American culture has often been seen as distinctive and unique, producing some of the world's greatest writers and artists. This exciting and varied degree will allow you to develop a deeper understanding of American literature and its cultural context by looking at specific writers, genres or periods alongside drama, film and photography.
You'll study core modules developing your research skills and questioning what it means to study literature today, and you'll undertake an independently researched dissertation on a topic of your choice. You'll also pursue some of the topics that suit your interests when you choose from a range of optional modules exploring different aspects of American literature and culture, from the 19th century to contemporary writing.
In addition, you'll be able to broaden your understanding by choosing to take one of your options from the wide range of non-American modules in English Literature that we offer.
Leeds was the first university in Britain to establish a Chair in the field of American Literature. It's an interest that we continue to uphold with staff researching topics such as American literary culture, masculinity and gender, American film, globalization, postcolonial literature, Jewish narratives and African-American writing. You'll benefit from all of their expertise and develop your knowledge in our excellent research libraries - a stimulating environment in which to prepare for further study or gain valuable transferable skills.This degree is also available as a part-time option.
In Semester 1 you'll study a core module which will develop your understanding of research methods in literary study, as well as what it means to study literature and culture in the 21st century. You'll also choose the first of your optional modules to explore topics that suit your interests in more depth.
You'll then continue to pursue your interests in Semester 2, with two further optional modules. One of your optional modules can be from outside the programme, allowing you to explore topics from Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature to modernist or postcolonial writing.
Throughout the year, you'll be working on your research project/dissertation, which allows you to research in depth a topic in American literature and culture of your choice. You'll be able to submit this up to the deadline at the end of the course in September.
If you study this degree on a part-time basis, you'll take the same number of modules over a longer period, meaning you take fewer modules in each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
- Studying English: Research Methods 30 credits
- Research Project 60 credits
- Fictions of Citizenship in Contemporary American Literature 30 credits
- Feeling Time 30 credits
- The African American Tradition: Eight Major Works 30 credits
For more information on typical modules, read American Literature and Culture MA Full Time in the course catalogue
For more information on typical modules, read American Literature and Culture MA Part Time in the course catalogue
Learning and teaching
Most of your modules will be taught in small-group seminars, where you will discuss particular topics in each module with your tutor and the class. Independent study is also an important element of this course, allowing you to develop and then demonstrate valuable skills in independent research and analysis.
Most option modules are assessed by one 4,000 word essay. The research project/dissertation is 12,000-15,000 words in length.
Applying, fees and funding
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (Hons) or above in English or American literature, a degree scheme including English or American Literature or a related subject, or equivalent qualification.
We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of English admissions team.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.
Improve your English
If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:
- don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
- want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.
Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).
How to apply
We don't have a final deadline for MA Applications, and we'll consider your application right up until the start date of the programme. However, we encourage you to apply before the end of July if possible, to make arrangements such as securing funding, accommodation or visas. Modules will be allocated to offer holders in early August, so if you apply after that point you may have a more limited choice of modules.You'll also need to apply for a place before applying for any scholarships, so check the deadlines for available scholarships on the postgraduate scholarships database.
- Apply (Full time)
- Apply (Part time)
This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.
You'll need to upload the following documents when completing the online application form:
- A transcript of your completed BA degree or grades to date
- A personal statement of around 500 words outlining your reasons for applying to the programme and your suitability to the programme
- A recent sample of your academic work of around 2,000 words on a topic relevant to the programme
- We do not generally request references, unless further information is required to support the assessment of your application.
- If English is not your first language, you'll need to submit proof of your English language results (e.g. IELTS)
Next stepsWe'll decide whether to offer you a place based on your sample of written work, references, transcripts, predicted or actual degree results and other qualifications.
Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.
School of English Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy
UK/EU: £7,250 (total)
International: £17,500 (total)
Read more about paying fees and charges.
For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.
Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.
Additional cost information
There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs
Scholarships and financial support
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more at Masters funding overview.
This degree will allow you build on your knowledge and acquire transferable skills that are very attractive to employers.
You'll have sophisticated research and analytical skills that allow you to consider complex information from different sources, and you'll also be able to communicate and defend your views clearly either verbally or in writing. You'll also be comfortable working independently or in a team and have good cultural awareness.
If you're interested in pursuing further postgraduate study, this degree offers excellent preparation for PhD-level research through the dissertation and research methods modules. However, you'll also have the skills to succeed in careers in publishing, advertising, broadcasting, journalism, law and teaching.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That's one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
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