School of English

Postgraduate study

We are one of the largest graduate communities in the UK (over 200 students and over 45 faculty) exploring ‘English’ in all its diversities, supporting a rich variety of MA taught programmes alongside a flourishing culture in doctoral and post-doctoral research. Our students and faculty are known for their commitment to innovation and challenge in intellectual life.  Our postgraduate courses reflect the School’s commitment to fostering a trained critical imagination – one that grasps the importance of the analytic and the evocative, the poetic and the explanatory, the visual and the verbal.

There are many opportunities throughout the academic year for students and faculty to discuss their research in different colloquia, reading groups and conferences supported by the School, published on our termly calendar "Signpost".

The School is home to a number of active Research Centres including the Centre for Early Modern Studies, the Centre for Creative and Critical Thought, the Centre for Modernist Studies, the Sussex Centre for the Visual, the Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence, and the Centre for American Studies, as well as long-established research seminars in languages and linguistics - ROLLS: Research on Languages and LInguistics at Sussex -  and the 18th and 19th Century Research Seminars.

English at Sussex is ranked in the top 15 in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2017, The Complete University Guide 2017 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016) and in the top 100 in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.

The School offers five postgraduate taught MAs:  Literature, Theory and Culture; Modern and Contemporary Literature; Applied Linguistics; Creative and Critical Writing; Sexual Dissidence.  Through core and optional modules on each of these, you are able to develop a programme that speaks to your particular interests in language, literature, theoretical and cultural studies.

An important feature of all of the School’s MAs is how they encourage interdisciplinary possibilities. Each course is organised to enable you to take one or two options from other courses if you wish.  Each course culminates in a dissertation and the school places particular emphasis on matching expertise among its faculty with the supervision you receive.

Full-time students will take four taught modules over the course of the Autumn and Spring terms, followed by the preparation and writing of a dissertation under supervision in the Summer. Courses are normally taught by weekly seminar. For part-time students, the same requirements are spread over two years, with one module taken in each of the successive Autumn and Spring terms, and with the preparation and writing of the dissertation extended over two Summer periods. Students can take up to two modules that are outside their named English programme.

With the exception of the MA in Applied Linguistics, each module is examined by a 5000-word essay. The dissertation length is 15,000 words and it is submitted at the end of summer.

For more information about our postgraduate taught degrees, refer to our Postgraduate Prospectus.

With over 45 faculty, we offer research-led supervision across a wide historical range of literary writing, English Language and Linguistics, Drama and Performance and Creative Writing.

The University Library  provides access to extensive primary and secondary  publications, data bases and journals, while The Keep is rich in research collections, for example the Leonard and Virginia Woolf Papers, the Kipling Papers and the Mass Observation Archive. The Sussex Research Hive in the University Library provides private study areas, bookable meeting rooms and space for informal discussion and collaborative work.

In addition to University facilities, the School offers designated study space for doctoral students, the Trask Library, and a bookable meeting room. It also has a comfortable social space.

The School supports doctoral students in planning conferences and workshops. In 2015 our students have established and run major conferences, including Modernism's ChildThe State of Fiction: Don DeLillo in the Twenty-First Century; and Pacific Waves: Reverberations from Oceania.

We also run Excursions, an online journal and forum that encourages discussion across the arts and sciences. 

Sussex is the lead institution of CHASE - the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts Southeast England - which brings together 9 institutions into an AHRC funded doctoral training partnership.  As well as funding up to 75 studentships annually for home and EU students, CHASE offers a wide array of training and development programmes that are open to all Sussex doctoral students, regardless of funding.

For more information about our postgraduate research degrees, refer to our Postgraduate Prospectus and Scholarships, Fees and Living Costs