Postgraduate study
Combining linguistics and literary study, this course aims to turn you into a creative-thinking interdisciplinary expert.
MA Literary Linguistics by Web-based Distance Learning
2-4 years part-time
Entry requirements
2.1 (Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)
7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
September and February
UK/EU fees
£9,450 - Terms apply
International fees
£9,450 - Terms apply
Distance learning



The School of English at Nottingham has long been in the forefront of research and teaching in the interface between language, literature and culture. 

This web-based MA Literary Linguistics provides an exciting integration of English language in literary studies. You will work with several leading world figures in the course of discovering your own position in language and literature: the programme covers a wide range of material, with options to develop your own thinking and pursue your own interests and research. 

The principle of language study that we have established at Nottingham combines theoretical and ideological dimensions with practical applications; we aim to be rigorous and principled while offering an approach to literary language study that is fundamentally humane. 

We will explore the discourses of literary texts and literary reading, from the most focused study of the texture of language right up to the ideological and cultural practices of world literatures. 

We believe that linguistics and literary study cannot be separated, and we aim to turn you into a creative-thinking interdisciplinary expert in literary linguistics.

The MA has intakes in September and February.

Key facts


You will be taught using the latest advances in teaching methods and electronic resources. Principle features of the masters programme include:

  • teaching informed by active researchers
  • access to a variety of on-line resources
  • flexible course content
  • a theoretical grounding in research methodology and linguistic description

Please Note:

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies.  Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


Full course details

The web-based MA Literary Linguistics is taught using the latest advances in online teaching methods and electronic resources.

The course explores the ways in which language and literary studies can be integrated. It draws on different contemporary approaches to language and discourse from the fields of modern linguistics, cognitive science and related fields. It covers a diverse range of poetry, prose and drama, and also offers contrastive study of non-literary discourse, including spoken language. 

Many of the modules on this course are optional and currently cover topics such as:

  • Descriptive Linguistic Analysis
  • Narratology
  • Literary Linguistics
  • Language and Gender 
  • Cognition and Literature
  • Intercultural Communication 
  • World Englishes
  • What is Literature?

Please note that all module details are subject to change. 

Towards the end of this course, you will complete a supervised dissertation. This is a major piece of advanced independent research, which you will undertake with the supervision of a specialist in your chosen area. We will provide you with advice and guidance while you select and refine your area of study, and offer close supervision and support as you complete your research and your MA.

This course can be taken part-time over 24 to 48 months.

Students should check the eligibility requirements with their funding body before enrolling on a part-time course.

Students take 180 credits worth of modules, including the dissertation element. One credit represents 10 hours of student work. Modules are worth 20 credits, and are classified at level 4 (i.e., intended for students who hold a first degree in an appropriate subject at a suitable standard).

Students are required to take the module Descriptive Linguistic Analysis. This is an entry module which must be successfully completed before continuing with the MA.

Students can choose an additional 100 credits from a range of taught elective modules. A final 60-credit dissertation completes the MA.

Course materials and teaching for this course are available over the Internet. 

All taught modules are assessed by written work of around 3,000 words or equivalent (for a 15-credit module). Tutors provide feedback on practice exercises as preparation, and detailed comments on assignments.

The dissertation module is assessed by written work of 14,000 words.

You will have access to many online resources, as well as your own personal tutor for each module that you take. Particular features of the programme include:

  • a theoretical grounding in research methodology and linguistic description
  • one-to-one tuition with expert members of staff
  • innovative and engaging teaching methods
  • access to many online resources
  • great flexibility in course content, optionality, and changes in direction.

All MA students in the School of English join a lively and thriving postgraduate community. As such, you will be invited to attend a voluntary 'Summer School' each year, giving you a chance to meet other students in the school face-to-face.

Details of course fees and other costs are available on the School web pages

This MA is also available on a full-or part-time basis, taught within the University.



The following is a sample of typical modules that we offer, not a definitive list. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change, for example due to curriculum developments.

Descriptive Linguistic Analysis (20 credits)

This module is a core course in language and linguistics. It introduces and then develops the key terms, theories, frameworks, ideological approaches and methodologies required in linguistic study and research. It includes a substantial research methods component. It also invites and encourages critical evaluation, reflection and response to linguistic thinking and analysis.


Literary Linguistics 1 (20 credits)

This module explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through a series of practical analyses, students will be introduced to a range of linguistic explorations of poetry, prose, and drama from a wide range of historical periods. The course will invite students to use the analyses as an occasion for the critical evaluation of the various approaches to language and literature, to investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation, and to consider the scope and validity of stylistics in relation to literature and literary studies.

Literary Linguistics 2 (20 credits)

This module further explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts.


Cognition and Literature (20 credits)

This module represents a course in cognitive poetics. It draws on insights developed in cognitive science, especially in psychology and linguistics, in order to develop an understanding of the processes involved in literary reading. The module also develops skills in stylistics and critical theory. 


Narratology (20 credits)

This module surveys key work in narratology, from literary, stylistic and sociolinguistic perspectives, with each unit written by an area specialist. The module introduces key approaches to the study of narratology and offers students insight into the development of narrative from Chaucer to the present day. The emphasis will be on literary narratives, though comparative exploration of non-literary and narratives will also appear.


World Englishes (20 credits)

The module will examine the historical and social development of the English language in contexts largely but not exclusively outside the traditional boundaries of Great Britain and the United States. This will involve an examination of language development, nativisation and acculturation in different contexts; social, political and ideological aspects of the phenomenon will be examined.

What is Literature? (20 credits)

This 30-credit module addresses the question ‘What is literature?’ by introducing key critical methodologies and theoretical frameworks that have been developed to study literary and dramatic texts. The primary aim is to encourage you to become more reflexive about your own practice as a literary critic. For this reason, the range of the module is purposely broad. Each Unit introduces a particular critical methodology or theoretical framework and works through significant issues by examining a particular author, period or genre, ranging broadly over literatures from the fourteenth century to the present day.


Language and Gender (20 credits)

The module will explore the relationship between language and gender in spoken interaction and written texts, drawing on key approaches in the areas of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. The extent to which gender affects the language we produce when interacting with one another in a variety of contexts will be focused on, along with the issue of sexism in language use. Various theoretical paradigms that have been presented to explain language and gender differences will be critically examined, along with gender ideologies which operate in society. Students will be encouraged to combine theoretical thinking with hands-on analyses of data from authentic examples of spoken interaction and from a variety of publications including the popular media. The practical consequences of the discipline in terms of how findings can have a political impact on wider society are also discussed.

Intercultural Communication (20 credits)

This module will explore the use of language in interactions between speakers of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds from three different perspectives: Description, Development, and Assessment. With a growing proportion of interactions in the world today taking place between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, it is important to identify and describe language use which may lead to misunderstanding and communicative breakdown. This module will look at ways in which language barriers might be overcome in such interactions, and at the key factors in this process. We will examine intercultural interactions in a variety of contexts, e.g. business and other professional encounters, the language of the media, the foreign language classroom, etc.


More information on the above modules is available in the Module Catalogue.

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The above is a sample of the typical modules that 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

UK/EU Students

Please note that distance learning students are charged a standard fee with no differentiation between UK/EU and international students. Fees are paid on a module by module basis.

The majority of postgraduate students in the UK fund their own studies, often from a package made up of personal savings, parental loans or contributions, bank loans and support from a trust or charity.

The School also provides a number of bursaries and scholarships for MA students.

Below you will find links to the latest information about the main sources of funding open to postgraduate students who wish to study in the School:

Funding for postgraduate students

The Graduate School website at The University of Nottingham provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

Government loans for masters courses

Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

Our postgraduate students move into an extraordinarily wide range of careers following their time in the School.

According to The Times, “English graduates have almost any career path open to them ... All of the big graduate recruiters look for communication skills.” (Clare Dight, ‘Degree Doctor…English’, The Times, 6 April 2006).

Conducting postgraduate work in the School of English fosters many vital skills and may give you a head start in the job market. Studying at this level allows you to develop qualities of self-discipline and self-motivation that are essential to employment in a wide range of different fields.

We will help you 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.

A postgraduate degree in English Studies from an institution like The University of Nottingham shows potential employers that you are an intelligent, hard-working individual who is bright and flexible enough to undertake any form of specific career training.

Our applicants are among the best in the country, and employers expect the best from our graduates.

Average starting salary

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers.*

Consequently – and owing to our reputation for excellence – more than 84% of postgraduates from the School of English enter employment or further study during the first six months after graduation. The average starting salary for postgraduates from the Faculty of Arts was £20,250 with the highest being £33,000.**

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.
**Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2017. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK. 

Career Prospects and Employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field . Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from  careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. 

Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.  


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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