MLitt in Postcolonial and World Literatures


Program Description

The MLitt in Postcolonial and World Literatures offers the opportunity to study the theoretical, literary, cultural and historical dimensions of contemporary postcolonialism from colonial encounters, to the emergence of the field in the latter half of the 20th century, through to its current articulation in a globalised era of world literature.

The year-long MLitt in Postcolonial and Word Literatures is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of English. It is an intensive taught programme of study which aims to foster the next generation of scholars in postcolonial and world literary studies.

Covering both postcolonial and world literature, this course offers a unique opportunity to expand students’ knowledge and understanding of a global range of theories and literature, focusing on European colonialism and its legacies today, while working with research-active experts in a wide range of relevant topics.


  • The UK’s first combined Master’s programme in postcolonial and world literature.
  • Achieve an in-depth knowledge of postcolonial studies in light of renewed scholarly interest in world literature, and in dialogue with research staff.
  • Explore a global range of writers from the colonial to the contemporary on a programme that offers comprehensive training in postcolonial and world literary studies.
  • Covering a wide range of periods, topics and contexts, the programme offers the opportunity to study the theoretical, literary, cultural and historical dimensions of contemporary postcolonialism from colonial encounters to the emergence of the field and its current articulation in a globalised era of world literature.
  • Develop your skills as a researcher within a specific area of study by taking special topic modules.

Teaching format

In each semester students take one module that concentrates on the literature of the field and one module that engages with the field’s theoretical, cultural and historical developments.

All compulsory modules will be taught in small groups (typically of 10 to 15). Students will have weekly classes for each module, which will typically take the form of a mixture of lecture and seminar, allowing for both independent and group study in a supportive framework of teaching and learning.

Modules are assessed through oral presentations, learning journals and coursework essays. The School of English prides itself on its support of student work through detailed feedback and commentary.

Students are encouraged to develop their own, individual interests through their choice of an optional module.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment.


Students take five compulsory modules. These are taught by weekly seminars led by staff and with an emphasis on student participation.

  • Approaches, Theories, Contexts 1: explores the evolution of postcolonialism from theories of colonial discourse and an emergent concept of world literature, to decolonisation and the emergence of postcolonial studies in the late 20th century.
  • Approaches, Theories, Contexts 2: focus on recent interventions that challenge and extend the remit of both postcolonialism and world literature in light of contemporary contexts of globalisation, diaspora and a worlding of literary studies.
  • Literature and Culture from the Colonial to the Postcolonial: traces the global sweep of literary and cultural histories that have shaped the field of postcolonial studies; enhances students' understanding of the literary texts, films and cultural products that are the subject of postcolonial critique.
  • Literary Research: Skills and Resources: trains students in the understanding and use of the essential skills and resources of research in English Studies; it also provides preparation for the MLitt dissertation.
  • Postcolonial and World Literatures: aims to map the dimensions of postcolonial and world literature through a range of contemporary writers and texts drawn from across the globe and which reflect on a new reality of transnationalism, globalisation and post-nationalism.


Students choose one optional module out of the following:

  • Special Topic in English Studies: a directed reading programme which allows students to explore topics in greater depth than is possible in compulsory modules.
  • a compulsory module from another English MLitt programme.
  • an approved postgraduate-level module outwith the School of English (arranged independently with another school such as Classics, Modern Languages, Divinity or Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies).

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students.


Student dissertations are supervised by members of the teaching staff who advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MLitt.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 entry.


Graduates of the course go on to pursue careers in a range of sectors including journalism, marketing, publishing and teaching, and do so with an appreciation of the value of diversity, inter-cultural dialogue and difference to society.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Entry requirements

  • A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree in a subject-related area.
  • If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
  • English language proficiency.

The qualifications listed are indicative of minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Application requirements

  • Supplementary application to School of English (Word).
  • CV.
  • a sample of academic writing on a modern or contemporary topic (approximately 2,000 words).
  • two original signed academic references.
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).


All School of English study applicants will be given access to the My Application portal. The scholarships and funding area of the portal includes an online catalogue through which you can apply for available relevant awards.

Recent Graduate Discount

The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Last updated October 2019

About the School

Founded in the fifteenth century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. St Andrews is a unique place to study and live. Nestled on the east coas ... Read More

Founded in the fifteenth century, St Andrews is Scotland's first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world. St Andrews is a unique place to study and live. Nestled on the east coast of Scotland, students may find themselves crossing golf-courses on their way to class, or jogging along the beach after dinner. Not only does the University have a world-class reputation, but it also offers a diverse range of social activities, including over 140 student societies and 50 sports clubs. Historic buildings are juxtaposed against the modern facilities, and the many student traditions truly make studying at St Andrews an unforgettable experience. Read less
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