MA Literature & Culture

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

The MA in Literature & Culture is our flagship MA programme in English-language literature and culture. Students work with leading international scholars and world-class teachers, who have expertise in a wide range of areas, from the literature of the Middle Ages to the modern and contemporary. The programme provides an intensive combination of taught courses and supervised research, designed to develop students’ skills and confidence as scholars and critics of literature and its contexts. Current courses include seminars in Medieval and Renaissance LIterature, 18th and 19th-Century literature and culture, Contemporary American Poetics, Modernism, World Literature, Social Network Analysis, and Research Methods. 

The supervised dissertation gives you the unique opportunity to work closely on a topic of your choosing with published experts in your field of interest. All students take the core module Research Methods, and can choose other modules in a variety of areas, including British, American and World Literature.  
Recent courses have included:

  • Chaucer and the Fourteenth Century
  • American Modernism at Home
  • Re-reading the Renaissance
  • American Lyric: Document and Memoir
  • Memory Cultures
  • Feeling Modern: Thinking and Being in 18th and 19th-Century Britain
  • Social Network Analysis and Fiction
  • World-Systems, World-Literature: Mapping the Planet
  • Contemporary U.S. Genre Fiction: Intersection, Disruption, Protest
  • Concepts of Modernity

Further information on the MA in Literature & Culture is available on the UCD School of English, Drama & Film website:

Careers & Employability

Our graduates progress to a wide range of interesting careers. 
Some of our alumni opt to stay on for doctoral work with a view to career in academia. Most have gone on to work in a wide range of industries, including teaching, journalism, broadcasting, publishing, advertising, the Civil Service, libraries and archives, public relations, creative industries, cultural heritage, arts administration, banking, business and NGO and advocacy work.


Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

This programme is of interest to anyone who has a passion for literature and cultural production in English. It will suit those who want to put a ‘capstone’ on their BA work, but also those who are considering a PhD.

The MA in Literature & Culture provides the opportunity to deepen your knowledge of English-language literature and its contexts. This MA provides an intensive combination of taught course units and supervised research to develop our students' skills and confidence as scholars and critics of literature and its contexts. Our chief aim is to enable our students to develop as scholars, researchers, writers and critics in their chosen specialism, equipped with a range of critical skills and methodologies for understanding and analysing literature and culture across multiple historical, social and intellectual contexts. On this MA students are also encouraged to engage critically with key issues and debates in relation to gender, race, class, sexuality and alterity across diverse historical, cultural and geopolitical contexts. Our programme values informed analysis, rigorous research, and methodological innovation. Our teaching practice encourages engagement with existing knowledge and research combined with an openness to new perspectives and self-reflective, socially and politically engaged critical practice. We foster and model these values in seminars and individual supervisions that prioritise challenging, high level discussion and debate within a mutually supportive and respectful environment.

On this MA, students choose one of our five specialised MA pathways, all drawing on the extensive, internationally recognised expertise of our academic staff: American Literature; Gender, Sexuality & Culture; Medieval Literature & Culture; Modern & Contemporary Literature; and Renaissance Literature & Culture. 

  • Articulate knowledge, arguments and ideas clearly and effectively through essays, presentations and proposals
  • Be effective independent researchers, who can identify a viable research topic and develop this into a research project
  • Demonstrate a developed awareness of historical contexts, theoretical positions and the range of literary and/or cultural production appropriate to their chosen specialization
  • Demonstrate an enhanced knowledge of literary and cultural analysis, including methodology, in their chosen disciplines and fields
  • Demonstrate mastery of advanced techniques in the use of archival and digital resources
  • Demonstrate their facility as readers, thinkers and writers, with advanced skills in detailed textual analysis and close reading
  • Make connections across different time periods and cultures, and identify key aesthetic/cultural/social movements in their chosen specialization

View All Modules Here

Students on this programme take two core modules, Literary Research Methods’ and the MA Dissertation module, as well as four taught modules from their specialist strand, choosing from a range of core and option modules.


MA Literature & Culture (Z251) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 7990
nonEU    fee per year - € 21520

MA Literature & Culture (Z252) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 4800
nonEU    fee per year - € 10760

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

Each year the School of English, Drama and Film offers a number of competitive tuition bursaries of 1,000 euro. Applicants with an offer of a place on one of the School's MA programmes are eligible to apply.


An honours undergraduate degree in English or in another cognate subject (NFQ Level 8) with a 2.1 classification (Second Class Honours, Grade One) or equivalent* is normally required. A sample of written work of c.3000 words and two academic references are also required. Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 7 (no band less than 6.5 in each element), or equivalent.

Students meeting the programme’s academic entry requirements but not the English language requirements, may enter the programme upon successful completion of UCD’s International Pre-Master’s Pathway programmes. Please see the following link for further information:

*equivalencies will vary depending on grade scale of award presented but will generally require a grade average of B or a GPA no less than 3.08;

*However, all applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and in certain exceptional cases an award at a lower level or a 2.2 classification may be considered.

These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes ​



Leanne Waters
MA 2015, PhD 2018

I chose this MA because of the depth and expansiveness of the course. Students engaged with an exciting range of literary material and cultural issues such as globalisation, art and the metropolis, sexuality and the body. Approachable lecturers provided a stimulating and open environment that fostered critical thinking, while small seminar groups meant that we were able to explore the material and ideas exhaustively, as well as make some lasting friendships. The dissertation module and the pre-requisite module on research methods prepared me for the challenging, but very rewarding, world of independent research. The research skills I learned have been essential to my subsequent PhD work, and have significantly improved my aptitude and desirability to employers in a range of work environments.

UCD’s Special Collections enables access to a range of unique book, archival, audio visual and manuscript collections. The Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) will open in 2019, a UCD/National Library of Ireland partnership. This landmark museum will celebrate the dynamism and diversity of Irish writers, past and present, including UCD alumnus James Joyce. 

The following entry routes are available:

MA Literature & Culture FT (Z251)
1 Years
Full Time
MA Literature & Culture PT (Z252)
2 Years
Part Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised