You’ve read the classics, but you want a fresh take on literature, old and new. Perhaps you want to explore particular genres, themes or periods of literature in more depth; or perhaps you want to discover that your new favourite author is someone you’ve never heard of before. Studying literature widens your horizons, sharpens your critical skills, develops your writing ability, and introduces you to the great cultures, thoughts, ideas and imaginations of the world.
Studying at Essex will challenge and revolutionise the way you think about literature. We’ll invite you to reflect on how literature shapes, and is shaped by, the world. Drawing on key texts, core theories and concepts, you’ll develop critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills that will help you make your own mark.
On our four-year MLitSt Literature, you will be part of an interdisciplinary department where literary critics work alongside practising poets, dramatist, film-makers, novelists and journalists.
You have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of optional modules across different topics and areas of specialism, including;
- Literatures of slavery and emancipation
- Themes of love, desire and death
- Identity, diversity and voice in United States literature
- Shakespeare’s tragedies
- Postcolonial literature
- Romantic, Gothic, naturalist, realist and sentimental writing
- 20th and 21st century literature
- Modernism, postmodernism, dystopias, and science fiction
- European, Caribbean and Transatlantic literature
- Poetic, contemporary, avant-garde and political writing
In your fourth year, as a post-graduate student, you will be able to choose from the following masters level modules in literature and, if you wish, creative writing:
- Shakespeare and the Modern
- Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis
- The Modern City: From Modernism to Postmodernism
- Caribbean Crossings: Literature across continents
- African American Literature
- Dramatic Structure
- Memory Maps
- Oulipo and the Avant Garde
- US Avant Garde poetry
At Essex, you can study modules which examine a variety of genres, including travel writing, the podcast, and autobiography among others, and work across different media, including books, newspapers, plays and film. Our modules not only span momentous historical, political and social worldwide events, but also examine the alternative worlds that literature has produced.
At Essex we believe in radical, challenging and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature and while we are respectful of conventions, we’re not bound by them.
Our expert staff
At Essex, we have an impressive literary legacy. Our history comprises staff (and students) who have been Nobel Prize winners, Booker Prize winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners.
We are committed to unlocking your analytical and creative responses to literature within a community of award-winning novelists, poets and playwrights, as well as leading literature specialists.
- Meet fellow readers at our student-run Literature Society or the Myth Reading Group
- Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading literature specialists at the Essex Book Festival
- Write for our student media platform Rebel
- Learn from leading writers and literature specialists at our weekly Open Research seminars
- Our research clusters allow you to collaborate with professionals on cutting-edge research while also improvising and experimenting with new work
A good literature degree opens many doors and our students have gone on to work in a number of careers such as writers, and others are now established as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers’ editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of desirable roles including:
- The Civil Service
- Journalism and broadcasting
- Museum and library work
- Commerce and finance
We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- Achieve a masters level qualification with this four-year course variant
- Join a diverse network of distinguished alumni, including Booker Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners
- At Essex we believe in radical, challenging and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature and while we are respectful of conventions, we’re not bound by them.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.