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Education Master's and PhD degree programmes Literary Studies English Literature and Culture
Header image English Literature and Culture

English Literature and Culture

Literary study is socially relevant: from the medieval to the modern, it maps the forces which divide and unite people. English is the global language of cultural exchange and experiment.

The themes of conflict and co-operation are at the core of the Master's track in English Literature and Culture, a programme that allows students a broad choice from a range of modules drawing on the full historical and geographical sweep of literatures in English.

It is a key tenet of the track that the academic study of English literature can be used to reflect on the ways that people - as individuals and as groups - interact with one another, and that it provides a catalyst for insight into contemporary social debates. Literature captures the separation and the solidarity of its writers and audiences in a manner particular to itself: it is a multidisciplinary practice that is as various as the texts it studies. The programme's core themes of conflict and co-operation are linked to sustainable society, a research priority of the university.

For more information see: English Language & Culture.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MA in M Literary Studies
Course type
Master
Duration
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
60813
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Arts
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • An academic humanities degree with a socially relevant focus
  • Size: The resources of a large research university but with small classes (typically 10-15 students)
  • Atmosphere: A friendly ambience contributes to our positive student feedback
  • International: Our staff have received their doctorates from a mix of Dutch universities and international institutions (Oxford, Cambridge, Toronto, Edinburgh)
  • Employability: Academic excellence with transferable skills
Programme
Semesters
CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Crossing Borders : From Literature of Exile to Migrant Fiction (5 EC, optional)
Literature and the Meaning of Life (5 EC, optional)
MA Research Seminar (5 EC, optional)
Masterlanguages Courses (5 EC, optional)

A choice of modules offered by the English departments of the Netherlands.

Module from Writing, Editing and Mediating – e.g., Towards the Digital Text, Part A or B; Creative Writing, Part A or B (10 EC, optional)
Anglo-Saxon England in the 16th and 17th Centuries (5 EC, optional)
Poetry After Chaucer (5 EC, optional)
The World of Women in Early Medieval Europe (5 EC, optional)
Transformative and/or Fan Fiction (5 EC, optional)
Children's Gothic (5 EC, optional)
Navigating the Cantos of Ezra Pound (5 EC, optional)
Order and Conflict in Renaissance England (5 EC, optional)
MA Thesis (20 EC)

Your degree ends with a thesis on a subject of your choosing.

MA Work Placement (10 EC, optional)
Virginia Woolf: Beyond the Lighthouse (5 EC, optional)

Curriculum

The course titles above are recent examples. Courses can vary each year. For detailed information about compulsory and optional courses, please visit Ocasys (https://ocasys.rug.nl/current/catalog/programme/60813?legacy=true).

For information about the variety of areas in which students can write their dissertations, click the Research tab above.

As part of their programme, students can opt to complete a 10-credit work placement (a.k.a. internship). At the Faculty of Arts, students are responsible for finding a placement for themselves and having it approved by the placement coordinator for their programme, Tekla Mecsnóber, who can be reached at t.d.mecsnober rug.nl.

Students can also follow Masterlanguage courses. These courses are jointly organized by the English departments of the universities of the Netherlands and courses take place all over the country. More information about the courses can be found on the Masterlanguage website: http://masterlanguage.nl/taal/engels/. You may follow Masterlanguage courses in consultation with the Board of Examiners of your Master's degree programme.

Programme options
Master's Placement (specialization)

This Master's track includes an optional work placement for which you are awarded ECTS credit points.

It is your responsibility to find a placement yourself, but the Office for Student Affairs can offer help with this where necessary.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is unaccommodated
Entry requirements

Transfer options

Transferring from...

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
English Language and CultureUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements
Study programmeOrganizationTransition
English Language and CultureAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

Students with a Bachelor's degree in the field of English Literature and/or Culture are admissible to this Master's track.

language test

Additional English language requirement: a TOEFL iBT with a score of 110 (min. of 25 on all items); an IELTS, Academic Module, with a score of 8 (min. of 7.5 on all items); ERK level C1. Cambridge C1 Advanced (level A) or C2 Proficiency with a minimum score of 200. If your BA does not certify this, you may have to take an appropriate language test.

other admission requirements

To assess whether your educational/academic background meets the specific programme requirements, we will consider the level and curriculum of your previous studies. This evaluation is carried out by our Admissions Office and the Admissions Board.

Students with an international diploma should fill in the checklist. This checklist needs to be uploaded via Progress Portal when applying for this programme.

Registration procedure

Note: it's only possible to a very limited extent to start in February. For more information, please contact the study advisor.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 August 202401 September 2024
15 August 202501 September 2025
EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

Students with a Bachelor's degree in the field of English Literature and/or Culture are admissible to this Master's track.

language test

Additional English language requirement: a TOEFL iBT with a score of 110 (min. of 25 on all items); an IELTS, Academic Module, with a score of 8 (min. of 7.5 on all items); ERK level C1. Cambridge C1 Advanced (level A) or C2 Proficiency with a minimum score of 200. If your BA does not certify this, you may have to take an appropriate language test.

other admission requirements

To assess whether your educational/academic background meets the specific programme requirements, we will consider the level and curriculum of your previous studies. This evaluation is carried out by our Admissions Office and the Admissions Board.

Students with an international diploma should fill in the checklist. This checklist needs to be uploaded via the Progress Portal when applying for this programme.

Registration procedure

Note: it's only possible to a very limited extent to start in February. For more information, please contact the study advisor.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 August 202401 September 2024
15 August 202501 September 2025
EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2024-2025€ 2530full-time
non-EU/EEA2024-2025€ 18700full-time

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

A Master's track in English is a well-recognized postgraduate qualification in a market where having a good BA is no longer enough. Some graduates secure jobs that are related to English literature (publishing) while other opportunities arise from skills integral to the programme. The most obvious of these is the ability to use English, a facility that is as prized in countries where it is the native language as it is in places where it is a medium for commerce.

Whether they study Beowulf or Virginia Woolf, our MA students hone their analytical and interpretative skills and work on expressing complex ideas clearly in writing and in oral presentations. They work on texts from other places or times and so engage with cultures other than their own, developing flexibility in habits of mind necessary in a globalized environment. Finally, graduates have written a thesis, thereby demonstrating their ability to manage their time and to work independently, two vital skills for responsible jobs. Regardless of where you go to work, the first thing you will have to do is to persuade an employer that you are right for a job. Jobs don't simply attach themselves naturally to the holders of a particular degree - they need to be won, and the skills imparted in the study of our Master's track provide graduates with the tools they need to do this.

Graduates go on to work in a variety of fields including the following:

  • publishing
  • teaching
  • research
  • translation
  • journalism
  • administrative jobs
  • cultural industries
Research

Staff & Student Research

Research in the Department covers broad areas of English literature from medieval times to the present. Our staff members run or participate in a number of international research projects, including the Hakluyt Editorial Project and 'Heroes, What Heroes?', both of which address encounters with the New World and the inevitable conflict of worldviews that this entailed.

The department can supervise a broad range of literature dissertations dealing with texts written on topics from Old English, Middle English, Early Modern, and Modern literature. Dissertations can focus on literatures written in English from various parts of the world, including, for example, American and African writing. Dissertations dealing with recent authors, canonical authors, popular authors and lesser-known works are equally welcome. While dissertations that deal with the themes of conflict and co-operation are particularly welcome, students have a free choice of dissertation subjects within the areas of staff expertise.

Dissertations may be supervised by any appropriate member of staff. The following list indicates some of the areas in which dissertations can be written.

Dr David Ashford: Modernism, Post-Modernism, the Enlightenment, Theory and Philosophy, Post-Humanism, Imperialism, Cultural Geography, Poetry, Poetics and Publishing.

Dr Kees Dekker: Old English literature and language; Middle English literature and language; history of the English language; textual editing; manuscript studies.

Dr John Flood: Renaissance/Early-Modern literature; Romantic and Victorian literature; Christianity and literature; modern Irish literature; science-fiction; J.R.R. Tolkien; literature and war (especially World War I); twentieth-century British, Irish and American poetry; history of the book; textual editing; philosophy and literature.

Dr Ann Hoag: women’s writing; travel literature; contemporary American fiction; Modernism.

Dr Hans Jansen: Shakespeare, English drama; language acquisition; history of the English language; translation.

Dr Suzanne Manizza Roszak: Modern and contemporary US literature, multi-ethnic US and transnational American literature, world literatures in English, Italian American literature and culture, children's and young adult literature, the twentieth- and twenty first-century Gothic, diaspora studies, gender studies, critical race theory, trauma studies.

Dr Tekla Mecsnober: modernist writing (especially James Joyce, modernist magazines and experiments with language); eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British fiction; Gerard Manley Hopkins; Victorian poetry.

Dr Karin Olsen: Anglo-Saxon literature and culture; comparative studies in Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse and early Irish literature and culture; Middle English literature.

Dr Kees de Vries: nineteenth-century literature; Oscar Wilde; humour and literature; music and literature; literary theory.

For general information about the research in the department see the Research Page and the People page of English Language and Culture.

Here are some sample topics of students' MA dissertations:

Medieval

  • How an Adder Became an Arrow: Battle Kennings in Old English Poetry.
  • The Sin of Crime in the Early Irish and Anglo-Saxon Penitentials and Secular Laws.
  • The Devil is in the Details: The Use of Archery-related Language in Anglo-Saxon Literature.
  • Thomas Hoccleve and His Creation of a Mad Narrator.
  • The Representation of Turks in Late-Medieval and Early Modern Europe.
  • Homosexuality in Late Medieval English Literature: Langland, Chaucer, Gower, and the Gawain Poet.
  • Saints, Satan and Stylistics: Stylistic Features in Medieval Miracle Plays.
  • Melancholy in Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale and The Book of the Duchess’.

Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries

  • The Mother's Portrayal in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century English Popular Literature.
  • Representations of Queen Elizabeth I in Seventeenth-Century Histories.
  • Self-Reflection in Jane Austen’s Novels.
  • The Symbolic-allegorical and the Supernatural Interpretations of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
  • Governesses in Victorian Fiction.
  • Wilde's Utopia: Socio-Political Criticism in the Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde.
  • Changing Attitudes towards Imperialism and Its Ideology During the Age of New Imperialism.
  • Identity and Place in Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady.

Twentieth Century and Contemporary

  • Psychological Elements in Contemporary and Modern First World War Literature.
  • Fantasy Fiction Medievalism: Carnivalesque Laughter between the (Post)Modern and Premodern.
  • The Media of Cyberpunk: An Analysis of Postmodern Science Fiction.
  • Religion and Secularisation in Modernist Novels.
  • Mirrors and mirroring in Katherine Mansfield and Jean Rhys.
  • Polarization and Demonization in British Cold War Fiction.
  • The Observer in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.
  • Travel as a Metaphor for Story and History in Tolkien’s Fiction.
  • Fairy Tales for Teenagers: The Lost Potential of Young Adult Dystopian Fiction.
  • Conventions in Edward Albee's Plays.
  • Poirot in the Orient: Race, Nationality and Orientalism in Agatha Christie.
  • Language as a Means of Control in Dystopian Fiction.
  • Equality and Identity in the Poems of Langston Hughes.
  • Representations of Madness in Contemporary Women's Memoirs.
  • Literature and Literary Meaning.
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The English department is a very welcoming one, and the teachers are not only experts in many interesting fields, they are also very kind and open. For all these reasons I would without any doubts recommend my Master's programme to others.

Why English Literature and Culture?

From 2014 to 2017 I was a Bachelor student here at the University of Groningen in the English Language and Culture programme. I decided to continue with a Masters programme in English Literature, because the skills I acquired while studying literature in context, and analysing texts closely, have proven useful in a broad variety of situations. I was eager to continue to develop literary interpretative skills, and to continue studying topics that I had really enjoyed in my Bachelor programme.

Compelling, challenging and satisfying

The Masters programme allows students to choose topics that will help them research the historical periods or themes which appeal to them in a lot of depth. If you enjoy studying in your favourite chair with an intriguing text in your lap, then this is the study for you. Courses often include around three hours of interactive classes each per week, and the reading and assignments are mostly done outside of class. If I had to summarise my Masters programme in three words, I would say that it is compelling, challenging, and satisfying.

Why Groningen?

I chose the University of Groningen because Groningen is a beautiful, open, and social city, one where I feel right at home. Luckily, the literary studies at the University of Groningen always do really well in university rankings, so this made my decision very easy. The English department is a very welcoming one, and the teachers are not only experts in many interesting fields, they are also very kind and open. For all these reasons I would without any doubts recommend my Masters programme to others.

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University of Groningen Orange Tulip Scholarship/Talent Grant Faculty of Arts

Are you a non-EU/EEA student from Russia, India or Indonesia, starting a Master's programme at the Faculty of Arts? If so, you could qualify for the University of Groningen OTS/Talent Grant, Faculty of Arts, a partial scholarship which helps you to finance your studies.

Read more about the OTS/Talent Grant Faculty of Arts.


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Study associations

NUTS

NUTS has been the study association of the English department in Groningen for over 40 years, and we are still going strong. We make studying English a lot of fun by organising all sorts of activities throughout the year. Our diverse events include: drinks, high-teas, pub crawls, pub quizzes, book clubs, game nights and career events. As a NUTS-member, you benefit from a discount on your study books at Studystore (via our website) and free entrance to most of our events. Besides this,
NUTS annually organizes a trip abroad to for example the UK or Ireland.Check out our website www.svnuts.com or follow us on instagram (@svnuts)!
https://svnuts.com/
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Student profile

You are a graduate with a BA in English literature who wants a broad, challenging postgraduate programme.

Study support

The programme has a study advisor whom you can contact if you have any questions or if you need confidential advice about study-related matters. More complex problems, for example long-term illness, can be referred to the student counsellors.

In addition, you can also follow various courses at the Study Support section of the Student Service Centre (SSC), for example, courses on study skills and giving presentations.