English Literature

Open University in Ireland

English Literature

MA in English
Our MA in English Literature introduces you to studying literature, poetry, drama and prose in relation to culture and across three broad themes. The first of these, literary-popular culture, includes exploring genre writing, the bestseller and mass literary production. In revolution and literature, you'll encounter texts representing revolutionary social or political change. The third theme is global literary cultures where you'll look at English literature as an international literary form. The structure of this masters degree allows you to select options and specialise throughout the first year in preparation for the more sustained self-directed work of the dissertation in year two.

Key features of the course
• Explore literature as a cultural artefact and a form shaped by commercial production, morality, politics, ideas of value, and histories of difference.
• Provides options to specialise in at every stage, effectively curating your own pathway.
• Equips you with practical skills in literary research methods such as archival and manuscript research.
• Provides the opportunity to design and disseminate your work on digital platforms.

Subjects taught

To gain the 180 credits you require for this qualification, you must study the modules in the order shown below and pass part 1 before progressing to part 2:

Compulsory modules Credits
• MA English literature part 1 (A893) 90
• MA English literature part 2 (A894) Planned 90

You should note that the University's unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you. Due to the structure of this qualification 90 credits will be required.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time.

Entry requirements

You must hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent), preferably in English or a closely related subject. Although your degree need not be in English, you must show some knowledge of the subject, together with the study skills expected of a graduate in this field. You should be aware that a degree of at least 2.1 or equivalent will greatly increase your chances of successfully completing the MA.

The MA in English Literature assumes that a candidate for a masters degree already has the knowledge and skills usually acquired by pursuing the subject at undergraduate level. The qualification will not offer remedial undergraduate training for those who have an inappropriate undergraduate degree or inadequate experience.

It is expected that your spoken and written English will also be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 7 under the International English Language testing system (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

If you're in any doubt about the suitability of your qualifications or previous experience, please contact us for advice.


180 credits


2 years.

How long it takes
You will be able to complete this masters qualification within two years by studying one module a year.

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Career relevance
This degree is relevant to careers that directly call on knowledge of English literature and culture. It may also be relevant for careers that demand skills in the creative use and analysis of texts of various sorts, critical thinking and organisation, and understanding of culture in a broad sense. It is also useful (particularly alongside relevant skills and experience) if you aim to work in the media, culture or knowledge industries – or are employed already in these areas and need further qualifications to progress. A masters degree can be useful for professional development in teaching, and if you want to pursue an academic career it provides good preparation for the higher level research that is prerequisite (such as a PhD).

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    MA (Engl) (Open)

  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

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