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Posted Nov. 20, 2013

Spotlight on: Postgrad Study in English Literature

Variety of Courses Studying for a postgraduate degree is always strenuous work regardless of the subject, and it can be difficult finding a course which suits your specific area of research. This is also true when studying for a PhD in English Literature as every single university in the UK has its own area of specialisation.

Many students feel that after the completion of an undergraduate degree it is necessary to pursue studies further, as their time spent studying a BA in English literature may not have provided them with the kind of knowledge they required regarding the subject. In this case, students decide to study further in order to improve the chances of work in the future, or to remain as a professor at their university of choice.

There are other cases where students choose to continue their studies due to a passion, in this case a passion for the literary arts and particularly the written word in the English language. Students who manage to maintain this passion after their undergraduate degree will likely not need further motivation in order to improve, though funding is still a problem at this kind of level.

Keep reading if you wish to know a bit more about what you can expect when undertaking a postgraduate degree in English Literature. We will be providing basic information on the variety of courses provided and the specific areas of focus for different universities.

Courses Offered When thinking of applying for a PhD you will need to have at least a basic outline of the kind of path you want to take. This means you will need to have an idea of the kind of research which will form the basis of your final thesis.

While this may seem easier to pursue in degrees which are science-based, it may not seem as easy in the humanities. Here, research will likely focus on particular critical interpretations of an author's work, some original research on a literary period or similar work. Examples of research in courses would be areas like romanticism, post-colonial studies, film theory, contemporary literature and similar topics. One of these areas, or some similarly related areas, will likely form the basis of your original research .

It is likely that every university offering a PhD course will have its strength and weakness in their respective department, though most will not be limited to only one area of research. Ultimately, between the choice of two or three universities one will choose a particular one due to ties with the city or town where the institutions are located (these are ties beyond the scope of the department's strengths).

Universities: Areas of Focus As mentioned, be aware of what area of research you want to pursue. For something like women's writing or Science and the Creative Imagination, the University of Anglia Ruskin is strongly recommended, as their department has been known to excel in the mentioned areas.

For more traditional research aspects tied to Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern English literature, the University of Edinburgh is definitely recommended as they will provide excellent support for a thesis in that area. In fact, for most traditional research aspects of literature Edinburgh is highly recommended, as it has one of the oldest departments for English Literature.

Other great Universities are UCL, Durham, Sheffield with Lancaster having a strong Creative Writing department. All of these Universities will amply cater to any aspect of traditional or modern research related to English literature, and be able to provide future doctors with plenty of distractions when time is not spent working on a thesis.

Lastly, there are of course Oxford and Cambridge though they are choices which are not suited to everyone. Ultimately it is always worth researching the institution before embarking on a an adventure as big as the completion of a PhD.

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