School of Humanities and Performing Arts

ResM English

Do you want to explore a literary topic you’re passionate about, with the potential to advance into PhD study and an academic career? Join a vibrant, growing research community and acquire the skills necessary to carry out your own extended project. This programme provides expert guidance and individual supervision from staff specialising in a range of critical fields, from the 17th century to the present day.

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Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £10,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

Key features

  • Pursue your own specific research interests in English with the guidance of an individual supervisor.
  • Acquire a sophisticated range of subject-specific and interdisciplinary research skills.
  • Enjoy full access to the University’s library and electronic resources.
  • Benefit from adaptable study routes, allowing you to find a means of studying that fits around your other commitments.
  • Draw on staff expertise in a wealth of diverse areas, from the early modern period to contemporary literature.
  • Broaden your knowledge by undertaking interdisciplinary work across traditional subject boundaries.
  • Progress from your undergraduate studies on a route that prepares you to become a researcher or do a PhD.

Course details

  • Overview
  • Study two taught modules that provide you with the expertise to excel in your 22,500–25,000-word thesis. In semester one you take a module focusing on English research methods and debates, gaining both discipline-specific skills and an understanding of current debates in English. Assessment revolves around contextual study or literature review, communication skills and subject-specific frameworks. Research in the arts and humanities is cross-disciplinary and taught via six all-day workshops in semesters one and two. The programme is assessed by a research portfolio and presentation. Finally, the thesis is taught by intensive tutorials with your supervisory team.

    You may devise a topic of your choice, but you are encouraged to choose an area of staff expertise to gain maximum support and guidance.

    Core modules
    • MAEL700 Research Methods and Debates in Literary and Cultural Studies

      This module will provide research skills including library and IT skills, the use of databases, archival research and the structuring, managing, and presentation of a project. It will explore current areas of debate within literary studies in English, including the nature of cross-disciplinary research, and may include breakaway session's specific to the exit awards.

    • MARE700 Research in the Arts and Humanities

      This module provides students with research skills training and a critical awareness of different methodological approaches in the arts, humanities, cultural industries and associated fields, to enable them to make appropriate choices in their own research. It is designed to complement and support individual research projects carried out by students.

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

A 2:1 or first-class honours degree from a UK university or equivalent, or a professional qualification recognised as equivalent to a degree.

Other qualifications/experience that demonstrate that you can meet the challenges and demands of the programme are also considered.

You are also required to submit a research proposal.

Applicants with overseas qualifications can check their comparability with the UK equivalent through NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

English language requirement

If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required.

The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 7.

View our English language requirements.

For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualification and proficiency in English, please contact our International Office.

Fees, costs and funding

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. ResM English is in Band 1 for fees purposes.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for one year. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional six month 'writing up' period (that is, half of the 'writing up' fee indicated on this page).

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for two years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year 'writing up' period.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

This programme is eligible for a postgraduate loan.


How to apply

Submitting your application

Complete your application and upload supporting documents to the Doctoral College by completing our online application form.

Questions on the application process?

We're here to help. Please contact the Doctoral College team and we'll be happy to assist you.

You can view or download our postgraduate research admissions policy.

If you have a disability and would like further information on the support available, please visit our Disability Services website.

International Student Advice (ISA) provides support for our international students.

Michelle Lester – ResM English student

"The part-time, flexible nature of the ResM has been essential to me, with a busy teaching job of my own. It has been a real pleasure to be able to be in an environment where I can immerse myself in the subject which I'm passionate about – literature – and engage with like-minded souls.

I had started a MA in English with the University of Plymouth soon after my first son was born, 20 years ago now, but a second pregnancy put paid to any hope of continuing! However, it remained a real regret that I had not pursued postgraduate study and, when my eldest headed off to university himself, I decided the time was right to have another go."


"I had never heard of a ResM before but its combination of taught sessions, a variety of assessments and the 20-25,000 word dissertation was the perfect mix for me. When I embarked on the programme, I expected to research the work of Romantic English women travel writers, with a focus on those involved in the French Revolution, but the more I investigated this period, the more curious I became about the time that had preceded it. A non-fiction work that had been set reading for the first module, as well as some suggested reading by my supervisor in the first year, redirected me to a writer and period I knew very little about – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and her letters about her travels through Europe and her short residency in Turkey. This married my own interests in both feminist and post-colonialist criticism, and I'd like to think that my journey writing about this 18th century aristocratic woman's encounters has been almost as transformative as hers was!

As a mature student, I knew my study skills would be rusty, to say the least, and that technological developments since I had done my undergraduate degree would mean that the research process would require learning how to access most of my sources online via academic databases, journals, e-texts etc. The direction of my supervisors, along with the great support provided by the library staff, has been invaluable here. Learning how to write in an appropriate academic style has perhaps been the most challenging aspect of the course: as a lecturer in FE, I am familiar with the requirements for essays written at L3, but had to learn a whole new 'art' to write at postgraduate level. Again, thanks to the intensive and thoroughly supportive guidance of my supervisors, I now have all three chapters of my dissertation written, and am ready to write up!"

English and creative writing research

The research interests of the English and creative writing department at Plymouth range from the early modern period to the present, and cover a diverse set of approaches and priorities based primarily in imagination, judgement and representation. We are particularly interested in developing interdisciplinary projects across a range of themes and topics, including: the transnational and the transatlantic, environmental literatures, poetry and poetics, and scientific discourses. Through our world-leading and internationally recognised research, we are making significant interventions in local, national and international cultural and creative industries.

Academic staff