MA in English Literature and Culture

University of Groningen

Program Description

MA in English Literature and Culture

University of Groningen

University of Groningen

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 take their inspiration from a paths in the Dutch National Research Agenda which was established by a coalition of academic and business organisations (including the Confederation of Netherlands Industry & Employers, and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research). It is also linked to sustainable society, a research priority of the university.

Programme options

Master's Honours Programme (honours program)

The Master's Honours Programme is a 15ECTS interdisciplinary course especially for students who want to get more from their studies by focusing on their leadership skills.

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 Mobility Office can offer help with this where necessary. Click the link above to find examples of placements completed by other Master's students.

Programme schedule

University of Groningen

The course titles above are recent examples. Courses can vary each year. Recent interdisciplinary courses dealt with European modernism, minority literatures and homosexuality in nineteenth and twentieth-century literature.

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

Placements (which are optional) are arranged by the students themselves but they are supervised by the English Department which will give you advice about them.

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. You may follow Masterlanguage courses in consultation with the Board of Examiners of your Master's degree programme.

Study abroad

Study abroad is unaccommodated

Admission requirements

Specific requirements More information
language test Minimum language requirements of TOEFL iBT 90 (with a minimum of 21 on all items), or IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6 on all items). ERK level B2 (preferably C1).
previous education A BA in the field of English Language, Literature and/or Culture.
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 and the grades that you have obtained. This evaluation is carried out by our Admissions Office and the Admissions Board. Applicants with degrees that have a significant amount of credits related to English literatures and cultures may have the option of taking courses from the department's BA degree to qualify for entry to this MA.

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Programme form
EU/EEA 2017-2018 €2060 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2017-2018 €11400 full-time

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
EU/EEA students 15 October 2017, 01 May 2018 01 February 2018,01 September 2018
non-EU/EEA students 15 October 2017, 01 May 2018 01 February 2018,01 September 2018

Job prospects

An Master's track in English is a well-recognised postgraduate qualification in a market where having a good BA is no longer enough. Graduates go on to work in a variety of fields including the following:

  • publishing
  • teaching
  • research
  • translation
  • journalism
  • administrative jobs
  • cultural industries
Some jobs are related to English literature (publishing) while other opportunities arise from the skills that are integral to the course. 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 that their own, developing flexibility in habits of mind necessary in a globalised 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 MA provide graduates with the tools they need to do this.

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 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 Corey Gibson: Scottish literature (eighteenth century to the present); Marxist literary theory; working-class literature; political ideology and literature; the vernacular; modernism; fairy tales; ballads and folklore; prison literature; postmodern literatures; conceptions of authorship; the historical novel; nationalism and literature; Cold War 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 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.

Prof. Sebastian Sobecki: Middle English and early Tudor literature; law, politics, and multilingualism; textual and manuscript studies; maritime literature; digital humanities.

Dr Irene Visser: postcolonial literature and theory; American literature; contemporary literature; young adult fiction; dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction; trauma theory and trauma fiction; post-9/11 literature; Maori Literature; Chicano Literature; South African literature; William Faulkner.

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 the Department of English Language and Culture.

Here are some sample topics of recent MA dissertations:

  • 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.
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated September 28, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Feb. 2018
Sept. 2018
12 months
Full time
11,400 EUR
Netherlands - Groningen
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Netherlands - Leeuwarden
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Feb. 2018
Netherlands - Groningen
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Netherlands - Leeuwarden
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Sept. 2018
Netherlands - Groningen
Application deadline May 1, 2018
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Netherlands - Leeuwarden
Application deadline May 1, 2018
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