Postgraduate study
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English Literature: Literature and Society: Enlightenment, Romantic and Victorian MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

This masters programme offers an encounter with a range of topics in literary study centred on the literary history of England, Scotland and Ireland in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The core seminar courses (one in each of two semesters) survey the development of literary genres in prose and verse in relation to their intellectual, social and political contexts as these changed from the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 to the end of the Victorian period. These are the centuries which see:

  • in the Enlightenment, the invention and elaboration of modern ‘liberal’ ideas of society
  • Romantic conceptions of nationality and national history
  • the challenge to these ideas presented by industrial society and a global Imperial polity

The core courses of this programme will examine the ways in which novels and poems mediated and resisted these and other developments.

Alongside the core courses, in each semester students will take an additional seminar course chosen from a range of options.

In both semesters, a research methods course helps prepare students for their masters dissertation, written on a topic of their own choosing between April and August.

The programme will be taught in seminars over two semesters, after which you will write an independently researched dissertation.

You will complete:

  • 2 compulsory (core) courses, each worth 20 credits
  • 2 option courses, each worth 20 credits
  • 40 credits of mandatory training in research methods.

The core courses will cover the periods 1688 to 1815 and 1815 to 1900 respectively. You can find out more about these courses, and browse indicative reading lists for them, on our Course Catalogue. Please note that the catalogue is for the current academic year, and may be subject to change.

Option courses

You will take two option courses. The choices we will offer you may include:

  • The Reign of Terror: Fear and Loathing in Romantic Literature
  • Modern Love: Victorian Poetry and Prose
  • Fairy Tales
  • Digital Humanities for Literary Studies
  • Green Thoughts: Landscape, Environment and Literature
  • The Long Summer: Edwardian Texts and Contexts 1900–1910
  • The Novel in the Romantic Period: Gender, Gothic, and the Nation
  • Great Victorian Novel
  • Illness Narratives through History

Your MSc dissertation will be worth 60 credits.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScLiterature and Society: Enlightenment, Romantic and Victorian1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
MScLiterature and Society: Enlightenment, Romantic and Victorian2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

Students who successfully follow this programme will gain:

  • knowledge and understanding of 18th and 19th century literary writing in Britain and Ireland in relation to its social, political and intellectual contexts
  • practice in reading literary texts in relation to a range of theoretical and philosophical ideas
  • a grounding in the research methods of literary studies

This programme will help you to identify possible topics for advanced research in English literature, potentially leading to an academic career.

The transferable skills you gain, such as communication, project management and analysis, will give you an edge in a competitive employment market.

Meet our graduates

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in English literature or a relevant discipline.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScLiterature and Society: Enlightenment, Romantic and Victorian1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScLiterature and Society: Enlightenment, Romantic and Victorian2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 1 July 2024

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Please be aware that applications must be submitted and complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 06 November 2023 21 December 2023
2 15 January 2024 14 March 2024
3 11 March 2024 02 May 2024
4 20 May 2024 18 July 2024
5 01 July 2024 08 August 2024

(Revised 19 October 2023 to update application deadlines and selection dates)

You must submit one reference with your application.

The online application process involves the completion of a web form and the submission of supporting documents.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH