Accessibility statement

English and related literature at York


Research interests

Who to contact

The Department has wide-ranging research interests in the literature and culture of all periods, both in English and a number of other languages (including French, German, Italian, Spanish and Latin).

Postgraduate study is organised into four major areas, each represented by a Research School - the Medieval, Renaissance, 18th Century and Romantic, and Modern Schools. The Research Schools provide a context for individual MA/MPhil/PhD students taking research degrees and students on the intensive small-group taught MA courses offered both within and across different historical periods.

Interdisciplinary expertise

We play a major part in six interdisciplinary research centres, the Centre for Medieval Studies, the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, the Centre for Modern Studies, the Centre for Women's Studies, and the Humanities Research Centre. A number of prominent journals and book series have editors in the Department, including Studies in the Early Middle Ages, Shakespeare Quarterly, and the leading journal of modernist studies, Modernism/Modernity.

Taught and research degrees

We offer a range of taught MA courses and supervision for postgraduate research in most fields of medieval and modern literature and film studies, on a full-time or part-time basis. Some funding is available, including studentships from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH), though many students successfully combine work and study.

The Department believes that postgraduate study should involve both individual intellectual enquiry and dialogue with others in the same and related fields.


Top facilities

Top facilities

Our students have access to superb research facilities.

Humanities Research Centre

Watch a video about the Humanities Research Centre

The Humanities Research Centre, located at the heart of the University campus, opened in September 2009. The HRC provides a fantastic new research environment for postgraduate students in the humanities, and for postdoctoral scholars. The wireless postgraduate work space, located on the first and mezzanine floors, is open 24/7, and has beautiful views into Spring Wood on one side, and across to the lake on the other side: many options for inspiration!

Offices for visiting fellows, and accommodation for research projects, interdisciplinary centres (the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and the Centre for Modern Studies) and emerging research groups, are located on the first floor. The HRC acts as a hub for Arts & Humanities activities on campus, hosting international colloquia, seminars and conferences.

Research resources

Extensive research resources include not only those in the University Library, but more specialised material at the King’s Manor and Minster libraries.

In addition, the Borthwick Institute for Archives (on the main University campus) is one of the biggest archive repositories outside London, housing documents from the 12th century to the present day.

York is also the nearest university to the British Library Document Supply Centre at Boston Spa - the largest lending library in Europe. The University Library offers a free minibus service to the British Library Document Supply Centre for postgraduate students and staff.

Community and support


This lively research community continually exposed me to new ideas and methodologies, in large part through the organisation of regular conferences and seminars, which frequently featured some of the most eminent scholars from Britain and North America.

Peter Denney, PhD

We have a large, lively and diverse community of postgraduate students, with about 140 MPhil, MA and PhD students from all over the world. All our students are encouraged to participate in an active programme of seminars and conferences throughout the year.

Students come from a number of countries to study for higher degrees at York, and contribute to the lively and diverse graduate community. Applicants for whom English is a second language are normally expected to have achieved one of the following scores: IELTS: 7.0; TOEFL: 620(paper-based test)/105 (internet-based test); or (preferably) Cambridge Proficiency: A or B. The University offers pre-sessional courses in English language, taken before the commencement of the degree course, and in some cases may be recommended or required.

Visiting students are also welcome to apply to the Department, for a term or longer, and to attend MA modules (numbers permitting). Special arrangements exist through the postgraduate ERASMUS exchange scheme with the literature departments of the University of Paris and the University of Bologna, and the scheme offered by the Norwegian Study Centre to Norwegian masters students.

Supervision and support

At York, each MA student has a personal supervisor as well as specialised subject tutors, and the progress of each research student is assisted by a panel of at least two members of staff.

As well as this close network of support, all postgraduate students attend a series of training seminars which provide an introduction to research methods and resources. Introductory classes in computing, word processing and various languages are also available.

What next?

Develop your skills

A postgraduate degree in English will allow you to develop:

  • the ability to apply, explore and develop subject knowledge and understanding through seminar debate, supervisory discussion and independent research
  • a range of research methods and tools (for example, the use of library catalogues and online databases)
  • the use of recognised discipline related methods of bibliography and citation
  • the ability to articulate ideas lucidly and persuasively and present lengthy and complex arguments in writing

You will also gain valuable transferable employment skills such as:

  • time management
  • the independent organisation and management of research materials and information
  • appropriate professional conduct within a range of learning environments
  • effective communication (including informal debate and the formal presentation of research before an audience)
  • the professional presentation of written documents to a deadline
  • effective and efficient use of electronic research resources


The University's Careers Service, in conjunction with the Department's Careers Officer, provides a range of resources, events, and support services to help you develop your skills and experience. You can take advantage of local opportunities for volunteering, internship or entrepreneurship.

Coupled with the department's high ranking, the warmth with which I was received into the York community clinched the deal - after a long and difficult search, I was delighted that my final decision was so easily made

Judith, MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature