Postgraduate study

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

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

This masters programme is a fascinating exploration of the ways in which writing in English has shaped or mediated political identities in England, Scotland and Ireland.

It introduces you to the relationship between literary writing and political and social discourse in Britain and Ireland between the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 and the end of the 19th century. This is the period of the creation of the Britain in which we live today, and also the time in which ancient British, Scottish and Irish national cultures were conceptualised as a response to radical literary, social and political innovations.

In examining the role of literary writing in this period, you will evaluate the ways in which it changed in response to social and political developments.

You will also explore how Romantic conceptions of history, society and the aesthetic are developed and questioned during the course of the 19th century.

The programme will be taught through a combination of seminars and tutorials over two semesters, after which you will complete an independently researched dissertation.

You will complete two compulsory and two option courses, along with courses in research methods.

Compulsory courses:

  • Enlightenment and Romanticism 1688–1815
  • Romanticism and Victorian Society 1815–1900
  • Research Skills and Methods

You can find out more about core courses, and browse indicative reading lists for them, on our Course Catalogue for the current academic year.

Option courses

Option courses may include:

  • Critical Theory: Issues and Debates
  • The Reign of Terror: Fear and Loathing in Romantic Literature
  • 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
  • Illness Narratives through History
  • The Literary Absolute

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
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

Students who successfully follow this programme will gain:

  • knowledge and understanding of the role of literary writing in the formation of British, Scottish, Irish and English national identities in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • practical knowledge of the range of theoretical and philosophical ideas informing contemporary literary criticism
  • 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.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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

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

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.
  • 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.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.

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 or Trinity ISE, 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.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 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
12 September 2022 31 July 2022

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.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2022/23:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 08 November 2021 16 December 2021
2 14 January 2022 15 March 2022
3 08 March 2022 28 April 2022
4 23 May 2022 26 July 2022
5 30 June 2022 10 August 2022

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