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English Studies: Eighteenth-Century Literature and Romanticism

MA ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


Our MA in English Studies: Eighteenth-Century Literature and Romanticism investigates the history of genres and authorship, and literature’s connections with philosophy, politics, history, and visual culture.

In this pathway, we consider the popular culture of coffee house and tavern, the political world on the street and in parliament, the vocations of women poets and polemicists, polite society and its interests in the management of emotions and arts, epistolary culture, religious dissent, and the metropolitan life of London. We examine Romantic poetics and manifestos, generic innovation and experiment, Romantic science and medicine, Orientalism, travel, relations between British and Continental Romanticism, and the French Revolution and its aftershocks.

This pathway aims to prepare students to formulate a research topic, identify research materials, and present an argument in written and oral form that is formed by alternative interpretations. Students who complete the pathway will be aware of the interdisciplinary debates concerning the literature and history of this period, and will have engaged with a variety of materials: theoretical, visual, historical, and literary. You will also be able to deploy a range of appropriate skills in research, bibliography, and IT.

On the programme, you will:

  • Gain a more advanced understanding of eighteenth-century and Romantic literature and culture
  • Pursue the modules that interest you the most
  • Develop new skills in argument, presentation, and independent research
  • Graduate with the freedom to continue researching your literary interests at doctoral level or to pursue a wide range of careers.

Research Seminars

In addition to taught modules, we run a range of research seminars to which MA students are invited. Some of these are linked to our interdisciplinary Research Centres, such as the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, the Centre for Religion and Literature in English and the Centre for the History of the Emotions. Others are collaborations with other institutions, such as the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar, which meets monthly at Senate House and annually in Paris. In addition, there is the Postgraduate Research Seminar, which invites visiting speakers across all fields of English studies. These seminars are an opportunity to meet other postgraduate students and members of staff and to learn about the latest developments in research.

For full information about life in the School and the programmes we offer, please see the School of English and Drama Website.


The MA in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Romanticism is currently available for one year full-time study, or two years part-time study.

You will take four assessed modules and two non-assessed research training modules before proceeding to the 15,000-word dissertation.

Assessed modules are taught in weekly two-hour seminars. The research-training modules will involve visits to archives and galleries which may each take up an afternoon. The dissertation is supervised through sessions with a specially designated supervisor. In addition to the timetabled sessions, you will be asked to attend meetings with your adviser and course tutor. You will also need to undertake many hours of independent learning and research in order to progress at the required level. When coursework deadlines are approaching independent learning hours may need to increase significantly.


You will take four assessed modules (two in each semester) and two non-assessed research training modules (one in each semester) before proceeding to the 15,000-word dissertation.


Part-time students take one assessed module per semester over for semesters. You will also take the two non-assessed research modules in your first two semesters.

You are encouraged to begin work on your dissertation at the end of the first year, and will submit it in August of your second year.

Timetables are likely to be finalised in September but you should be able to get an idea of the teaching hours if you contact the course convenor, David Duff.

Compulsory modules:

  • Ideas and Metaphors: 1700-1820
  • London Panoramas: Research Culture and the Long Eighteenth Century (non-assessed)
  • Resources for Research (non-assessed)

Optional modules include:

You will choose three modules (one of which may be from another pathway) from a list which may include:

  • Autobiographical Literature and Religious Dissent
  • Romantic Manifestos
  • Romantic Worldview: the Orient and Others
  • Selfhood and Enlightenment in the Long Eighteenth Century
  • Sociability: Literature and the City, 1660-1780
  • Cultures of Friendship
  • Romanticism and Genre
  • The Godwins and the Shelleys

For more information:

Visit the English and Drama website.


School of English and Drama Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8571 email:

For informal enquiries and academic advice, please contact:

Professor David Duff MA Pathway Convenor

Entry requirements

Most applicants will have an undergraduate degree with a first or good upper second class honours (or the equivalent) in English or such related fields as history, cultural studies and media studies. Where a North American marking scheme is used, applicants should have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5.

Promising applicants who do not meet the formal academic criteria but who possess relevant credentials and who can demonstrate their ability to produce written work at masters level will also be considered. Applicants may be invited to interview or asked to submit examples of written and/or creative work. We welcome applications from mature and non-traditional students.

International applicants: Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. You can find details on our English language entry requirements here:

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

Learning and teaching

As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is primarily by small group seminars complemented, where relevant, with visits to museums, galleries, and archives in London. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and will involve you discussing with your peers your reflections on a range of primary and secondary materials.

Independent Study

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; researching; producing written work; and completing projects.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


English modules are typically assessed via 4,000-word essays, although some modules offer alternative modes of assessment. You will also prepare a dissertation of 15,000 words following the completion of your taught modules. The module essays make up 67% of your overall mark, while the dissertation is worth 33%. Some modules ask you to complete a shorter piece of writing of 1,000; these pieces don't contribute to your overall grade but do allow us to provide formative feedback on your progress.


Tuition fees

Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide [PDF] for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717

Graduate Employment

English at Queen Mary produces independent researchers who can pursue careers in academia, the cultural sector, and a range of other professions.

Research training

Our masters programmes include compulsory research training elements. Many of these elements are period-specific and will help to enhance your understanding of certain literary periods and allow you to pursue successful independent research for your dissertation. Other elements work to develop key transferable skills in communication and research.

Professional development

Pursuing postgraduate study in English will make you an excellent researcher and investigator. Many of our graduates use these skills to pursue careers in academia. Others find these skills useful for a range of complementary professions, including archivist, librarian, researcher, and journalist. Studying English with us will also give you a range of higher-level skills in research, analysis, and communication.


Throughout your studies, you will have opportunities to establish formal and informal relationships with a diverse array of archives, libraries, museums, charities, bookshops, and disparate other institutions. Some of our graduates have gone on to work in institutions first encountered during their postgraduate studies.

Graduate destinations

The range of skills gained through our programmes, coupled with networking opportunities and extracurricular activities, has enabled our students to move into a range of careers including:

  • Magazine Editor, Vine magazine
  • Editorial Assistant, Times Literary Supplement
  • Project Coordinator, The Poetry Society
  • Assistant Producer, Touch Press
  • Research Assistant, Inspirit Brands
  • Funded PhD Student, Yale
  • Reader in English Literature, Kingston University



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