The MA in English has two main strands: the taught classes (from a wide selection of modules) and the independent research project (the dissertation). This two-fold dimension allows students, on the one hand, to develop their knowledge and confidence with the guidance of a teacher in the taught coursework and, on the other, to develop a substantial autonomous research and writing project.
Students take one core taught module (Writing and Research) that run across both semesters. In this module students study some indispensable works of literary theory and criticism, and refine their skills in writing, research methods, the use of libraries and resources, and critical thinking. Students learn how to design, revise and carry out a credible dissertation plan. Students choose a further five elective taught modules from a wide range of options in the areas of literature (e.g., Shakespeare, Old and Middle English, American literature, narratology, Dickens, travel literature), literary theory, cultural and social theory and also in the cognate areas of film studies, drama, Irish studies, digital humanities and journalism (e.g., textual studies, book history, colonialism, film theory, Beckett, Wilde, digital film, Irish modernity).
The coursework takes place during term, and work on the dissertation spans the second semester and the summer after coursework has been concluded. The dissertation is 15,000 words long, and is submitted in early August.