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From Genesis to JM Coetzee, our MA in English offers you a rich and exciting experience of higher level literary study. You will broaden your knowledge and appreciation of different genres, periods, techniques and writers, and the ways in which they have been transmitted and read. You will develop your independent skills in literary research, culminating in a dissertation on a topic and texts of your own choosing. This course can help you pursue or develop a career in the media, culture and knowledge industries, and other professions that require understanding of literature and culture, and skills in the creative use of textual analysis.

Key features of the course
• Explores a wide range of literary texts from ancient times to the present
• Equips you with key research methods in literary study
• Ideal preparation for doctoral level research and for a wide range of careers.

Entry requirements

To successfully undertake this postgraduate study, you will ideally need to have an undergraduate honours degree 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. 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.

The MA English assumes that a candidate for a master’s 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. Any student beginning the qualification without an undergraduate degree or equivalent experience in English should do so at their own risk. If you would like further advice regarding this, please speak to an adviser.

Before you enter the degree you must be able to:
•write clear, concise, accurate prose
•read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
•classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
•argue logically, consistently and sceptically
•marshal various sorts of evidence to support a logical argument.

To get an idea of whether the level of work involved and the approach taken on this MA is appropriate for you, you are advised to read some sections of material from the set books list for MA English part 1 (A815). In particular, we would suggest that you read the introduction to The Handbook to Literary Research. Chapter 2 of The Handbook also provides you with an indication of the skills you will need to be ready to develop in order to complete the MA. Other chapters of The Handbook give you an idea of some of the approaches to literary research with which you will have opportunities to engage on the MA. If you would like help to assess your preparedness you can contact us for advice.

Duration

How long it takes
2 - 10 years. The minimum time to complete is two years, the maximum time to complete is ten years.

Study method
Distance learning

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

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).

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442
Email: ireland@open.ac.uk

Subjects taught

Modules
You must pass MA English part 1 before studying MA English part 2.

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

Compulsory modules

Credits Next start
MA English part 1 (A815) 120 07 Oct 2017
MA English part 2 (A816) 60 05 May 2018

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.

Comment

On completion
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded the Master of Arts in English entitling you to use the letters MA (Engl) (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.

If you leave the programme before you qualify for the MA you can gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Humanities (D35) after successfully completing the 120-credit module MA English part 1 (A815).

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!