Course overview

This course lets you develop your specialism and study what you love, without the constraints of a set curriculum.

On this programme, 'pods' are taken in place of modules. You can choose from a broad range of pods of study, created by subject experts, to build your own programme. Your curriculum will be unique to you, and you can choose to work towards one of our specialist pathways below if you wish:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching
  • English Literature
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Literary Linguistics
  • Medieval Englishes
  • Modern and Contemporary Literature
  • Name-Studies
  • Norse and Viking Studies
  • Professional Communication
  • World Literatures

You don't need to decide right at the beginning where you will end up: your final degree depends on studying at least two-thirds of your course in a specialised area, and you will be able to discuss this with your Personal Advisor as you go. Whatever your choices, you will graduate with an MA in English. If your options don’t fit a particular pathway, your degree outcome will be MA English (Applied English).

Most students complete this course in around three years. However, you can adjust your study schedule to best suit your circumstances, with a minimum registration period of two years. Please note, if you are in receipt of a Student Finance England loan, you will be on a three-year completion schedule as standard.

Why choose this course?

Join the community

meet your tutors and fellow students online, and at our annual Summer School in Nottingham

Study your way

submit assessment types to suit you, from essays and presentations to blog posts and lesson plans

Flexible deadlines

choose your submission points

Tailor your study

choose a broad or specialised degree, with flexibility to change along the way

Ranked 10th

for grade point average among 92 universities, and 7th in the Russell Group.

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Flexible duration

most students complete this course in three years, but some choose to take things slower (subject to terms and conditions)

Course content

The course has three phases, each of which is worth 60 credits. For each phase, you will choose six pods of study, which can be taken in any order and at any time. At the end of each phase you will submit a single portfolio of work for assessment, based on your learning on your selection of pods.

At the end of each phase, you have the option to continue with your studies or ‘exit’ with a qualification. If you leave at the end of phase one, you will have gained a Postgraduate Certificate qualification, at the end of phase two, a Postgraduate Diploma, and if you stay to the end of phase three, an MA qualification.

Research project option

In your second or third phase, you can choose to complete a large research project (15,000 words or equivalent) such as a traditional dissertation, a practice-based project, extended creative writing, a linguistic experiment and write-up, a multimedia output, and so on. This is the equivalent of six pods, so we call it a ‘hexapod’.

The hexapod includes extensive guidance on large project planning, research, implementation and writing up, plus supervision for independent study.

The hexapod project is completely optional, and you can either take 12 pods and a hexapod across your degree, or choose 18 pods from across the catalogue to complete your MA.

Study support

You will be allocated a Personal Advisor to support you in planning your studies. Personal Advisors are academic staff from the School of English, all of whom are research and teaching active. Your Advisor will welcome you to the programme, help you decide on your pod choices, and will stay in touch with you throughout the programme. Our team will support you academically and pastorally, and signpost to more specialist support as required.

Each pod is taught by your own Pod Tutor: these are expert academic members of staff who teach the content on the pods, and will be your first point of contact for questions, ideas, and feedback. You can contact them in writing, have one-to-one video or audio calls, and engage with them through online discussion spaces.

We have a bespoke Distance Learning Support Hub with curated resources and information to help you get the most out of your studies, and to put you in touch with the University’s range of specialist teams and support services in a way that suits you.

Finally, you will have access to our international community of distance students on the programme, with the ability to chat together, study together, and progress through the course together.


You will begin your course with a free Orientation pod, and will meet your Personal Advisor. This will allow you to create your own study plan and select your first pods. You can work on one pod at a time, or two, or three, or all six at once, if you prefer.

After six pods of study, you submit a portfolio of work that covers all six of these areas. Then you move on to the second phase and take six more pods, and then a final phase of another six pods to complete the MA.

In each of the three phases, you can choose from our full range of pods. There are no compulsory pods or pre-requisites. The list below represents the pod choices currently in our catalogue, and is arranged alphabetically.

Pods A-C

Alexander Pope and Eighteenth-Century Literary Contexts

This pod explores Pope’s poetry in a range of forms and genres including epistles, essays, mock-classics, pastorals, translations, imitations, satires, and literary commentaries. We analyse Pope’s contribution to the development of those literary forms, and reflect on early eighteenth-century literary culture.

Approaches to Literary Studies

In this pod, we will study theory and practice of close reading and literary analysis, and learn about the history of close reading as a twentieth-century critical mode. We will also outline some key aspects of literary theory and the changing fortunes of various theoretical approaches to humanistic inquiry across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Approaches to Victorian Literature

This pod provides research tools and concepts to enable advanced level research in Victorian literature, from contexts to aesthetics. We cover the different theorizations of literary value associated with Romanticism, Realism, Aestheticism and Decadence.

Calls, Speech, Writing, and Sign Language

This pod explores some of the many ways insects, birds, apes, and other animals communicate, and compare these to human language. In doing so, they will examine what makes human language so unique, considering how language exists in the mind, how we recognise it, and how we process it.

Cognitive Narratology

In exploring the relationship between narrative, language and cognition, this pod investigates a range of approaches to the study of worldmaking, fictional minds, perspective, and intertextuality. It engages with theories of cognitive reception, and examines emotion, ethics and empathy in relation to literary reading.

Cognitive Poetics

This pod investigates the processes of creativity, interpretation, imagination, emotional involvement, aesthetic experience, and literary texture, applying current understanding of language and mind (as drawn from research in cognitive linguistics and cognitive psychology) to questions of literary reading.

Comics and Graphic Novels

This pod presents students with an introduction to the study of comics and graphic novels, exploring a range of work in the medium, from single issue comics to full-length graphic novels, and from independent to mainstream. We also consider the relationships between comics and adaptation, with opportunities for comparative work across countries and traditions.

Contemporary Fairy Tale Literature

This pod is concerned with literary retellings of traditional fairy tales, taking a global approach to the choice of fairy tale traditions as well as literary adaptations. We study historical and political contexts behind the late-twentieth-century resurgence of fairy tale literature, with gender and feminist theory providing the major theoretical framework of the pod.

Core Concepts in Linguistics

This pod introduces a range of skills and approaches in linguistics, working from the smallest components of language to the largest. We will work with practical examples of phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, enabling you to apply relevant skills to whichever areas of linguistics you wish to explore.

Core Concepts in Second Language Acquisition

Second Language Acquisition (SLA) examines the ways in which second languages are learned. The pod explores a number of key aspects of this multifaceted phenomenon and introduces the main terms and theories that have been proposed to describe and understand the process of developing second language (L2) knowledge and skills.

Core Concepts in Vocabulary Studies

This pod introduces cutting-edge theory and research from the area of vocabulary studies. We explore the nature of lexical knowledge in a second language, and address the key question of what is involved in knowing a word in relation to its form, meaning and use.

Corpus-Based Discourse Analysis

Contemporary corpus linguistic methods have revolutionised linguistic research and generated new fields of inquiry. This pod addresses central methods of corpus-based discourse analysis, using examples from health communication, media discourse and political manifestos. We introduce several powerful corpus analysis platforms, enabling you to pursue research questions using your own data.

Corpus Stylistics

This pod introduces a particular application of corpus linguistics which focuses on issues of style, especially in literature. We examine the main principles that underlie corpus design and compilation, and investigate the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of corpus-stylistic analysis, considering the implications of corpus linguistics for literary-linguistic and literary-critical research.

Correspondence in the Long Nineteenth Century

Correspondence was the most important and necessary form of written communication in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In this pod we examine the function of correspondence in both literary spaces as well as the everyday, and learn how to use correspondence as a primary resource, as well as how to transcribe manuscript letters.

Culture and Communication

This pod presents the key relevant theoretical and historical developments in the field of intercultural communication, exploring the concept of culture and how it manifests itself in interaction through verbal and nonverbal communication. We explore theoretical frameworks and analytical tools to examine and describe communication across cultures, including intercultural pragmatics and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory.

Pods D-F

Death and Dying in Late Medieval Literature

Fear of death and what would come afterwards haunted writers throughout the Middle Ages. Covering a range of late medieval literature, this pod explores the idea of a ‘good death’, and the influence of this on conceptions of identity, illness, faith, memory and emotion.

Digital Professional Communication

This pod explores the role of digital technology in the professional sphere, introducing key concepts in and approaches to digital professional communication by drawing on research based on real-life communication as observed in the professional sphere of public life.

Discourse Analysis

This pod introduces students to the diverse field of discourse analysis, which explores the (co)-construction of meaning, identity, ideology and power in spoken and written communication. You will grapple with the concept of ‘discourse’ from a theoretical standpoint and will be able to identify and distinguish the distinctive linguistic features of spoken and written texts.

Early Medieval Women and Literature

From patronage and composition to book ownership and reading, women contributed to all stages of production and circulation of literature in the Middle Ages. This pod focuses on the early medieval period, tracing the role of women as teachers, authors, narrators, scribes, and readers in texts from England and Continental Europe.


This pod presents a theoretical and critical introduction to ecocriticism and to environmental writing. It takes in broad chronological and generic perspectives, introducing the ways in which environmental ideas manifest themselves in poetry, fiction and the ‘new nature writing’, taking in not only anglophone writing from the UK, the United States, Australia and India, but also writing in translation.

English Language Teaching Methodology

This pod explores English language teaching methodology for a wide range of learners and contexts, which could also be applied to the teaching of other languages. You will gain an understanding of the theoretical rationales and principles of syllabus design, as well as various teaching methods and methodological approaches including the communicative, humanist, and lexical approaches.

English Field-Names

This pod introduces the study of field-names in England, and its contribution to disciplines such as agricultural history, archaeology, environmental geography, and historical linguistics. We will think especially about evidence for local and regional community and language, as well as the way the historical population perceived and described the world around them.

Ethical Criticism

This pod provides an overview of Ethical Criticism, with its blend of moral philosophy, politics, and literary analysis, through the lens of two twentieth-century writers: Henry James and Samuel Beckett. You will analyse literary texts with the theoretical frames supplied by practising ethical and cultural critics.

Factors in Second Language Acquisition

This pod presents the wide range of factors which impact on second language acquisition (SLA). Biological, cognitive and affective factors are discussed together with characteristics of SLA environments such as the nature of input, interaction, instruction and the role of culture. Case studies and research papers are used to examine how these factors interact to accelerate or impede SLA.

Pods G-I

Gothic Literature

This pod explores the Gothic as a literary mode, analysing a range of texts from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Emphasis will be placed not only on understanding the cultural contexts out of which texts emerged, but also on tracing lines of intellectual inheritance and cultural legacies.

Historical Pragmatics

Historical pragmatics is the study of language usage patterns in the past, combining both language-internal as well as language-external factors to understand how forms of discourse have changed throughout history. As a particular case-study, the pod explores the histories of medical and scientific writing.

Homer and Modern and Contemporary Literature

This pod introduces Homer’s two epic works, the Iliad and the Odyssey, exploring the formal elements and systems of these two narratives first and foremost. The pod will then examine how twentieth- and twenty-first-century texts have reused, revised and transmitted the pairing to suggest how these mythologies still speak to our current moment.

Indian Literature of the Twentieth Century

This pod explores a range of Anglophone literature from the Indian sub-continent written during the period spanning the last decades of the British Empire and the growth of post-independence India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The pod focuses in particular on the intersection between literary texts and wider political debates around nationalism, caste, sex and gender.

Intercultural Competence in Context

In this pod, the importance of Intercultural Competence (IC) in today’s globalised world is considered in diverse contexts such as business, the language classroom, healthcare, and media. We discuss how IC can be enhanced in professional and educational contexts, and you will gain an understanding of key issues in the design and implementation of IC development programmes.

Interlanguage Pragmatics

This interdisciplinary field is primarily concerned with how the use of language by learners compares to native speakers, and how pragmatic competence develops in a second language (L2). You will consider how pragmatic competence is conceptualised in various communicative frameworks, and we also explore the relationship between L2 pragmatics and identity, viewing language learners as ‘social agents’.

Pods J-L

The Language of Dystopia

Taking a stylistic perspective, this pod examines the features of language that characterise dystopian narratives, analysing a range of textual examples from across time periods, and investigating the evolution and hybridity of contemporary dystopia. We will explore the construal of dystopian worlds, the conceptualisation of dystopian minds, and the experience of dystopian reading.

The Language of Multimodal Literature

Moving beyond traditional presentations of the written word, multimodal texts experiment with more than one semiotic mode, for instance incorporating graphics, creatively employing typeface, or featuring tactile elements. Taking a mixed stylistic, cognitive and narratological perspective, this pod will analyse a range of literary texts which manipulate and experiment with narrative across modes.

The Language of Surrealism

This pod explores the artistic movement of surrealism, with emphasis on the form and technique of literary surrealist writing in English. Surrealist output is considered from a literary-linguistic and cognitive poetic perspective in order to explore a view of surrealism and surrealist activity from the vantage point of current understanding of language and linguistics.

The Languages of English Place-Names

English place-names began as transparent descriptions in the everyday languages spoken in Britain over the past millennia. This pod introduces the study of English place-names, providing a background in onomastic research methodology, and relating historical linguistics to English settlement history and the languages spoken in England’s past.

Leadership Communication

This pod examines the relationship between power, leadership and language, paying close attention to how leadership is constructed and reproduced in a wide variety of texts and genres. We will examine how leadership is constructed in workplace communication, exploring ‘discursive leadership’, the enactment of leadership, the appraisal of work and the establishment of rapport.

Learning and Teaching Second Language Vocabulary

This pod discusses key issues related to learning and teaching vocabulary in a second language (L2), with a particular focus on how research findings inform language pedagogy, materials development and English Language Teaching (ELT) methodology more broadly. You will be able to use current research to inform principled vocabulary teaching and language instruction.

Literary Constructions of Madness

This pod critiques the depiction of ‘madness’ in literature and theatre from the nineteenth century to the present day. In tracing the early developments, continuity and changes in the representation of ‘madness’, you will engage with ideas of patriarchal authority and female agency, gender essentialism and self-determination, and literary convention and self-expression.

Literary Linguistics

This pod explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through a series of practical analyses and interactive tasks, you will apply and evaluate key approaches to language and literature, investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation, and consider the scope and validity of stylistics in relation to literature and literary studies.

The Lyric and its Language in Middle English

This pod introduces you to Middle English language, poetics, and textual transmission through primary texts including lyrics on topics such as love, religion and politics. We will consider the ways lyric poetry was read in its manuscript context and how editorial practice shapes the experience of modern readers.

Pods M-O

Medieval Geographies

This pod explores representations of space and place in medieval literature and culture. Through literature, graphic maps, written descriptions, and artefacts, we will consider the local and the global; history and geography; and the ways cosmology and mythology shape conceptions of the world. We will also reflect on current critical debates about the 'Global Middle Ages'.

Metamodernism and Contemporary British Fiction

This pod explores emerging definitions of ‘metamodernism’ as a way of thinking about major philosophical and cultural transformations. Through close case studies, we will reflect on metamodern concerns including the legacies of modernism and postmodernism, the renewed engagement with ethics, the return of affect, and the problem of connection in a global and digital age.


This pod provides a linguistic overview of metaphor, with a particular emphasis on Conceptual Metaphor Theory. The pod examines how metaphors gain prominence, examining literary and political discourse in detail to highlight how salient metaphor is in a range of language settings, and how significant it is for understanding human thought.

Modernism and D.H. Lawrence

This pod explores the relationship between the works of D.H. Lawrence and the contemporary artistic and intellectual climate of modernism. You will study a range of Lawrence’s writings and reflect on their relationship to trends and events in social and intellectual history, to specific modernist literary and artistic movements, and to the broader ambitions of modernist experimentation.

The Modernist Short Story

This pod explores the formal and thematic features of the modernist short story, identifying important nineteenth-century influences and showing how key practitioners innovated with interiorised narration, the presentation of character, form and chronology, and symbolism. You will gain an understanding of the modernist short story form and construct your own responses to modernist texts.


In this pod, we will investigate how narratives are structured, presented, and conceptualised in the mind of the reader. We consider key topics which are fundamental to the creation of narrative, from the representation of point of view through to the articulation of time, reflecting critically on contemporary narratological theory and practice.

Old English Language

Old English was the language spoken from the fifth to the eleventh century in what would become England. It is the ancestor of modern English, but is distinct from it, with different sounds, vocabulary, and grammar. The language is studied through real Old English texts, building linguistic knowledge while exploring early medieval English culture.

Old Norse Language

This pod provides an introduction Old Norse, famously the language spoken by the Vikings. Using examples from real Old Norse texts, you will acquire skills in reading and translating medieval language, and a critical awareness of the cultural and chronological contexts required for work on Old Norse language and literature.

Old Norse Mythology

The world of Odin, Thor and Loki was brought to an end by the Christianisation of Scandinavia, but this pivotal change also enabled their stories to be preserved. We will read a selection of Old Norse myths in translation, engaging with questions of origins, orality, beliefs, variation, and literary and historical contexts.

Oscar Wilde and West End Theatre

This pod examines the development of London’s fashionable West End Theatre in the late decades of the nineteenth century, focussing on the dramatic career of Oscar Wilde, and the production of his first West End ‘hit’, Lady Windermere’s Fan. The pod looks in particular at three key aspects of drama at this time: spaces, people, and texts.

Pods P-R

Performing Space and Place

In this pod we consider how theatre and performance engage with concepts of place, space and spatiality. In doing so, you will draw on theoretical, practical and personal paradigms to understand how notions of place, space and site are represented, read, received and practised within the context of theatre and performance.

Place-Names and the English Landscape

This pod discusses the background to and development of research in place-names and landscape, and consider the different types of evidence landscape and place-names provide for history, geography, language, and culture. The pod highlights recent and current research in the discipline, giving you the opportunity to engage critically with a range of recent multidisciplinary research.

Quantitative Research Methods in Applied Linguistics

This pod introduces quantitative methods used to conduct empirical research, from questionnaires to statistical tests and correlation analyses. It offers an accessible introduction to SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) software, and you will study key issues related to the process of data collection and analysis and develop practical skills for reporting research findings.

The Queens of Crime Fiction

This pod explores the detective novels of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham. It opens up the social and cultural world of interwar detective fiction, examining how these books handle questions of gender, Empire and class whilst unravelling mysteries. We read critically, uncovering the ideologies encoded into famous characters and how those ideologies are transformed through adaptation.

Queer Linguistics

This specialist strand of sociolinguistics focuses on the construction and representation of gender and sexual identities. This pod explores sociological concepts underpinning Queer Linguistics, such as queer theory, hegemony and normativity, and introduces a range of relevant data types, methodologies, and discourse analytical approaches to enable you to conduct your own research.

The Reader in Stylistics

Across this pod, we will explore the role, position and identity of the reader, thinking in detail about who we are referring to when we talk about ‘the reader’ in stylistics. We will investigate a range of experimental and naturalistic methods of gathering reader-response data, and examine the benefits and limitations of empirical approaches in stylistic analysis.

Reading and Editing the Medieval Text

Before the advent of the printing press, texts circulated in hand-written copies. Each manuscript was therefore unique and tells us about the tastes and habits of medieval readers. Through a case study, you will develop and apply skills in transcription (palaeography), examine editorial choices, learn how to compile a glossary and provide an explanatory commentary.

The Reading Public in the Romantic Period

Through this pod, we will explore book production and publication in the Romantic period, including literary publication and commercialism, and evaluate concepts of popularity and quality in literary works. We will reflect on the role of the bookselling market in contemporary society, and consider how the selection of authors on academic curricula can (mis)represent literary history.

Reading the Early Modern Body

Using images and performance alongside literary and epistolary texts, this pod introduces a variety of early modern approaches to the body, from humoral theory to colonialism, early modern understandings of gender and sexuality, and the growth of anatomy as a discipline, considering the literary and cultural significance of bodily practices around food, clothing, and sexuality.

Religion and Fantasy Literature

This pod investigates the relationships between religion (specifically Christianity) and fantasy literatures. The pod centres on the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, exploring the ways Narnia and Middle Earth present different religious visions. It sets these authors in their historical and intellectual contexts, and discusses the historical roots of fantasy tropes.

Runes and Runic Inscriptions

Runes are a form of alphabetic writing mostly encountered in inscriptions on physical objects, which provide some of our earliest evidence for the Germanic languages. This pod introduces runic writing systems in their various forms, their development, their historical contexts, and their value for linguistic and historical study.

Pods S-U

Saints and Heroes in Old English Poetry

This pod introduces Old English heroic poetry in its cultural and historical context. Through a selection of poems studied in both their original language and in translation, we approach the form, themes, and stylistic features of heroic poetry, and explore the way religious and cultural values are represented through this genre.

Shakespeare and Text

This pod explores the material forms that Shakespeare’s plays took in their earliest printed versions, and the processes that turn them into today’s modern texts. Drawing on twenty-first century developments in textual studies and editorial practice, the pod uses case studies of specific plays to engage with some of the most crucial debates in contemporary Shakespeare studies.

Southeast Asian Literature

Through the literatures and contexts of Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, you will develop an understanding of how literary texts are imbricated with their national contexts and literary traditions. The pod compares different national and literary manifestations of colonialism and postcolonialism, multiculturalism and multilingualism, globalisation, climate catastrophe and political oppression.

Surnames and Identities

This pod explores the origin, development and use of surnames in England. You will examine the main categories of name, including their formation and development, and will acquire the skills to identify names and their possible meanings, and to discuss the evidence they provide for linguistic, social, and cultural history.

Systemic Functional Linguistics

Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is a major descriptive grammar of the English language. SFL places clause descriptions and syntax within a contextualised setting, drawing in also the ideological and interpersonal functions of language. This makes it an ideal applied grammar for exploring ideology, action and event in the world, politics, rhetoric and literary aesthetics.

Talk at Work

This pod explores the fascinating role played by talk in the management of workplace relations, drawing upon a number of real-world exchanges as observed in the professional domain. You will consider the role played by talk in the (mis)management of rapport as well as the concepts of workplace culture and identity.

Teaching And Assessing Second Language Skills

This pod will help you develop the necessary expertise and skills to plan, organise and evaluate the teaching process on courses and programmes aimed at second language (L2) learners. By discussing specific aspects and skills related to L2 competence, we review and analyse the latest thinking in language education.

Textual Editing

This pod presents an introduction to different areas of textual editing, including choices of texts, degrees of authorial intention, editorial interpretation and annotation, and questions of authority and ownership. It offers a range of examples from literature and other media after 1500, to enable you to understand and make informed textual and editorial decisions in your own practice.

Text World Theory

This pod offers a comprehensive overview of the literary-linguistic framework ‘Text World Theory’. Through a focus on scholarship from the last twenty years, you will apply, augment, and critically evaluate the framework, explore a range of Text-World-Theory applications to discourse, both literary and otherwise, and consider the future potential of text-world scholarship.

Texts in a Digital World

This pod explores stylistic, cognitive and narratological approaches to digital fiction, examining literary texts which are designed to be read and engaged with on a screen. Particular focus is given to hypertext fiction, ludic narratives, interactive film and app-based fiction, as we investigate the experience of reading and engaging with digital texts. 

Understanding Performance

This pod presents key contexts and frameworks in order to enable a critical exploration of the changing relationships between the making and reception of drama, theatre and performance. The focus throughout is on the multiple potential relationships between text, stage, performance and audience in a variety of contexts, drawing upon your own encounters with performance.

Pods V-X


This pod examines the origins of the vampire myth, and traces its evolution from the late eighteenth century to contemporary cultural productions. We explore early vampire texts and how they relate to modern representations of the vampire, using theories associated with the Gothic, adaptation, gender and sexuality in analysing vampire literature, cinema and television.

Vikings in the East Midlands

This pod explores the impact of the settlement of Scandinavian peoples in England during the Viking Age. We take a regional focus, examining linguistic, documentary, and artefactual evidence for the arrival, settlement, and integration of these Scandinavians in the East Midlands region of England, and their ongoing influence on language, identity, and popular imagination.

Women Poets of the English Civil War

In seventeenth-century England, only 10% of women were literate, and less than 1% of published texts were by women. Scholars have often viewed women’s writing of this period as its own category, distinct from cultural trends, but this pod challenges that approach, exploring how five female poets interacted with fellow writers and with contemporary politics, religion, and science.

Words and Multiword Units

We use words and sequences of words (e.g. ‘fish and chips’) all the time in language. This pod explores what it means to be a word and multiword sequence, focusing on how we represent and process these building blocks of language in our mind, and how important they are in language acquisition and language teaching.

World Literatures from Theory to Text

This pod explores key developments and trends in the study and theory of world literature and maps how these affect the ways in which we read contemporary texts from around the world. Through three examples, the pod uses world-literature theory to track contemporary mappings of the evolution of the world-system from colonialism to the present day.

World Utopia in the Early Twentieth Century

This pod explores the ways in which utopian studies and world-literature studies intersect. We interrogate three texts from the ‘superpowers’ of the early twentieth century: Russia, the UK and the USA. The pod considers the political and aesthetic qualities of utopia, and considers how literary forms cross and recross world borders.

Writing Poetry

In this pod we introduce a range of techniques and skills for writing poetry, and for reflecting on and developing you creative practice. You are guided through explorations of contemporary poetry, and supported to consider craft and style, while reflecting on the social context and the social function of poetry and creative production.

On this MA programme, pods are taken in place of modules and may be subject to change over the duration of the course.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Tuesday 05 September 2023.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

There are no fixed deadlines within each year. Instead, there are three submission points over the year, and your Personal Advisor will help you schedule your portfolio work to submit at the time that suits you.

You will submit a portfolio of work for every six pods that you complete. Guided by your Pod Tutors and Personal Advisor, your portfolio will showcase your strengths and skills relevant to your own life and career. For example, if you currently work in teaching, you could choose to include lesson plans in your portfolio.

You’ll be supported to explore new ways of working through tasks and discussions within pods, where you will be given feedback.

Teaching methods include:

  • Written content
  • Videos, including lectures
  • Audio commentaries, interviews and discussions
  • Digital texts and databases
  • Images and manuscripts
  • Interactive tasks to develop knowledge and analysis
  • One-to-one tutor support
  • Asynchronous peer discussion spaces

How you will be assessed

You will be assessed by your choice of assessment types, which may include:

  • Essays
  • Lesson plans
  • Syllabus design
  • Conference papers
  • Blog posts
  • Experiment design
  • Exhibition curation
  • Video/audio presentations
  • Journalism
  • Website design
  • Creative writing
  • Performance production

Contact time and study hours

This programme is designed to offer completely flexible distance learning, so you can study whenever and wherever you need. Our online course content runs through a fully responsive platform, so you can access your materials across devices.

There is no timetabled teaching, so you will learn independently from the online pod materials, supported by a curated reading and resource list, a variety of online discussion spaces, and one-to-one support from your Pod Tutor.

You can study pods at your own pace, and take one or several at a time, up to six simultaneously. You can spend different amounts of time on different pods, as you prefer. You can adjust your pace or pause your studies as your work or life determines, and pick up again easily when you are ready.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degreeTypically 2:1 or above, but we will consider 2:2 (or international equivalent), in any Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences subject. If you have other qualifications or professional experience, please contact us. We consider individual cases, including non-standard qualifications.


You can apply to start your course in either September 2024 or January 2025.

Can I defer to a different start date?

If you already hold an offer, please advise us that you wish to defer as early as possible by contacting us here. You must do this before you register.

Requests for deferral will be approved at the discretion of the academic school or department. The maximum period allowed for deferral is one academic year. Please note that your academic qualifications must be valid at your revised start date. For offer holders whose first language isn’t English, your English Language qualifications/tests must also be valid at your revised start date.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification MA
Home / UK £10,710
International £10,710

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.


You'll be able to access most of the texts you’ll need through our online library, though you may wish to buy your own copies. On some pods, you may be advised to purchase texts - if this is the case, we will make students aware.

Summer School

Students who choose to attend our annual Summer School event are required to pay for their own transport and accommodation costs.


Distance learning fees

Distance learning students are charged a standard fee, with no differentiation between UK/EU and international students.

Fees are paid on a pod by pod basis. We offer a flexible payment plan, so you could choose to pay for a block of pods at a time, or all of your pods upfront, should you choose to do so. 

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

Student loans and course duration

If you are a resident of England and qualify for UK fee status, you may be eligible for a Student Finance England Master’s Loan. If you are eligible, you can apply for a three-year loan, with payments spread equally across the number of years you expect to study. While you can apply for an extension to your study period, your loan payment period cannot be extended. If you apply for a three-year loan, but complete your study in two, you will forfeit the final year of payments.

Please note: it is the student’s responsibility to check they meet the requirements of the loan provider before applying. If you have any questions about the requirements of your loan, please contact your funding provider.

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

This course will develop your ability to research and process a large amount of information quickly, and to present the results of your research in an articulate and effective way across a range of platforms and outputs.

In your assessments, you will produce work directly connected to careers in teaching, business and communications, digital and creative industries, the media and publishing, policy and more. You will also be well prepared if you are considering a PhD, or a career in academia.

See what our graduates say.

Career progression

75% of postgraduates from the School of English secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,796*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.


Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" With twenty years of experience in distance learning, the School of English has been at the forefront of delivering effective online education, providing students with the opportunity to study English from a wide range of perspectives and work with experts in the field. Also, since our courses are offered part-time, they provide flexibility to study alongside your work and other commitments. "
Dr Paweł Szudarski, Deputy Director of Postgraduate Taught

This content was last updated on Tuesday 05 September 2023. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.