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We are a diverse and vibrant community of students and academic staff, united in our passion for our subject.

Our degrees give you the high-level skills of critical analysis, communication, negotiation, adaptability, problem solving, and cultural understanding that will be crucial to your success, both during and after university.

students studying in the library
The MA in English at Reading was a really valuable and rewarding part of my academic development. In addition to extending my encounters with a range of materials, topics, and approaches within the sphere of literature and theory, it more importantly provided a platform both for myself and other students continuing on from Reading undergraduate study, and for students arriving at the University from other institutions, to develop strong working relationships with members of staff within the English Literature department, and in the wider University community. And beyond core research and study, the extra-curricular events and projects I was personally able to develop at Reading benefited greatly from the foundation of the MA.
Jerome Cox-Strong

Variety and flexibility

Our master's programmes are designed to allow you to follow your interests - for your two core modules you can select the period, genre and author(s) you wish to specialise in. For instance, you could choose your master's to focus solely on twentieth-century texts.

Contact hours

You will be taught in small seminar groups characterised by lively discussion. In addition, you will have one-to-one meetings with seminar leaders and personal tutors and receive individual supervision for your dissertations.

Our community is highly rated for its friendliness.

Reputation and expertise

Join an English Literature department with wide-ranging interests and world-leading archives, which is ranked in the top 150 worldwide for English Language and Literature. (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2024.)

Our master's-level teaching is driven by our research, and you'll be taught by international experts.

94% of our research outputs are rated 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent', meaning that the University of Reading is 6th in the UK for research outputs in English Language and Literature (Times Higher Education analysis of the latest Research Excellence Framework 2021 – English Language and Literature, when scoring by GPA Output).

As one of the oldest English Literature departments in the UK, we have a long record of expertise.

Career prospects

In addition to expertise in English literature, you’ll develop skills in critical thinking and writing.

Our recent MA graduates have pursued careers in publishing, teaching, museums, libraries and archives, politics, and media research.

Our master’s programmes also provide research training, so you’ll be equipped to progress to PhD study or a career in a research organisation such as a thinktank or heritage body. We also offer guidance in how to apply for funding.

The MA in English Literature at Reading was a thoroughly enjoyable year for me! It allowed me to pursue my interests in 19th-Century literature, whilst better understanding the context in which these texts were written. The modules were varied, which I liked, and taught by knowledgeable and inspirational lecturers. I would have to say that the module on Materiality and Textuality really ignited my interest in working with archival materials and subsequently my interest in pursuing a career in Librarianship.
Carley Stirups, MA Alumni

Special Collections and resources

The University has a wealth of literary treasures and superb resources. Our Library has excellent holdings – papers and manuscripts of several twentieth-century poets, a large collection of historical children’s books, and an impressive rare book collection.

We house the Archive of British Publishing and Printing, which includes records of literary publishers such as Chatto & Windus and the Hogarth Press. We also have the world’s leading Samuel Beckett archive, containing manuscripts, letters, memoranda and book materials.

Major research resources, such as the British Library in London and the Bodleian in Oxford, are within easy reach.

Find out more about our Special Collections and resources


Our research

The English Literature Department pursues internationally recognised research across the historical spectrum.


Life in the Department

Join our postgraduate community and become an integral part of our thriving and dynamic Department.


Meet our experts

Our talented and internationally-diverse team are actively involved in research, contributing directly to your teaching and supervision.