Astudiaethau Llenyddol (Llenyddiaeth America)

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The Aberystwyth MA in Literary Studies pathway in American Literature gives students the opportunity to interrogate the major preoccupations and cultural range of American writing. It also offers a firm grounding in the latest developments in literary criticism and analysis, and provides you with the key skills to undertake your own detailed research project successfully. Thus a special feature of the Aberystwyth MA in Literary Studies American Literature pathway is the combination of the study of imaginative writing alongside the development of key transferable skills. As a student on the MA in Literary Studies, pathway in American Literature at Aberystwyth, you will have free access to both the University’s superb library and information technology resources and to the unrivalled collections of the National Library of Wales.

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Twelve months full-time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September.


Assessment takes the form of: a research proposal, including a related bibliographic element; a case study; examined oral presentations; and 6,000-word assignments. Each student will complete a MA Dissertation of 15,000 words which deals specifically with an area of American Literature in the third semester.

Entry Requirements:

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in a related subject. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. In addition please see the overview tab for further application details.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.


Funding opportunites may be available, please check our funding calculator for details.


You will study two core modules together with two optional modules.  A specialist module in American literature provides a rigorous and detailed engagement with particular aspects of the literature of America. The course covers a range of research preparation skills including exploiting library resources, using electronic journals and other IT skills, building a bibliography, researching and writing a proposal, structuring a Dissertation, developing and sustaining an argument, footnotes and referencing, and oral presentation skills. The course will also illustrate and interrogate the different kinds of 'textuality', or aspects of the literary text, that need to be taken into account in the study of literature at postgraduate level.

An important part of the course is the writing of a 15,000-word Dissertation in a field of American Literature that is of particular interest to you. Aberystwyth University takes great care in assigning students a supervisor whose interests will be matched as closely as possible to your own.

The department has a proud tradition of research excellence, as demonstrated in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment. It found that 97% of research assessed was found to be of international standing or higher.

Application Details

In addition to completing the standard University application package (How to apply), candidates are asked by the Department to supply the following supplementary documents:

1. A letter of application (1 side of A4) that explains why you want to enrol on the Literary Studies (or the particular Literary Studies pathway) MA. It should include a brief account of your academic study to date, touching on relevant literary/critical issues as appropriate – you might mention, for example, the authors to whose work you are particularly drawn, the topics and ideas that are of special significance to you, and the methodologies you have found particularly valuable in your encounter with literary works. The account will be important in helping us to arrive at a decision about your general suitability for the programme.

2. A representative sample of critical work, written during the past three years, of no more than 3000 words. You are allowed to send work submitted as part of a previous degree.


Qualification: MA in Literary Studies, pathway in American Literature

This degree will suit you...

  • If you have a specific interest in American Literature
  • If you want a rigorous training for future work as a researcher
  • If you want to develop your literary research skills
  • If you are interested in the theoretical and historical debates behind literary studies


The MA in Literary Studies, pathway in American Literature provides you with both an in-depth knowledge of American Literature and key transferable skills. Thus it provides a natural entry for further academic study for a PhD and to a range of employment opportunities. Specialist modules on research techniques, presentation, analysis, professional standards of writing and oral presentations provide you with core skills that are highly valued by a diverse range of employers. The creative industries are an increasingly important part of the modern economy and this degree is an excellent stepping stone to a career in a broad range of fields in the arts, literature, journalism and many more.

Key Skills and Competencies

Study Skills

You will learn how to gain access to the relevant literature and materials in this field and how to use them in critical discussion of the issues covered by this subject and in relation to your own specific needs. Practical advice is given in research methods and sources. The ability to quickly assemble, assimilate, interpret and present a broad range of information is a skill which is keenly sought by many employers from the civil service to journalism, to industry and commerce.

Self-Motivation and discipline

Studying at Masters’ level is a very disciplined process. You will be guided and aided by expert University staff, but you will be expected to conduct your own scholarly research and work independently. The final Dissertation in particular teaches you how to employ your own skills and knowledge to produce high standards of work. The practice of self-motivation and discipline will prepare you for what will be expected in the working world.

Transferable Skill

The MA in Literary Studies, pathway in American Studies provides you with key skills which are transferable to all areas of employment. When you graduate you will be able to structure and communicate ideas efficiently, write for and speak to a range of audiences, evaluate and organize information, work effectively with others, work within time frames and to specific deadlines.