English MA (Hons) 2021 entry
The MA (Hons) in English will teach you to closely read texts across a range of genres and historical eras, and to consider the ideas, human values and historical forces that have helped shape literature.
As part of your degree, you will be introduced to a wide spectrum of literary works, from medieval texts in Old English and Scots to Renaissance plays, contemporary poetry, revolutionary nineteenth-century novels and more.
Master of Arts (single Honours degree)
Four years full time
- Start date: 6 September 2021
- End date: 30 June 2025
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
- Standard entry grades: AAAAB, including A in English
- Minimum entry grades: AABB, including A in English
- Gateway entry grades: BBBB
- Standard entry grades: AAA, including A in English or English Literature
- Minimum entry grades: ABB, including A in English or English Literature
- Standard entry grades: 38 (HL 6,6,6), including HL6 in English
- Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL6 in English
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.
For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 8.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.How to apply
Do I need to have studied this subject before?
Students must have studied English or English Literature at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent.
General entry requirements
All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.
More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.
The School of English at the University of St Andrews enjoys an international reputation as a centre for both academic research and literary creativity.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2020 as 92.7% of St Andrews final-year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) rated 86% of research from the School as world-leading and internationally excellent.
Find out more about studying English at St Andrews.
In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in English alongside modules in at least one other subject.
Typically, you will take three modules per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.
Students will take both of the following compulsory first-year modules:
- Culture and Conflict: An Introduction to Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature: introduces a small number of texts, in prose and verse, from the ninteenth and twentieth centuries.
- Explorers and Revolutionaries: Literature 1680-1830: examines travel, colonialism, and different constructions of “man’s natural estate” in the eighteenth century.
Second year students must take the following two modules:
- Drama: Reading and Performance: introduces a number of representative plays from the Renaissance period and from the twentieth century. Emphasis is placed upon the context in which these plays were first created and those in which they are now received.
- Medieval and Renaissance Texts: introduces early forms of English language and literature, using specially edited texts from Old English, Middle English and Older Scots.
If you decide to take English in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including:
- contemporary fiction
- creative writing
- literary theory
- modern American drama
- Old English
- Renaissance literature
- Restoration drama
- Scottish verse
- the Victorian novel.
The School of English offers between 40 and 50 Honours modules in each academic year. Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:
- Contemporary British Fiction
- 'Loose Baggy Monsters': The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Novel
- Postcolonial LIterature and Theory
- Reading Popular Music
- Romantic Gothic
- The Younger Romantics: Poetry and Prose (1810-1830).
For more examples, see a full list of Honours modules offered in the previous year: Honours choices 2020-2021 (PDF)
In fourth year, students also undertake a substantial dissertation on a topic of their choice. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.
The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.
Joint Honours degrees
You can take English as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.
“I chose to study English here partly due to the excellent reputation of the School and partly for the opportunity to study both well-known and obscure pieces of literature. The small group tutorials are invaluable in sounding out ideas for essays, learning how better to build an argument, and gaining confidence in literary analysis.”
Calum (South Lanarkshire, Scotland)