MA in Literature, Romanticism and the English Lake District


Program Description

The landscape of the English Lake District has been a source of inspiration to generations of poets and writers. This taught MA offers a unique opportunity to study a rich body of literary and non-literary texts within the geographical landscape which inspired them, at the University of Cumbria's Ambleside campus in the heart of the Lake District National Park, now a UNESCO world heritage site. 

Here you will explore critical ideas about the relationship between the creative imagination and place, and have the opportunity to visit some of the specific locations which have inspired and which continue to inspire writers. The course also offers opportunities to engage with partner organisations such as Brantwood and the Wordsworth Trust and to work with related and unique manuscript resources.

Partners & Memberships

The programme team have links with a number of key literary organisations in the region. We use these connections to enhance and enrich your studies in a variety of way, not only through field trips but also by giving you the opportunity to develop projects in your final year which relate to the cultural heritage and creative industry sector. 


Your Career with a Literature Master's Degree

The course can enhance prospects in a range of careers that demand high-level analytical and interpretative skills as well as advanced skills in written and oral communication.  Specific career pathways might include work in publishing or the creative and cultural heritage industries; the course can also support students wishing to go on to study at MPhil/PhD level.

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Why Choose the University of Cumbria

Our MA course aims to challenge and enrich your analytical, interpretative, written and oral communication skills.

  • Studying surrounded by the stunning and inspiring scenery of the Lake District, which has inspired many of the UK's greatest writers;
  • Field trips to explore how the Lakes have influenced literature;
  • Opportunities to be involved in Cumbria's thriving literary scene and take part in literary festivals;
  • Small class sizes mean we can help you to personally develop and flourish throughout your studies;
  • Being taught by literary experts and published writers;
  • The opportunity to attend extracurricular literary talks and events with visiting experts and writers;
  • The opportunities to develop real-world projects relating to the contemporary cultural heritage industry.

But don't take our word for it. Meet Leo Finighan, who studied his undergraduate literature degree with us and is now a MA Literature, Romanticism and the English Lake District student.

"The MA course in Ambleside has been really inspiring. Learning about 'green' criticism and writing at a time when ecological concerns are everywhere has equipped me with the tools I need to address those concerns in my own life. Studying Romanticism in the heart of the Lake District, a landscape with such a rich literary legacy brings you really close to the work that you do on the course. With incredible opportunities to study manuscripts at places like the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, there's really nowhere better to learn about our natural literary heritage."

Course summary

The MA develops high-level analytical, interpretative, written and oral communication skills. Time-management, research skills, team-working, and independent working are also developed during the programme.

Students are encouraged to respond to assessment briefs and other tasks both critically and creatively, and as well as engaging analytically with representations of place and landscape in the written word, will develop an advanced understanding of the complex relationship between nature and culture.  They will also be asked to reflect critically and creatively on a range of ethical and environmental debates, as well as to consider the key role played by the Arts in helping to shape responses to such debates.

Via work with partner organisations in the region (e.g. the Wordsworth Trust and Brantwood) they will gain an understanding of the 21st Century cultural heritage industry and will explore the work and activities of this industry within a UNESCO world heritage site context.


Compulsory modules

  • British Romanticism and the Lake District
  • Literature and the Environment
  • A Natural Education: Children's Literature and the Lake District
  • Contemporary Cumbrian Fiction
  • Poetry and Place
  • Literary Tourism and Cultural Heritage in the Lake District
  • Dissertation

Entry Requirements

1st or 2nd class honours degree.

Students with other qualifications may be admitted to the course, please contact the Enquiry Centre for further details. 

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) may be considered for relevant prior learning at the same academic level.

Selection criteria

  • A good first degree (2.1 or above) in English Literature or a related subject (e.g. Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Creative Writing); for overseas applicants appropriate equivalence will apply. 
  • Applicants may be asked to attend an interview in person or via Skype.
Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

We are the University of Cumbria, where the impossible is made possible. A distinct university in a unique place that has inspired generations to conquer the problems of their age.

We are the University of Cumbria, where the impossible is made possible. A distinct university in a unique place that has inspired generations to conquer the problems of their age. Read less
Carlisle , Carlisle , Lancaster , Ambleside , London + 4 More Less