Our global outlook will encourage you to develop a cross-cultural understanding of literature around the world and throughout the ages. From Shakespeare to contemporary, you’ll gain a wide range of experience in critical and analytical thinking with our modules in Literature.


Undergraduate degrees

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of literature at Essex - exploring diverse genres such as Arthurian legends, writings from Europe, the US, and the Caribbean, Shakespearean plays, Romantic poetry, science fiction, and beyond. Hone your critical analysis and artistic expression skills as you delve into literature from around the world.

At Essex, we embrace radical, challenging, and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature, breaking free from conventions rather than adhering to them. Within our Department, you have the opportunity to delve into modules that explore diverse genres such as travel writing, podcasts, autobiography, and more. You'll engage with different media, including books, newspapers, plays, and film, across e a range of topics, from the English Civil War to dystopian literature and film, examining not only significant historical, political, and social events but also the alternative worlds that literature has imaginatively crafted.

Additionally, all our undergraduate programs offer the flexibility of studying abroad for a term or a full year, providing you with a global perspective on literature and enhancing your educational experience.

Why study here?
  • Enjoy a multidisciplinary approach to your studies and incorporate modules across film, theatre, creative writing and journalism into your degree.
  • Throughout the year, the department offers various drop-in sessions cater to different needs and the department organises a full calendar of activities and events.
  • Opportunity to join the most active student societies to support your studies and grow your network.
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Career prospects

With a degree in Literature, you will gain key skills such as research, analysing written texts, communication and teamwork that are highly transferable and make you very attractive to various employers. Our graduates go on to find jobs in the following sectors and beyond:

  • Academia
  • Television
  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Journalism
  • Law
Sian working at Aceville Publications
Sian - Editor of Veggie Magazine

Literature graduate Sian has a busy career as an Editor. "I usually write around 25 pages per monthly magazine, and there’s plenty of work to delegate to the Deputy Editor and Content Writer, including blogs to upload on the latest trends. I direct feature meetings, and I have many managerial meetings to attend, photoshoots to direct at our studio, meetings with PRs in London, and new vegan menus to try. "

Masters degrees

Take your study of literature to the next level with our MA programs.

We don't just offer the study of Literature, but the study of world Literature. You explore literature across time, geography, and genre, combining scholarly research with innovative, practical ways of engaging with texts. Your research and reading will take you across the globe; from African American literature, through Caribbean literatures, to the literature and performance of New York, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow and London.

Why study here?
  • Engage alongside globally renowned scholars, poets, dramatists, storytellers, and novelists, exploring the interconnections between literature and other art forms.
  • Choose to focus within a vast array of world literature spanning different epochs, geographical regions, and genres,broadening your literary perspectives and understanding.
  • Benefit from our distinguished literary legacy, with past staff and students achieving prestigious accolades such as Nobel Prizes, Booker Prizes, and Pulitzer Prizes,reflecting our commitment to excellence in literature.
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Research degrees

Our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies provides PhD supervision in Literature across various fields aligned with the research specialist areas of our faculty. This encompasses a diverse range of expertise in different literatures and approaches, spanning from early modern to contemporary writing in English and various other languages. The department excels in research areas such as Early Modern literature, Romanticism, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, US and Caribbean literature, postcolonial literature, modern, postmodern, and contemporary literature (twentieth- and twenty-first century), eco-criticism and nature writing, black and black diaspora writing, travel writing, First World War writing, literature and human rights, science fiction, and the post-human.

Our research strengths extend to producing successful graduates who have embarked on thriving careers as writers. Past students have also achieved recognition as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers' editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.

We also offer MPhil and Masters by dissertation programs in this field. Start your application with us

Why study here?
  • Be part of an active and interdisciplinary research community where students and staff work together in a creative and intellectually challenging environment.
  • We run weekly research seminars with speakers invited from UK and abroad, as well as regularly hosting major conferences.
  • Our research students organise and present at our annual PhD conference.

Start your application with us

Explore our literature research by theme or your area of interest and find a supervisor that can support your through your studies. More information can be found about research degrees on our school pages. Our courses below will help guide you through the various research degree programmes we offer.

Explore funding opportunities Ready to apply? Start your application today
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