About the course
Our department offers a distinctively comparative approach to the study of literature; at Essex you don’t just study English literature, you study world literature in English. You explore literature across time, geography, and genre, combining scholarly research with innovative, practical ways of engaging with texts.
You grapple with the challenges of conducting research into Shakespeare and other early modern literature, acquiring specialist skills in archival research, palaeography, and the study of rare and antiquated books. You study materials on 18th century drama and literature, visiting the UK’s only surviving Regency Theatre to investigate how architecture affected the content of drama, and how drama reflected Georgian society. You have the opportunity to explore the history of genres such as the novel and lyric poetry, and study a truly extensive range of work; your reading takes you from African American literature, through Caribbean literatures, to the literature and performance of New York, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow and London.
Our department is ranked Top 20 in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2015), and three-quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).
This course is also available on a part-time basis.
Our expert staff
At Essex, we have an impressive literary legacy. Our history comprises staff (and students) who have been Nobel Prize winners, Booker Prize winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners.
Our Department is a vibrant conservatoire of scholars and practitioners who are committed to unlocking creative personal responses to literature. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning novelists, poets and playwrights, as well as leading literature specialists.
Our academic staff specialise in a range of areas including modernism, comparative and world literature, Shakespeare, the Renaissance, modernism, travel writing, nature writing, translated literature, cultural geography, Irish and Scottish writing, U.S. and Caribbean literatures, and the history of reading.
- Meet fellow readers at the student-run Literature Society or at our department’s Myth Reading Group
- Write for our student magazine Albert or host a Red Radio show
- View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
- Learn from leading writers and literature specialists at weekly research seminars
- Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
- Improve your playwriting and performance skills at our Lakeside Theatre Workshops
- Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested
A good literature degree opens many doors.
We offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by Dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.
Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.
A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as writers, and others are now established as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers’ editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.
We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
UK entry requirements
We will consider applications with an overall grade of 2:2 and above.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.5 in writing
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
If you are applying to a masters course in the department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies you must provide a piece of critical academic writing (2,500 words) on a topic relevant to your application.
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.