Course overview

At Nottingham, we go beyond a love of books. Here, you will study in the city that was home to Lord Byron, DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe.

Our students benefit from access to special collections and the expertise of academics based in the Centre for Regional Literature and Culture, the Institute for Name Studies, the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, and the Institute for Medieval Research.

We will introduce you to our core subject-areas within English studies and explore the relationship between texts and their historical, cultural and social contexts. Our optional module selection means you can tailor your degree to what interests you the most, or even specialise in several areas at once, including:

  • Literature 1500 to the Present
  • Drama and Creative Writing
  • Medieval Literature and Language
  • English Language and Applied Linguistics

Why choose this course?

Ranked 9th

in the UK by 'research power'

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Get ‘Off The Page’

meet established and emerging writers at our creative writing event series

Top 20 UK university

Ranked 103 in the world and 18 in the UK 

QS World University rankings 2022

Want flexible study?

specialise in one of ten areas on our MA Applied English Distance Learning Programme

Explore opportunity

Get poetic

and discuss all things poetry at the Nottingham Poetry Exchange

Course content

Pre-arrival reading lists will be sent out with registration information before you join your course, where available.

This course is made up of 180 credits in total.

Full time students complete six 20-credit modules across the year, before completing the 60-credit dissertation over the summer.

Part time students complete three taught modules in the first year of study, then three in their second, before turning to the dissertation in their final summer term.

All classes take place during weekdays.


You choose one of the below 20-credit modules:

Mastering the Arts: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research

This module has been developed to introduce you to a range of research techniques and methodologies. It will also help you develop a variety of valuable transferable skills for your future career.

You will achieve:

  • greater confidence in dealing with original research
  • a recognition of the huge range of approaches that can be used to address research questions.

We build on the research skills you have already developed during both your undergraduate degree and discipline-specific MA modules. The emphasis is on:

  • ensuring you are possessed of a range of practical ways to approach research
  • making you think about the nature of your discipline-specific approaches within a context of growing interdisciplinarity.

You will have the chance to consider topics as varied as:

  • academic publishing
  • digital transformations
  • use of illustrations in dissertations.

You will also have the opportunity to hear academics from across the Faculty talk about the problems they have confronted and how they overcame them.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Mastering the Arts introductory video 

Arts in Society

We will help you to apply your arts MA across society to enhance your career and contribute to wider society.

We'll demonstrate how the arts can be used to:

  • transform society, politics and culture
  • enhance the careers of arts and humanities MA students.

You'll be able to explore, explain and then detail how your disciplinary skills can impact upon wider issues to emphasise the applicability of the arts and humanities. From the role of the scholar activist to understanding ‘knowledge transfer’ and ‘public engagement’, you'll develop professional skills in preparation for a career within academia or across a range of sectors.

You will:

  • harness the ways in which the arts and humanities enable us to think differently and to innovate
  • work on issues of research, networking, grant-writing and cultural exchange
  • learn how to engage, communicate and create.

This module is worth 20 credits.


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 Monday 12 July 2021.

Over the autumn and spring semesters, you will take a minimum of 20 credits (one module) from two areas of study listed below. The remaining 60 credits (three modules) can be chosen from all modules on offer.

English Language and Applied Linguistics modules: (20 credits each)

Consciousness in Fiction

This module studies the representation of fictional consciousness.

Character consciousness has become so fundamental to any narrative, that we hardly think about the problems involved in representing another person's mind.

On this module, you will:

  • explore in depth techniques for the presentation of consciousness in novels and other fictional texts
  • learn about the linguistic indices associated with the point of view of characters and the various modes available to a writer for the presentation of characters' thoughts and perceptions
  • examine the style of narrative texts that portray consciousness and study the theories that explain their methods
  • consider the historical development of consciousness presentation techniques

The module is worth 20 credits.

Psychology of Language

C4N 70U R34D 7H15?

With some difficulty, you may be able to read the above question (which says Can you read this?). How do you do this? What explains our impressive capacity to speak, listen, read and write in a first language, as well as potentially in a second, third or fourth?

In this module we consider and try out language experiments that tell us how we produce, understand, and learn language.

You will explore:

  • how we learn, produce and understand speech, words, sentences and discourse
  • how is this the same and different in a first, second or third language
  • how we understand non-literal language like how 'spill the beans' means ‘reveal a secret’
  • what is the relationship between language and emotion and how emoticons may convey emotion

This module is worth 20 credits

Second Language Acquisition

This module focuses on Second Language Acquisition (SLA), an area of research which focuses on the process of learning a second language.

With many factors determining the success of language learners, we will study this process in detail and gain a better understanding of how second language competence is developed. You will be introduced to the main theories and findings from the field, related to topics such as:

  • The effects of age and individual learner differences
  • The influence of mother tongue on second language learning
  • The acquisition of grammar, vocabulary and other aspects of language
  • The role of language teaching in the classroom and in other contexts

We will draw on a diverse body of research to inform our discussion. We also analyse case studies of language learners and specific learning situations. Crucially, you will develop important research skills, culminating in the development of your own research proposal in the area of SLA.

This module is worth 20 credits. 

English Vocabulary: Teaching and Learning

This module introduces theory and research from the field of vocabulary studies.

Vocabulary is a key aspect of language learning and use. This module aims to discuss the key issues related to this process, particularly from the perspective of learning and teaching a second language.

You will explore a number of key topics, including

  • The nature of lexical knowledge and the key question of what is involved in knowing a word
  • Different categories of vocabulary (i.e. academic or technical vocabulary)
  • The use of corpora, large databases of language, in the study of vocabulary
  • Practical applications of vocabulary research in language teaching, syllabus design and materials development

We look at a wide range of vocabulary teaching approaches, learning activities and strategies and examples of vocabulary tests. We pay particular attention to how research findings can inform language pedagogy, materials development and teaching methodology more broadly.

By engaging with the relevant literature and critically reviewing existing findings, you will gain solid foundations in the theory of vocabulary and learn how to apply in practical ways across various learning and teaching contexts.

This module is worth 20 credits. 

Advanced Research Methods in Applied Linguistics: Quantitative and Qualitative Methods

Explore various approaches of collecting and processing data, using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

With a focus on the area of applied linguistics, you will be introduced to:

  • methods of collecting quantitative and qualitative data
  • questionnaire and interview design
  • the use of the statistical software SPSS in quantitative data analysis
  • qualitative data analysis and interpretation
  • best practices in presenting quantitative and qualitative results

This module is worth 20 credits.

Business and Organisational Communication

Investigate the multidisciplinary subject of business and organisational communication.

We cover a range of quantitative and qualitative approaches, examining how individuals and groups use spoken, written and digital communication to enact their workplace identities, how workplace teams and communities communicate effectively and how tasks at work get achieved through communication.

The wide range of methodologies and analytical frameworks for interrogating business and organisational communication include:

  • conversation analysis
  • corpus linguistics
  • critical discourse analysis
  • pragmatics
  • linguistic ethnography
  • sociolinguistics

We also highlight contemporary issues emerging from the field, exploring, for example, new multi-media technologies and globalisation on communication in commercial domains and organisational environments.

The module demonstrates how the findings of communicative research can be practically applied in teaching and training materials and in consultancy work.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Language, Gender and Sexuality

Explore the relationship between language and gender.

We consider both spoken interaction and written texts, drawing on key approaches in the areas of discourse analysis and interactional sociolinguistics.

We will focus on:

  • how gender and sexuality affect the language we produce when interacting with one another in a variety of contexts
  • the critical analysis of how individuals and groups of people are represented in the media, in ways related to their gender and/or sexual identities
  • issues of sexist and discriminatory language towards LGBT people

You will explore current theories which explain the relationships between language, gender and sexuality. These include how ideologies of gender and sexuality are reproduced both in cultural discourse and everyday interaction.

You will also engage in hands-on analysis of data from spoken interaction, as well as from print, broadcast and social media.

The practical consequences of the discipline, in terms of how findings can have a political impact on wider society, will also be discussed.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Cognition and Literature

This module represents a course in cognitive poetics. It aims to understand the meanings, emotions and effects of literary reading based on our current best understanding of language and mind. This means drawing on insights developed in cognitive science, especially in psychology and linguistics. You will also develop skills in stylistics and critical theory.

Cognitive poetics attempts to find answers to the following questions:

  • How is it that different readers interpret the same literary work differently?
  • How can we care emotionally about fictional people in books?
  • How do some literary works make you cry, or laugh, or be fearful or joyous?
  • How do we understand the minds of other people, real and imaginary?
  • How do literary works create atmosphere, tone, and ambience?
  • Does reality and fictionality matter?
  • How does language create worlds?

You do not need to have a background in both linguistics and literary studies – either area will be perfect preparation for your exploration of cognitive poetics. You will be taught in a small-group two-hour tutorial discussion.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Group Dynamics and Motivation in the Language Classroom

Discover the main psychological factors and processes that determine how students learn foreign languages within a classroom context.

We will focus on two key issues that have a considerable practical significance. They are language learning motivation, and the internal dynamics of the learner group (which can either enhance or hinder the individual members' achievement).

Key topics to be discussed include:

  • the components of L2 motivation
  • strategies to increase student motivation
  • structural and developmental characteristics of the 'good' learner group
  • group building techniques
  • effective leadership roles

This module is worth 20 credits.

Intercultural Communication

With ever increasing interactions in the world today taking place between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, it is important to consider how language use may lead to misunderstandings and communicative difficulties.

In this module, we explore language use in different cultural environments and in interactions between speakers of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

We look at what language barriers might be present, and how these might be overcome. We examine intercultural interactions in a variety of contexts, including:

  • business and other professional encounters
  • the media
  • education

This module is worth 20 credits.

Sociolinguistics of Work

Communication is an essential aspect of any workplace. From the language used in the cockpit of aeroplanes, to the language used in advertising and call centres, spoken, written and visual discourse is at the very centre of, and often defines, contemporary work practices.

Discover the theories and insights of sociolinguistic-related research, as applied to a vast array of work-related and institutional settings. We cover a range of communicative topics that reveal how language is used and abused in the workplace and institutional setting, including:

  • linguistic coercion in courtrooms, classrooms, prisons
  • electronic communication
  • miscommunication
  • advertising communication
  • critical discourse analysis and multimodal critical discourse analysis
  • political talk and the use of persuasive discourse
  • jargon, double speak, and fake news

Often taking a critical perspective on language in the workplace (exposing inequities in institutional discourse), the module will emphasise the vital relationship between power and communication in the workplace. It shows how looking closely at and through language can illuminate and enhance communication in a range of workplaces and institutional settings.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Research Methods: Corpus Linguistics

Corpus linguistics provides methods for studying collections of electronic texts. These could be written texts (including literary texts), material from the internet, or transcripts of spoken language.

We introduce fundamental corpus methods, that include:

  • retrieving and interpreting word frequency information
  • studying patterns of words in the form of concordances
  • analysing key words and key semantic domains

The module will explain these concepts and illustrate methods through case studies, with an emphasis on the use of corpus methods for the purposes of discourse analysis.

Through hands-on sessions, you will practise using corpus analysis software and several online interfaces. Throughout the module, you are encouraged to reflect on the applicability of a range of methods to your own areas of interest (for example, literary linguistics, critical discourse analysis, ELT).

For the assessment, you will complete a small-scale corpus project on a topic of your choice (in consultation with the module convenor). This project can test ideas that might be further developed during the dissertation.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Language Teaching: Speaking and Listening

Develop your skills and knowledge relating to teaching second language (L2) speaking and listening. The module is suitable for all, whether you have prior language teaching experience or not.

As a basis for discussion, we focus on teaching English as a foreign/second language. You will explore issues and ideas not often included on teacher training programmes, including topics relating to:

  • Spoken grammar
  • Fluency and pronunciation
  • Metacognitive approaches
  • Varied textbooks and materials critique

The module is centred around the notion of research informed practice, and we will draw on diverse bodies of research to inform discussion. We then relate this to a practical critique of English language textbooks, materials and activities, and consider their relevance and/or application to varied English language teaching contexts worldwide.

You have the opportunity to analyse, plan, prepare and present a research-informed teaching activity to your peers, designed to target a specific aspect of speaking/listening of your choice. These will contribute to a Speaking and Listening Activity Database. This is growing resource throughout the module, providing a concrete forum for resources and ideas sharing.

You will both reflect on and relate the issues under discussion to your own experiences as a language learner, and/or as a language teacher. 

This module is worth 20 credits.


Study key work in narratology from literary, stylistic and sociolinguistic perspectives.

 We will explore narrative texts in terms of:

  • structure
  • temporal organisation
  • characterisation
  • point of view
  • ideology

You will examine both literary and non-literary narratives and gain an understanding of the historical development of narrative techniques.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Drama and Creative Writing modules: (20 credits each)

Creative Writing Conventions and Techniques

Develop your fiction through exercises and analysis of point of view, narrative voice, dialogue, and plot, among other techniques.

Expand your poetic range by playing with different approaches to form, exploring a range of creative techniques and sharpening your interpretive skills.

You will be encouraged to reflect on your writing output and incorporate the critiques of others when editing and developing your work.

This module is worth 20 credits. 

Writing Workshop: Fiction

Explore in depth how to write effective and compelling fiction.

Through in-class discussion and weekly readings and exercises, this module pushes and extends your own craft and technique.

Along the way, you’ll explore how to approach short story, flash fiction and novel writing. You’ll also be introduced to a range of secondary and critical texts that will help you deepen your own understanding of form, genre and style.

You will discover:

  • key prose-writing techniques, including point of view, characterisation, dialogue and setting
  • a range of form and genre, and the techniques and approaches that are relevant to them
  • a range of critical texts that deepen and extend your understanding of prose writing technique

This module is worth 20 credits

Writing Workshop: Poetry

Explore a range of poetic conventions, and the contexts in which poetry is produced, whilst developing your own poetic style. 

Through the ‘practitioner’ approach, you are not only supported in your craft but encouraged to work towards submitting your work for publication. 

The reading list for this module includes: 

  • poetry magazines
  • new writers’ anthologies
  • debut poetry collections
  • poetry in performance 

This module is worth 20 credits.

Shakespeare: Text, Stage and Screen

Explore the changing meanings of Shakespeare’s plays across text, stage and screen.

The module examines three plays in depth, looking at their literary interest (from textual history and sources to thematic concerns and characterisation) and their performative possibilities on stage and in film. The module is redesigned each year to take advantage of what theatres are currently staging.

By approaching the plays from multiple angles, you will discover the varied potential for reinterpretation and recreation that each text offers.

You will build on seminar discussions to develop your own project question about:

  • the interpretive possibilities that the plays offer
  • the choices made by specific interpreters of the text

Your project will be developed in consultation with tutors to consider the interplay of performance and text.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Riotous Performance: Drama, Disruption and Protest

Explore a range of modern drama, all themed around the idea of riot.

We will explore the phenomenon of the riot, examining how it is defined and how it might relate to other kinds of western performance event.

You will:

  • Analyse the way that riots have both been triggered by, and represented in, an assortment of other performances
  • Compare and contrast material from a range of different chronological periods and across a range of different genres

Although this module is largely focused on dramatic texts, it gives you the opportunity to consider an assortment of other performance events. For example, we will analyse the drama of Synge and O’Casey, the ballet of Stravinsky and Nijinsky, and the performance poetry of Linton Kwesi Johnson.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Dramatic Discourse

Explore the relationship between the ‘dramatic text’ of the written script, and the ‘theatrical text’ of the script in performance. 

Working with texts from the early modern period to the present day, we will draw on aspects of stylistics and discourse analysis. 

You will consider:

  • the role of language in moving dramatic scripts from page to stage
  • exploring aspects of characterisation (such as identity, power and provocation)
  • the role of language in story-telling on stage
  • the 'management' of performance through stage directions 

This module is worth 20 credits.

Learning to Publish: Contemporary Forms & Practices

Gain a practical introduction to the world of contemporary publishing, including:

  • journals
  • small presses
  • online writing
  • digital narratives
  • social media

You will explore the landscape of contemporary publishing, both offline and online, and study the practical skills needed to research, write, edit, and publish writing across a range of forms and platforms.

The module is structured around practical writing tasks, working towards a real-world publication project which will form the basis for your assessment. You will be taught through a mixture of lecture-style content on relevant topics and practice-based workshops.

Alongside the module, you also have the opportunity to take up a work placement with The Letters Page, the School of English's own literary journal.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Learning to Read: Criticism for Creative Writers

One of the key things you need to be able to do as a writer is critique and contextualise your own work.

This not only involves being able to edit and draft your work, it also includes understanding the wider influences from other literary and non-literary works.

These skills are really important when it comes to writing the critical essay – something you have to do alongside the creative work on the course. Yet, this module also explores how criticality itself offers new kinds of creative forms and approaches too, breaking down the traditional divide between prose, poetry and creative non-fiction.

You will explore:

  • How to critically examine your own creative work
  • How to write a critical essay
  • New hybridic forms of writing that cross traditional boundaries (for example, prose, poetry and non-fiction) such as autofiction and autotheory
  • New writers of creative, critical and hybridic work

This module is worth 20 credits

Practice and Practitioners

Investigate the complex relationships between writer, genre and creative industries.

In considering the production of prose and poetry, we will study the role of:

  • publishers
  • booksellers
  • editors
  • producers
  • literary events

Your assessment consists of a portfolio of either prose or poetry, or a combination of the two, as well as a critical essay.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Literature:1500 - The Present modules: (20 credits each)

Literature in Britain Since 1950

Concentrating on the novel, we examine literature in Britain since the Second World War.

This isn't an exhaustive overview of the period, rather we aim to present important topics and debates. This is done through an appropriate combination of teaching blocks, often focussing on particular themes or time periods.

We take 1950 as the starting point, after which distinctive post-war cultural and social trends began to emerge. In recent years, we have concentrated on rather more contemporary writing, for example in the period since 1990.

You will be working with our academics on materials which make up their most current and innovative research.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Literary Histories

It has often been suggested that the idea of literary history – a narrative that understands, classifies and explains the English literary past – is an impossibility.

The relationship between literature and the history of the time of its creation is an equally vexed and productive question. We will look at various ways in which literature has combined with the study of history and also how histories of literature have been constructed.

Topics explored include:

  • The development of the literary canon
  • Periodicity
  • Inclusions and exclusions
  • Reception
  • Rediscoveries
  • Representation

You will also look at the ways in which literary biography relates to the creation of literary histories. We will introduce key topics in the area and apply them to a variety of types of literature, and the myriad critical ways in which such literature has been viewed, both in its immediate moment and retrospectively.

This module is worth 20 credits. 

Modernism and the Avant-Garde in Literature and Drama

Explore how writers of the modernist period responded to an age of dramatic change, and new formations in society, politics and art.

This was an an age in which revolutionary developments in science, technology, philosophy and psychology prompted the formation of radically new understandings of the self and the world.

Studying a range of literary, dramatic, cultural and critical texts, we consider the individual and collective nature of the formulation of radical aesthetics. We will be discussing modernist and avant-garde approaches to such subjects as:

  • Subjectivity and consciousness
  • Community and identity: gender, race, nation
  • Experimental form and the literary marketplace

We will study these texts in relation to the many relevant contexts of the period, as well as by the light of more recent critical and theoretical approaches that continue to make new the work of the moderns.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Place, Region, Empire

Explore the relationship between literary texts and cultural concepts of place.

You will consider a selection of texts that can range from the 16th century to the present. You will also consider a range of critical and theoretical approaches to these texts, which will involve delving into cultural geography, literary history and theories of nationalism and postcolonialism.

Topics for discussion might include:

  • Maps and cultural cartographies
  • Urbanism and the literature of cities
  • Travel and literary tourism
  • Regional and provincial literature
  • Nationalism and cosmopolitanism
  • Colonialism and the postcolonial
  • The literature of empire
  • Ideas of community and dwelling
  • The relation between literary and spatial forms

Writers studied will vary from year to year.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Speculative Fictions

Speculative fiction incorporates all those genres that imagine worlds not quite like this one, from science fiction to fantasy and beyond.

This module introduces a range of such fictions, attending to the generic traditions and historical context from which they emerge, as well as their ongoing cultural relevance. Both hugely popular and the object of increasing scholarly interest, speculative fiction allows for theoretical and critical discussion of a range of contemporary issues:

  • Utopias and dystopias: future visions, past reflections
  • Technology and the posthuman, from AI to the augmented body
  • Loving the alien: alterity and identity
  • Genre and beyond: expectations and experimentation

We also cover a range of different media, considering such forms as film and the graphic novel, testifying to the genre’s great scope and its ongoing power to intrigue and enthral as it explores the boundaries of time, space, and the imagination.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Textualities: Defining, making and using text

Every published document that we read, be it a novel, poetry anthology, or magazine article, has been through a complex process of evolution and editing. This module introduces you to how texts are transmitted from ‘author’ to audience.

We will consider:

  • modes of transmission, both manuscript and print
  • modes of representation, including scholarly editions and anthologies, both print and digital
  • editorial theory and practice, including ‘best text’, genetic editing and single witness

You are encouraged to apply questions of editing to your own areas of interest, and work through the practicalities of producing an edition yourselves.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Poetry: Best words, Best Order

This module looks at various authors, movements, and genres in the history of English poetry, from 1500 to the present.

You will gain an overview of certain key chronological areas, and case studies of more specific movements or ideas. Themes and areas of focus may include:

  • late medieval
  • the 'drab'
  • religious verse
  • poetry and science
  • Epicureanism
  • verse epistles
  • gender and recovery
  • 'minor' poets and failure
  • Empire and Romanticism
  • the dramatic monologue
  • modernist poetics
  • free verse
  • ecopoetics

This module is worth 20 credits.

Medieval Language and Literature modules: (20 credits each)

Reading Old Norse

This module offers an introduction to the Old Norse language (no previous knowledge is necessary).

You will read selected texts in prose and verse, with an emphasis on the Old Icelandic sagas which describe Viking Age exploits and settlement from Norway to Newfoundland.

Each week you will study a different aspect of language and grammar through tailored exercises and focussed work on extracts from the set texts. You will also practise translating these extracts and discuss their literary and historical contexts.

By the end of the module, you will have an understanding of Old Norse vocabulary, grammar and syntax and you will be familiar with several key works of Old Icelandic literature.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Reading Old English

This module introduces working with early medieval English texts in their original language.

We explore a wide variety of texts, both poetry and prose, literary and non-literary. This includes everything from the lives of virgin saints, to literary heroic reworkings of Bible stories.

Starting with the basics, you will study a different aspect of language each week. After learning the grammar, you will then work with texts through translation, linguistic analysis, and discussing the literary and historical contexts in which they were produced, preserved and reproduced. 

By the end of the module, you will understand Old English grammar and syntax, and will be familiar with texts from a number of genres.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Research Methods in Viking and Early Medieval English Studies

Discover the research resources and methods needed for interdisciplinary Viking and Early Medieval English Studies.

All teaching takes place through a series of workshops and when possible an intensive extended field-trip, which:

  • introduce a variety of approaches to studying the Vikings and early medieval England, including runology and name-studies
  • offer a practical insight to public engagement and museums
  • provide basic bibliographical training and an introduction to relevant research and presentation skills

The field-trip is an opportunity to:

  • discover material and linguistic evidence relevant to the study of the Vikings and early medieval England
  • understand the importance of interpreting the evidence within its landscape setting

Please note that the timing and location of the field-trip are to be decided.

You will produce a portfolio of assessed work on your learning. You are also welcome to share your skills and take part in our well-established 'Vikings for Schools' project.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The History of the Book: 1200-1600

The book, handwritten or printed, was as innovative and pervasive a technology in the Middle Ages as electronic technologies are in our own time.

This module introduces the study of the book as physical ‘artefact’ and world-changing technology.

We will cover:

  • methods of construction and compilation
  • handwriting and early printing techniques
  • reading marginalia as well as text

You will also be introduced to the benefits and applications, as well as the problems, of applying an understanding of the artefact to the texts contained within.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Middle English Romance

This module considers twenty-first century historicized readings of a major English literary genre, and demonstrates that medieval English romance texts can be set in complex and profound critical relationship to each other and to other artistic media. Such an approach is possible largely because of the vibrant and privileged international socio-literary milieu in which many romance tracts were first written and received. Students will be encouraged to explore how reading Middle English romance texts can equip us with vocabulary and concepts to discuss the cultural specificities of the literary representations of romance, love and chivalry in this period, the representations of public and private identities, and the questions regarding individuality and selfhood that arise in literature produced in a volatile period of religious and social uncertainty and dissent. These are all issues that now define “the Middle Ages” for modern scholars.

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 Monday 12 July 2021.

You will complete a 60-credit dissertation:

English Studies MA Dissertation

During the summer, you will complete a 14,000-word, 60-credit dissertation. This is a major piece of independent research, and you will be allocated a supervisor who is a specialist in your chosen area

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 Monday 12 July 2021.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Seminars
  • Group study

You are taught in small seminar groups, so there is plenty of opportunity for discussion of ideas and development of our students as researchers.

MA Dissertation Preparation Day

This is an opportunity for students to learn more about the challenges of a larger-scale research project, about supervision and support, and about the resources available to Masters researchers. It is also a social occasion, bringing together our postgraduate students as an academic community. 

Find out more about the Dissertation Preparation Day.

Peer mentoring

All new postgraduate taught students can opt into our peer mentoring scheme. Your peer mentor will help you settle into life at Nottingham and access support if needed. 

More about peer mentoring.

How you will be assessed

  • Essay
  • Dissertation

Most modules are assessed by written work of varying lengths, corresponding with the content and weighting of the module.

Your course tutors provide detailed comments on assignments.

Towards the end of your studies, you will complete a 14,000 word dissertation. This is a major piece of independent research, and you will be allocated a supervisor who is a specialist in your chosen area.

Your dissertation supervisor will provide advice and guidance to help you select your area of study, and offer close supervision and support as you complete your research.

Contact time and study hours

You'll have around six hours of seminars (or equivalent) each week, which feeds into your independent study and research during the rest of the week.

As a guide, a 20-credit module is about 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study).

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) in English language/literature or a related arts or humanities subject


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

How to apply


UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2022 entry to be confirmed in August 2021.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

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


You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (i.e. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith).


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

The skills gained during this degree stand our graduates in good stead in areas from publishing to the heritage sector, and from marketing to academia.

You will also gain a range of transferable skills, including:

  • collating information
  • writing persuasively
  • managing deadlines
  • balancing creative and analytical thinking

Career progression

For postgraduate taught students from the School of English: 

  • 97.4% are in work or study 15 months after graduating
  • 81.6% are in graduate level work or study 15 months after graduating 

Source: University of Nottingham derived figures from HESA's Graduate Outcomes Survey of the Class of 2017/18 (Open Data Release 23rd June 2020)

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" The power to think critically, write persuasively, and read with a fine sensitivity to the nuances of prose and poetry are three remarkable skills that you will take away from English Studies at Nottingham. You will also emerge with unique expertise in two or three areas, including: Medieval Literature, Literature from 1500-Present, Drama and Creative Writing, and Linguistics. "
Dr Rebekah Scott, Programme Director

Related courses

This content was last updated on Monday 12 July 2021. 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.