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MA Film and Literature

Explore text, history and theory in film and literature

Year of entry: 2019


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

Engage in a challenging, imaginative study of contemporary debates in film and literature; create and explore your own balance between these two fascinating fields of study.   

The interdisciplinary MA in Film and Literature combines critical inquiry and independent research with passionately committed teaching from world-leading scholars. You can study high culture and pop culture, silent cinema and contemporary release; you can compare theoretical questions with creative practice, blockbuster with poetry, mainstream with avant-garde. The course explores critical, theoretical, and contextual approaches to film and literature, offering specialisations in global political film, documentary, Shakespeare on film, adaptation and transmediality, post-war and Cold War European and American film, as well as access to a full range of literary modules drawn from our MA programme as a whole. 

The course will provide you with a foundation for doctoral research, and transferable skills for related careers in arts and festival management, teaching, publishing and journalism. ​There will be a diverse schedule of seminars, conferences and reading groups for you to attend as a member of the Department of English, one of the UK's largest research centres in modern English, as well as the Humanities Research Centre, a vibrant interdisciplinary hub which will enable you to form close social and intellectual bonds over the course of your study.

World-leading research

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, we had the highest proportion of world-leading (4*) research of all UK English departments.

Global top 30

English at York is ranked top 30 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

The course is creative and engaging, and the tutors are always friendly and interested in what you have to say.
Alex, MA in Film and Literature

Course content

The course examines the lively, symbiotic traffic between written word and cinematic image.  You will examine films in their cultural, historical, industrial, technological and aesthetic contexts, and investigate key issues such as:

  • How do different media tell stories?
  • How do narratives change across media and history?
  • How do different audiences and readers interpret film and literature according to the  medium and moment of their production and reception?
  • How do scholars and critics of film and literature understand and theorize these issues?

You'll study one core module (20 credits) and choose three modules (20 credits each) from a range of options offered by the Department of English and Related Literature and other arts and humanities departments. You'll study two short research skills training modules (10 credits each), and complete a research dissertation (80 credits). The total number of credits for the course is 180.


These modules present case studies of literature and film in the full diversity of their textual, contextual, historical and theoretical relationships. Film/Literature Encounters introduces an illustrative range of interdisciplinary ‘encounters’, addressing film and literature as media with their own aesthetics and narrative codes; the social and institutional systems that facilitate (or impede) the transfer between them; the questions of style and creativity that sustain and inspire critical inquiry. Postgraduate Life in Practice will teach you valuable research, writing and presentation skills.

Core modules

Option modules

You'll choose three option modules:

As a Film and Literature Masters student you will be given priority for these modules if they are available:

  • Nation, Genre, Past in British & American Cinema
  • Useful Cinema: Documentary, Educational and Activist Film
  • Political Fictions: Film and the Novel in the Global 21st Century
  • Cold War Culture: Literature, Film, Theory (not running for 2018/19)

You may also choose available modules from other arts and humanities departments.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


Your dissertation offers you the chance to examine a topic in depth and to develop your research skills.

In Summer Term and over the vacation you will work on a 14,000-16,000-word dissertation worth 80 credits with regular supervision from a member of staff.

You'll submit your dissertation in September. Recent dissertation topics include:

  • Moving Images for a Mobilized Age: Independent Film as Political Activism
  • More Human than Human: Reading the Animal in Film though the Qur’an
  • The Slacker in Film and Literature
  • Speaking into Being in Contemporary Film
  • Widescreen Shakespeare

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • analyse significant film and literary texts from across genres, periods and national contexts, interpreting them with reference to their formal strategies and to the social, political, economic and/or aesthetic contexts in which they were produced, reproduced, and received
  • evaluate and contribute to scholarly debates around film/literature studies
  • deploy knowledge of specialist fields within the broader remit of film/literature – for example national film cultures in Britain and American, documentary film in the 20th century, Cold War literature, theory and film, political cinema and literature in the 21st century
  • initiate, conduct, and take responsibility for independent research, drawing on skills honed by graduate-level research training, research-led teaching, and the completion of a substantial dissertation project
  • communicate sophisticated written arguments in a clear, accurate and persuasive fashion, synthesising evidence from multiple sources so as to convey information creatively and convincingly
  • engage in verbal discussion of complex textual material, demonstrating versatility, rigour, and confidence in the reception, appreciation, and articulation of high-level ideas and perspectives
  • direct their own development, bringing new knowledge and skills to bear upon a range of contexts including (but not limited to) doctoral study in modern English literature and related fields

World-leading research

Ranked first in the UK for world-leading research and second overall (REF 2014).

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

You will need copies of the texts set for each module. Where possible, the Department works to arrange digital copies via the University Library. Where this is not practical, you will be instructed in advance of the start of each term about the texts and editions you will need to purchase (whether new or second-hand).

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Department scholarship information

Further information about funding for English.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

  • Two 2-hour seminars each week during the Autumn and Spring Terms; if you are a part-time student you will attend one 2-hour seminar a week during the Autumn and Spring Terms of Year 1 and Year 2.
  • Taught in seminars of up to 15 students for most modules; some core modules may involve a larger number of students.
  • Essential reading is set for each seminar, you are encouraged to read more widely around the topic.
  • A series of training lectures and workshops, designed to address writing at MA level, presenting your work, transferable skills, and career development.

In the course of the year, we will expect you to give regular seminar presentations and to attend research seminars and day conferences hosted by the Department. Many of these events will be organised through the Humanities Research Centre, a state-of-the-art facility unique to York.


​​Writers at York is a lively programme of readings and workshops, and aims to celebrate and explore the work of both emerging and established contemporary writers.

Writers at York is supported by the University of York's External Engagement Awards and the Festival of Ideas.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of English and Related Literature on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be in locations nearby on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will submit an essay for each module of approximately 4,500 words. The Postgraduate Life in Practice module will be assessed on the completion of a series of tasks connected to your core work for the MA.

English MA teaching
Humanities Research Centre

Careers and skills

Our postgraduates go into practical and creative work in the cultural industries, academia and teaching, arts and festival administration, journalism, broadcasting, public relations, social work, politics, the civil service, and management consultancy. Many alumni have also gone on to become successful novelists, poets and playwrights.

Career opportunities

  • Advertising, marketing, and public relations
  • Arts and festival administration
  • Civil and diplomatic services
  • Film, radio, social media, television, and theatre
  • Journalism and broadcasting
  • Law
  • Government
  • Academia
  • Publishing
  • Teaching

Transferable skills

The course will help you to develop a range of transferable skills including:

  • developing your creativity
  • improving your ability to filter and analyse complex information
  • intellectual independence and independent working
  • time management and people skills
  • communicating your research
  • methodological skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer

You should have, or be about to complete, a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification.

We will consider applications from students with lower qualifications, particularly if you have high marks in relevant modules or appropriate professional experience.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want an informal chat about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.

The international equivalents of UK qualifications are shown on our country-specific pages. You can also contact the international team for guidance.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability.

Pre-sessional courses in English Language skills, to be taken before the commencement of the degree courses, may be recommended or required.

  • IELTS: 7.0, with a minimum of 6.5 in Reading and Writing and no less than 6.0 in Listening and Speaking
  • PTE: 67,  with a minimum of 61 in  Reading and Writing  and no less than 55 in Listening and Speaking, 
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with a minimum of  176 in Reading and Writing and no less than 169 in Listening and Speaking 
  • TOEFL: 96, with a minimum of  23 in Reading and Writing and no less than 21 in Listening and Speaking
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all components


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Erica Sheen

Learn more

Department of English and Related Literature

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