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MA Literature of the Romantic Period, 1775-1832

Investigate the innovative and diverse literature of the Romantic period​

2018/19 entry


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

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28 February, 7 and 14 March

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Find your own path through the literary and cultural history of the period. Develop an understanding of the engagement of Romantic writing with a range of political, social and aesthetic issues in the period.

You'll investigate the cultural meanings and associations of the variety of styles and genres in which Romantic writing was produced, and study a range of different critical perspectives about Romantic literature.

You’ll engage with the wider research culture of the Department of English, one of the UK's largest research centres in modern English, and the interdisciplinary Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. There will be a diverse schedule of seminars, conferences and reading groups for you to attend. You’ll also be part of 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

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

Course content

You'll examine the selected literary and aesthetic works in the light of the historical circumstances in which they were produced, and will develop a broad view of the major changes in sensibility and ideology of the period. 

You'll study one core module (20 credits) and three option modules (20 credits each) from a wide range of choices offered by the Department of English and Related Literature and other arts and humanities departments. Some modules will take an interdisciplinary view, others will focus on a particular discipline. You'll study a research skills training module (10 credits), and complete a research dissertation (90 credits). The total number of credits for the course is 180.

Harewood House, North Front by Thomas Malton Jr (1788)


 You can investigate contemporary issues such as:

  • the representation of landscape or revolution
  • the place of women as writers
  • the role of the periodicals as a cultural medium and the importance of ideas of Empire and the Orient
  • Romantic aesthetic theory and poetic practice

Core module (20 credits)

Romantic Texts and Contexts 2017 (PDF  , 217kb)

This module aims to introduce you to some key voices and themes from the Romantic period. It is taught by scholars who specialise in the period: through our seminars we will explore some of the literary conversations, debates, hopes and disappointments which were produced by this age of revolution and innovation.

Postgraduate Life in Practice (10 credits)

You'll learn valuable research, writing and presentation skills. Topics may include using library and online research resources, use of archives, academic writing and how to get work published.

Option modules (20 credits)*

You'll be given priority for these modules if they are available:

  • British Orientalisms, 1750-1850 
  • Changes of Meaning, Narratives of Change 
  • Fashion and Material Culture in 18th Century Literature 
  • From Wollstonecraft to Jane Austen 
  • Literature, Medicine and Revolution 
  • Rebels, Riots and Religion 
  • Representing the City, 1750-1850

There are also a wide range of further option modules offered across all the Department's MA programmes which are available to you.

You may also choose available modules from other arts and humanities departments and the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies.

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'll work on a 14,000-16,000-word dissertation with regular supervision from a member of staff (90 credits).

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

  • Representations of Prostitutes in Romantic period novels
  • Indian mythology in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poetry
  • Representations of men in Jane Austen’s novels
  • Perceptions of the body in French and British Revolutionary Women’s Writing
  • Images of Breath in the work of Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Romantic poetry and astronomy
  • Constructing the French ‘other’ in the 1790s



Field trips

Join us for regional trips – destinations have included Whitby, Castle Howard, Shandy Hall at Coxwold and Fountains Abbey.

Rich local resources

You’ll benefit from the exciting collections of Romantic period texts and images at the King’s Manor Library, Minster Library and Borthwick Institute.

Research strengths

These include Romantic period radical print culture, empire and orientalism, fashion and material culture, Romantic science and medicine, and dissenting literary communities.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2018/19

Additional costs

You'll need copies of the texts set for each module. Where possible, we will provide digital access. We'll let you know which texts and editions you'll need to buy (whether new or second-hand) before the start of each term.

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 accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Everything I’ve experienced so far has been wonderful and made me really glad I chose to come here. The Humanities Research Centre is a fantastic concept, but what’s really made my time at York so different is just how friendly and inclusive the Department is, from academics letting me pester them with my ideas to the wide range of research seminars and guest lectures.
Emily, MA in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

Read more from our students.

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

Over the course of the year, you'll give regular seminar presentations and attend research seminars and day conferences hosted by the Department and Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. 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 and at the King’s Manor in York city centre. Most of your contact hours will be at King’s Manor, and at Derwent College and additional locations nearby on Campus West.

Course location

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'll 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. Your final assessment is a dissertation of 14,000-16,000 words.

Historic library collection

Careers and skills

Our postgraduates go into academia and teaching, arts 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 administration
  • Civil and diplomatic services
  • Film, radio, social media, television, and theatre
  • Journalism and broadcasting
  • Law
  • Government
  • Academia
  • Publishing
  • Teaching

Transferable skills

You'll 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
  • Intercultural awareness

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade

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, no less than 6.0 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 6.5 in Reading, and of 7.0 in Writing
  • PTE: 67, with no less than 55 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 61 in Reading and of 67 in Writing
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with a minimum of 169 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 176 in Reading, and of 185 in Writing
  • TOEFL: 96, with a minimum of 21 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 23 in Reading, and of 24 in Writing
  • 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.

Next steps

Contact us

Contact our admissions team if you have any questions

Dr Mary Fairclough

Learn more

Department of English and Related Literature

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