Master in English Literature


Program Description

The Master's Programme in English Literature provides a comprehensive study of literature from across the Anglophone world. Courses highlight how literature shapes and is shaped by history, its relevance for contemporary issues such as climate change and conflict resolution, and its ability to challenge and refine a reader´s ways of thinking. Building on a diversity of critical approaches, the program helps students refine their abilities to think analytically and creatively.

Programme description

The master's programme in English literature gives students the opportunity to study a broad range of literary and cultural texts in English while specializing in an area of their choice under the leadership of a researcher in that field. The English section can offer supervision in English, Irish, American and post-colonial literature, and is particularly strong in the areas of romanticism, modernism, and contemporary literature.

Each year, students are offered courses organized around socially-relevant themes, key literary periods and genres, and/or prominent authors. All master's level courses include training in secondary research and literary theory, practice in close analysis, and feedback on students' written work.

In moving from coursework to the master's thesis, students move toward a more specialized focus and more independent research. This research is supported by each student's supervisor and by a series of organized work-in-progress seminars targeting the skills needed for masters-level research.

The programme consists of:

  • 60 credits coursework in English literature (ENG-3000-level)
  • 60 credits Master's thesis (ENG-3992)

The mandatory coursework includes:

  • ENG-3192 Literary and Cultural Theory; and

One course from each of these categories:

  • 3000-level Period-Based Studies (such as Modernism, Major Authors or Contemporary Poetry)
  • 3000-level Studies in Genre (such as Short Fiction or Development of the Novel)
  • 3000-level Literature and Society Courses (such as Literature and Justice; or Literature and the Environment)

Literary and Cultural Theory and Period Studies courses are offered in the fall. Studies in Genre and Literature and Society courses are offered in the spring. The remaining 20 credits of coursework may be fulfilled by choosing from any ENG-3000 courses offered in literature/culture. Specific courses being offered vary and will be stated in the course catalogue for the current semester.

Students wishing to substitute courses from other relevant fields (typically selected to support research for the master's thesis or during an exchange) may apply to have this substitution approved on an individual basis (up to 20 credits).

The master's thesis is theoretically-informed work of independent research on a limited topic within English literature. Thesis are 70-100 pages in length (1.5 spacing, Times New Roman 12).

Students are assigned a supervisor appropriate for their topic. The topic of research will be decided upon in collaboration with a member of the English section.

Programme structure

Term 10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
1st semester (autumn) ENG-3192 Literary and Cultural Theory

Period Studies (ENG-3000-level)

Autumn 2018: ENG-3153 Literary History

Elective Course in Literature/Culture (ENG-3000-level)

Autumn 2018: ENG-3130 Literature and the Environment

2nd semester (spring)

Studies of Literature and Society (ENG-3000-level)

Spring 2019: ENG-3196 Literature and Justice

or exchange

Studies in Genre (ENG-3000-level)

Spring 2019: ENG-3195 Poetry: Innovations in Genre

or exchange

Elective Course in Literature/Culture (ENG-3000-level)

Spring 2019: ENG-3194 Contemporary Fiction

or exchange

3rd semester (autumn) ENG-3992 Master's Thesis in English Literature
4th semester (spring) ENG-3992 Master's Thesis in English Literature

Learning outcomes

After completing the master's degree in English literature, candidates will have the following learning outcomes:


The candidate:

  • has gained advanced knowledge about English literature from a diversity of national contexts and periods, with specialized knowledge in the area chosen for the thesis
  • understands and can engage with diverse theoretical approaches to literary and cultural texts
  • can apply knowledge from one literary sub-field within a new sub-field
  • can analyse and interpret literary texts in relation to history, genre, and socio-cultural debates


The candidate can:

  • evaluate and engage with literary criticism expressing diverse perspectives and use them to structure and formulate scholarly arguments
  • analyse existing literary theories and interpretations and work independently on theoretical or interpretive problems
  • use relevant methods of historical and literary research and creative thinking to develop ideas in an independent manner
  • formulate research questions and carry out an independent research project about English literature in the form of a master's thesis and related presentation with the support of supervision and in accordance with the norms of research ethics

General Competence

The candidate is able to:

  • communicate sophisticated content to specialists and the general public using appropriate literary critical terminology
  • apply his or her knowledge and skills in new areas in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects
  • contribute to new thinking in the field of English literature

Admission requirements

Admission to the master's programme in English literature requires a bachelor's degree (180 ECTS), or equivalent qualification, in English literature, or a degree combining English literature and a closely-related discipline (minimum 80 ECTS in English). Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand: An average grade equivalent to C or better (in the Norwegian grading system) in the English coursework (80 ECTS) is required. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in countries other than the above mentioned region/countries: An average grade equivalent to B or better (in the Norwegian grading system) in the English coursework (80 ECTS) is required.

Applicants must enclose an application essay (Statement of purpose) written in English (maximum of two pages) about their motivation for pursuing a degree in English literature, their choice of UiT, and their ideas for a master's thesis topic.

Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:

The application deadline for Norwegian and other Nordic applicants is 15 April.

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:

The application deadline for international applicants is 1 December.

Teaching and assessment

In order to reach the learning goals, students should expect to work 40 hours a week attending and lectures, seminars and studying independently.

The master's thesis requires independent research and writing on a specialized topic chosen by the student in collaboration with a supervisor. Students are expected to anticipate and organize their research and writing tasks and to produce work to be discussed at regular meetings with their supervisor.

Most courses include written assignments or oral presentations that must be approved in order to take the exam.

The most common forms of examination are home exams written on assigned topics over a one-two week period or term papers on topics that students choose in cooperation with the course instructor. Grades range from A-F, where A is the highest grade and F is fail.

For further information about work requirements, exam formats and evaluative criteria, see the individual course descriptions.

Language of instruction

The language of all teaching and examinations is English.

Job prospectives

English master's candidates possess sought-after analytical and creative thinking skills and are respected for their skills in oral and written communication. A master's degree in English literature prepares students for work in the literary and cultural industries through positions in publishing, journalism, museums, libraries, and bookstores. It also prepares graduates for a wide range of jobs that require culturally-sensitive international communication. The independent work of the master's thesis provides experience relevant for higher positions in the government and in business.

Finally, the programme qualifies students for admission to doctoral programmes in literature, thereby providing possibilities for a further research career.

Exchange possibilities

Students taking the Master in English Literature are encouraged to make use of one of our exchange agreements in the second and/or third semester. For more information on exchange possibilities, please consult the international coordinator at the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education.

Last updated Dec 2019

About the School

UIT The Arctic University of Norway is the northernmost university of the world. Its location on the edge of the Arctic implies a mission. The Arctic is of increasing global importance. Climate change ... Read More

UIT The Arctic University of Norway is the northernmost university of the world. Its location on the edge of the Arctic implies a mission. The Arctic is of increasing global importance. Climate change, the exploitation of Arctic resources and environmental threats are topics of great public concern, and which the University of Tromsø takes special interest in. At UiT The Arctic University of Norway you can explore global issues from a close-up perspective. Read less
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