?

  • An M.Litt in English Literary Studies provides an excellent platform for further academic study.
  • It also offers valuable experience for those wishing to work in a range of careers such as teaching, media and heritage, and for all those who have an interest in literature.
  • The programme is taught by a range of published experts and researchers.

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 - 51; Reading - 54; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & 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

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

ISS 12 months On Campus Learning Part Time September

Please refer to our InfoHub Tuition Fees page for fee information for this programme, or contact

MLitt 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January or September

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,700
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year
International Students £15,900
Tuition Fees for 2019/20 Academic Year
Home / EU / RUK Students £9,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
International Students £19,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • 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.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Career Opportunities

  • Journalist
  • Publicity Officer
  • Research Associate
  • Researcher
  • Teacher
  • Writer

English Literary Studies 1894 Study at Aberdeen

Our centre for creative writing and English Literary Studies was founded in 1894

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Shane Anthony Alcobia-Murphy

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

School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
University of Aberdeen
King's College
AB24 3UB